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A House With H’wood History

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Actor JERRY VAN DYKE and his wife, Shirley, have sold their Toluca Lake home for close to its $2.3-million asking price. The home was owned by Bing Crosby in the 1930s and 1940s and by Andy Griffith from the ‘70s to the ‘90s.

“I never really planned to retire, but I was going to take a year off,” said Van Dyke, who played assistant coach Luther Van Dam in the ABC sitcom “Coach” until its nine-year run ended last season.

Instead of getting time off, Van Dyke, 66, was cast as a genie on the short-lived sitcom “You Wish” and then got the role, debuting this January, as an elderly man whose near-death experience allows him to see a young angel not visible to others in the ABC sitcom “Teen Angel.”

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Van Dyke also played Uncle Billy, George Bailey’s absent-minded uncle who loses the family money, in the PBS version of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which aired Thursday.

“If I had known that I was going to be put to work so much, I would have kept the [Toluca Lake] house,” Van Dyke said. Now the Van Dykes plan to lease on the Westside for a while “to test it out. After all, I’ve lived in the San Fernando Valley close to 40 years,” he explained.

The couple own a 500-acre cattle ranch in Shirley Van Dyke’s home state of Arkansas, a retreat in Cancun and some 1800s-era buildings in LeavesBenton, Ark., which house a movie theater, antique store and Jerry Van Dyke Soda Shop. Earlier this month, they opened a second soda shop in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Van Dykes sold their Toluca Lake house to entertainment publicist Keri Fretty-Stickney and attorney Larry Stickney, who had been living in an 18,000-square-foot chateau on 8.5 acres in Pasadena.

“Our Pasadena home was wonderful but so much to keep up,” Fretty-Stickney said.

The Toluca Lake house, which the Van Dykes had owned since 1993, is just under 10,000 square feet on about 2.5 acres. Built for Crosby in 1936, it has a six-bedroom main house, two-bedroom guest cottage, cabana, pool and tennis court.

“We’re going to build a gym and an office in the cabana,” Fretty-Stickney said. She and her husband moved into the house just before Christmas.

“We love the history of the house,” she said. “I have every Bing Crosby CD and am playing them all now.”

Cissy Wellman of Coldwell Banker-Jon Douglas Co. in Brentwood and Studio City and Connie Nelson of the firm’s Studio City office had the listing; Robin Halsband of Coldwell Banker’s San Marino office represented the buyers.

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Designer TOM FORD, who brought the old Italian fashion house of Gucci into the current Hollywood spotlight, has closed escrow on a Westside home for a bit more than $2 million, sources say.

The Texas-born, 35-year-old designer bought homes in London and Santa Fe last spring. Before that, he was living in Europe for eight years. He still has an apartment in Paris.

Ford, Gucci’s creative director, is known for his body-hugging but functional fashion designs. He dressed 15 stars for the Cannes Film Festival this year. In June, he hosted the AIDS Project Los Angeles benefit.

Ford, who has described Los Angeles as his most inspiring city, is a former actor who has studied architecture, and the house he just purchased was designed by renowned architect Richard Neutra. It’s a restoration project, sources say. The house was built in the 1950s.

The 3,800-square-foot house has a master suite, a guest bedroom and maid’s quarters.

Jeff Kohl of John Aaroe & Associates, Beverly Hills, represented Ford in the purchase, and Martha Hunt of Coldwell Banker-Jon Douglas Co., Beverly Hills, had the listing, other sources said.

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Late actor GARY COOPER’s longtime Holmby Hills home has been completely refurbished since it was sold to its current owners in 1994 for about $3 million, and now it’s back on the market, this time at $6.7 million.

The Oscar-winning actor lived in the house from the time it was built in 1954 as a showcase for his extensive art collection until he died at age 60 in 1961. It was sold in ’94 to Charles S. Paul, an executive with Universal Studios, and Dr. H. Vance Fletcher Jr., a dermatologist.

They worked intensively on the house for more than a year, sources say. Designed by architect Quincy Jones, the five-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot house, behind gates, has an open floor plan with walls of glass, a gym / study and a library. The 1.6-acre grounds have gardens and a pool.

Donald Robinson and Joseph La Piana share the listing at Sotheby’s International Realty, Beverly Hills.

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Producer / writer DARREN STAR, who created Fox’s series “Beverly Hills, 90210" and produced its spinoff “Melrose Place,” has purchased a home behind gates in the Sunset Strip area for about $1.6 million, sources say.

Star, 35, also wrote the screenplays for the movies “If Looks Could Kill” (1991) and “Doin’ Time on Planet Earth” (1988).

He sold his house in the same area in April for $875,000, sources said at the time. The 3,000-square-foot-plus house that he just bought was built in the 1960s and was recently remodeled.

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CHRISTOPHER KORTLANDER, a Southland resident until his house burned down in the November 1993 Malibu fire, has listed the historic Montana town of Garryowen, which he has owned for four years, at just under $3 million.

And, in an ironic twist, Gary Owens, a broadcasting Hall of Famer and former “Laugh-In” announcer who has his own radio show on KGIL-AM, Beverly Hills, is talking to his investment partners about buying the town, after which he was named.

Owens said the owner of a radio station in Omaha, where Owens first worked in the late 1950s, gave the announcer, then a DJ, his air name, based on the Montana community,

The town got its name, as a railroad stop in the 1800s, from an Irish town and a marching song of the 7th Cavalry under Gen. George Custer.

The Montana town is on about eight acres, on the site of Sioux Chief Sitting Bull’s camp, where the Battle of the Little Bighorn began.

Kortlander, a dealer in historical manuscripts and properties, built a museum, trading post and post office in the town, which also has a gas station, convenience store and private residence.

Phillip Huckins and Bill Trumbull have the listing at Banner Realty, an affiliate of Sotheby’s in Sheridan, Wyo.


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