Gene Allen's home on the Balboa Peninsula offers so much to delight the eye that it's easy to hide a small object inside it.
Even an Academy Award.
The longtime Newport Beach resident, who lives in a condo overlooking the Rhine Channel, doesn't make too much of his Hollywood past — at least in terms of decoration. His studio looks like that of any master painter, with canvases depicting his hometown and Catalina Island hung snugly along the walls.
If you visit Allen's abode hoping to see the Oscar, you won't find it on top of a shrine. Allen, who served two terms as Academy president and won best art direction-set decoration for "My Fair Lady" in 1964, keeps the prize in a living room cupboard where the sea breeze won't damage the metal. Packed alongside it is another nugget from the old days: a cigarette case etched with the words, "Dear Gene — Now I tell you, I have designs on you. Love, Marilyn."