When movie stars would come to Sea Cliff in the 1950s to perform at a local theater, some would stay at a summer bungalow around the corner now on the market for $699,000.
Among those who spent the night at the two-family duplex include actor Burgess Meredith, best known today for his role as Mickey in the “Rocky” film series and The Penguin in the TV show "Batman," and actress Yvonne De Carlo, who starred in the movie “The Ten Commandments” and the sitcom “The Munsters,” says former owner, Sam Jones.
“My dad would rent the apartment to some folks who came to the Sea Cliff Summer Theater and did summer stock plays,” says Jones, 73, who sold the house in 2011 and now lives in Centerport. “It was a good deal. People that were there to do a show for a week or two weeks were more than happy to rent the apartment and have a place right next door to where they worked.”
Jones says that the theater, which burned down in the 1950s, was just a short walk around the corner from the house at the time.
Sea Cliff co-historian Jean Davis told Newsday in 2012 that the theater was originally transformed from a Methodist tabernacle and “every Saturday night, there was another show to go to. We had Edward [Everett] Horton and all kinds of old movie people out of the ’20s and ’30s.”
The 1920s house, with separate addresses for each side of the duplex, features a main living area that includes a living and dining room with hardwood floors, an eat-in kitchen with a mudroom, an upper level with two bedrooms and a bathroom and a basement. The opposite side of the house, where Jones says the stars would stay, features a living room, eat-in kitchen and bedroom. Each side of the house also has a covered front porch.
The property, with taxes of $10,957, offers winter water views and backs to a tree-lined, village-owned lot, says listing agent Eileen Heimer of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International. There is a driveway on the main side of the house, and the property is situated on one of the few streets in the village of Sea Cliff that allows overnight parking, Heimer adds.
Jones recalls drivers parking along the side streets in the neighborhood so they could walk to the theater.
“Mom and Dad used to sit on the porch and people-watch because all of these people would come parading by the house on their way to watch the show,” he says.
Jones, who says he worked at the theater painting stage scenery as a kid, never had a conversation with the celebrities that stayed at his house, but says they would always say hello as they came and went.
“They were always busy folks,” Jones says. “And my Mom and Dad always told me to not be a pest and to leave them alone.”