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Dennis Hopper’s Venice Compound on the Block

SELLER: Estate of Dennis Hopper
LOCATION: Venice, CA
PRICE: estimated at around $6,200,000
SIZE: 6 structures on 5 parcels

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Intense, gifted, and kinda freaky 2-time Oscar nominated actor Dennis Hopper perished from prostate cancer at the end of May 2010.

Hopper is believed to have left the bulk of his fortune estimated at around thirty million clams, to his three adult children, his 7-year old daughter, and two grandchildren but by mid-June the family was locked in a bitter battle over Mister Hopper’s estate because his estranged 5th wife Victoria Duffy–Hopper had filed for divorce just months before he died–was contesting the will claiming that a 1996 prenup entitled her to a one-time payout of $250,000 from his life insurance policy plus 25% of the estate that includes a modern art collection and homes in both Los Angeles and Taos, NM.

Amid that turmoil and barely 6 weeks after Mister Hopper went to meet his great producer in the sky, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ controversial new director Jeffrey Deitch launched a controversial survey exhibition of the late actor and artist’s work curated by pajama wearing art superstar Julian Schnabel who, the arty-farty children might find amusing to know, deigned to travel to the art world hinterland of Tinseltown for the opening. In Your Mama’s ignorant and utterly meaningless opinion, the photographs are fantastic, the paintings no so much.

Anyhoo, now word slips down the celebrity real estate grapevine and out through a gazillion online portals that Mister Hopper’s long time compound in Venice, CA is scheduled to go on the market at the end of the week for somewhere around $6,200,000.

The compound, located a few short blocks from the beach, covers a total of five parcels and includes 4 tightly packed but separate residences plus a swimming pool and small grassy yard. Property records show that the first piece of Mister Hoppers real estate puzzle was purchased in July of 1985 for just $21,000. Mister Hopper hired architect Brian Murphy who designed an chunky, industrial looking mass with a corrugated metal skin and an undulating roof dotted with large skylights. Property records show the structure measures 4,896 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 2 poopers. At that time Venice was a nitty-gritty outpost where most celebrities and real estate snobs would not have dreamed of going let along living. Nowadays Venice is still a bit rough around the edges–Beverly Hills types Your Mama knows still insist on referring to it as an oceanside ghetto–but it’s none-the-less chockablock with celebrities and progressive architectural statements and experiments.

In his last interview for Vanity Fair magazine, writer Bob Colacello described the interior of Mister Hopper’s house as having a “loft-like living room” in which, “There were artworks everywhere–on the wall, on the floor, on tables–including a painting of eyeglasses by John Baldessari” who, coincidentally, also currently has a large and much acclaimed retrospective of his work going on only it’s at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA).

In March of 1999, according to property records, Mister Hopper purchased an adjacent property that currently contains two wee cottages separated by a grassy yard with a long, lap-like swimming pool (below).

On the other side of Mister Hopper’s big corrugated metal box, which presents a formidable and windowless facade has an incongruous and humorous white picket fence that runs along the sidewalk, are three similar looking houses designed and built in the early 1980s by Venice-based maverick architect Frank Gehry and two of Hoppers friends who referred to them as the “three little pigs.” One is made of concrete, another plywood and the third is sheathed in green roofing shingles. Eventually Mister Hopper came to own all three of Mister Gehry’s little pigs.

The first one he bought was in October of 1997 when he paid $325,000 for a 1 bedroom and 1 pooper house that measures 1,401 square feet.

It’s unclear to Your Mama when Mister Hopper purchased the second little pig and how much he paid but records do indicate the 1,143 square foot structure was in his property portfolio before September of 2000.

He finally snagged the third of the little pigs in February of 2008 paying $1,300,000 for a 1 bedroom and 1 pooper house with 1,330 square feet according to property records.

According to Mister Colacello in Vanity Fair, Mister Hopper used one of the little pigs as an office, one is occupied by his 19 year old son by his 4th wife, dancer Katherine LaNasa, and after Mister Hopper and his 5th wife Victoria Duffy went splitsville she and the couple’s 7 year old daughter moved into the the third little pig.

Based on previous reports it’s not clear if the entire compound–all five parcels and 6 structures–is to be sold or if the family plans to retain the parcel with the pool and/or all or some of three little pigs. However, according according to the listing agent, the Brian Murphy designed main residence can be purchased separately from the rest of the compound.

Mister Hopper was buried in Taos. Hollywood lost a great one with Mister Hopper’s passing.

aerial photo: Pacific Coast News
swimming pool photo: AP/Coldwell Banker Previews International via Housing Watch

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