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New Plans for Watering Hole of Stars

September 29, 1985|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

The old Holiday House property in Malibu--a well known watering hole of the stars for a couple of decades--has been divided into four lots, with the fourth lot remaining the site of the currently popular, cliff-side restaurant, Geoffrey's, open about a year.

Geoffrey's, at 27400 Pacific Coast Highway, was opened after $1 million in renovations to a restaurant that opened in 1949 as part of the Holiday House resort-hotel owned and operated by Dudley Murphy, a World War I aviator who directed silent and early sound films. His best known production was "Emperor Jones" with Paul Robeson, released in 1933.

"We bought the property in 1974 from the Dudley Murphy estate," talent agent Charles Stern said. (Murphy died at age 72 in 1968.) "In 1979, we sold 10 condos designed (and built in 1939 for Murphy as motel units) by famed architect Richard Neutra."

The restaurant is on one of the lots just subdivided, and a private home is expected to be built on one of the other three lots next spring. The remaining two lots, which have a total of 83 feet of beach frontage, represent what Stern called "the first Escondido Beach Road home sites available to the public in more than 20 years." They are priced, with plans designed by Malibu architect Michael Barsocchini ("and Coastal Commission approval," Stern said), at $850,000 and $900,000.

Before anything can be built on the three lots, though, the Holiday House apartment building, which has been on the site since it was constructed by Murphy as additional motel units in 1959, will be demolished in March, 1986.

"This will be the end of an era," Stern said. "Many famous film and television stars stayed at the Holiday House." Among them, he named Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Cornel Wilde, David Niven and Lana Turner.

"It has also been an excellent location for films and TV," he added. "There have been so many--James Garner's "They Only Kill Their Masters" and "The Rockford Files;" "Harry O," "The $6-Million Man," and a surfing film, to name a few."

"Beautiful Downtown Burbank"--that tongue-in-cheek reference made popular by comedians Dick Martin and Dan Rowan on their popular weekly TV program "Laugh-In" (which ran from 1968 to 1973) and, later, by Johnny Carson--will come closer to reality later this year when 45-foot-long gateway signs span several major streets, 21-foot-high multicolored Bs decorate the business district, and 12-foot Bs mark freeway offramps and bus-stop shelters.

"Hinsche & Associates, the Santa Monica design firm that "emblazoned 150 miles of Los Angeles area streets with banners and pennants for the 1984 Olympics," is designing these and other signs along with some bus shelters.

"Madonna was married here" could be tacked over the doorway of a gated Malibu estate just put on the market, because the pop/rock star was married there to actor Sean Penn on Aug. 16.

The 6,800-square-foot residence on the Point Dume bluffs has such state-of-the-art control electronic systems that a spokeswoman for Fred Sands Realtors (which has the $6.5-million listing) said, "Even the windows wash themselves." Industrialist/investor Kurt Unger and his wife are selling because they want "to create another architectural art object," Alan Mark, who shares the Sands listing with Aaron Lang, said.

Mark shares another listing--this time with Marilyn Tatum--on a house that could be the largest single-family sale in Malibu if it goes for anywhere near its asking price--a whopping $12 million! That would top Johnny Carson's $9.5-million purchase, which broke Malibu records last November.

The house priced at $12 million is owned by Ron Cameron, who Mark described as a private investor/entrepreneur who started and later sold the Malibu Grand Prix amusement parks, where ordinary people can pretend for a few minutes that they are Mario Andretti or other famous race car drivers.

Cameron is selling the estate, which has 450 feet of private Malibu beach and manicured lawns that Mark said "look like putting greens," because he wants to build a horse ranch.

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