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O. J. Simpson Buys Laguna Beach Home

March 17, 1985|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

O. J. Simpson and his bride, Nicole, now have a view of the ocean when they get bored with their surroundings in Brentwood.

The former National Football League running back bought a new, three-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath house on the ocean front in Laguna Beach.

"He bought it for his wife," E. Swift Torrance of Grubb & Ellis, who represented Simpson, said, "because she is from South Laguna, and she likes it down here." Simpson, 37, was married a few weeks ago. He was divorced from Margurite, his wife of 11 years, in 1979.

Unlike most of the Laguna houses, which are built on bluffs, Simpson's new home is right on the sand with decks off all three levels. There are also two fireplaces and a den in the 2,700-square-foot home, built by investor/builder Karl Weber. Assessor's records indicate that Simpson paid about $1 million.

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day today, what is being called "the largest farm in all of Ireland" has come on the market--all 3,160 acres of the Grianan Estate in County Donegal--at a price of 5 million. The British pound is now worth about $1.08.

Besides the timing, the farm itself has links to St. Patrick. It directly adjoins Grianan Aileach, an ancient stone fort dating back to 1700 B.C. that was the Royal Court of Kings and the scene of one of St. Patrick's notable victories over paganism.

Grianan Estate is now used to grow wheat, barley and potatoes. The farm also has a 500-cow dairy unit, a beef herd, 500 sheep, a 410-acre fresh water lake, a recently completed farmhouse and other dwellings and farm buildings.

A brochure prepared by London-based Knight Frank & Rutley (affiliate of Douglas Elliman Knight Frank in New York), which is representing the property, describes it as being "1 1/2 hour's drive from Belfast on fast roads." It's three miles from the Northern Ireland border and four miles from Londonderry.

In case you missed it, Fess Parker, star of the old "Davy Crockett" and "Daniel Boone" weekly TV shows, won the battle that was detailed in an interview with him in this column on Feb. 10.

Last week, his plan to develop a $50-million, 360-room hotel and convention center on a 14-acre site he owns along the ocean on East Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara was approved in a special election.

After a nine-year struggle to get the project approved, was Parker surprised by the results? "I was surprised at the voter turnout," he said. "It was apparently unprecedented in Santa Barbara history--three times larger than the previous special election--45%." Of those who voted, 72% gave Parker the go-ahead.

"We hope to start work on it as soon as possible," he delighted in saying, and that probably means within the next few weeks.

Hollywood, where there have been some valiant fights lately against urban blight, got another boost with the opening of the Hollywood Playhouse & Cafe at 1445 N. Las Palmas, just south of Sunset Boulevard.

The 236-seat theater is in a building that was constructed in 1904 as a private residence. It was bought in 1921 by the Writer's Club and turned into a theater for its members (among them, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Bela Lugosi, Will Rogers, Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Fred Allen and Joan Crawford). It was vacant and run-down before it was renovated and reopened in February with John Ford Noonan's comedy "A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking," starring Elizabeth Ashley and Susan Anspach.

The 100-seat covered, outdoor cafe--which is planning to serve Chinese-Italian food like won ton made with Italian sausage--is due to open on April 1. But that's no April Fool's joke! Budd Friedman, who created The Improvisation--a coffee house with food that served as a showcase for talented young people in a tough neighborhood of New York, is in charge of the restaurant in Hollywood. He, Norman Maibaum (executive director of the Westwood Playhouse) and Stanley H. Handman (an entertainment attorney) formed F. H. M. Corp. to operate the Hollywood Playhouse & Cafe, which will also have a 99-seat equity waiver-theater completed in about five weeks.

Atlantic Gulf and Pacific, a development-investment corporation, has been working since February, 1984, renovating the building at a cost of about $1 million.

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