hen the estate at 4201 Toluca Road recently hit the market, it offered a rare glimpse into local history. Built in 1948, the house was purchased in 1956 by the legendary hero Audie Murphy, who had risen from a humble background as the son of poor Texas sharecroppers to national fame as the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II. During his three years of active service, Murphy fought in nine major campaigns in Europe, was wounded three times and earned every possible military award for valor (some more than once), including the Medal of Honor. His story captured the public imagination and propelled him to a postwar career in Hollywood, where he appeared in 44 feature films over the next 25 years, most notably playing himself in the 1955 blockbuster To Hell and Back, based on his bestselling autobiography.
Fresh off this success, Murphy moved to the Toluca Lake area with his wife, Pamela Archer Murphy, and their young sons, Terry and Michael. By all appearances, they enjoyed an idyllic life in the charming country-style house overlooking the greens of Lakeside Golf Club. Sadly, it was to be Murphy’s last home. In 1971, he was killed in a plane crash in Virginia at the age of 45, and his family sold the house to settle debts. It was purchased by another entertainment legend, Buena Vista sales executive Harry Archinal, a pioneer in the international film distribution business who helped establish Disney’s worldwide success. Archinal lived there for more than 45 years, until his passing in 2017.
Now, the home is ready for its next owner. Represented by Lori King of Ramsey-Shilling Associates, this four-bedroom, six-bathroom, 5,000-square-foot home is full of vintage details, including five fireplaces, custom-hewed wooden beams and finely crafted built-ins, that capture the spirit of its storied history.