Owlwood estate, once home to Sonny and Cher, fetches $90 million

The hits just keep on coming in L.A.’s upper crust — the Playboy Mansion, Beverly House and now storied Owlwood.

The Westside estate once home to actor Tony Curtis and later singing duo Sonny Bono and Cher, among others, has sold for the lofty sum of $90 million — among the priciest residential sales historically in Los Angeles County.

The property on Carolwood Drive in Holmby Hills had, in recent years, been offered as a pocket listing for $150 million. The buyer, who bought it for 60% of the whisper price, is a development group headed by Woodbridge Luxury Homes Chief Executive Robert Shapiro.


Shapiro said in a statement that they intend to “honor this property’s legendary past,” which has been considerably reshaped over the last two decades.

The estate consists of three parcels that were combined in 2002 for a total of 10 acres by the late billionaire Roland Arnall, founder of Ameriquest Capital Corp., and his wife, Dawn.

After assembling their sprawling compound, the couple razed the Pink Palace, a Sunset Boulevard landmark owned by singer Engelbert Humperdinck and, before him, actress Jayne Mansfield. Another residence, once owned by film star and competitive swimmer Esther Williams, was also torn down; though the pool house and swimming pool were retained.

The remaining home, an Italian Revival-style mansion of more than 12,000 square feet, was designed by architect Robert D. Farquhar for businessman C.H. Quinn. Subsequent names in the chain of ownership include 20th Century Fox Chairman Joseph Schenck and, later, oil baron William Keck as well as Curtis, Bono and Cher.

Further adding to its pedigree, Marilyn Monroe was known to frequent Owlwood as a guest.

Ann H. Dashiell of Douglass Elliman held the listing. Adam Rosenfeld and Kyle Giese of Mercer Vine represented the buyer.

The sale is the latest in a string of transactions in L.A. ultra-high-end sector, a market that has been traditionally slow to develop.

After being shopped as a $50-million whisper listing last year, the Beverly Hills home of Hollywood heavyweight Tom Cruise changed hands in June for $38 million.

A deal between hotelier Brad Korzen and designer-filmmaker Tom Ford for the longtime Beverly Hills home of Albert “Cubby” Broccoli was on track to set a high-water mark for the year before eventually falling through. As part of the now-kaput $53-million transaction, Ford would have entered into a long-term leaseback agreement with Korzen and his wife, designer Kelly Wearstler.

More recently, business tycoon Daren Metropoulos delivered L.A.’s first nine-figure sale when he officially closed on the Playboy Mansion last month for a record $100 million — besting the county record set two years ago when the Westside manor known as Fleur de Lys sold for $88.3 million.

With the trophy estate business picking up, others are now looking to cash in.

Attorney-businessman Leonard M. Ross recently put the Beverly House, a Beverly Hills home once owned by publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, back on the market for $195 million. He had asked $165 million for the estate nine years ago, when it was last publicly offered for sale.

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