For this mogul, it’s all relative

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Times Staff Writer

Byron Allen isn’t all business.

The media mogul -- who is aggressively trying to purchase West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Paxson Communications Corp., a group of about 60 broadcast TV stations, for $2.2 billion -- took the time this summer to do something for his mom: He bought her a gated $5-million house in the Hollywood Hills.

The former comedian, 44, purchased the four-bedroom, 4,000-square-foot home so his mother, Carolyn Folks, could live closer to him. Folks had been living in Allen’s Century City condo since he bought a $3.8-million Hollywood Hills house for himself in February 2004.

Now she has a house that is about the same size as her son’s. His was built in 2001, while hers, constructed in 1961, underwent a total renovation last year. It has Carrara marble floors, a Calcutta marble fireplace mantle, fingerprint recognition security and city-to-ocean views.


Allen also has purchased a place for himself, at $4.5 million, in Trump Towers on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. As founder, chairman and chief executive of Entertainment Studios Corp., an independent producer-distributor of first-run TV programming, Allen splits his time between L.A. and New York.

When not managing his company, Allen appears on camera as host of the talk shows “” and “Entertainers With Byron Allen.” Both shows have been on the air for 12 years.

Allen’s interest in show business began when he regularly went after school to his mother’s office at NBC where she worked as a publicist. At 14 he became a stand-up comic at the Comedy Store. At 18 he made his debut on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.” He co-hosted the NBC series “Real People” from 1979 to 1984.

Allen established his production company in 1993. While sitting at his dining room table, he called 1,300 TV stations for more than a year to launch his first show.

His firm has since produced and now owns more than 3,000 hours of TV programming and has 15 syndicated shows on TV. It finances, produces and distributes TV programs around the world.

If he buys the financially troubled Paxson, Allen will target an African American audience, he has said. The Firm, a Beverly Hills talent agency, also has expressed interest in the network.


Terence Hill of BT Equities, Century City, represented Allen in his real estate purchases and manages Allen’s portfolio of residential and commercial properties.

Pair pares down

in Brentwood

It’s not the main attraction, but it’s not too shabby either. Writer-producer David E. Kelley and his wife, actress Michelle Pfeiffer, have sold a 1-acre-plus property next to their Brentwood home.

The fixer-upper, which the couple bought in 2002 for $7 million as a buffer to maximize their privacy, sold for close to its $8.7-million asking price. The four-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot house was built in 1940.

In the meantime, Kelley and Pfeiffer are still looking for a buyer of their 2-acre-plus estate next door, which is listed at $21 million. It was built in 1946 and restored and remodeled in 2001.

There is a 7,500-square-foot main house, a guesthouse, a tennis court and a pool. The equestrian-zoned grounds also have stables and access to riding trails. The estate has ocean and canyon views.

The couple have been planning to sell their Brentwood home since June 2004, when they bought a ranch farther north. But they might need a pied-a-terre closer to Hollywood and Manhattan Beach, where his production company has offices, because both are busy professionally. Kelley’s reality series, “The Law Firm,” premiered in July on NBC, and Pfeiffer is due to star in the film “Chasing Montana.” Kelley wrote the screenplay.


Kelley, 49, created the Emmy-winning series “Picket Fences,” “Ally McBeal,” “Boston Public” and “The Practice.” Pfeiffer, 47, costarred in “I Am Sam” (2001) and “White Oleander” (2002).

The Bonaduces aren’t moving far

The Bonaduces are on the move again. Actor Danny Bonaduce and his wife, Gretchen, have sold a Los Feliz house they bought in 2003, and they have purchased another home in the same neighborhood.

This time, they bought an Andalusian Spanish-style estate for slightly under $3 million. It has four bedrooms in 7,200 square feet and was built in 1926. The house was recently restored. It has a curved entry hall and a wrought-iron staircase. All first-floor rooms open to a courtyard with fountains. The living room has stenciled beam ceilings. The library has a fireplace.

The Bonaduces sold a four-bedroom, 3,700-square-foot Mediterranean-style villa, built in 1928, for about $2.2 million. The house has a new kitchen, a guesthouse with a kitchen, an outdoor dining area near the pool and a garden with a playhouse.

The Bonaduces just completed filming a reality television show expected to air on VH-1 in the fall. Former child star Danny Bonaduce, 45, played Danny in the ‘70s sitcom “The Partridge Family.” For six years, ending in July, he was co-host of the morning drive-time show at KYSR-FM (98.7).

Lynne Beavers of Lynne Beavers & Associates represented the Bonaduces in their real estate transactions.


To see previous columns on celebrity realty transactions visit