February 13, 1978 12:00 PM

For three years actress Lee Grant and her husband, TV commercial producer Joe Feury, had been planning their California dream house—a $300,000 ranch-style colossus on a lonely bluff overlooking Zuma Beach 47 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. While it was being built, the couple and their daughters Dinah, 20, and Belinda, 6, were living in a rented Malibu colony beach house. Then, one morning late last month, a freakish gust of wind hurtled up Zumirez Canyon with near-hurricane force, lifted the frame six feet off its foundation and smashed it to matchsticks. Several workers at the site miraculously escaped injury. “It was just like Dorothy’s house in The Wizard of Oz,” Grant murmured disbelievingly as she surveyed the ruins with Feury. All told, the treacherous wind caused $70,000 in damage and will mean a five-month construction delay. Grant was anguished but resolute. “This would be the first house I ever owned,” she explained ruefully. “Of course, it’s just a house—wood and nails—so we can rebuild it. And next time we’ll get it right.”

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