For 30 years, Hot Property has given readers the ultimate sneak peek into the lives and luxury homes of Hollywood's rich and famous.
The arched footbridge crossing over a stone-lined moat at Jennifer Lopez's $10-million French-style villa in Bel-Air. The bowling alley, hair salon and flower-cutting room at Candy Spelling's 56,500-square-foot Holmby Hills mansion. Elton John's snakeskin-covered bed frames in West Hollywood.
No detail is too obscure, says Kurt Rappaport, real estate agent to the stars: "People want to know — the world wants to know — what they are doing."
When Johnny Carson sold his oceanfront home on Carbon Beach in 1985 to John McEnroe, "The Tonight Show" host negotiated an unusual request into the contract: six private tennis lessons from the former world No.1 pro.
The two consummated that part of the deal later that year at Pepperdine University, as neither had a tennis court at his home.
In the South Bay, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach have been some of the most popular spots to live, particularly among the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
"There is a high congregation of hockey players in the South Bay, Manhattan Beach in particular," said Kofi Natei Nartey, director of the sports and entertainment division at the Agency. "But you also see a lot of out-of-state players who want to live here and train in more favorable conditions."
One of my favorite stories to tell is that of the former tennis court estate of celebrity Janet Leigh, who starred in 'Psycho.' Although she lived in her estate for many years, she never used the shower again. I guess the actress was more impacted than the audience!
Stars didn't necessarily communicate through a talent agent or a real estate broker back when Hot Property first started. On one occasion, columnist Ruth Ryon got a call about an aerial photograph that had run in the paper. She recounted the exchange in a column:
" 'Hello,' the caller said, 'this is Rock Hudson.' 'Sure,' I thought, 'and I'm Doris Day.' Turned out it was Hudson, interested in securing a copy of the photo, which showed his property before his home was built."
Talk-show host and game-show creator Merv Griffin once fielded Hot Property columnist Ruth Ryon's questions at a breakfast in his honor in Beverly Hills between bites of scrambled eggs and bacon.
Actress and home restorer Diane Keaton met Ryon for an interview over Shirley Temples in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel.
And another time the columnist got a personal tour of Phyllis Diller's Brentwood home. They stopped in the wig room, where the comedienne had Ryon try on a pink 'do. From then on, the two exchanged Christmas cards.
I had a listing on a home in Beverly Hills. The son of the owner had a poster of Ozzy Osbourne on his bedroom wall. I happened to be showing Ozzy the home, and he saw the poster and signed it for him. The son of the owner was surprised and thrilled when he saw the signed poster.
A decade ago, Shaquille O'Neal wanted to be traded after the Lakers' loss in the NBA Finals. Rather than announce his intended move to Miami, the 32-year-old center let real estate agent Jordan Cohen of Re/Max Olson give Hot Property columnist Ruth Ryon the information that Shaq was putting his Beverly Hills area home on the market at $7.5 million.
That bit of news couldn't be kept secret until the column appeared in Sunday's paper. The Sports section ran with the scoop in the daily paper, ahead of the column's publication, much to Ryon's ire.
Most athletes, particularly basketball players, like to live near workout facilities rather than work out at their homes. They like to be at the gym, training with other guys, and then they like to leave it all there and come home.
Bent on restoration, Oscar-winning actress Diane Keaton has favored homes by well-known architects and 1920s Spanish-style homes.
Keaton made her Hot Property debut in 1996 selling the Lloyd Wright-designed Samuel-Novarro home in Los Feliz for about $950,000 after, the column reported, she had put nearly $1 million into renovations.
The actress told The Times in 2003 that she grew up accompanying her father as he invested in tract houses. That fueled her interest in homes, and she became driven to save vintage Spanish Colonial-style houses from destruction. "I'd buy every one of them that comes up for sale if I could afford it."
Trick-or-treaters who visit Spadena House each year. The whimsical property in Beverly Hills conjures impressions of the Brothers Grimm thanks to its storybook-style design, complete with irregular wooden shutters, a gable roof and a moat.
The infamous egging. A confrontation with former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson over alleged reckless driving in the neighborhood. A raid carried out by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. No home drew more eyes in 2014 than Justin Bieber's Calabasas residence.
The saga ended in June with Bieber handing off the Spanish-style home to another celebrity capable of keeping the media circus going strong: Khloe Kardashian.
Never one to shy away from the unorthodox, the Material Girl caused a stir after she had her home in the Hollywood Hills painted in red and yellow stripes, a color scheme that many likened to a circus tent. The 1920s Mediterranean — once used as a gambling den by Bugsy Siegel in the 1930s — later sold in 1996 for about $5 million.
"Star Trek" reminders, such as the last pair of pointy rubber ears he wore as the half-human, half-Vulcan Mr. Spock, are displayed in Leonard Nimoy's study. But he's quick to say, "There isn't much of that."
He keeps little memorabilia: Marker boards for some movies he directed, a photo of himself with "Star Trek" star William Shatner, a director's chair with his name on it.
A large movie poster in the family room advertises his first sci-fi movie, "Zombies of the Stratosphere." It was released by Republic Studios in 1952.