Your Mama Hears from a trusted and impeccably connected Platinum Triangle real estate über-insider we’ll call Don I. Wantchatoknow that the mysterious and previously unidentified buyers who shelled out $46.25 million for the opulent and freshly rehabbed Liongate estate in L.A.’s tony Bel Air area are not showbiz’s reigning royals Jay-Z and Beyoncé — long-rumored and reported to be on the hunt for a statement residence in Los Angeles — but rather low-profile airplane rivet and widget manufacturing tycoon Jim Randall and his long-time wife Eleanor. According to a press release issued from the offices of Hilton & Hyland listing agent Mia Trudeau, the sale price of “ just under $50 million” was, “Inclusive of furniture and prized assets.”
Mister Randall may not be a household name in or outside of Hollywood nowadays but in the mid-1970s he was briefly, publicly and tempestuously married to and made a baby with fortunately born international jetsetter, model and actress Marisa Berenson. The couple were married at and lived in a sprawling, mid-century modern residence on Greenway Drive in Beverly Hills staffed by six domestics and originally built for Ice Capades founder John Harris and later owned by still-working octogenarian Tinseltown icon Debbie Reynolds. George Hamilton was Mister Randall’s best man, Valentino personally dressed the bride and Andy Warhol attended the glammy nuptials as did pioneering celebrity gossip maven Rona Barrett.
The original house that stood on the Liongate property was designed by influential and theatrically named architect Paul Revere Williams, built in the late 1930s and first owned, per Miz Trudeau’s press release, by composer and musician Jack Lawrence. Country music heavyweight Kenny Rogers, who acquired the estate in 1979, renovated and expanded the residence with the guidance of Cher’s decorator Ron Wilson, added the carved stone lions that stand on either side of the driveway gates and dubbed the place Liongate. Rogers sold Liongate it in 1983 for $5.8 million to businessman Ken Rickel and Nicole Richie’s godmother Nancy Davis, the philanthropic daughter of famously rotund oil magnate turned entertainment industry power player Marvin Davis.
Miz Davis had the 1.63-acre estate on and off the market a number of times for a number of years — we first dissed and discussed the property in the spring of 2007 when it was listed at a tetch less than $24,000,000 — and finally unloaded the white elephant in March 2010 for $12.2 million to an inscrutably named corporate entity. Though we can’t prove it, dedicated real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak says she’ll swear on a mountain-sized pile of Italian white truffles the buyer behind the corporation was Switzerland-based entrepreneur Raoul Walter. Whatever the case, a massive and massively expensive renovation ballooned the residence from just under 10,000-square-feet to its current 24,000-ish square feet. The newly huge mansion first hit the open market last year with an asking price of $65 million and some of the children may recall that it was Your Mama who, back in October (2014), let the proverbial cat out of the bag about hotel and casino mogul Steve Wynn initiating then backing out of escrow on Liongate last year, an oft-repeated Platinum Triangle real estate canard which Miz Trudeau confirmed to the Wall Street Journal last week.
Your Mama gave the estate a thorough dressing down in March 2014 when it first popped up for sale at $65 million so we’ll be brief in description here but digital marketing materials show the multi-story and multi-winged mansion has a total of 11 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms and seven fireplaces throughout the main house and guesthouse. Amply proportioned main floor entertaining three reception rooms, including a double height lounge, formal dining room, a study/library and a billiard lounge with circular built-in wet bar. Less formal and family quarters include a double-island kitchen that adjoins a family room and circular informal dining area and a professional movie theater with a dozen automated recliners. Beyond the mosaic tiled swimming pool, a glass-topped dome shelters a glass elevator that descends to a partly subterranean space with fitness room, spa facilities and a smallish ballroom with built-in wet bar.
Our research shows that in addition to their still only whispered about acquisition of the Liongate estate, Mister and Missus Randall’s property portfolio includes a two parcel, bluff-top spread in Malibu with an 8,951 square feet main residence, a couple of detached guesthouses, tennis court and swimming pool. Since at least the mid-1990s, the couple and their family have long resided in the exclusive, guard-gated Bradbury Estates enclave in discreet and exceedingly expensive Bradbury, CA, on a two-parcel compound of nearly six acres with two houses, two swimming pools, a tennis court and a couple of acres of well-watered lawns. (In case any of the children don’t know — and though it’s since fallen off the list, little-known Bradbury, tucked into the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains about 25 miles northeast of downtown L.A., was ranked by Forbes in 2010 as the most expensive zip code in all of the United States with a median home cost of $4,276,482.)
Listing photos: Hilton & Hyland