ELLEN DeGENERES, who started work last week on the episode in which her title character in the ABC sitcom "Ellen" comes out as a lesbian, has purchased a Beverly Hills-area home for about $3 million, sources say.
DeGeneres, 39, has starred in the sitcom since 1994. The much publicized episode, expected to air April 30, would make the series the first during prime time to feature an openly gay lead character.
DeGeneres, who hosted the Grammy Awards in February, made her feature-film starring debut last year in the comedy "Mr. Wrong." She was also in "Coneheads" (1993) and played herself in "Wisecracks" (1991).
Known for her talent in finding humor in the commonplace, DeGeneres was a successful comic before she had her own series. The cable network Showtime named her "Funniest Person in America" one year after she made her first stand-up comedy club appearance in 1981.
DeGeneres bought a three-bedroom, nearly 5,000-square-foot house on a gated three-acre site with a long, private drive and a pool, sources say. The house was built in the 1930s but was recently refurbished.
The sellers, a couple with children, own a Santa Barbara estate and are leasing in the L.A. area, sources say.
JAMES CAAN, who co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film "Eraser" (1996), has sold his Bel-Air home of nearly 20 years for about $1.2 million, sources say.
Caan, 57, became prominent as an actor in the 1970s when he starred in the TV movie "Brian's Song" and played Sonny, the hot-tempered eldest son, in "The Godfather."
He and his wife, Linda, were planning to remodel the five-bedroom English country-style house, built in 1936, but they changed their minds after starting the work, sources say.
When the home sold, it consisted of an 8,000-square-foot house in the framing stage plus a completed guest house, basketball court and lagoon, a source said.
The couple and their young son have been leasing in Pacific Palisades for the last year at $12,000 a month, sources say.
Paul Czako of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, represented the Caans in their lease, and Jim and Ann Scarborough of the Prudential-Jon Douglas Co., Pacific Palisades office, had the lease listing, said sources not involved in the transaction.
DOUGLAS CRAMER, former co-executive producer of such TV series as "Dynasty" and "The Love Boat," has sold one of his two Bel-Air homes for just under $3 million, according to public records.
"This house has been vacant for a while," a source said. The buyers were described as an immigration attorney and his wife.
The house has six bedrooms and nine baths in about 7,000 square feet. It has city-to-ocean views, a greenhouse and a pool.
The home was built in 1937 but has been completely refurbished, sources say. Cramer, in his early 60s, has said that he is "a fiend about remodeling."
A founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and a member of the board of trustees of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Cramer is also a collector of post-1960 American art, which he keeps in several locations, including a 12,000-square-foot gallery he built adjacent to his 110-acre Santa Ynez Valley ranch.
Cramer also recently put his ranch on the market. Listed at $8.5 million, it has a five-bedroom main residence, three guest houses, a cabana, barn, tennis court, waterfall and 17-acre vineyard.
Once a partner of Aaron Spellings, Cramer has been scaling back some since becoming independent, but he has remained an active producer through his North Hollywood company, the Cramer Co. Last year, he was executive producer of three TV movies and a miniseries, all based on Danielle Steel novels, and this year, he was executive producer of the CBS movie "Breach of Faith: Family of Cops II."
Joe Babajian and Linda May of Fred Sands' Estates Directors office, Beverly Hills, listed the Bel-Air home with Edith Winston of Coldwell Banker, Beverly Hills; Ron De Salvo, the Prudential-Jon Douglas Co., Beverly Hills, represented the buyers; W.T. Hayer, T. Hayer & Associates, Solvang, has the ranch listing, other sources said.
Billionaire businessman DAVID MURDOCK, 73, and his wife, Maria Ferrer (daughter of actor Jose Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney), have bought a 50-acre horse ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley for just under $3 million, sources say.
Murdock, CEO of Castle & Cooke, is a major commercial and residential real estate developer also known for breeding Arabian horses at his 2,000-acre Ventura Farms ranch near Lake Sherwood and Thousand Oaks.
A 3.5-acre home site in the Hollywood Hills, owned once by actor ERROL FLYNN and later by singer-actor RICK NELSON, has been listed at $2.5 million.
Flynn held many parties there from the time he built the house in the 1940s until he died in 1959. Nelson's estate sold the house after he was killed in a plane crash in 1985.
The house was razed in 1988, and the grassy site, which has a tennis court and a pool and overlooks the San Fernando Valley, was sold last year to an investor who was thinking of building another house there but changed his mind.
Bruce Nelson and Raymond Bekeris, both of John Bruce Nelson & Associates in Bel-Air, share the listing.