30 years of Hot Property
A year-by-year look back at some of Hot Property’s most memorable listings.
After flying his parents out from Michigan to approve the purchase, 25-year-old Magic Johnson of the Lakers moves into an English country-style home in Bel-Air with high ceilings and an indoor sports area he converts to a basketball half-court. He spends close to the asking price of $2.35 million.
Johnny Carson sells his second oceanfront home, on Carbon Beach, to John McEnroe. “The Tonight Show” host negotiates an unusual request into the contract: six private tennis lessons from the former world No.1 pro. The two consummate that part of the deal later that year at Pepperdine University, as neither has a tennis court at their home.
The Kirkeby mansion in Bel-Air, known to television viewers as the home of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” sells for $13.5 million. Listed at $27 million, it was the most expensive home for sale nationwide at the time. “Everybody was shocked when it went for so much less,” said Bruce Nelson, whose firm handled the sale. He blames overpricing.
The Beverly House, the landmark estate once home to publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst and film star Marion Davies, comes to market at $25 million, with newly appointed president of the Beverly Hills Board of Realtors, Jeff Hyland, attached to the listing. Hearst paid $120,000 for the property in 1947.
Pop star Michael Jackson buys a 2,700-acre ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley for about $28 million. He was seeking a rural environment for his menagerie — monkeys, llamas, snakes, birds and farm animals. The singer initially lowballed seller-developer William Bone, who turned down his $17-million offer. Sycamore Valley Ranch will become known as Neverland under its new owner.
The home where Manson family members killed actress Sharon Tate and four guests in 1969 comes on the market for the first time in a quarter-century and is soon in escrow for close to its $1.999 million asking price. The Benedict Canyon area house is razed six years later when it fails to sell at $4.95 million.
Rock star Bruce Springsteen pays nearly $14 million for a 4.5-acre estate in one of the largest private-home transactions that had ever been completed on the Westside. “So the working-class hero is now living in the Beverly Hills area,” he said.
Acress Elizabeth Taylor puts the Puerto Vallarta compound she and Richard Burton bought in the early 1960s up for sale. The then couple created Casa Kimberly by joining two houses across the street from one another with a replica of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Italy. The asking price of $350,000 includes furnishings.
Move-in day arrives at “The Manor” for television and film producer Aaron Spelling and his wife, Candy. With work on the home complete, the couple settles into the 56,500-square-foot mega-mansion, built on a 4.7-acre site in Holmby Hills that once belonged to Bing Crosby. The residence includes such luxuries as a bowling alley and multiple gift-wrapping rooms.
Greenacres, the historic villa built for silent screen star Harold Lloyd in 1927, sells for $18 million. As part of the deal, buyer Ron Burkle, the billionaire democratic fundraiser, negotiates a valuable art collection into the sale of the 36,000-square-foot residence set on nearly 16 acres at the mouth of Benedict Canyon.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finds good fortune in Beverly Hills. The Lakers great buys a Japanese-modern-style residence with 20-foot-high ceilings and extra tall doorways. “It was not built for him, so he was lucky to find a house that fits him so well,” his business manager, Norman Marcus, says of the 7-foot-2 basketball player.
Legendary Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan, while in Los Angeles to film the Warner Bros. movie “Space Jam,” pays nearly $50,000 to lease a home off Mulholland Drive for two months. The 7,500-square-foot home has six bedrooms and a screening room, but no basketball hoop.
Future Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal, then with the Orlando Magic, enjoys an extended stay in L.A. while shooting the action-comedy “Kazaam.” The 7-foot-1 center pays $20,000 a month to lease a 5,000-square-foot home in Beverly Hills over a four-month period. Unlike Jordan’s rental, Shaq’s short-term lease has an area for practicing free-throws
Actor Denzel Washington buys two lots in Beverly Park from Disney chairman Michael Eisner for close to their asking price of $6.5 million and plans to build a house on the site. He personally negotiates the deal with Eisner, who receives higher offers once the property is in escrow.
Avid tennis player Dustin Hoffman can’t wait for his new 12,000-square-foot house in Brentwood to be completed. The moment his court is done, months before the house, the actor starts playing there. From then on he often walks the construction site in his tennis clothes.
The Brentwood residence where O.J. Simpson once lived sells for slightly less than the $3.95 million asking price. The home, which had achieved a level of notoriety of its own in the years that followed the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman, is demolished by the new owner.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen pays $20 million for a 120-acre estate in Beverly Hills. The property includes a Wallace Neff-designed Spanish Colonial Revival manor built in the 1920s for cowboy actor Fred Thompson and his wife, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Francis Marion. Three years later, Allen razes the landmark home.
The lowest-priced property ever to appear in the column is a one-bedroom condo in Hancock Park that actor Vince Vaughn lists at just under $100,000. The fact that the “Swingers” star would own such a modest dwelling as the 728-square-foot unit gives the sale some notoriety.
Actor Tony Curtis builds a house in Las Vegas and sells his Bel-Air home of 10 years for about $1.1 million. The “Some Like it Hot” film star was the original owner of the home in the gated Bel-Air Crest development and spent time there painting, mostly outdoors.
With an eye on her next project, Cher puts her Moorish-style home in Malibu up for sale at $25 million. The actress-singer previously spent two years developing the 2.5-acre property, enlisting 70 workmen to build the 14,000-square-foot home described as a cross between a villa and a monastery.
Oprah Winfrey buys a 42-acre estate in Montecito for an estimated $50 million. She had visited Santa Barbara for a photo shoot for O magazine and fell for the locale. The 23,000-square-foot, Georgian-style house she purchases is still under construction.
Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder and chairman of Oracle Corp., begins his Malibu takeover, buying five beachfront properties for $65 million in one of the largest private-home transactions in L.A. County history. The tech titan accumulates a total of a dozen Malibu properties, including the home of Grammy-winning producer David Foster and his wife, actress Linda Thompson, over the next two years at a cost of about $180 million.
Bruce and Kris Jenner, citing a need for more room, put their French Country-style manor in Calabasas on the market at $2.7 million. “It changes on a daily basis, but there are always at least four at home,” Kris Jenner says of the couple’s 10 children. Their new home, a 10,000-square-foot residence on equestrian-zoned land in the San Fernando Valley, nears completion.
Ozzy Osbourne and his wife, Sharon, put their home in Beverly Hills up for sale at $11.9 million. The 12,000-square-foot Mediterranean made famous on the MTV reality series “The Osbournes” eventually sells to pop songstress Christina Aguilera and her husband at the time, Jordan Bratman, in 2007 for $11.5 million.
Legendary NHL star Wayne Gretzky nets himself a sale in Thousand Oaks, selling his Richard Landry-designed residence in Lake Sherwood to former professional baseball player Lenny Dykstra for about $18 million. Three years later, Dykstra loses the 12,700-square-foot home to foreclosure.
Frank and Jamie McCourt indulge on a beachfront trophy. The Dodgers owners buy the John Lautner-designed Segel residence in Malibu from actress Courteney Cox and her husband, actor David Arquette, for $27 million.
Actor Nicholas Cage lists his nearly 12,000-square-foot Tudor in Bel-Air for $29,999,000. The baronial home, built in 1940, was once owned by singer Dean Martin, who in 1974 commissioned Gerard Colcord and his associate Liza Kent to add a 2,500-square-foot entertainment complex. Cage bought the house in 1998 for $7 million.
Column originator Ruth Ryon retires from The Times. “I never guessed I would spend … 23 1/2 years focusing on Hot Property, which became — to my delight — a must-read, especially in Hollywood.”
Producer Brian Grazer sells his three-acre compound in Pacific Palisades to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner for $17.5 million. Designed by architect Cliff May in the 1930s, the acting couple’s new home was once owned by Gregory Peck, who lived there with his first wife, Greta, until 1952. A Life advertisement for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer showed the Pecks at the den bar.
The Hollywood Hills house and studio of the late iconic photographer Julius Shulman sells for $2.25 million. His nephew Samuel Heller, who is also the listing agent, gives the buyer Shulman’s desk but keeps one item for himself. “I took the red phone he used to chastise people,” Heller said of his uncle’s legendary businss dealings.
Box office giant Tom Hanks buys the 14,500-square-foot Pacific Palisades home of veteran producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall for more than $26 million.
Walt Disney’s onetime residence in Los Feliz, the wonderful world where his daughters grew up, comes on the market at $3.65 million. When World War II started, the family had planted a victory garden and kept chickens there. Daughter Diane Disney Miller recalled that the animation mogul had a chair in front of the large living room window where he would sit and read scripts and books. “He also loved to sit outside,” she said, “and read in the summertime.”
The Manor, dubbed Candyland after owner Candy Spelling, sells to British heiress Petra Eccelstone in an all-cash deal for $85 million. On the market for two years at $150 million, the residence — with about 123 rooms in 56,500 square feet — was the most expensive home for sale in the U.S. at the time.
Singing sensation Justin Bieber becomes a first-time home buyer at 18 spending $6.5 million on a mansion in Calabasas. Set on 1.3 acres in a gated community, the 10,000-square-foot main house was once the home of Eddie Murphy’s former wife Nicole Murphy.
The Holmby Hills mansion where Michael Jackson lived at the time of his death in 2009 sells for $18.1 million. The French chateau had been listed for as a much as $38.5 million before the pop star took up residency, paying $100,000 a month to lease the estate.
Madonna parts ways with her mansion in Beverly Hills for $19.5 million. The 1.25-acre compound, which was offered off-market at $28 million the year before, was expanded by the singer-songwriter and has a nine-bedroom main residence, two guest houses, a resort-like swimming pool and a tennis court.