John McEnroe Buys Johnny Carson House

Times Staff Writer

Tennis star John McEnroe has purchased Johnny Carson's house in Carbon Beach.

That's just south of Point Dume, where the TV talk-show host bought Carla and Dorn Schmidt's modern, wood and glass home for $8.6 million last fall.

The winningest player in U. S. Davis Cup history paid more than $1 million (and under $3 million) for the Carbon Beach house, according to Brooks Barton, vice president and western regional director of Previews Inc.

Barton wasn't involved in the sale but is handling the listing of Carson's $4-million condo in the year-old Trump Towers residential/retail complex on New York's 5th Avenue--where, he said, film director Steven Spielberg also has a condo.

McEnroe's house is only about half the size of Carson's 12,000-square-foot Point Dume pad, and it is older, though its Cape-Cod style was remodeled to conform more to Carson's contemporary taste.

Carson and McEnroe also have more in common than a modern-looking house at the beach. Carson is also an avid tennis player. He now works out in his mirror-walled gym. When he lived in Carbon Beach, he was known to work out daily on the athletic equipment in his bedroom.

At the push of a button, a mirrored panel in the room becomes a window to admit fresh air and ocean sounds.

McEnroe's house is on the beachfront. Carson's is on a bluff overlooking the water. Neither has a tennis court.

It's no secret in real estate that frequently, more can be bought for less overseas, but a 1,600-acre estate for $250,000? Could be a bargain--if traveling to northern Scotland is no concern.

David H. Gold, a London businessman, was in Los Angeles to attend a wedding when he announced that he is selling his House of the Northern Gate, "the most northerly estate on the Scottish mainland," on the Dunnet Head Peninsula.

"I bought it in 1970 as a fun place to go to fish and shoot," he said. There are grouse, duck, snipe, rabbit, hare, trout and salmon on the property, which includes miles of North Sea frontage; an 11-bedroom, sandstone house built in 1911, and rolling moorland and grazing fields interspersed with lochs.

Lest it sound too remote, Gold points out that Dunrobin Castle, historic seat of the Dukes and Earls of Sutherland, and Castle Mey, the north Scottish home of the Queen Mother, are nearby, and there is daily air service to the south from Wick, which is 20 miles away.

TV and motion picture producer Peter Katz and real estate developer Mark Brownstein are collaborating on a series, but it's not yet programmed on a national network.

So far, it's only showing in Southern California, but at the rate Katz and Brownstein are going, their segments may soon be seen in other states.

Called Rentco, their production is a series of stores with televisions, stereos, video cassette recorders, refrigerators, washers, dryers and microwaves for rent. After making payments for 18 months, customers own the appliances.

The first Rentco opened last August in Covina, followed by the second two months later in South Gate. "Now we're in an expansion mode," Katz said. They plan to open one in East Los Angeles on March 1 and at least four or five more this year. And next year? They hope to open about 20.

This would be enough to keep most people busy, but Katz and Brownstein are also pursuing their separate careers. Katz (whose list of credits includes such television movies as "Thursday's Child" with Gena Rowland and Rob Lowe; "Sophia, Her Life and Loves," starring Sophia Loren, and "A Man Called Intrepid" with Michael York and David Niven) is working on a feature film about Howard Hughes, and Brownstein is developing a hotel and office building in Salinas and a hotel and condominium project in Carpinteria.

Katz and Brownstein met 12 years ago in Paris when Katz was producing "Don't Look Now," starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. "Mark was associated with Tony (Unger), the executive producer, in putting together some of the financial elements of the film," Katz said, "and they were also partners in a real estate and restaurant venture in Madrid." Brownstein was also a consultant to the French government on a redevelopment project in downtown Paris.

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