Worlds Best Homes

Inside Gloria Swanson's house – the New Jersey mansion gifted to her by Joseph Kennedy

The home has just sold at a fraction of its original asking price of $39 million…

Exterior of Gloria Swanson house in New Jersey
(Image credit: Signature Realty)

Talk about the sale of the century… An Englewood, New Jersey mansion that was built for Polish royalty and was once owned by Joseph Kennedy, patriarch of the Kennedy clan, who gifted it to his mistress, silent film star Gloria Swanson, has sold for $4.6 million, about 88% under its original asking price of $39 million.

Gloria Crest, so named after its location rather than its owner, was built in 1926 by Count Stefan Poniatowski, who claimed to be the heir to Polish royalty. The count had made millions in the silk industry and built the mansion as a testament to his wealth. His wife, Edythe, landscaped the walled five acres with exotic gardens, which still contain rare horticultural examples today. 

Grand staircase in Gloria Swanson mansion

(Image credit: Signature Realty)

When the stock market crashed in 1929, the count sold the villa to Kennedy, who then gifted it to Gloria Swanson.

Designed to resemble an Italian villa in the Renaissance Revival style, the 24,000 square-foot home was often referred to as the White House of Englewood. 

white kitchen diner in Gloria Swanson mansion

(Image credit: Signature Realty)

The mansion was originally priced at $39 million in 2013 before a series of price reductions to $9.9 million and the final price of $4.6 million. 

blue office in Gloria Swanson mansion

(Image credit: Signature Realty)

Price cuts may have been partly due to a somewhat dated interior, along with high property taxes of $168,000 per year, and a complicated corporate ownership.

terrace and pool in New Jersey

(Image credit: Signature Realty)

With a keen design eye, it could easily be in one of the world's best homes category – the home has much to sing about, including a pool, pool house and aviary, stream, lake, waterfall, island and pavilion. 

kids bedroom in Gloria Swanson mansion

(Image credit: Signature Realty)

The interior boasts eight bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, banquet-sized formal rooms, music/bar room, den, library, chef’s kitchen, elevator, seven-car garage, greenhouse, staff quarters, gym, grotto, steam, spa, media room, and wine cellar. 

bar in Gloria Swanson mansion

(Image credit: Signature Realty)

There's also a beautiful three-room master suite, a home theater, private gym, and a home office.

blue office in Gloria Swanson mansion

(Image credit: Signature Realty)

The new owner will be rubbing shoulders with an elite crowd. Englewood is a high-profile enclave, thanks to its prestige and proximity to Manhattan, and has been home to authors Upton Sinclair and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, actor-and-musician David Cassidy, Forbes publisher Malcolm Forbes and actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Brooke Shields.

dining room in Gloria Swanson mansion

(Image credit: Signature Realty)

Who was Gloria Swanson?

An American actress, producer, and businesswoman, Gloria Swanson first achieved fame acting in dozens of silent films in the 1920s and was nominated three times for an Academy Award as Best Actress, most famously for her 1950 return in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, which also earned her a Golden Globe Award.

Gloria was married six times, and embarked on an affair with Joseph Kennedy, father of John F. Kennedy, while married to her third husband.

Ruth Doherty

Ruth Doherty is an interiors writer who has worked for Homes & Gardens and Ideal Home magazines among many others.