Did Cleopatra really bankrupt its studio and force the sale of the back lot?

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Photograph courtesy julianstark-moviesandotherthings.blogspot.com

Twentieth Century Fox purchased a large property in the hinterlands near Beverly Hills in 1926. By the 1950s, studio chief Spyros Skouras realized the city had grown around the land and that a fortune could be made selling off 280 acres for development. Sales began in 1957, three years before Elizabeth Taylor signed her contract for Cleopatra. So stop blaming the lady in the blue eye shadow.