In His Book It’s Ladera Heights


O.J. Simpson co-prosecutor CHRISTOPHER DARDEN, who is working on the screenplay of his best-selling book “In Contempt,” has moved from Carson to the Ladera Heights area of Los Angeles, where he has purchased a home and refurbished it.

Darden, 38, signed an agreement in April with Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures to develop his book into Hollywood’s first feature film about the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

Darden, who left the district attorney’s office after the Simpson trial, is also teaching at Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles.

He bought a three-bedroom 2,500-square-foot home with a view from its backyard to the ocean. Ladera Heights is an affluent, ethnically mixed but predominently African American community between Culver City and Inglewood. “The house is perfect for a single guy,” said LaShelle Washington, the Realtor who represented Darden in his purchase. The home has room for entertaining, yet it is “calm and serene,” she said. “He really loves it and the area.” Darden even mentioned in his book that Ladera Heights would be a place he would like to live, she noted.


“He saw one of my listings there and loved the location because it is centrally located and very pretty,” Washington said. That house sold before Darden could put in an offer.

“So I had to find him a house, and the one he wound up buying wasn’t even on the market,” the Realtor said. She talked the then-owners into selling it.

Darden purchased the 25-year-old house for $460,000, then “upgraded the floors to marble and Berber carpets,” she said. Washington works out of the Fred Sands Realtors office in Marina del Rey.



The longtime Beverly Hills home of jazz great ELLA FITZGERALD, who died in June at 78, has come on the market at $2.75 million. The house was Fitzgerald’s residence for about 20 years.

Built about 1930, the Mediterranean-style 6,500-square-foot home has three bedroom suites and two staff rooms plus a guest house. It also has a pool, a spa and a room off the pool known as “Ella’s Pub,” where she held jam sessions with Count Basie and other jazz legends, sources say.

The home is listed with Joe Babajian and Kyle Grasso of Fred Sands Estates, Beverly Hills.


Pop singer RITA COOLIDGE, who released her “Out of the Blues” album of jazz standards last spring, has sold her West Hollywood home of 15 years for nearly $700,000 and has moved to Northern California, sources say.

Coolidge, 52, moved to Los Angeles from Tennessee in the mid-'60s to work as a session singer with Eric Clapton and Stephen Stills. In the ‘70s, she made the album “Anytime . . . Anywhere,” with three hit singles.

She married singer-songwriter-actor Kris Kristofferson in the ‘70s. They toured and recorded together, winning two Grammy Awards for best duo. The marriage lasted eight years.

Coolidge, who is half Cherokee, plans to make an album of Native American music this year.


She sold her West Hollywood home, sources say, to Steve Wilson, who designs CD covers, and Brandon Hoskins, a hairstylist. The ranch-style home was built in 1958 and has three bedrooms in nearly 3,000 square feet.

Richard Klug of the Prudential-Jon Douglas Co., Beverly Hills, represented the buyers, and Jeanine Sales of John Aaroe & Associates’ Pacific Design Center office represented Coolidge.


Actor MICHAEL TUCKER and his wife, “L.A. Law” co-star JILL EIKENBERRY, have sold their Brentwood-area home for close to its last asking price of $1.45 million to fashion designer BARBARA LESSER and her businessman husband, Mark, sources say.

The Lessers are now doing some refurbishing to the five-bedroom 4,000-plus-square-foot house, which Tucker, 51, and Eikenberry, 49, had owned since the late 1980s.

The actors had added onto the house, originally built in the 1950s, before they rented it out and relocated to Northern California during the last year.

They co-star in the upcoming CBS movie “Taken Away,” and he wrote the book “I Never Forget a Meal” (Little, Brown), a memoir with recipes that was published earlier this year.

Adam Blumenstein of the Prudential-Jon Douglas Co., Santa Monica, represented the Lessers in their purchase.



Comedian JUDY TENUTA, who regularly appears on cable TV’s “Comedy Central,” has purchased a Tudor-style Sherman Oaks home for $525,000, sources say.

Tenuta, who is from Chicago, is also known, when doing her stand-up act, as the Giver Goddess, the Aphrodite of the Accordion and the Multimedia Bondage Goddess.

She bought a 2,600-square-foot three-bedroom house built in the ‘70s. The home has an office, gym and pool.

It was listed by Joan Duffy and Harriet Cameron of Fred Sands’ Sherman Oaks office. Bryan MacKenzie of the firm’s Studio City office represented Tenuta in the deal.