A Neff, but enough is enough

Times Staff Writer

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, whose highly publicized breakup in January made as much of a splash as their million-dollar fairy tale wedding in 2000, have quietly listed their Beverly Hills estate for $28 million.

Last week, a select group of Realtors got a peek inside. Little evidence remains of the actors, who decided to sell the acre-plus estate as part of their divorce settlement. The closets are empty and the furniture, except for the bed in the master suite, is gone.

The stars, who only lived in the home for a year or two, have moved on, both to Malibu, where he bought a midcentury home for $8 million in April and she has been renting a $15-million house since spring. Both also have Hollywood Hills homes that they purchased before they were married.

They bought the refurbished Wallace Neff-designed Beverly Hills home for about $13.5 million in 2001. (Neff, “architect to the stars” from the 1930s to the ‘60s, has an avid following among Hollywood’s current generation.) The pair then spent two years working on the French Normandy house, built in the ‘30s for actor Fredric March.


The couple’s tastes in decor are among their differences. She likes comfy, he likes modern, among other styles -- his Los Feliz home, which he restored, is a Craftsman. Pitt is known to have an obsession with architecture.

Realty agents who have seen the house report it has some high-end features: a screening room with 35mm equipment and black leather seating; Brazilian mahogany floors; a stainless-steel kitchen; and an art studio with skylights. The lacquer finish on the white living room walls was likened by one to the glossy surface of a Ferrari.

The master bedroom suite had separate sitting rooms, one for him and one for her. One was turned into an enormous closet. There are also three guest suites.

On the ground level, a pub has walls of glass opening to an outdoor fireplace, pool and spa. A lawn leads to a north-south-aligned tennis court.


The exterior of the walled and gated 10,000-plus-square-foot house was meticulously restored to its original look. The couple planned to build a guesthouse but never started construction.

Kurt Rappaport and Stephen Shapiro at Westside Estate Agency, Beverly Hills, share the listing with Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker, Beverly Hills. Do they jointly represent the couple, or is it a case of his-and-hers agents? All refused to comment.

Of the McCartney rumor, just let it be

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of Paul McCartney buying Careen and Robert Friedland’s Pasadena house have been greatly exaggerated.

“We own the property,” Careen Friedland said, “and we’re not going anywhere.” Period.

Still, tongues keep wagging. The buzz from “Sir Paul McCartney has reportedly bought a $7.6-million, eight-bedroom pad ... in Pasadena.” Picking up the idea was “The Wayne Manor mansion seen in the ‘Batman’ TV series ... located in Pasadena ... was purchased ... by Paul McCartney.”

Friedland would like to put the issue to rest. She and her husband have owned the 16,000-square-foot house, on about 5 acres, since 1999. The couple has never even placed the home on the market.

The homeowner doesn’t know who started the rumor or why but first heard it three months ago. “My kids were told by their friends that we were moving,” she said.


So, the question remains: What prompted the tale?

We may never know for sure, but one thing is certain: McCartney still has many fans.

“One person said they saw him getting a haircut in San Marino, another said he was drinking Starbucks in Pasadena,” Friedland said.

The doctor is in, in Woodland Hills

Scott Grimes has made a change on the home front as well as on “ER,” where he has moved from a recurring role to a regular as Dr. Archie Morris.

The actor, who appeared in the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” and his wife, Dawn Bailey Grimes, sold their gated home in Woodland Hills for about $1.1 million. They bought a nearby house for close to $1.2 million.

The house he sold has four bedrooms in 2,500 square feet and was built in 1950. It also has 3 1/2 bathrooms, a remodeled kitchen and walk-in closets. The yard has a pool, pond and waterfall.

The couple’s new home has four bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms in 3,800 square feet. It also has a large-size yard and a guesthouse.


“It’s a lot better for entertaining,” said Francine Chalme Myberg of Coldwell Banker, Sherman Oaks. She represented the couple in selling and buying.

The actor, 34, was a regular as Will in the ‘90s Fox-TV series “Party of Five” and now is a voice on the TV series “American Dad.” Also a singer, he had a hit with the single “Sunset Blvd.” His current album is “Livin’ on the Run.” His wife is the backup singer in his band.

Director is in transit to Los Feliz

Steven Soderbergh, Oscar-winning director of “Traffic” (and also director of “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Erin Brockovich”) and his wife, Jules Asner, author of the novel “Whacked,” have purchased a Los Feliz home for about $2.2 million.

The house had been the residence of developer Jeff Lewis, who redid the four-bedroom, 2,800-square-foot home, built in 1963. The contemporary has floor-to-ceiling glass walls looking out on a patio, pool and spa. There is a great room with a plasma TV. The house also has canyon and mountain views.

Lewis’ current project is a Wallace Neff-designed estate in Los Feliz. He bought it in 2004 from screenwriter David Ayer (“The Fast and the Furious,” “U-571,” “Training Day”). Work is almost completed on the gated, 3,800-square-foot English Tudor with city views and a pool. Lewis plans to list it later this month at $3.2 million.

They’re leaving the Prairie for N.Y.

Actress Sydney Penny and her artist husband, Robert, have sold their Glendale home for $1.2 million and moved to New York so that she can rejoin the cast of “All My Children.” Penny, 34, has appeared semi-regularly in the daytime drama for years, playing Julia Santos Keefer.

She and her husband extensively renovated the two-story, Prairie-style house, which has California eclectic influences and gardens reminiscent of the Prairie era. The four-bedroom, 2,100-square-foot house was built in 1923.

Gerri Cragnotti of G&C; Properties had the listing.

To see previous columns on celebrity realty transactions visit