Kelly Anchored to Neighborhood

<i> Times Staff Writer</i>

KNBC-TV anchorwoman KELLY LANGE put $1 million down and closed escrow on an unfinished $2.5-million house half a mile from her current residence.

“What’s unusual is that the house isn’t done, but it has recorded, and she took title,” said a real estate source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“She bought it unfinished, with the agreement that the builder would add 3,500 square feet to the house, which was framed at 7,000 square feet. She trusts the builder because he built two other houses for her.”

The builder, Fred Smathers, constructed Lange’s current residence: a 7,200-square-foot Mediterranean-style home with a two-story, nearly 500-square-foot closet; gate house; tennis court and pool.

An 8-foot-high wall surrounds the property, which is in an area of the eastern Hollywood Hills that is popular with actors and screenwriters. That house is on the market at $4.2 million.


Smathers also built the 6,400-square-foot house next door to Lange’s current residence. It has a 600-square-foot gym over the garage, a black-bottom pool and a spiral stairway off the entry with a rotunda and stained-glass windows.

It is owned by Lange’s husband, film director WILLIAM FRIEDKIN (“The Exorcist,” “French Connection”), who is selling it for $2.7 million. Escrow is expected to close the middle of next month.

Friedkin bought the house from Lange for $1,925,000 before they were married in 1987 “just to live next to her,” the source said. Later, they built a walkway between the houses. “Now he’s moving into her house,” the source added.

Their new home, which won’t be completed for about a year, will be a Florentine villa with a long private driveway on 2.75 acres. It will have a stone column entry, Spanish galleon lamps, arches, a view from the living room of the city and the mountains and a view from the entrance of the guest house and pool. A room count isn’t exact yet, but the home is expected to have about six bedrooms, 7 1/2 baths and maid’s quarters.

Readysystems Research Group in Burbank provided physical descriptions of the houses.

Actor TOM WOPAT, in town from Nashville to co-star with Lindsay Wagner in the new CBS-TV series “A Peaceable Kingdom,” has signed a short-term lease for a hilltop retreat off Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. A realty source not involved in the deal said he is paying $2,000 a month.

Wopat was represented by Paul Combaz of Fred Sands’ Hollywood Hills office.

Former Olympic pole vaulter BOB SEAGREN, host this weekend of the Home & Garden Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center, has sold his three-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot Brentwood house for $1.6 million, and he plans to build a home in the same area. Michele Rea of Jon Douglas Co. had the listing.

Aviation pioneer REUBEN H. FLEET, known as “Mr. San Diego” until he died in 1975, owned a walled Point Loma landmark that is now for sale by his children at $6.9 million.

The 12-bedroom, 19-bath mansion, with eight fireplaces, was built in 1928 and was the family home for 53 years.

It was built by Mr. and Mrs. John Smiley, who employed an architect to travel to Spain and study Mediterranean architecture before designing the three-story, 11,800-square-foot home on 1.87 acres with city and harbor views.

After Fleet bought it, he entertained such famous people there as Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Doolittle, Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan, Howard Hughes and James Roosevelt.

Fleet started Consolidated Aircraft, which is now Convair General Dynamics, in 1923, and he is credited with starting the first U.S. airmail service between New York City and Washington in 1918.

The mansion is listed with Andy Nelson, president of Willis M. Allen Co., La Jolla.

Actress LANA TURNER, who lives in Century City, has been looking at investment properties in Beverly Hills with her daughter, Cheryl Crane, who joined Dalton Brown & Long of Beverly Hills a few days ago.

Crane grew up in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills but lived the past three years in San Francisco, where she wrote her best-selling autobiography “Detour: A Hollywood Story,” chronicling her 1958 slaying of Johnny Stompanato, her mother’s boyfriend. Before moving to San Francisco, Crane lived in Hawaii, where she was a realtor for eight years.

The Amanda Foundation, started by Jon Douglas Co. agent Gillian Lange in 1976 to find homes for impounded dogs and cats, has set Oct. 14 as the date for its benefit this year at the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills.

Called “An Evening of Hollywood Memories,” the fund-raiser is open to 450 guests willing to pay $300 each for dinner, dancing and a silent auction for overseas trips. Among celebs on the star-studded invitation list are JIMMY STEWART and JOHN RITTER. Susan Jacobs at the Jon Douglas Beverly Hills office is the coordinator.

Speaking of the Playboy Mansion. . . . It seemed adequately appointed before Playboy founder HUGH HEFNER married model Kimberley Conrad in July, but the decor was apparently lacking.

According to a just-received copy of Bullock’s bridal registry, the couple requested three white goose-down comforters, an electric blanket, a duvet and two neck rolls--all for a king-sized bed; two bed trays; plastic glassware for eight and place mats for 16.