Lee Greenberg: “Liz Taylor Lived In My House”

It was once one of the largest and grandest homes in Westport.  Today — in a town of McMansions — 175 Long Lots Road merits barely a second glance.

But what history lies within its walls!

In 1957 Liz Taylor — married to film and theater producer Mike Todd, the 3rd of her 7 husbands — was pregnant.  Her mother lived in Ridgefield, and Liz wanted to be near her.  Westport was filled with actors and movie producers, so Liz and Mike came here to house-hunt.

Their realtor called Nat Greenberg — a long-time Westport real estate developer — in a panic.  He had no houses to show Liz Taylor, he said.  They’ve driven all the way up here in a Rolls-Royce — can I show them yours?!

“So in walked Liz Taylor and Mike Todd,” Nat’s widow Lee Greenberg recalled this afternoon.  “They loved the house” — it included a swimming pool and tennis court — “and asked if we’d consider renting it for a year.  My first reaction was, ‘Of course not!'”

But Nat told Liz and Mike he’d be in touch.  The Greenbergs talked, and Lee said, “If we can do something unusual as a family for a year, let’s do it.”

She quickly came up with that “unusual” idea:  Switzerland.  The Greenbergs were skiers, and their 4 young children could have an intriguing year in a Swiss school.

Nat called Mike.  “He was deliriously happy,” Lee said.  “In fact, he offered to pay — besides the year rental — for all 6 of us to go to Switzerland.  And for our chalet.”

Did the Greenbergs accept the offer?

“Of course!” she said.  “Wouldn’t you?”

The last photo taken of Liz Taylor and Mike Todd. (Photo courtesy of IMDB)

Several months later Lee was on a tram, going up a Swiss mountain.  She was just learning French, but she knew enough to translate the huge newspaper headline:  “Mike Todd est mort.”

The producer and 3 other men had been killed in the crash of an overloaded private plane, in an ice storm, near Grants, New Mexico.

The date was March 22, 1958.

Fifty-three years — and 1 day — later, Liz Taylor too is dead.

Post-script:  Liz Taylor and Mike Todd were not the only famous residents of 175 Long Lots Road.  Lee and Nat Greenberg sold their home to Harry Reasoner in 1968 — the same year the TV newscaster teamed up with Mike Wallace to begin CBS News’ “60 Minutes.”

Harry Reasoner retired in 1991.  Three months later he died — from complications of a fall at his Westport home.

5 responses to “Lee Greenberg: “Liz Taylor Lived In My House”

  1. It is indeed a classic Westport house. The Reasoners used to hire young Westport teachers to babysit their great kids. I still remember an amazing bonsai that Harry brought back from China. Is it possible that it was a thousand years old? The community was tight then. (sigh of nostalgia)

  2. Linda Gramatky Smith

    Wonderful reporting, Dan! The Greenbergs’ daughter, Linda, was a friend of mine from nursery school days (Miss Orr’s on Roseville Road) and I saw her recently for our Staples reunion. Since we were both “Linda G”s (and there was even another Linda G in our high school class) I remember her well, and I run into her mother around town and that really makes it feel like the tight community Westport was back in the 50s. Their house on Long Lots was beautiful and we all tried to take a peek as we passed the driveway when Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd lived there.

  3. 06880 circulates far & wide. One of my children responded with:
    “175 Long Lots is/was a beautiful house and the scene of many mid 70s parties with Harry H on the road a lot (i was friends with Ellen H). After the police broke up one such event I recall running across the street into polo fields and stables. Is all that still there or now a bunch of half mansions?

    • Hah! Great story. Fortunately, the Hunt Club is still all polo fields and stables. It could be the last large private property like it in Westport — right?