Bel-Air fire

Nov. 7, 1961: Burned-out homes sit along Linda Flora Drive in Bel Air. The two-day Bel Air/Brentwood fire destroyed nearly 500 homes, but no lives were lost.

Los Angeles Times writer Cecilia Rasmussen wrote in this story:

“Among the most notorious California wildfires, the Bel-Air/Brentwood fire began in a trash heap…..a blaze that left hundreds of the rich and famous homeless in what LIFE magazine called ‘A Tragedy Trimmed in Mink’ and prompted brush clearance laws and an eventual city ban on wood shingle roofs.’

Burt Lancaster, comedian Joe E. Brown, composer Lukas Foss, Nobel laureate chemist Willard Libby and Zsa Zsa Gabor lost homes.

Advancing flames force former Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat to leave their rented home on Bundy Drive in Brentwood. Before leaving, Nixon hosed down the roof. (Los Angeles Times photo).

Film producer Keith Daniels, left, and singer Billy Vaughn in bandages after fighting flames that scorched Daniels’ Mulholland Drive home. (Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, UCLA).

Actor Robert Taylor loads Henry into a station wagon as flames threatened his Mandeville Canyon ranch, which was spared. Taylor later said he “drove to Ronnie Reagan’s place.” (Los Angeles Times photo).

Zsa Zsa Gabor’s home on Bellagio Place was destroyed by the fire while she was in New York. Gabor returned to salvage what she could — while wearing a diamond and pearls. (Photo by Bob Martin from KMPC helicopter, Los Angeles Mirror)