The Clark estate, aka Bellosguardo, at 1407 E. Cabrillo Blvd., is Santa Barbara’s enduring mystery.
The Clark estate, aka Bellosguardo, at 1407 E. Cabrillo Blvd., is Santa Barbara’s enduring mystery. Credit: Bellosguardo Foundation photo

HBO recently announced plans to adapt “Empty Mansions” — the nonfiction book about reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark and the Santa Barbara waterfront Bellosguardo estate she owned until her death at age 104 — into a TV series.

“Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune” — co-written by journalist Bill Dedman and Clark’s cousin, Paul Clark Newell Jr. — was published in 2013 and quickly became a No. 1 bestselling book.

Newell was “one of the few relatives to have frequent conversations with (Clark),” and died in 2016.

“Paul’s family and I are thrilled that Huguette’s story is in the hands of such able filmmakers as director Joe Wright, writer Ido Fluk, Dante Di Loreto, Fremantle, and HBO. It will be fun to see how they interpret this American story of excess and creativity, of grasping and generosity,” Dedman told Noozhawk.

“And for Santa Barbara, I’m hopeful that soon the city will allow the Bellosguardo Foundation to allow public tours of the Clark estate. The test tours for supporters of the foundation have been getting rave reviews.”

The cover of ‘Empty Mansions.’

The Bellosguardo Foundation started offering guided tours of the estate — a 23 ½-acre property with a 21,666-square-foot mansion located at 1407 E. Cabrillo Blvd. — for small groups to its donors and early supporters last December, but has not yet made it accessible to the wider public.

Dedman has visited Santa Barbara several times to talk about his book and his investigation into Clark’s life, including a talk at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum last year.

The series is being developed by director Joe Wright, writer Fluk, and production and distribution company Fremantle.

Wright is known for directing films such as “Pride & Prejudice,” “Atonement,” and more, while Fluk is best known for “The Ticket,” and “Never Too Late.”

More information on Clark’s estate and the Bellosguardo Foundation can be found here, and more information on the “Empty Mansions” book can be found here.

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