Your Mama Hears…

…from two trusted and well connected sources deep inside the Platinum Triangle real estate game that there’s a big deal—and we mean BIG—about to go down in Malibu.

According to both Cinnamon Stick and Little Boy Blue, bespectacled billionaire money manager Howard Marks and his very social and philanthropic wife Nancy are thisclose to inking a record-breaking deal to sell their monumental ocean front compound for somewhere in the neighborhood of $75,000,000.*

The bulk of the triple-gated and heavily fortified 10-ish acre estate was formerly owned by Verna Harrah, the wildly wealthy widow of casino kingpin Bill Harrah, who sold it in late 1999 for $27,000,000 to Herbalife founder Mark Hughes who died in the house just about six months later. In June 2001 the executors of Mister Hughes’s estate sold the palatial pad to Mister and Missus Marks for $31,000,000.

The following year, in October 2002, according to property records, Mister and Missus Marks shelled out another $4,600,000 for a neighboring property that now includes a separate gated residence for guests or staff and a full-sized tennis court with viewing pavilion. It was on this approximately 2.5 acre property, incidentally, that way back in July 2000 Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston held their wedding reception in a giant, bluff-side tent.

Anyhoo, Mister and Missus Marks spent years and God only knows how many millions on a soup-to-nuts renovation of the entire estate but, at the time of their purchase, the imposing Italianate villa measured in at 19,340 square feet with a total of 8 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms including a vast master suite with sitting room, private office, exercise room, and three room-sized walk-in closets.

The estate now includes a long, baronial tree-lined driveway, a charity circuit-sized motor court, a second rear motor court with garage access, a spacious bluff side swimming pool and several outbuildings of undetermined—or at least unknown—utility.

Some of the Marks’ nearest neighbors in the Bu include mustachioed actor Sam Elliot and television super-producer Marcy Carsey. Just down the beach a bit is the house Ellen Degeneres bought from Brad Pitt in December 2011 for $12,000,000 and flipped six or so months lather for $13,000,000.

Folks who follow the upper end real estate market are well acquainted with the over-flowing property portfolio of Mister and Missus Marks. In Los Angeles, in addition to their Malibu manse, they own a 1.9 acre estate in a leafy and low-key but very posh street in the Brentwood area that they picked up in July 1996 for $7,963,570 from real estate tycoon Robert F. Maguire III.

In May 2007 they coughed up $18,875,000 for a full-floor spread atop the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Central Park South in New York City that they had worked over by architect Oscar Shamamian and Oval Office decorator Michael Smith. In July (2012) the two bedroom and four bathroom aerie popped up on the open market with a $50,000,000 price tag.

Their decision to sell at the Ritz-Carlton surely had something to do with their record breaking and publicity generating $52,500,000 purchase of Courtney Sale Ross’s epic 30-room duplex at 740 Park Avenue in May 2012.

In October 2010 the high hoggers paid ad man turned television personality Donny Deutsch a staggering $30,184,000 for a pair of adjacent parcels in East Hampton, NY, one of which is ocean front and together total (approx.) 3.3 acres.

We’ve also been told by someone who tends to know these sorts of things that for at least the last six or seven years Mister and Missus Marks have maintained a very large, very expensive and very fancy 19th century flat in the central London’s natty, naboby and punishingly expensive Belgravia district that they also had over-hauled by Michael Smith.

P.S. We also have vague intel that there’s an even bigger deal in the works up north in the Bay Area. More on this to come as we have more to gossip about.

*Neither of our sources know—or would reveal—the alleged buyer of the baronial estate perched atop the rugged Encinal Bluffs but iffin any of the children might like to enlighten Your Mama we’ll be sure to keep your identity on the down low. 

aerial image: Google

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  11. Carla In California says:

    I hope Mama and Dr. Cooter have enjoyed a peaceful and delicious Christmas! May you both have a wonderful New Year as well. :)

    I am astounded on how Wall Street fat cats have been able to bounce back or, rather, avoid being burned by the recession. I need to change careers…

    Thanks for the tip on this property as well as all of the others for 2012. Can’t wait for the latest in 2013.

    All the best to Mama and true fellow RealEstalkers who care about Mama and this website and love real estate.

  12. Anonymous says:

    According to Forbes, Mr. Marks is worth $1.4 billion.(self-made wealth). He can afford his multiple homes.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wishing Mama a happy New Year!

    The comments have been sort of mean, nasty, and negative–towards each other during this holiday season.

    Let’s make a new years resolution not to use profanity on the blog this year. (I will do my part) The last few weeks have seemed trashier than Pamela Anderson’s lingerie drawer.

    Let’s try harder this year children, some of you are acting like iligitamet babay’s kids.

    Keep it classy and I repent to. Let’s do our part to keep this an upscale zip code on the internetz and not have Mama frantically searching the house for that prescription bottle and the endless glass of gin and tonics to self medicate.

    I should have taken a picture of this house in Beverly Hills (Palm Drive or something) with LOTS of Christmas lights. Maybe we needed some of those pics to put us in the holiday spirit? It’s not over yet!

    Oh well, we have a few days left. Let’s get our resolutions ready and make this a nice “respite” or indulgence in the year 2013–for Mama and us!

    Mama’s Black Sheep in Weho,

    Still here.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mama, can you please do a real estate post on the late Verna Harrah. Mrs. Harrah always bought the best and would love a juicy rundown (as you do best!) on what she owned and sold. Thanks!

  15. Anonymous says:


  16. Desert Donna says:

    Wow not a single holiday wish from Mama. Whats wrong?? Dont say your on the wagon Mama??!! Or are you visiting one of your crazy relatives that doesnt have internet yet??

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  22. Anonymous says:

    @11.38 i swim in malibu all the time and i have never once been stung by a jellyfish, but im assuming the kind of person who buys a home on the bluffs in malibu rarely if ever swims in the ocean.

  23. candi speling says:

    Mama on behalf of the children in Atlanta I am wishing you and the Dr. Cooter a Merry, gin-infused, Christmas.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Practical question. So you live in Malibu and you want to take a swim. So, do you go down your little path to the beach and swim out into the ocean where you risk getting badly stung by a jellyfish? Or do you stay home and swim in a lovely pool on the grounds of your estate? If the latter, why is the pool at the place so puny and insignificant?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Goodness me, Petra’s! What on earth for does she need this one? She already has a bunch of tiny little houses speckled around the surroundings of Malibu!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Really? 75m to live in Malibu?

  27. Petra's says:

    Yes, that’s Lee Phillip Bell’s compound. Late hubby purchased the land in 2003.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Here you go, Anonymous 8:15 AM:

  29. Anonymous says:

    Soap opera lady?

    Let’s see… Irna Phillips? Oh, but she isn’t alive.

    Agnes Nixon? I highly doubt the Bryn Mawr lady has a thing for such excess.

    Lee Phillip Bell? Perhaps. Even though her family already owns spectacular old money mansions all over Bel Air and Holmby Hills.

    Or perhaps you’re thinking about some prime time woman. Who knows.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Please someone post the Google map web address. I can’t find this house, and I just have to see it.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I think that house is being built by lady who created several really successful soap opera shows.

  32. Wonders says:

    Whatever happened to La Contenta? And who is building this monster, does anyone know:

    Apparently, the site makes use of a crane.

  33. Anonymous says:

    The nrw construction East Hampton home on the Deutch lots is gorgeous. See Tyson Lane. Right next to Seinfeld property. Was there in October. The curb appeal of the Malibu home is nice; grand cannot-miss entrance.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Yay updated google maps! All new from Benedict canyon to the ocean

  35. Anonymous says:

    Hey Mama I heard Chateau D’OR in Bel Air finally sold after a Bajillion years on the MLS! Care to share any of the juicy details!

  36. Anonymous says:

    couldnt be ecclestone could it? nahh

  37. Anonymous says:

    I feel like if it were Ellison, the big rags like the LA Times and WSJ would already have the story by now.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Hard to believe it’s not ellison…He seems to love these sorts of mega properties. But if ever there was a 75M house in Malibu this could be it.

    And you up there at 11:59. I don’t know who you or who you think you are are but let me assure you that our dear Mama is not the least bit concerned with your rude and silly commands.

    Given your vocabulary I’m sure you’ll come back with a blunt and ineffective retort such as “Fuck off bitch.” Yes, well, same to you in advance.

  39. Anonymous says:

    On her walk to work this morning, in front of a particularly striking art deco apartment house well known to Mama, a thoroughly urbanized resident wished the Rabbi a Marijuana Christmas and a Hashish New Year. Oy! To the World! The Rabbi in turn wishes Mama and Dr. Cooter, the mishpochah (extended family), Kinderlach and all of Creation joyous holidays infused with love and shalom, and shared with family, friends, and loved ones.

    Very sincerely,
    Rabbi Hedda LaTess
    Veranda and Patti, and
    Studly and Rodney too.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Carlos Slim? Looks like something a Hispanic billionaire would buy.

    Can’t be a Russian or Asian, house is not nearly garish enough.

  41. FalseProfit says:

    Re: the Bay Area deal, is someone buying the Carolands mansion or something? We don’t have many properties worth north of $75M ’round these parts.

    I can’t wait to hear more.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t kept count but I have the impression that the majority of the super super rich who appear in this blog are in the “financial industry.” That is because in the USA of today finance has grown into a bloated behemoth that, according to many eminent economists, sucks up far too much of the income and wealth in the nation, putting it to basically unproductive uses. As the super rich grow richer the Middle Class stagnates or declines producing slow growth in the economy and increasing inequality in society. (Just a bit of deeper background re the money involved in these transactions).

  43. WrteStufLA says:

    I easily found the place on google maps, then street-viewed it from the PCH, and — dear sweet Gawd — there is a truly ginormous and hideous power line doohingy-thing (to use the technical term) straddling the property line between the 2 gated entrances to the property. The buyer better be Larry Ellison, or somebody with similar $$ and political connections to get that dang thing ripped out! Or what’s the point?

  44. Anonymous says:

    Good bitch, do as you’re told.

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