A who’s who and history too

Times Staff Writer

Its role as home to film stars has spanned decades. Now the distinctive Los Feliz house is on the market for $3.1 million.

Christina Ricci, the current owner, bought it after Diane Keaton, and Keaton took her cue in the 1990s from matinee idol Ramon Novarro, who purchased the house shortly after it was built in 1928.

But having had three famous owners is only part of the story behind the unique-looking house.

“It is a piece of Los Angeles’ architectural history,” Ricci said, “and there is something incredibly magical about the feel of the house and its grounds.”


The home is a city of Los Angeles historic-cultural monument known as the Samuel-Novarro House, built for Louis Samuel, Novarro’s business manager, who sold it to the silent-screen star.

Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, designed the three-level house, using a type of reinforced concrete-block construction that he developed with his father. Hand-hammered copper friezes and panels featuring the arrowhead as a design element cover the home. The house also has concrete floors, built-in shelving and a pool.

Typical of Lloyd Wright’s style, many of the indoor spaces have adjoining outdoor living spaces. There is a deck off the master bedroom, overlooking the pool. The dining room opens to a patio. A second master bedroom or den has tall glass doors leading to an outdoor seating area and several levels of gardens, walkways and patios. The house is in the Oaks, an exclusive neighborhood in Los Feliz.

The home was preserved and updated in the ‘90s by Keaton.

Ricci has owned the 2,690-square-foot house with three bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms since June 2005. The 26-year-old, who played daughter Wednesday in two “Addams Family” films, made the transition from child star to adult actress in “The Ice Storm” (1997). She started filming in January on the movie “Penelope,” which stars Reese Witherspoon.

Samantha Cooper of Sotheby’s International Realty, Pacific Palisades, has the listing.


The soil’s rich on the Amalfi Rim

It wasn’t “Green Acres,” but it’s where actor Eddie Albert hung his overalls before he died at age 99 in May 2005.

Albert’s longtime home was listed last fall at $8.25 million. Now the five-bedroom 1933 Monterey Colonial home has been purchased for land value only, estimated to be close to the asking price. It is deemed to be a tear-down or in need of a complete restoration.

A reason the dirt is so pricey is that the home, where Albert gardened, is on nearly an acre on the Amalfi Rim, a celebrity haven in Pacific Palisades.

Albert is perhaps best known for his role in the CBS sitcom (1965-71) in which he played a Manhattan lawyer who satisfies his longing to get closer to nature by buying a farm with his socialite wife, portrayed by Eva Gabor.


Sherman Oaks’ original angel

Actress Kate Jackson has purchased a Sherman Oaks home from Steve Levesque of Luck Media & Marketing. He purchased the house in 1999 from model-actress Natasha Henstridge.

The 1,800-square-foot house, which sold for just under $1.1 million, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a breakfast room, a den, a pool and a spa. The entire second floor is the master-bedroom suite, which has a sitting room and an outside area with a fireplace.

Levesque, a longtime music and entertainment publicist, sold the house because he is expanding his Beverly Hills-based business to include Las Vegas.

Jackson, one of the original “Charlie’s Angels,” also appeared in the TV series “Third Watch.”

Monty Iceman at Prudential, John Aaroe, Encino, handled the Sherman Oaks deal.