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Their project, Conan O'Brien's leap of faith
TV and movie producer Michael Manheim and his wife, Janus Cercone -- who is writing the script for a musical adaptation of her 1992 movie, "Leap of Faith" -- designed and developed the Brentwood compound purchased in January by talk-show host Conan O'Brien, featured in the Hot Property column on Jan. 20.
Apparently, the couple didn't build the house with O'Brien in mind. There was a full-scale bidding war, and it sold for more than its $10.5-million asking price.
Manheim and Cercone often view as many as 200 properties before buying, because they contend that the most important decision in designing and building is choosing a property. They have built nine homes.
The one O'Brien bought has a two-story living room with 20-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking 60-year-old trees, a stacked-stone water wall and a pool pavilion with a kitchen, fireplace and 50-inch flat screen. There is a lantern-lighted, 60-foot veranda overlooking the backyard, a wood-paneled library that adjoins a 1,500-bottle wine room, a screening room, a steam room, a sauna and, outside, a hidden deluge shower that hangs from a 20-foot-high tree limb, and a gated entry lighted by gas lanterns.
Cercone wrote the original screenplay for "Leap of Faith," the tale of a fast-talking religious pitchman that starred Steve Martin and Debra Winger.