Throughout 2017, many of the world’s superstars tried to sell their glamorous mansions and compounds. From Beverly Hills to Florida and New York City, there was a celebrity property for almost anyone who is extremely wealthy.
“Taylor Swift Restores Samuel Goldwyn Mansion”
America’s #1 sweetheart, Taylor Swift, is one of the world’s richest celebrities with estimated career earnings from her music, concerts, acting and endorsements approaching $800 million. What to do with all that money? Taylor has invested much of it in real estate with homes in New York City, Rhode Island, Nashville and her most recent purchase of Samuel Goldwyn’s mansion in Beverly Hills. Included are a library-screening room, a guest suite with a private entrance on the home’s main level, a library, card room, gym and an additional private guest apartment above the garage. The master suite has a veranda that overlooks the city lights. Outside is a swimming pool and pool house with kitchenette and sunken tennis courts.
Goldwyn (1879-1974) founded award-winning Goldwyn Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Productions – now known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer with the famous roaring lion head logo. In recognition of Goldwyn’s historical contributions to the film industry, Taylor sought and achieved landmark status for her new home to ensure its preservation for future generations of movie fans. Her home is now an official Beverly Hills city landmark.
Since purchasing the home in 2015, Swift has worked closely with architects to bring the estate back close to its condition that existed in 1934 when it was built for Goldwyn and his wife, Frances. The home was a neighborhood destination for many of the era’s Hollywood stars including Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin and used by Sam as collateral for several of his films including Wuthering Heights and his 1946 Oscar-winner The Best Years of Our Lives. After he died in 1994, the home stayed in the Goldwyn family for over 80 years until Taylor purchased it from the estate of Goldwyn’s son for $25 million.
“Ellen DeGeneres’s Montecito Flip”
Ellen DeGeneres is well known for her endless energy dancing up and down the aisles of her TV show studios, headlining numerous Hollywood award shows and her frequent charity work and performances. In her spare time, Ellen is by far the #1 celebrity home flipper leaving her competitors such as Jennifer Aniston, Meg Ryan and Diane Keaton in the leftover construction dust.
Ellen and her wife, Australian–American actress Portia de Rossi’s latest real estate investment and a predominant subject in Ellen’s book, Home, is an expansive house and grounds on a Montecito, California hill overlooking the ocean and mountains and also next door to Oprah. Known as “The Villa,” it was designed by noted architect Wallace Frost after returning from Italy. Entranced by 17th-century Italian villas, this was the home he envisioned and built for himself and his family, which he replicated with great accuracy. Ellen and Portia purchased the estate in May 2013 for $26.5 million and expanded it through the acquisition of two adjacent properties, which now totals 16.88 acres. The 10,500-square-foot home includes six bedrooms, eight baths, nine fireplaces, multiple libraries, a marble-wrapped chef’s kitchen and formal rooms. An indoor-outdoor entertaining pavilion was built from stone excavated on-site with hand-made iron windows. The couple also added a lap pool, sunken championship tennis court and installed state-of-the-art irrigation, mechanical, electronic and security systems. Suzanne Perkins of Sotheby’s International Realty in Santa Barbara, California is the listing agent.
Ellen’s 1930’s Italian villa is for sale; originally priced at $45 million, it has been reduced to $39.5 million.
Photo credit: Jim Bartsch
“Johnny Carson’s Longtime Beach Home”
Unequaled late-night talk show host Johnny Carson was a standout among entertainers, to which his 30-year longevity on air is testament. Though three preceded him in the genre: Arthur Godfrey, Steve Allen and Jack Parr, it was Carson who became – and still is – the icon of late-night talk shows. He sent Americans to bed each night with a smile on their faces and was instrumental in boosting the careers of many entertainers we still enjoy today including Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Roseanne Barr, David Letterman and Jay Leno.
After he moved his show from New York City to Burbank in 1972, Carson loved to play golf and for a number of years owned a home in Bel Air. However, in the mid 1980s he bought a four-acre, cliff-top home above the celebrity-studded Point Dume community in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean where he lived with third wife, Alexis, until his death in 2005. The house, designed by architect Ed Niles, is a study in wood beams, glass and indoor landscaping that blurs the line between indoors and out. On the grounds are championship tennis courts with a pavilion that has two bedrooms, kitchen, gym and locker room, a waterfall and koi pond, and another separate guest house. After Carson’s death in 2005, Alexis continued to live there for two more years before selling to film producer Sidney Kimmel and his wife, Caroline. The Kimmels restored it to its original plan and have recently put it on the market for $81.5 million. Chris.Cortazzo of Coldwell Banker, Malibu West, California is the listing agent.
“Elvis And Priscilla Presley’s Palm Springs Honeymoon Love Nest”
Elvis Presley met Priscilla in Bad Nauheim, Germany in 1959 during his service in the Army when she was only 14-years-old, the daughter of an Army officer and his wife who had taken Priscilla with them to a party at Elvis’s home. Although she was only 14, Elvis couldn’t get her out of his mind and their budding relationship turned into a marriage proposal just before Christmas in 1966 – seven years later. They were married at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas in May, 1967. Elvis leased The House of Tomorrow as their honeymoon house on a one-year lease for $21,000 and their child, Lisa Marie, was born exactly nine months later. The home was designed by modernist architect William Krisel and featured in a 1962 Look magazine article as “The House of Tomorrow.”
Futuristic even for today, the mid-century-modern round house is on the market with walls of glass overlooking a secluded pool terrace and views of the Santa Rosa Mountains and the Coachella Valley. The 5,000-square-foot house has five bedrooms and five baths and comes with 1.16 acres of land with private garden, tennis court and orchard in addition to the swimming pool. Mary Kay Nibley of Rodeo Realty, Beverly Hills, California is the listing agent.
Now for sale at $5.9 million, the House of the Future is also well-known as the honeymoon hideaway of the King of Rock ‘n Roll which he leased in 1966-1967.
“Jackie Kennedy’s Girlhood Home”
Even though she was the first lady for less than three years, Jackie Bouvier Kennedy is one of the most famous of the presidents’ wives. After spending her early years in the New York area where her father, John “Black Jack” Bouvier, was a stockbroker, Jackie’s mother, Janet, divorced John in 1940 and two years later married Standard Oil heir Hugh Auchincloss. The marriage precipitated a move to his home in McLean, Virginia when Jackie was 13. The divorce had been hard on Jackie and it seemed to make her withdraw into herself. After moving to McLean, she found solace in the home’s location with its panoramic views over the Potomac River and the lushly landscaped seven acres she enjoyed exploring.
The 23,000-square-foot, four-level, brick-and-limestone mansion with its nine bedrooms and 13 baths was built in the classic Georgian style. Outside are terraces for dining and entertaining with full outdoor kitchen along with various long established vegetation-enclosed garden rooms along with a terrace overlooking the river. Grounds include a tennis court, indoor swimming pool with separate gym and changing rooms and an outdoor swimming pool.
Jackie slowly started to blossom at Merrywood and attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. After college, she went to work for the Washington Times Herald as a roving reporter. In 1952, she met Congressman John F. Kennedy and they were married in 1953 after he had been elected as United States senator from Massachusetts. Living at Merrywood was the catalyst that put Jackie Kennedy in the right place at the right time to eventually become the 35th first lady of the United States.
Historic Merrywood estate, home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis during her teen years, was listed for sale asking $49.5 million in June 2017 and sold in July 2017 for $4.25 million.
“Jane Fonda’s Stunning Contemporary”
From Vogue cover model, dance teacher, acclaimed Hollywood and Broadway actress and war protester to selling over 17 million exercise videos, Joan Fonda shows no signs of slowing down. She has owned and lived in many beautiful homes over the years from her New Mexico ranch where she lived in jeans and cowboy boots to her sleek and sophisticated home in the Beverly Hills Trousdale Estates which she put on the market in 2017.
The 7,100-square-foot home’s glass walls, glass elevator and multiple covered and open terraces create indoor/outdoor living spaces to enjoy sweeping canyon and ocean views. Though very sophisticated in its contemporary design, the home is warm and inviting with multiple spaces for entertaining. In addition to the outdoor viewing pavilion with fire pit, there is yet another special place – the meditation garden. Listing agents are Jade Mills and Valerie Fitzgerald of Coldwell Banker Previews International in Beverly Hills.
Jane Fonda’s stunning contemporary home in Beverly Hills overlooking a canyon and Pacific Ocean originally listed at $12.995 million has been reduced to $9.995 million.
“The Audrey Hepburn & Eva Gabor Estate”
Since the 1920s after Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford built their Pickfair Mansion in the new town of Beverly Hills, many of Hollywood’s top stars chose the area for their trophy homes. One home on Delfern Drive attracted more than its fair share of celebrity owners including Audrey Hepburn and Eva Gabor.
Located in the celebrity-infused neighborhood of Holmby Hills, the 7,000-square-foot traditional mansion is accessed through a gated entrance down a paved drive to the motor court. The private compound includes over an acre of lawns, tennis court, swimming pool, terraces, a 700-square-foot guest house with kitchen and a detached 1,000-square-foot staff quarters/office with living, dining, kitchen, one bedroom and two baths. The main house, originally built in 1938 and designed by popular architect-to-the-stars Paul Williams, includes a grand foyer with focal curved stairwell, formal living room with fireplace and dedicated library nook, dining room, family room, kitchen, breakfast room and two staff bedrooms on the first floor. Upstairs are four bedrooms, including the master suite, totaling six bedrooms and four baths. Some rooms have glass walls overlooking mature gardens.
Not surprisingly, the house also had a strong attraction to other stars of the era who lived there including David Niven and Mia Farrow. The listing agent is Jade Mills of Jade Mills Estates through Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, Beverly Hills, California.
Traditional Los Angeles Holmby Hills legendary gated estate once belonging to Audrey Hepburn and Eva Gabor and other top movie stars is for sale, priced at $13.995 million.
“Meg Ryan’s Gorgeous Soho Loft Sold”
From a jock hangout to one of the most sophisticated and dramatic apartments in New York’s Soho neighborhood, interior designer and actress Meg Ryan used her remodeling talents for a beautiful transformation. Having purchased the bachelor pad from The Simpsons Hank Azaria in 2014, Meg had the ability to visually block out the massive gym, animal skins thrown over dining room chairs, too much 70’s shag carpeting and imagine how rooms could be repurposed and restructured. She identified the bones and how they could be adjusted to get the best flow for today’s lifestyle.
Encompassing a full floor of a converted Soho warehouse, the 4,100-square-foot loft co-op has three bedrooms, three baths and is accessed by a key-lock elevator. Some of the pre-war details include a long entry gallery bathed in light from the large windows spanning the space, seven architectural columns, 12-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling French doors. After being completely gutted and built out, Meg went with a sophisticated city theme of dark color, contrasting textures and a glass wall with French doors between the living room and dining room. Brick walls were left exposed in the media room. The new open and airy kitchen is stocked with high-end appliances and leans toward more French design.
Meg Ryan, America’s sweetheart in When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and director of Fan Girl and Ithaca, put her elegant Soho loft on the market for $10.9 million. It sold a short time later for $9.85 million.
“Marilyn Monroe – A House of Her Own”
Blond bombshell, pin-up girl, close friend of the Kennedy men and highly successful actress, Marilyn Monroe, starred in many of the 1950’s and early 60’s biggest box-office hits including Some Like It Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The Misfits. Proceeds from her films, which grossed over $200 million, would have afforded her the ability to buy almost any home her heart desired. However, she purchased only one house in her own name during her 36-year lifetime when she bought a home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles in early 1962 – just a few months before her overdose death from sleeping pills. She paid $75,000 for the partially furnished home; her mortgage payments were only $320 a month.
Situated on a private gated half acre, the 2,624-square-foot house built in 1929 still retains all the beautiful architectural details that made it feel like home to Marilyn. Details include four bedrooms, three baths, cathedral ceilings with wood beams, a fireplace in the living room with Mexican tile surround, casement windows, arched doorways, Saltillo tile floors, a citrus orchard and her famous kidney-shaped swimming pool. Outside is a tree-shaded brick patio overlooking the pool and the original guest house. A poignant arrangement of tiles at the front door proclaims “Cursum Perficio,” translated, it means “My Journey is Over.”
Marilyn Monroe’s beloved home, the only one she ever purchased alone, was for sale, priced at $6.9 million and sold in 2017 for $7.25 million – $350,000 above the asking price.
“Celine’s Water Park Mansion Finally Sold”
After going on the market almost four years ago, the Florida waterpark home built by Celine Dion and her husband, Rene Angelil, has finally sold.
Celine and Rene, now deceased, purchased the five-acre lot in Jupiter, Florida in 2008 for $7 million and began building the house in 2010 which includes 13 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms and golf simulator within its 20,000 square feet. The Bahamian-inspired mansion is open and airy with multiple glass walls for viewing the property and includes a tennis court and guest house. The lavish pool system requires 500,000 gallons of water and includes two swimming pools, two water slides, a lazy river, water cannons and a tree house. Gaining much notoriety over its massive water park feature and over 400-feet of Atlantic Ocean white sand beachfront, it was initially introduced at $72 million in 2013 and went through several price cuts from $72 million to $62.5 million to $45.5 million before its final reduction to $38.5 million. It sold in 2017 for $28 million.