Celebrity is a kind of club. While not every famous person knows every other famous person, they certainly walk the same red carpets, dine incognito — or not so incognito — in the same pricey boites, discreetly visit the same cosmetic dermatologists and frequently buy and sell homes previously owned by other rich, famous and/or otherwise high-profile people.
Marlo Thomas sold a bulky and dour 1920s Tudor of more than 8,000 square feet on almost 3.5-hilltop acres high in the Hills of Beverly in the late ’70s or early ’80s to David Geffen, who sold it in 1985 to Norm Pattiz. The radio syndication tycoon and his wife, Mary Turner, occupied the premises until 2006, when it sold it for $18.5 million to Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Peter Morton. Morton, bless his real estate heart, never moved there, and eventually sold the property at a multimillion-dollar loss in 2010 to hedge-fund fat-cat hotel developer Reagan Silber, who paid $15.5 million. He too never moved in, and quickly flipped it for $16.19 million the following year to Sandra Bullock.
Hollywood’s fastest climbing mega-mogul, Ryan Seacrest, lords over a multi-acre compound above Coldwater Canyon that he picked up in 2012 from Ellen DeGeneres, who purchased the multi-residence compound’s sprawling, 9,000-square-foot main house (and two guest houses) from Max Mutchnick in 2007 for almost $30 million. Prior to Mutchnick, the main house — originally designed by Buff and Hensman but since radically remodeled — was owned or occupied by Jerry Herman, Joan Collins and Totie Fields.
Nick Nolte’s longtime residence in Malibu (pictured), a 6,000-plus-square-foot main house and 2,000-plus-square foot guest house on two-plus-acres in the rolling hills above Zuma Beach, was previously owned by Tommy Chong, Don Felder and David Foster. Nolte, who acquired the property in the early ’90s for an unknown amount, put the place up for sale in April 2013 with an, in hindsight, wildly optimistic $8.25 million asking price. More than a year and five price chops later, the price stood at $4.995 million. The estate is currently in escrow with an unknown buyer at an unknown price. Talk about a price break.
This past April, in a hush-hush off-market deal, Andy Samberg and wife Joanna Newsom surreptitiously shelled out $6.25 million for a historic estate above Beachwood Canyon known as Moorcrest. The approximately 6,400-square-foot house, a quirky confection of architectural styles that careen from Art Nouveau to Moorish to Gothic, was designed and built in the early 1920s by Henry and Marie Hotchner, wealthy devout followers of the utopian Theosophist Society. The Hotchners rented the idiosyncratic three-story residence to Charlie Chaplin in the mid-’20s before they sold it to Mary Astor and her parents who, in turn, sold it in the mid-1930s for $21,500. The estate fell in to a severe state of neglect and disrepair until 2001, when it was purchased and painstakingly restored and updated by prominent L.A. businessman and Downtown pioneer Andrew Meieran, who owns a couple of eating and drinking establishments there, including the Edison and the legendary Clifton’s Cafeteria.