YOUR MAMAS NOTES: While poking around the internets in an unsuccessful attempt to locate an online listing for a property that recently popped up for sale in Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter’s ‘hood, we ran across a little celebrity real estate surprise in the form of Gore Vidal’s house in the Hollywood Hills recently listed with an asking price of $3,495,000.
The octogenarian essayist, activist, playwright, novelist and all around rabble rouser is a member of an an illustrious American family. His mother Nina’s second huzband was Hugh Auchincloss, the step-father of Jackie-O. He’s a fifth cousin to Jimmy Carter and is said to be distantly related to former vice-president and global warming do-gooder Al Gore.
In 1948 Mister Vidal’s novel The City and The Pillar worked the nerves mainstream society due to its frank portrayal of homosexuals. In 1968 he published the racy Myra Breckinridge, which in 1970 was reworked into a cinematic flop about a sexpot tranny played by Raquel Welch. Along with his wonderfully smutty books Mister Vidal published a number of less controversial historical novels including Lincoln and Hollywood.
While working as a political commentator covering the 1968 Republican and Democratic national presidential conventions the lefty-liberal Mister Vidal had a heated, fascinating and televised exchange with conservative intellectual William F. Buckley. Vidal called Buckley a “pro-crypto-Nazi” and Buckley called Vidal a “queer.” Their famous feud continued long after their on air-smack down. Buckley called Vidal “an evangelist for bisexuality” and Vidal called Buckley “anti-semitic.” Buckley sued Vidal (for libel) and Vidal counter-sued (also for libel). It’s sort of like what Your Mama images might happen if right-wing harridan Ann Coulter and left-side blowhard Bill Maher got put into a locked and over-heated room with just one tiny glass of water and told to come to a consensus on illegal immigration and “Obamacare.”
Anyhoo, property records indicate that Mister Vidal bought his house in the Outpost Estates neighborhood of the Hollywood Hills in March of 1977 for an unbelievable $149,500. Imagine, children, the days of real estate yore when a person could buy a vintage Mediterranean mini-mansion in Los Angeles for well under two hundred grand. It boggles and bedevils the brain.
Mister Vidal’s spread spans nearly half an acre an includes a 4,782 square foot Mediterranean built in 1929. Listing information shows the main house has 4 bedrooms and 4 poopers and a guest house offers another bedroom with private terliting facilities.
Mister Vidal’s eclectic and haphazard day-core that positively reeks of an educated and intellectual homosexual of a certain age manifests itself immediately in the foyer where rustic carved wood beams on the ceiling create a palpable tension with a florid (and kinda fab) and gilded Rococo console.
The formal living room has distressed wide-plank wood floors, a massive carved stone fireplace and a couple of huge paintings mounted on the ceiling like it was the Sistine damn Chapel. The formal dining room has a vaulted ceiling and wide-plank wood floors. An adjacent nook with groin vault ceiling is done up in a vaguely Chinoiserie style with antique trunk and red and gold brocade banquette, velvet balloon shades and some sort of wall carving that looks to Your Mama like something Thailand-ish.
Other interior spaces include a library, bookshelf lined office, music room, and a meditation room while exterior amenities of the gated property include extensive parking, secluded gardens, large tile terraces and a tree-shaded rectangular-shaped swimming pool tucked up into the hillside behind the house.
For many years Mister Vidal and his long-time man-friend Howard Austen lived on a 6-acre cliff-top estate called La Rondinaia (Swallow’s Nest), a spectacular 5,000 square foot villa in Ravello, Italy that he bought in 1972. Rich and famous folks flocked to the Ravello residence where Mister Vidal entertained the likes of Lauren Bacall, Tennessee Williams, Princess Margaret, Brad Pitt and Greta Garbo. A New York Times article from 2004 stated that the house has “six bedrooms, two studies and five fireplaces.” There is also a swimming pool, pool house and sauna. The house was featured in the quirky 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Bill Murray.
Mister Vidal sold the dramatically sited digs in 2006 for a reported $17,870,000. The property was sold to a European hotelier who planned to open the residence as an intimate 7-room boo-teek hotel that can also be rented in its entirety for use as a single house.
Mister Vidal’s nearby neighbors in the Outpost Estates include Charlize Theron, Desperate Housewives‘ Felicity Huffman, Matthew Perry, Kyle MacLachlan, Ben Stiller, and, until recently, Orlando Bloom who recently put his black house in the Outpost Estates up for lease at $18,000 per month.
listing photos: Coldwell Banker Previews International