The longtime Los Angeles residence of audaciously provocative bon vivant and erudite public intellectual Gore Vidal, located in the conveniently central, celeb-favored Outpost Estates neighborhood just above Hollywood, was sold for $3.75 million. The sale price was well below its last asking price of $4.15 million and considerably less than its rose-tinted original price tag of just under $5.7 million.
Property records indicate the late and prolific novelist, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, who died in 2012, acquired the not quite 4,800-square-foot Mediterranean villa in 1977 for a bit less than $150,000, an almost unimaginably low sum in comparison with today’s exorbitantly pricey luxury real-estate marketplace.
Set privately above the street amid a grove of towering palms, the five-bedroom, five-bathroom house opens to a small entry vestibule that steps down to a voluminous double-height foyer with terra-cotta tile floors,a wrought iron railed staircase, and an exposed-wood beamed ceiling. Formal living and dining rooms have hardwood floorboards and French doors — the living room also has a fireplace and coffered ceiling treatment — and there are two libraries, one lined with open bookshelves and the other with glass-fronted bookcases. The back of the house opens to a courtyard where a stairway climbs up the ruggedly planted hillside behind the house to a sun-dappled clearing with a rectangular swimming pool and a tile-paved sunbathing terrace.
The “Myra Breckinridge” author and “Caligula” screenwriter, who fastidiously nursed public feuds with Norman Mailer, William F. Buckley, and Truman Capote, previously owned La Rondinaia, a gravity-defying villa thrillingly cleaved to a craggy cliff about 1,000 feet above the Tyrrhenian Sea outside of Ravello, Italy, on the Amalfi coast. The property, sold by Vidal in 2004 to a local hotelier, came up for sale in 2015, and remains available, with an asking price of $21.3 million.
listing photos: Westside Estate Agency