Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Ghost of Sonja Henie

“I want to do with skates what Fred Astaire is doing with dancing (in the movies).”
                                                           --Sonja Henie

Sonja Henie was born in Kistiania--now known as Oslo, Norway. She skated in her first Winter Olympic Games in 1924 at the young age of eleven. She went on to receive gold medals for figure skating in 1928, 1932, and 1936.

Sonja Henie was the world’s first figure skating superstar.

Retiring from competition in 1936 Henie moved to the United States where she became a film star. Most of the films she performed in were tailor-made to highlight her skating ability. 

Sonja also toured in her own ice show called, Hollywood Ice Revue. By the 1940s she had hung up her skates and stopped touring. Sonja officially retired in 1960.

She was married three times. Her one regret in life was she not able to have children. In 1969, Henie died from complications due to leukemia at the age of fifty-seven. Her third husband, Niels Onstad at her request left their considerable art collection in a public trust. *
Sonja Henie and Neils Onstad

At the height of her fame, Henie had her dream home designed by Paul Williams and built in 1937. 

This old-style 3-story elegant Hollywood mansion is located across the street from Sunset Boulevard. It sits on 5 acres and has a sweeping circular drive, grand staircase, swimming pool, and tennis courts.

One unique item Henie had built in the home was an ice rink upstairs in the home’s attic.

In the early 1970s, singer-actress Connie Stevens bought this home from Onstad. He stated at the time that the house was built for children. 

She paid only $250,000, which was a low-price for this elegant Hollywood mansion. She moved in with her two daughters that she had with her ex-husband Eddie Fisher.

Connie Stevens lived in the home for many years. ** 

She has occasionally rented it out, and it was used in the Mike Nichols’ film, Postcards From the Edge. 

Over the years, both Stevens and her daughters' experienced encounters with what they feel is Sonja Henie’s ghost.

Connie's story was highlighted in one season finale on Biography’s Celebrity Ghost Stories.

Most of the strange activity that occurs is centered in the attic room, where Henie’s rink was. The Stevens' family often hears loud footsteps and music coming from this area, as well as Windows being slammed shut.

Items on a dressing table, in one bedroom in the home, were found missing or moved. Stevens awoke one night to see Henie’s ghost standing near her bed. The activity has continued to this day.

Stevens stated that the lights turn on in the attic whenever someone new is in the home.

Neils Onstad never told his wife about her leukemia diagnosis, he instead told her that her “tiredness” was from anemia. 

Some state this is a possible reason why Sonja Henie haunts her beloved home. Others point out that it was the presence of Stevens’ daughters that kept her in the house.

* Sonja Henie had an estate worth over a hundred million dollars at her death, part of this fortune she inherited from her Norwegian father’s fur trade business, part of it she earned. Neils Onstad was a Billionaire shipping magnate when they married.

** In 1992 Stevens put the home on the market to sell.

Here is a link to the Biography Channel video, The Haunting of Connie Stevens. This is the best picture quality one I could find. The "Long Island Medium" does a reading of the house.

1 comment:

Leona Joan said...

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. 😎