The Estate of Francis and Marion Lederer


The sale will offer an exquisite array of Spanish and Italian art and furnishings that once adorned the couples’ monastery-mission style hacienda, now a Los Angeles historic-cultural monument


Abell Auction Co. is rolling out the red carpet with treasures from the estate of debonair stage and screen actor Francis Lederer and his wife Marion Lederer on May 16. The online sale will showcase a coveted collection of Spanish and Italian art and furnishings, from the 14th to 19th centuries, that once adorned the couples’ California mission-inspired residence. Live bidding will start at 10 a.m. PDT.



Manner of Alonso Cano (1601-1667): Holy Family with St. John the Baptist

Marion in front of her favorite painting

Francis Lederer was a Czechoslovakian-born actor with a successful career in Europe and the U.S. He starred in motion picture productions in the 1920s and 1930s, including “Pandora’s Box,” considered one of the greatest films of the silent era. He went on to achieve success on the Broadway stage and television screens, where he made guest appearances on programs such as “Mission: Impossible,” “Ben Casey,” “The Untouchables” and “It Takes a Thief.”

Attributed Giovanni Paolo Panini: Architectural Capriccio with Christ and Attendant Figures

In 1933, Francis Lederer purchased land in the Canoga Park area of the San Fernando Valley (later renamed West Hills), where he built a home on a 6.7-acre knoll in the style of California Missions San Luis Rey and Santa Ynez. Designed by John R. Litke as an extraordinary example of museum quality architecture, the sprawling residence was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (No. 204) in 1978.

In 1941, Francis Lederer married Marion Irvine, an alumna of the University of Toronto and UCLA who dedicated her life to promoting the arts and culture. The couple curated a trove of rare items for their home that will make a stunning appearance on the auction block. These include their original collection of furnishings, paintings, polychrome figures, religious artifacts and other decorative objects as shown in a 1965 issue of Architectural Digest.

Icons of hospitality, the Lederers were famous for welcoming notable figures from the Golden Age of Hollywood and beyond to their incredible home. The two played host to celebrities such as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Peter Marshall, Frank Sinatra, Eva Gardner, Dick Van Dyke, Merv Griffin and Liza Minnelli, among many others.

In 1957, Francis Lederer, one of the earliest members of the Screen Actors Guild, founded the American National Academy of Performing Arts located in Studio City, where he taught a weekly actors’ workshop. He is credited with training and jump-starting the careers of countless A-list actors, including Academy Award winners Jamie Lee Curtis, George Clooney and Helen Hunt.

Pair of Spanish Colonial Chests on Stands

Over the years, the Lederers remained active in supporting numerous civic causes and international humanitarian services. A lifelong peace activist, Francis Lederer founded the World Peace Federation in 1934. He also served on the boards of the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department and Greek Theater, and as honorary mayor of Canoga Park. Together, he and Marion Lederer served as ambassadors for UNICEF, represented the U.S. Department of State in Czechoslovakia and founded the Canoga Park, California-Taxco, Mexico Sister City Program.

After founding the Sister City Program, Marion Lederer served on its board of directors and was instrumental in its receiving national and international recognition. She also was a member of the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission, founding member of American National Theatre and Academy, and executive board member of Women’s Auxiliary of the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Throughout her life, she was honored with numerous civic and humanitarian awards.

Following the Northridge earthquake in 1994, the Lederers moved to Palm Springs, where Francis Lederer passed away in 2000 and Marian Lederer passed away in 2011.


A Carved Giltwood Figure of a Saint

Highlights of the May 16 auction include Latin American and European Fine Art from the 15th century to the 18th century; fine Italian and Spanish furniture; polychrome figures from the 15th to the 19th centuries; and much more.

An auction preview will be held on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Abell gallery, 2613 Yates Ave. in Los Angeles, starting on May 9. Visit to view a complete catalog or register for the auction, or call 310.858.3073 for more information.