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The Bel Air west gate at Sunset and Bellagio
Bel Air is a faux-gated residential community in the hills of the Westside of the city of Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker. Together with Beverly Hillsmarker and Holmby Hillsmarker it forms the Platinum Triangle of Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Bel Air is situated about west of downtown Los Angeles and includes some of the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountainsmarker. It borders the north side of UCLAmarker along Sunset Boulevard. At the heart of the community sits the Bel Air Country Club and the Hotel Bel-Airmarker. The community was founded in 1923 by Alphonzo E. Bell, Sr.

It is bordered by Brentwoodmarker on the west and southwest, Westwoodmarker on the south, Beverly Hills Post Office on the east, and Sherman Oaksmarker on the north.


Residences in Bel Air tend to be private and hidden from the winding roads of the community. Most houses are not visible from the street, as they are hidden by hedges or gates. Residences range from modest ranch style houses to multi-story configurations to mansions. While some houses in Bel Air seem quite modest from the outside, often lying only six feet from the street, they have large grounds. In general, the higher up the mountain, the smaller the building lots and the more modest the houses. However, those residences along roads such as Stradella Road and Linda Flora Drive have panoramic views of the Los Angeles basin andCatalina Islandmarker. The most desirable houses are right off the main entrances of Bel Air and the country club entrance because these houses have both the views of the Bel-Air Country Club and the rest of Los Angeles. Lower Bel Air are among the most expensive homes in the community. This is because lower Bel Air is more desirable because of its proximity to Sunset Boulevard, a major thoroughfare.

Multi-family housing is not permitted within the community and ordinances regarding architectural styles, landscaping, and lot sizes exist to preserve Bel Air. Unlike Beverly Hills, Bel Air has no residential sidewalks in attempts to discourage the public from walking around the community. Bel Air is also patrolled by local security companies.

President Ronald Reagan lived at 668 St. Cloud Road in Bel Air from his retirement as President in 1989 until his death in 2004, and former First Lady Nancy Reagan continues to live there and attends nearby Bel Air Presbyterian Churchmarker.


The UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is located in Bel Air. It was inspired by the gardens of Kyoto. Many structures in the garden - the main gate, garden house, bridges, and shrine - were built in Japanmarker and reassembled here. Antique stone carvings, water basins and lanterns, as well as the five-tiered pagoda, and key symbolic rocks are also from Japan. Several hundred tons of local stones came from the quarries in Ventura Countymarker and the foot of Mt. Baldy, northeast of Los Angeles.

Television and Film

Television shows and movies have been filmed in Bel Air, or are said to take place in the community. Exterior shots for the Beverly Hillbillies were shot in and around the 1938 French neoclassical-style mansion at 750 Bel Air Road, built by Lynn Atkinson (and later sold to hotelier Arnold Kirkeby after Atkinson's wife refused to move into a house she thought too ostentatious) (After the exterior shooting was completed, the residents of that address forbid any more filming, as passers-by would wander onto the property and ask to see 'Granny').[50525] Exterior scenes from movies such as Get Shorty have also been filmed in the area. Several television films of The Rockford Files were filmed in Bel Air. The television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was set in the neighborhood at 805 St. Cloud Road. The Bel Air Film Festival, first held in 2009,
is an annual international film festival held in Bel Air and the Los Angeles area.

Brentwood–Bel Air Fire

In 1961, a construction crew working in Sherman Oaks noticed the smoke and flames in a nearby pile of rubbish. Within minutes, Santa Ana winds gusting up to sent burning brush aloft and ultimately seared Nov. 6, 1961, into Los Angeles' civic memory.

Life magazine called it "A Tragedy Trimmed in Mink," and glittering stars of stage and screen scrambled to do battle with the blaze that swept through Bel Air and Brentwood that day. Flaming embers danced from roof to wood-shingled roof, spreading the fire across the Santa Monica Mountains to the south and into the affluent Westside enclaves.

In Bel Air, some film stars stood their ground against the encroaching flames. Maureen O'Hara risked her life to remain at her home and hose down herwooden roof. Fred MacMurray battled the flames and contained damage to just a portion of his home. But comedian Joe E. Brown saw his home burn to the ground. Burt Lancaster and Zsa Zsa Gabor also lost their homes.

Former Vice President Richard M. Nixon and his chief researcher, Al Moscow, were working on a draft of Nixon's "Six Crises" when the flames threatened his rented house on North Bundy Drive. Nixon and Moscow took to the roof to water down the wood shingles, saving the home.

More than 300 police officers helped evacuate 3,500 residents during the 12-hour fire, and more than 2,500 firefighters battled the blaze, pumping water from neighborhood swimming pools to douse flames in some areas. Pockets of the fire smoldered for several days. Even as firefighters battled what was to become the Bel Air disaster, a separate fire had erupted simultaneously in Santa Ynez Canyon to the west, further straining local firefighting resources. That blaze was contained the next day after consuming nearly and nine structures and burning to within a mile of the inferno raging in Bel Air and Brentwood.

At least 200 firefighters were injured, many by the tar from the roofs of the homes, but no one was killed and 78% of the homes were saved. Still, the fires were the fifth worst conflagration in the nation's history at the time, burning , destroying more than 484 homes and 190 other structures and causing an estimated $30 million in damage.


As of the census of 2000, there were 7,928 people in the neighborhood. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 86.24% White, 6.84% Asian, 4.65% Hispanic, 1.93% Black, 0.06% Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.30% from other races, and 3.59% from two or more races.

In 2009, the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project supplied these Bel Air statistics: population: 7,928; median household income: $208,861.

It lies within the 5th city council district, represented (as of 2007) by Jack Weiss. It is located in the 90077 (Bel Air Estates & Beverly Glen) ZIP code, which is part of the city of Los Angeles. Of several entrances, there are two main ones: the East Gate at Beverly Glen and Sunset Boulevards, and the West Gate at Bellagio Road and Sunset Boulevard, opposite an entrance to UCLAmarker.

Emergency services

Fire service

Los Angeles Fire Department Station 71 is in the area.

Police service

Los Angeles Police Department operates the West Los Angeles Community Police Station at 1663 Butler Avenue, 90025, serving the neighborhood.


Warner Avenue School

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

The community is within the Los Angeles Unified School District. The area is within Board District 4. As of 2009 Steve Zimmer represents the district.

The area is zoned to Warner Avenue Elementary School, Emerson Middle School, and University High School.

In addition, an LAUSD magnet school named Community Magnet School is near the area.

Private schools

Private schools in the Bel Air area include:

Colleges and universities

Colleges and universities in Bel Air include:


  1. Bel Air CA Real Estate Agents from West Los Angeles Realty California
  2. "No housing slump for super-rich - Sales and prices have never been better in the Platinum Triangle" By Annette Haddad, July 07, 2007, Los Angeles Times
  3. Driving Directions from Los Angeles, CA to Bel Air, CA
  4. Real Estate By Nili - Los Angeles History
  5. "The Reagans: First Family Easing Into Private Life", Los Angeles Times, Nov. 19, 1988
  9. "Bel Air" entry on the Los Angeles Times "Mapping L.A." website
  10. " Fire Station 71," Los Angeles Fire Department
  11. " West LA Community Police Station," Los Angeles Police Department
  12. Board District 4 Map. Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved on November 24, 2008.
  13. " Board Members." Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved on September 16, 2009.
  14. " A part of the city, yet apart from it too," Los Angeles Times
  15. " Community Magnet School," Bel-Air Association. Retrieved on September 16, 2009.
  16. " The John Thomas Dye School," Bel-Air Association
  17. " Marymount High School," Bel-Air Association

External links

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