Hola to owning in the hills

Times Staff Writer

Actress Penelope Cruz has purchased a home in the Hollywood Hills for $3.5 million. She had been renting and is a first-time home buyer in the L.A. area.

Cruz, 31, bought a one-story contemporary with Asian influences. The house was built in the mid-'50s but was remodeled in 2000 as a designer's personal residence. The home has four bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms in 3,300 square feet. It also has bamboo floors, a gourmet kitchen, a walk-in closet, city views, a pool, a spa and a gated courtyard entry.

After being cast as Tom Cruise's love interest, Sofia, in "Vanilla Sky" (2001), the Madrid-born Cruz became involved in a highly publicized relationship with the actor. The couple parted ways in January 2004.

Cruz appeared in the comedy "Waking Up in Reno" (2002), played a mental patient in "Gothika" (2003) and had a supporting role in "Head in the Clouds" (2004).

"Sahara," in which she costars with Matthew McConaughey, was released in April. "Chromophobia," a psychological drama in which Cruz appears with Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas, marked its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Cruz's new home was not listed, but the seller was represented by Mark Wolman of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills. The actress was represented by Brett Lawyer of Sotheby's International Realty, Sunset Strip.

For Malibu house, he's a yes-man

David Spade isn't always saying "no," despite his frequent use of the word in those Capital One TV ads for its "No Hassle Rewards" card.

The actor-comedian said "yes" to buying a Malibu home for about $9.25 million. Spade has had an in-town home on the Westside for years.

His Malibu residence, built in the late '90s, has four bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms in about 3,000 square feet. The architectural standout provides a sense of privacy, indoors and outside. The home is on 60 feet of sandy beach and has a pool, spa, sauna and art studio.

Spade became a regular, as Katey Sagal's nephew, on the ABC sitcom "8 Simple Rules" in 2004.

Earlier, he was in the cast of the TV series "Just Shoot Me." His film "Kronk's New Groove" is due out this summer.

In the Capital One ads, Spade, 40, portrays a personality much like the snarky phone operator he first performed more than a decade ago as a regular on "Saturday Night Live."

He used a similar voice as an annoying fly named Scuzz on the January-released animated feature "Racing Stripes."

Too many houses for a single star

Frankie Muniz, who stars in the Fox sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle," sold a house, bought a house and put a third house on the market all in about one week's time.

Muniz, 19, is apparently looking forward to reducing his inventory. Said Max Shapiro, the 21-year-old real estate agent who has the listing on the third house: "I hope to sell it very soon and make him the one-house man he hopes to be."

The actor listed one of his two Westside homes in April at about $4.6 million. The fingerprint-recognition front door, walls of glass and surround-sound system may have appealed to Agent Cody Banks, the spy character Muniz played in two movies, but it didn't keep the actor's interest longer than two weeks. The renovated four-bedroom contemporary sold for close to its reduced asking price of $3,995,000.

Muniz then closed escrow on the Hollywood Hills home to which he is now moving. Light, bright and private, the three-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot home sold for $3.9 million. It too was remodeled and has a theater, boulder garden, fire pit, pool and spa.

The actor listed his original home, an Old World Tuscan-style estate, redesigned and developed by designer-Realtor Billy Rose to feature a 4,500-square-foot main house and a 1,400-square-foot guesthouse plus a pool, spa, motor court and city views. The listing price is $5,995,000.

Shapiro and Richard Ehrlich, both with Westside Estate Agency in Beverly Hills, had the listing on the house that sold. Besides having the listing on Muniz's Old World house, Shapiro represented the actor in buying his new home.

'O.C.' exec likes a storybook setting

Stephanie Savage, co-executive producer of the Fox series "The O.C.," has purchased a home in the Hollywood Hills for about $900,000.

Savage, named in entertainment publications as one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, bought a restored mid-'20s English Country- and Storybook-style home.

It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a den in 1,300 square feet. There is a living room with a vaulted ceiling and a fireplace, plus a walled and bricked outdoor dining area under mature trees.

Savage was a vice president of actress Drew Barrymore's production company, Flower Films, before she developed "The O.C." with its creator, Josh Schwartz. At Flower Films, Savage developed the movies "Charlie's Angels" and "Never Been Kissed."

Savage founded the production company Wonderland Sound and Vision with film director McG. "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" was Wonderland's first film project. Its second, the horror film "Stay Alive," featuring Frankie Muniz, is in production. Jeff Yarbrough of Sotheby's represented Savage in her home purchase.

She's become

her own neighbor

Carol Leifer, a stand-up comedian-writer-producer, said she is thrilled with her acquisition of a Hollywood Hills house for "well above asking," but she's not exactly sure why she bought it.

"There were eight offers," she said, and she "loves the neighborhood." Her own home, where she plans to continue to live, is only 100 yards from the two-bedroom, two-bath house, which had been listed at about $1.2 million.

Leifer describes the 2,100-square-foot, nearly 30-year-old house in a Zen setting as "a little jewel."

Billed as an artist's or writer's hideaway, it might be a place where she could write. She wrote some of Chris Rock's jokes for this year's Academy Awards, and she spent three years writing for "Seinfeld." Notable episodes credited to her include "The Rye" and "The Lip Reader," with Marlee Matlin.

Leifer, 48, wrote, produced and starred in three specials for Showtime and has made 25 appearances on "Late Night With David Letterman." Recently, she penned pilots for Brad Grey Television and Big Ticket TV.

The home she bought in 1998 for $900,000 has three bedrooms and a den in 2,600 square feet.

"I'm not sure," she said when asked how she'll use the smaller house. "Maybe I'll use it for family who visit. Maybe I'll rent it out."

Eric Lowry of Coldwell Banker, Sunset Strip, represented Leifer in her recent and 1998 purchases.

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