Actor Opts for Elbow Room


Actor JAMES COBURN, who portrays a high-powered attorney in the NBC movie "Ray Alexander: A Menu for Murder," airing March 20, and his wife, PAULA, have purchased an Italian-style villa in Beverly Hills.

Coburn, who played the same character in the 1994 TV movie "Ray Alexander: A Taste for Justice," played a gunfighter in the TV movie "The Avenging Angel," broadcast in January. He was also in the movies "Maverick" (1994) and "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" (1993).

Coburn, 66, became a star in such 1960s films as "The Magnificent Seven," "Our Man Flint," "In Like Flint" and "The President's Analyst," which he also produced.

The house they bought is on five levels and has four bedrooms plus maid's quarters and a screening room in 8,400 square feet. It sold for less than the asking price, originally in the $3-million range. "I walked in and said, 'This is it,' " Paula Coburn said. "Now we have more than enough room."

The Coburns had been living in a smaller, one-story house in Sherman Oaks. It was not large enough for their needs, though it was on five acres. They considered adding on a second floor but decided to move instead.

"Now we have no land, just a patio garden, but I did enough gardening in Sherman Oaks," Paula Coburn said. Their Beverly Hills home, which is gated, has a lap pool and a Catalina view. "It feels like the South of France," a realtor said.

Paula Coburn describes the house as being "new and taking three years to build."

"The developer built it as his own home," she added.

Joe Coons of Nourmand & Associates, Beverly Hills, represented the Coburns in buying their Beverly Hills house, and Margie Oswald-Sherman of Prudential California/Rodeo Realty, Beverly Hills, had the listing.

PENELOPE SPHEERIS--director of "Wayne's World" (1992), "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1993) and "The Little Rascals" (1994)--has helped her daughter, Anna, 25, to become a first-time home buyer with the $300,000 purchase of a two-bedroom home in Laurel Canyon.

"We bought her house together, but she will live there," the director said. "I have my own house, also in Laurel Canyon."

The two were house hunting for eight months before they found the one they bought. "We did really well on the price, but for me, the best thing about it is the view," Penelope Spheeris said. "The house is on a cliff with a big deck around it."

Kirk Frieden of Prudential California Realty, Sunset, represented the director and her daughter, described by her mother as "a budding film director."

Music legend RAY CHARLES' first house after he came to California in 1950 from Florida has come on the market at just under $1 million, sources say.

Charles, 64, has won more than a dozen Grammy Awards and has been called "the greatest pop singer of his generation."

He doesn't own a house today, a spokesman for him said. In 1956, however, he built the home that is for sale and lived in it with his wife, whom he later divorced, and their three children, sources say. The house is still owned by the family, they add.

The 8,000-square-foot home, with six bedrooms and nine baths, is on nearly an acre in the View Park area of Los Angeles. An outline of one of Charles' pianos is etched in the bottom of the swimming pool.

The home is listed with Nelson Drake of California One Realty in Los Angeles and Alberto Trought of W.T. Financial Group, Inglewood.

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