SELLER: Donna Scott
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: six parcels and a handful of residences
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Former beauty queen and actress Donna Scott, the widow of two-time Emmy-winning film and television director/producer Tony Scott, has officially hoisted the much ballyhooed Hollywood historic Bella Vista compound high above Beverly Hills on the open market with an asking price of $42.5 million. Some of the children may recall that several months ago we heard from Yvonne A. Snitch that Miz Scott had quietly engaged the services of at least one Platinum Triangle real estate mover and shaker to shop the estate off market with an asking price in the neighborhood of $25 million, a notably lower amount that we’re pretty sure covered only the main portion of the estate and not the entirety of the multi-parcel compound.
The quirky compound’s main residence, a rambling, multi-level red tile roofed Spanish Colonial, was originally built on granite promontory in the mid-1920s by architect John Byers for pioneering filmmaker King Vidor who quickly sold the property in 1927 to eccentric silver screen legend John Barrymore. During Barrymore’s long and famously decadent residency, which lasted until his death in 1942, the estate ballooned to more than seven acres with at least 16 structures including an aviary later converted to a guest cottage that was rented over the years to a slew of big name showbizzers such as Katharine Hepburn, Marlon Brando, and Candice Bergen.
Current listing details show the compound encompasses six non-contiguous parcels that by our rudimentary calculations total a sliver less than 3.5 acres and, if our research is accurate, cost the Scotts a total of $9.225 million. As best as this property gossip can surmise from a careful but not exactly forensic parse of the somewhat convoluted property records, the main part of the compound comprises a pair of adjacent parcels purchased in two transactions, the larger parcel with the main house in September 1998 for $6.35 million and the second, much smaller parcel in 2002 for $1.2 million. There are three undeveloped hillside parcels that together span .64 acres and, while contiguous to one another, do not butt up against either of the two parcels that make up the main portion of the estate. One of the hillside lots was purchased in 1998 with the main part of the estate while the other two were acquired in separate transactions — one in 1998 and the other in 2002 — for a total of $875,000. A fourth and also vacant parcel, not contiguous to any of the other five parcels, spans 1.8 acres, last traded hands, per property records, in early 2003 for $800,000, and, we assume without direct knowledge, could probably be sold off separately to a someone who desires to build a house from the ground up.
The property’s idiosyncratic, village-like assemblage of residential structures include a 6,976-square foot main house with three bedrooms, an entrance hall with fireplace, an octagonal living room, a study plus a fully paneled library, a Bavarian-inspired pub with fantastical redwood tree-trunk floor, and, above the master bedroom, a space that in Barrymore’s day was an opium den. There are two one-bedroom guest cottages as well as a decidedly contemporary, two-story poured-in-place concrete guesthouse with two self-contained guest suites that each offer a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. The grounds of the main part of the estate include numerous terraces, stone stairways shaded by lush and mature plantings, a picturesque courtyard with fountain, a swathe of flat and well-irrigated lawn, and a lagoon-style swimming pool with stone cabana.
Several years ago, shortly after her husband tragically took his own life by jumping from a bridge in San Pedro, CA, Miz Scott shelled out $5.5 million to acquire an approximately 12,000-square-foot mansion in Encino she bought from film and television star Kevin James. Property records show Miz Scott also owns a couple of side-by-side residences on the shore of North Carolina’s Lake Norman — home to an inordinate number of professional race car drivers — as well as a beachfront residence in the guard-gated Colony enclave in Malibu.
Listing photos: Westside Estate Agency