A 'wonderful ride' on a beat she pioneered

Times Staff Writer

Hot Property was just an idea when I first mentioned it to Dick Turpin, then-editor of The Times' Real Estate section. I thought there might be a column in the short stories I had been writing about people and real estate, but I never guessed I would spend the next 23 1/2 years focusing on Hot Property, which became -- to my delight -- a must-read, especially in Hollywood.

The feature opened doors for me to appear on TV with Harry Smith, Oprah Winfrey and Joan Rivers. I was even luckier to get to do a weekly radio spot on KNX-AM (1070) for five years with anchor Linda Nunez. I say "luckier" because I could do radio in my pajamas.

Hot Property was the only Times column to appear weekly in more than one section. From late 1998 to early 2001, it ran in Southern California Living and Real Estate.

The column never went on vacation. If I planned to be away, I wrote it ahead of time. That was a challenge when I went to India for a month.

I loved my job and could have continued for ages -- I am, after all, only "39" -- but I saw the real benefit of The Times' latest buyout: a chance to do something new.

My plans are to write that book, work as a consultant, do some freelancing and spend more time with my family, readers, sources and friends.

So, good night and good luck, as Edward R. Murrow liked to say. And thanks to all for my wonderful ride.

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