Silent screen star Harold Lloyd's 44-room house in Beverly Hills may be on the market again.
A trial started last week to determine whether the Greenacres Mansion will be sold or not. The trial is part of divorce proceedings for Bernard C. Solomon, president of the Everest Record Group, and his wife, Dona, who have owned the house, on about five acres, since 1979.
They bought it then for $3 million from Shahram Afshani, who bought the entire 15.7-acre Lloyd estate at auction in 1975 for a measly $1.6 million. (Lloyd died there at age 77 in 1971.)
Afshani subdivided the property into about 15 lots in addition to the mansion, and the last lot was just sold for about $1.2 million, said Ron Abrams, a real estate broker whose Beverly Hills firm represented the lot sellers, the Afshani Family Trust. The buyer, CSL Development, was represented by Mike Silverman's firm.
After buying Greenacres, the Solomons spent considerable time and money restoring it. Built by Lloyd between 1926 and 1929 at a cost of an estimated $3.5 million, the house, which has been described as a copy of an Italian Renaissance residence near Florence, had fallen into disrepair. The gold-leaf coffered ceiling in the projection room where Lloyd showed his silent films had fallen down; fixtures had been torn out, and the hand-painted leaves, flowers and birds on the walls of the garden room were faded and nearly gone.
The Solomons had put the finishing touches on it when they voiced interest in buying the 55-room Greystone, another Beverly Hills mansion, in 1982.
Since then, divorce papers were filed, and in June, magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes paid $1.76 million for a Faberge egg that a judge ordered auctioned as part of the Solomons' legal proceedings.
"In two weeks, a decision (on listing Greenacres) should be coming through," Bernard Solomon said. "I want to sell it. My wife doesn't. However, there is a court order to show the house with a 48-hour notice."
The asking price? "$12 million."
An auction was held, but the Hollywood Professional School building is still for sale, says Stanley Kottle, whose Marsh Dozar Auctioneers of Encino was handling the property.
Ryan O'Neal, Peggy Fleming, Connie Stevens and Mickey Rooney are just some of the luminaries pictured in old annuals as former students.
Much of the rest of the estate of the late Bertha Keller Mann, who owned and ran the 54-year-old school since 1949, was sold at auction, Kottle said, but a $550,000 offer on the 16,000-square-foot school at 5400 Hollywood Blvd. was rejected by the executors. An inheritance tax appraiser put a value of about $1 million on it, but it needs an estimated $250,000 to make it earthquake proof, and an auto repair shop is leasing part of it until January, 1988. "The executors plan to give it to a broker to sell," Kottle said.
Mann owned many houses and other buildings in several areas of the Southland. At the auction of the school, one of her relatives said that Mann started buying property after getting a fortune cookie with a message that read: "Buy real estate."
Deborah Shelton, who plays Mandy Winger on TV's "Dallas," and her husband, producer Shuki Levi, have been identified as the proud owners of one of the two new houses on the late Academy-Award-winning costume designer Edith Head's former Coldwater Canyon estate.
The four-bedroom house, built by Jacob and Irving Chorub, was listed at $1.35 million with Mike Silverman & Associates.
The other house, constructed by the same builders, is also listed at $1.35 million but with Fred Sands Realtors.
Head's estate was subdivided before she died at 83 in 1981, but the two homes were just completed.