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‘Bel-Air’ Belle Is 1st-Time Buyer

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Supermodel TYRA BANKS, who plays a college student on a basketball scholarship in the NBC sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” has become a first-time homeowner with the purchase of a Hollywood Hills home for about $500,000.

Banks, who just turned 21, will appear in her first feature film, “Higher Learning,” to be released this month. She plays a track runner in the film, directed by her boyfriend, John Singleton, who wrote the screenplay and produced the movie with Paul Hall and Dwight Williams.

Banks, who was on the cover of the December issue of Elle magazine, has been on the covers of a number of magazines. She recently signed an exclusive cosmetics contract, and she has appeared in music videos for George Michael, Michael Jackson and Tina Turner.

She has been a model since 1991. After graduating from Immaculate Heart High School, she was spotted by a French modeling scout who sent her to Paris to model in the couture shows.

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Banks lives with her mother, Carolyn London-Johnson, who is her business manager and a professional photographer. Banks’ father, Donald, is a computer consultant who lives in Inglewood. Banks and her mother are moving from the mid-Wilshire area.

The house that Banks bought and is remodeling is a three-story contemporary overlooking Studio City. Built in 1990, it has five bedrooms and five fireplaces in 4,300 square feet.

Antoinette (Toni) Laudermilk of Jon Douglas Co.'s Los Feliz office represented Banks in buying the house. The seller was a bank.

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Music producer/songwriter DAVID FOSTER and his wife, former “Hee Haw” actress LINDA THOMPSON, have bought the 16-acre Malibu estate known as Villa Casablanca for $6 million, sources say.

The estate, which has a five-bedroom, 12,000-square-foot villa connected to an eight-car garage by a 125-foot-long tunnel, was originally on the market, shortly after it was built in 1985, for $20 million.

Owned and built by Burt Burton, founder of Casablanca Fan Co., the estate was on and off the market for years. It was relisted, at $6.85 million, last July.

Foster, who has been described in People magazine as “the Pied Piper of pop,” has produced gold and platinum records for such stars as Michael Bolton and Whitney Houston, and he has earned a dozen Grammy Awards himself.

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He is also the person who accidentally struck and nearly killed actor/singer Ben Vereen on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu in 1992. Foster’s Suburban hit Vereen, who was walking on a dimly lit stretch of the road. Vereen recovered, with Foster keeping close track, and the two, who had worked together several years before the accident, remain friends, sources say.

Thompson, who was divorced from decathlon gold medalist Bruce Jenner in 1986, married Foster in 1991. Between them, they have six children from previous marriages.

The estate that Thompson and Foster bought has a two-bedroom guest house; tennis court, entertainment pavilion, stables and motor court, which can accommodate 75 cars.

Both sides of the transaction were handled by Kurt Rappaport and Victoria Risko of Fred Sands Estates, Beverly Hills.

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Actor JEFF BRIDGES and his photographer wife, SUSAN, have sold their Santa Monica home of 13 years for just under its last asking price of about $2.6 million, sources say.

The Bridgeses had put the house on the market last May at $3.5 million. The nearly 7,000-square-foot house, which has four bedroom suites and a ballroom that was turned into a music or screening room, was sold to a doctor, sources say.

The Bridgeses relocated in August to Santa Barbara after buying a home there from pop superstar Kenny Loggins, who moved nearby. The 8,500-square-foot villa, on 20 acres, was listed in 1990 at $14 million; the Bridgeses bought it for about $7 million, sources said.

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Birgitte Michaelsen and Susan Stark, both with Coldwell Banker in Brentwood, represented the Bridgeses in selling their Santa Monica home.

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Singer DIONNE WARWICK’S Beverly Hills home, which was recently sold by a bank for $1.8 million, is back on the market, this time for lease at $15,000 a month.

The five-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot home is listed with Florrie Shaen of Jon Douglas Co., Beverly Hills. Shaen was listing broker for Warwick and then for the bank in the sale of the home to a couple from Indonesia who plan to make the house their primary residence in a few years.

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Catcher Chad Kreuter, a catcher for the Detroit Tigers last season, and his wife, Kelly, have bought a four-bedroom, 3,200-square-foot home for about $450,000 in the golf community of Rancho La Quinta.

The Kreuters, who moved from Dallas, are natives of California. He attended Pepperdine University, and his father-in-law is Mike Gillespie, head baseball coach at USC.


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