Each week in Mansion, writer Marc Myers interviews a noteworthy figure from the arts, sports, business and beyond about how they made it through childhood—and where they lived along the way. Here, 12 of our favorite House Calls from the past year.
The architect recalls his family’s modernist home in Buenos Aires, a passion for the piano and the elegant simplicity of his New York creation. Read more: What Made Rafael Viñoly Design 432 Park Avenue, the World’s Tallest Residential Tower?
The ‘Hairspray’ director used his family’s suburban Baltimore house as a movie studio. Read more: The Divine Childhood Home of John Waters
The ‘Foxy Brown’ actress moved constantly as a child in the U.S. and England; today, she cares for rescued horses. Read more: Pam Grier and the Colorado Ranch She Now Calls Home
The British actress had a fairy-tale bedroom in Fontainebleau at age 10; today she has two Paris apartments. Read more: Charlotte Rampling—at Home in France
The award-winning actor, now 100, lived in poverty in Amsterdam, N.Y.; then a friendship led him to Hollywood. Read more: Kirk Douglas on Surviving a Childhood Home With Little Food and No Heat
Growing up in boarding schools and rarely seeing his parents led to a career as a counterculture documentarian. Read more: Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker’s Rock ’n’ Roll Life
The former first baseman powered his way to the San Francisco Giants; today he lives in the Bay Area house he built from scratch. Read more: Hall of Famer Willie McCovey on His Loving Childhood Home in the Segregated South
Children’s book author Daniel Handler discovered reading under the eaves of his family house; today, he still lives in San Francisco, but reads in his favorite leather chair that he says is way too big. Read more: Lemony Snicket’s Melodramatic Attic Hideaway
A wallflower as a child, the Grammy-winning singer grew to love the stage; using a broom for a mic in Philadelphia. Read more: A Young Patti LaBelle’s Bedroom Closet Was Her Studio
The primate scholar today lives in England and still has the stuffed chimpanzee her father bought her. Read more: Jane Goodall’s Young Crush on Tarzan and the Childhood House She Still Calls Home
The Moscow-born singer left behind her Petrof piano; today, she cherishes family photos in her Manhattan apartment. Read more: Regina Spektor: From Russian Refugee to American Pop Star
The actress moved 13 times as a child and lived alone as a teen; today, a rural Tennessee farmhouse. Read more: Ashley Judd: A Series of Homes That Defined My Life