Hills home? Pony up, cowboy

Times Staff Writer

Like so many stars, Australian heartthrob Heath Ledger headed for the Hollywood Hills to hunt for a house, and he found one -- a pied-a-terre that he purchased for $2.3 million.

Called “The Treehouse,” Ledger’s new home is in a sycamore grove on a half-acre lot and has a large teak deck. The post-and-beam house, built in 1951, was renovated in 2004, when it was owned by talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, who lived on the property with her Aussie partner Portia de Rossi.

This is the second home the 27-year-old Ledger has bought in the area. The actor sold his Los Feliz home of five years in September for about $2.8 million.

His new place has two bedrooms and two bathrooms in slightly more than 2,000 square feet. He’s sharing it with actress Michelle Williams, 25, and their infant daughter, Matilda. Williams played Ledger’s wife in “Brokeback Mountain” (2005). Ledger, who played ranch hand Ennis in the movie, had another starring role last year, in the film “Casanova.”


He and Williams also keep an apartment in New York.

Following a previous generation of celebrities, young Hollywood has been attracted to the hills for years now, and Ledger can count its members among his neighbors, but he also has a fellow Aussie living nearby -- Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe.

Drew Fenton of Prudential John Aaroe, Beverly Hills, had the listing, and Denny Kagasoff of Sotheby’s International Realty, Beverly Hills, represented Ledger in buying.

He and his spurs leave Lancaster

And while we’re talking about cowboys, real-life rodeo champ Todd Tee Tramp is planning to giddyap soon to Missouri now that he has listed his 5-acre Lancaster ranch at $719,900.

The 5-year-plus veteran of gay and regular rodeo circuits has purchased a 20-acre ranch in the Show Me State. Tramp, in his 30s, has owned the Lancaster ranch for seven years.

Set back from the street, on a gentle knoll, the property has a nearly 2,000-square-foot main house, built in 1991. The house has three bedrooms and three bathrooms plus a kitchen overlooking the corrals and arenas. The home also has a patio, spa, wading pool, deck and fenced backyard.

The ranch can accommodate 30 horses in two large barns. There is also a small barn for hay storage, a three-story lookout tower, a hot-walker, a horse shower and a tack room. There are plenty of pastures and lots of trailer space.

Laurie Hedlund of Realty Executives in Palmdale has the listing.

Uncork the wine in Beverly Hills

Rich Frank, chairman of the Hollywood entertainment agency the Firm and former president of Disney Studios, has purchased a Beverly Hills-area home. The asking price was $9.5 million; the selling price is believed to be about the same.

Frank bought a Tuscan-style villa on 3 acres with seven bedrooms and 9 1/2 bathrooms in slightly more than 10,000 square feet. The walled and gated house, built in 1935 and recently renovated, also has park-like grounds with city and canyon views, a long driveway, a motor court, Brazilian cherry floors, a formal dining room that seats 16, a media room with a bar and a wine cellar, eight fireplaces, an office, a tennis court, a grassy yard, a pool and a separate guest quarters with a kitchen.

Frank, 63, co-owns the Frank family vineyard, Winston Hill, in the Napa Valley town of Rutherford.

Mark Wollman of Hilton & Hyland, an affiliate of Christie’s Great Estates, Beverly Hills, had the listing, and Linda May of Coldwell Banker, Beverly Hills, represented the buyer.

At $25 million, it’s a wonderful sale

The longtime Beverly Hills home of actor Jimmy Stewart was torn down in 2000. At the same time, the adjacent lot he purchased for his post-World War II victory garden was cleared. Now a mansion built on the site of the house and garden has been sold for its $25-million asking price.

Stewart, who played Everyman in his movies, would have taken notice of the price tag. He lived in a far simpler house on part of the lot from the late ‘40s until he died in 1997. The 12,000-square-foot house that just sold takes up much of the 1.3-acre property.

The Mediterranean-style main house has seven bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a projection room, a sauna, a basement, an attic, a library, an elevator and a service entrance. The estate also has a detached guesthouse with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen.

Outside, there is a pool, a spa, some terraces and a loggia.

The street was once a mecca for Hollywood stars. Among those living in the area were Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Rosemary Clooney, George Gershwin, Ella Fitzgerald, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and, in recent years, Madonna and Diane Keaton. The buyer of Stewart’s former residence was described simply as a businessman.

Raymond Bekeris of John Bruce Nelson & Associates and Marcia Glow of Prudential John Aaroe, Beverly Hills, represented the buyer, and Joan Cohen of Sotheby’s International Realty, Beverly Hills, had the listing.

To see previous columns on celebrity realty transactions, go to