As It Happens

The Big Lebowski house is donated to museum (The Dude not included)

James Goldstein is donating his house that was featured in the movie The Big Lebowski, and its contents, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art because he wants it to be an educational tool for architects.
James Goldstein is donating his house, featured in The Big Lebowski, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Tom Ferguson Photography)

The eccentric millionaire owner of the Sheats-Goldstein house, which was featured prominently in The Big Lebowski, has donated the house and its contents to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

"I made up my mind many years ago that I would be donating the house to an institution," says owner James Goldstein.  "The choice was not easy but after many meetings with the other potential institutional recipients, I chose LACMA because I feel they are a major part of L.A."

Goldstein hopes the house, which is located in Beverly Crest, will inspire future architects and give the public a greater appreciation for contemporary architecture.

The house is best known for its appearance in the 1998 film, The Big Lebowski. The character of "The Dude", played by Jeff Bridges, finds himself in the house owned by pornographer Jackie Treehorn.

Goldstein says that while he's a fan of The Big Lebowski, the film doesn't do the house justice.

"In the movie the house was supposed to be on the beach so the view of the city, which is a big part of the house, was blocked," he says.

The museum will also be acquiring Goldstein's art and fashion collection, "I've been collecting very special fashion pieces for men for most of my life … from designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Roberto Cavalli and so forth," says Goldstein.

James Goldstein is donating his house, featured in The Big Lebowski, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Alex Crawford)

The house was designed by famed architect John Lautner, who was a disciple of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Lautner built it for Bill and Helen Sheets, who sold it to Goldstein in 1972 for $185,000 US. Today, the estimated value of the house is over $40 million US.

It is Goldstein's wish that the house be maintained in its present form, and to that end he's also gifted a $17 Million US endowment for upkeep of the property.

Goldstein will still be living in the house, even while the museum conducts tours. 

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