Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Harris, Harwell H., Architect (firm); Harwell Hamilton Harris (architect)

Dates: constructed 1939

3763 Fredonia Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068

Building History

Los Angeles architect Harwell H. Harris (1903-1990) designed this residence for two talented artists, Mary Browne Robinson Blair (born 10/21/1911 in McAllister, OK-d. 1978) and Lee Everett Blair (born 10/01/1911-d. 06/19/1993 in Soquel, CA), who worked as animators for Walt Disney Studios. They married on 03/03/1934 in Los Altos, CA, and settled at 1138 Elm Avenue in Glendale, CA, later that year. They resided at 3762 Fredonia Drive in Los Angeles by 1940. (See, Source Citation Year: 1940; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00376; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 60-53, accessed 02/11/2020.) Lee studied at Los Angeles's Chouinard Art Institute, and went to work during the early 1930s for Ub Iwerks Studio and Harman-Ising Studio. Lee developed a significant reputation as a watercolorist, becoming President of the California Water Color Society in 1935. He joined Walt Disney Studios in 1938, where he worked on the Pinocchio and Fantasia animated features. He worked with Disney until 1943, when World War II interupted his career, and he joined the US Navy, creating animated training films for the military.

Born in McAllister, OK, Mary attended the San Jose State College and Chouinard Art Institute, where she met Lee. She painted regional subjects during the 1930s, and initially worked for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She later got a position with Disney in 1943 and worked with the company for ten years, a highly productive and influential period in the firm's history. Mary worked on The Three Caballeros (1944), Song of the South (1946) and So Dear to My Heart (1948), three combined live-action and animated films. She played an important role in determining the colors and concept art used in the studio's hugely popular hits, Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Peter Pan (1953).

After 1953, they left Los Angeles for New York, NY, where they started their own animation firms, Film Graphics, Incorporated, and T.V. Graphics, Incorporated, working with a range of corporate clients. Mary worked as a very successful freelance artist, designing theatrical sets, mural commissions and layouts for Little Golden Books, published by Simon and Schuster. They settled in a residence on Long Island, but retired to a house in the seaside community of Soquel near Santa Cruz, CA. Mary died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age 67

Building Notes

The Blair House was offered at $1.6 million in 09/2015. (See Blanca Barragan, LA, "Beloved Disney Artist's Carefully Restored Former House and Studio on the Market for $1.6M," published 09/22/2015, accessed 02/11/2020.)

PCAD id: 23327