Mansion, The Wall Street Journal’s luxury real estate section, offers a compilation of its best “House Call” interviews of 2015, highlighting interviews with 10 famous personalities as they recall their favorite memories of home.
Every week in Mansion, writer Marc Myers speaks with one of the day’s noteworthy personalities – singers, actors, authors, athletes – about their early lives and current careers. What emerges are frank accounts that delve into the personal, the professional and the real estate (naturally). Here are our favorite House Calls from the past year.
Jimmy Carter: The former U.S. president recalls working the fields and what he learned from being a plowman. “Our house was from a model sold in the Sears, Roebuck catalog. You received everything you needed except the lumber, which was harvested from the trees on our land. Daddy had many talents and took pride in being self-sufficient.”
R. Crumb: The counterculture cartoonist looks back on his many homes. “We moved 20 miles north to Dover in 1959 and lived in three houses in three years. I had no friends and mostly hung out with [my brother] Charles. We had our little world of comics and literature and existential alienation.”
Dion DiMucci: The teen idol was set to make a fatal decision until he remembered arguments over the Bronx rent. “Our landlady, who lived downstairs, had a Pentron tape recorder that she loaned me. One day I sang into the microphone. When I heard my singing voice played back, I was blown away. I expected to sound like [Hank] Williams, but it was different, and I liked it.”
Gloria & Emilio Estefan: The two musicians met in Miami after escaping Cuba in the ’60s. “I left Cuba in 1967 when I was 14. I had been playing the accordion and my parents felt I deserved a better future. My mother, Carmen, didn’t want to leave, so my father, Emilio Sr., bought two plane tickets to Spain.” (Emilio Estefan)
Tony Shalhoub: The actor developed a keen eye for characters as one of 10 kids in a lively, crowded home. “My mom was funny and nutty. I suppose she had to be to survive raising 10 kids. To cope and keep a cap on things, she kept us buoyant and harmonious. She wouldn’t let us express anger, which later on landed me in therapy but also made it easier for me to play laid-back, measured roles.”
Oscar Robertson: The NBA’s ‘Player of the Century’ looks back on his family’s Indianapolis shack. “The house was a tar-paper shotgun shack built in the 1890s. There were two bedrooms. My older brothers, Henry and Bailey, and I slept in one, and my mother and father were in the other.”