People: Nov. 17, 1961

Where once pastel mansions had gilded green canyons, a snaggle-toothed rubble of chimneys now disfigured the Mecca of conspicuous consumption. Raging through the Los Angeles suburbs of Bel Air and Brentwood, a gale-whipped brush fire—the worst in Southern California's history —had sent up in Argenta-mink smoke 447 homes (bottom price: $50,000), left behind more than $24 million in insurance claims, and the flossiest refugees since the Russian Revolution. Among the homeless were Actor Cliff Robertson, Joan Fontaine, Comedian Arnold Stang, Bandleader Orrin Tucker. All that was left of Burt Lancaster's $500,000 estate...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!