Television Titan Donald P. Bellisario Snags $5.2 Million Montecito Spread

Donald Bellisario House
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  • Location: Montecito, Calif.
  • Price: $5.2 million
  • Size: 6,875 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms plus 2-bed/3-bath staff or guest wing

It’s not so much a return to the scene of a crime, but rather something akin to that without the crime and with multimillion-dollar real estate. Not quite five years ago legendary television titan Donald P. Bellisario sold a home in the aristocratic seaside community of Montecito, Calif., for almost $5.9 million, an enviable chunk over the $4.2 million he paid about seven years earlier. And now, the octogenarian showbiz powerhouse, creator of a handful of long running megahit police procedurals and crime/legal dramas including “JAG,” the “NCIS” franchise and the 1980s series “Magnum P.I.” (and its current reboot), has decided he liked the exclusive (and all but exact) location enough to cough up $5.2 million to acquire the spacious home almost directly across the street.

Built in 1989 inside the gates of a prestigious golf club, the three-bedroom and 3.5-bathroom single-story home sprawls out over nearly 6,900 square feet with two home offices plus a discrete two-bedroom and three-bath wing for guests and/or domestic staff. The listing was held by Patricia Griffin and Gregg Leach of Village Properties; Bellisario was repped in the deal by the Gregoire Beuoy Real Estate Group at Compass.

A chunky brass-accented white marble fireplace set into a paneled accent wall lends modern elegance to the formal living room, and an otherwise identical fireplace in black marble injects sophisticated drama into the entirely wood-paneled library. The dining room’s close-to floor-to-ceiling picture window perfectly frames the balloon-like canopy of a carefully sculpted tree, while the kitchen is certainly spacious and impeccably maintained if stuck in late 1980s with honey-toned raised panel cabinets and older, average-quality appliances.

Great expanses of glass sliders open the living room to a huge lanai defined by square stone columns. Half a dozen heaters mounted to the ceiling make the shady space comfortable for year-round usage. Lush, grassy gardens surround the house, and a chest-high hedge shields a lap lane pool from the prying eyes of passing golfers while a separate spa is hemmed in on three sides by a shorter but no less fastidiously clipped boxwood hedge. A good portion of the just shy of 3.25-acre parcel extends out to the manicured fairways of the golf course that borders two sides of the property.

Bellisario, who sold his longtime home in the woodsy and upscale Fryman Canyon area of L.A.’s Studio City community in late 2018 for $5.85 million, still owns another gated Montecito estate anchored by a Mediterranean mansion of nearly 9,000 square feet that tax records show was purchased in 2012 for $9 million.