Hot Property Newsletter: Hollywood through a lens


Real estate offers a unique lens through which to learn about a person. This week’s roundup gives us a history lesson in two of Hollywood’s Golden Age stars, an A-lister’s favorite place to get away and even a former football player’s preference for beach weather.

Our Home of the Week is a newly built contemporary with one of the coolest swimming pools we’ve seen in awhile. The fun doesn’t just stop at the pool; the 20,058-square-foot showplace in the Hollywood Hills has multiple indoor and outdoor water features, a movie theater and a rooftop terrace with 270-degree views.

And just in time for back to school, our latest What Money Buys feature takes a look at what $1.5 million buys in three of L.A.’s top school districts.


Once you’re done reading about these deals, visit and like our Facebook page, where you can find Hot Property stories and updates throughout the week.

Neal J. Leitereg and Jack Flemming

Where stars gathered

An impromptu performance by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz is just one scene that played out in the living room of singer-actress Rose Marie’s Van Nuys home of about 70 years. The legendary entertainer’s residence was a gathering spot for entertainers, with the likes of Ball, Arnaz, Vincent Price and Dick Van Dyke stopping by for a drink in the home’s saloon.

Now for sale at $1.049 million, the ranch-style house is a time capsule of 1940s style. Original features and decor from the era include paneled walls, natural stone fireplaces and original wood floors. In the dining room, there’s a wood-burning brick hearth/barbecue and a bay window with built-in seating.

The swimming pool and nearby changing room are adorned with musical notes for Marie.

Marie, who died two years ago at 94, got her start in show business at just 3 years old when she took to the stage as child singer “Baby Rose Marie.” After more than three decades of Hollywood work already behind her, she landed perhaps her most identifiable role as comedy writer Sally Rogers on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” She later appeared as Myrna Gibbon on “The Doris Day Show” and was a panelist on “The Hollywood Squares” for more than a decade.


“Die Hard” star sees action

Bruce Willis’ time in the Turks and Caicos Islands has come to a close. The “Die Hard” star just sold his longtime Caribbean compound for $27 million following five months on the market.

Willis bought the 7.3-acre property in 2000 and spent four years erecting a coastal compound fit for a king. Found on the island of Parrot Cay, the getaway boasts three wood-covered homes that combine for 13,500 square feet of Asian-inspired interiors.

The sandy, palm-topped grounds also feature 4,500 square feet of covered outdoor living spaces, 17,000 square feet of decking, four pools, a beachfront yoga pavilion, a fleet of buggies and a playground with a pirate ship.

Willis, 64, is best known for the “Die Hard” film franchise, as well as “Pulp Fiction,” “The Fifth Element” and “The Sixth Sense.” His more recent credits include “Death Wish,” “Glass” and “Once Upon a Time in Venice.”


Singer tunes in to market

Grammy-nominated singer Michael Feinstein is bringing his historic home out for an encore in Los Feliz. The Tudor Revival-style mansion, which once served as a Russian consulate, is back on the market for $14.95 million — down 42.5% from the original asking price of $26 million.

Manicured hedges, lush gardens and stone statues fill out the half-acre grounds, but the real stunner is the stately brick-clad abode. Spanning three stories, it features grand formal rooms and period details across more than 15,000 square feet.

Most of the six bedrooms and 6.75 bathrooms are found on the second story. Above that, the once-empty third story now holds a movie theater, wet bar and office that Feinstein and his husband, Terrence Flannery, added during their two-decade stay.

Feinstein, 62, has made a successful career as the ambassador of the Great American Songbook, a collection of pop and jazz songs from the early 20th century. He’s been nominated for five Grammy awards, and he was named the principal conductor for the Pasadena Symphony and Pops in 2012.


Say cheers

Producer-screenwriter Peter Casey of “Cheers,” “Frasier” and “Friends” fame sold his longtime home in Toluca Lake for $7.44 million.

The two-story traditional house sits on a roomy 1.2-acre lot where W.C. Fields once had a home and across the lake from Frank Sinatra’s old place. The former Fields residence was divided into sections and moved in 1993 to Sylmar, where it was to be used as a child-care center. Casey had his home custom-built in 1995.

Designed by Thane Roberts, the home features a chef’s kitchen with two islands, a wood-paneled library/den, three fireplaces, six bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. Wall-to-wall picture windows in the step-down living room, dining room and sunroom take in views of Toluca Lake.

Casey, a seven-time Emmy Award winner, worked as a writer on “The Jeffersons” before writing and producing scores of episodes of “Cheers.” He went on to co-create “Frasier” with writer-producers David Angell and David Lee.


Gronk goes to Miami

Retirement seems to be going well for Rob Gronkowski. A few months after selling his Boston penthouse for $2.3 million, the former Patriots star has picked up a condo in Miami for $1.7 million.

The corner-unit condo takes in sweeping city and ocean views from the 39th floor of the Marquis, a 63-story skyscraper on Biscayne Bay. Comprised of two units, it has five bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms in 3,850 square feet.

Expansive 20-foot ceilings top the whitewashed living spaces, which pair tile floors with walls of glass. Wood accents in the kitchen and a black backsplash in the living room break up the monochromatic color scheme.

Gronkowski, 30, retired in March after a nine-year career that saw him revolutionize the tight end position. A five-time Pro Bowler, he won three Super Bowls with the Patriots and led the league in receiving touchdowns in 2011 with 17.


A wonderful development

A former home of actor Jimmy Stewart, known for his roles in such iconic films such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” sold in the Brentwood Park neighborhood for $8.26 million.

The sale price exceeded the $7.75-million asking price for the roughly half-acre property by $510,000. The reason? Large, flat lots are in high demand in Brentwood, where the median sale price in June was $3.005 million — among the highest in Los Angeles County.

Stewart lived at the 1938 traditional house in the 1940s before moving to the flats of Beverly Hills shortly after he was married in 1949. Within about 4,600 square feet of living space are four bedrooms, four bathrooms and a living room with a wall of built-ins. Lawns fill the front and backyards.

Stewart, who died in 1997 at 89, was considered Hollywood’s Everyman for enduring roles in film and won an Oscar for his leading performance in “The Philadelphia Story” (1941). In the late 1940s and ‘50s, he collaborated with director Alfred Hitchcock on four films — “Rope,” “Rear Window,” “Vertigo” and the 1956 remake of “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”


From the archives

It was 30 years ago this week that Los Angeles County officials were considering a 35-year lease of the landmark Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills to the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. The plan was for the museum to use the historic 1920s estate to house its ornithological collection. The 37,000-square-foot mansion, designed by renowned architect Gordon B. Kaufmann for Edward Lawrence Doheny Jr., was previously used by the American Film Institute but had been vacant for years at the time of the proposal.

Twenty years ago, Lakers great Earvin “Magic” Johnson listed his home in gated Beverly Park for sale at $7.932 million. The asking price included the number 32 as an homage to his number when suiting up for the Lakers, sources said at the time. The massive Mediterranean-style mansion was originally about 12,000 square feet and later expanded to 14,000 square feet to accommodate Johnson’s growing family. During the renovation, the bedroom count was also increased from four plus staff quarters to a total of nine.

Ten years ago, actress Nicole Kidman, country music singer Keith Urban and their growing family moved into their new contemporary-style house in Beverly Hills. The celebrity couple had closed on the home, which had been owned by music producer Ron Fair about two months earlier. Set on more than an acre in a gated community, the house included five bedrooms and 4.25 bathrooms in about 4,100 square feet of living space.

What we’re reading

Baseball stars usually spend their offseason in mansions, but where do the minor leaguers stay? Tampa Bay Rays prospect Jack Labosky ditched permanent digs in favor of a $4,000 school bus, the Herald-Tribune reported. Roughly $13,000 in renovations later, he and his girlfriend live in the 22-footer complete with white paint, green curtains, a bedspread made from his baseball jerseys and galvanized metal horse trough repurposed as a bathtub.


As baby boomers head to retirement homes, Chicago developers are looking to change the standard for senior housing, the Chicago Tribune reported. The Clare, a 53-story independent living community in the Windy City, offers residents a beauty salon, art studio, gourmet dinners and picturesque city views. Classiness costs, however. Entrance fees start $40,000 above the average rate of $250,000 and can double or triple from there.