This is a love story, real-estate style. La Belle Vie, the famous Bel-Air residence, was built for Iris Cantor by her husband, Bernie -- that's B. Gerald Cantor, founder of the global securities firm Cantor Fitzgerald. The house -- more a palace than a house -- took almost six years to build, with minute attention paid to even the smallest detail.
It is now on the market for $53 million. It has 35,000 square feet of living space, including nine bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, a pool, a tennis court, a 10-car garage and a three-story entry hall that centers on a 40-foot-high rotunda and a curved staircase that the Robb Report described as setting the stage "for grand entrances."
Dozens of artisans worked on the home, which was built to house the Cantors' extensive art and sculpture collections. Sculptures by Auguste Rodin occupy almost every room; the Cantors are believed to have the largest private collection of Rodins in the world -- and no, they are not included in the sales price. The rooms, with palatial interiors, include a beauty salon, three kitchens, a staff wing, a formal library, a separate media room, a gym and a billiards room The home also has 12 fireplaces.
Cantor Fitzgerald's New York City office, on the upper floors of One World Trade Center, was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The firm lost 658 employees that day, about two-thirds of its workforce and more than the New York City Police or Fire departments.
"Bernie" Cantor, as he was known, died in 1996 at age 80. He and his wife donated extensively to public arts institutions, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University.
Ron de Salvo of Coldwell Banker, Beverly Hills, is the listing agent.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times