By now, nearly everyone knows that Bruce Springsteen was born in the U.S.A. But is he planning to live in P.V.E.?
That's what they're wondering in the isolated, upper slopes of Palos Verdes Estates near the Rancho Palos Verdes border, where the ocean-view mansions resemble Italian villas and French country manors and repose behind heavy wrought iron gates and fences that don't need "keep out" signs to make their point.
"You hear it from a lot of Bruce fans in town," said 18-year-old Ann Vasey, who said that she is personally "stoked"--that is, more thrilled than thrilled--about the prospects of having America's First Rocker as a neighbor.
"He's got a great body and I love his songs," said the teen-ager, who lives on Via Arco. "They (the songs) get down to how life really is these days, not like it is up here. I'd go jogging by his house every day."
The Springsteen rumors apparently were sparked by a recent item in the Easy Reader, a beach-area weekly newspaper, reporting that the singer is buying a $3.2-million mansion in a relatively undeveloped area of Palos Verdes Estates. More than 10,000 square feet in size, the place comes with pool, tennis courts and a "mini-ballroom," the report said, attributing the information to an unnamed "knowledgeable real estate broker."
On Via Coronel, Sharon Tedesco and her 17-year-old daughter, Christina, heard the story from a painter working on their house. Even though Springsteen wears well-worn jeans and sings of the plight of factory workers, Christina said she isn't surprised that he'd want to live in the the land where designer labels have become ordinary.
"He doesn't want all that Hollywood falderal," said the teen-ager, who said she has all of Springsteen's albums. "It's a quiet area and safe. People get lost up here and that's why no one is robbed."
Marilyn Laverty, Springsteen's New York publicist, said the millionaire performer would not comment on the newspaper report one way or the other. "There are always stories about Bruce buying property," she said. Springsteen owns a home in New Jersey.
Some Palos Verdes real estate people said the rumored Springsteen purchase was news to them, while others said they had heard the same talk as everyone else. But is it true? None knew.
"I think it's unlikely," said Bob Brown of Cove Realty, who said no house in the city has ever sold for what Springsteen reportedly is paying. "I can't believe he'd buy in a rural family area," Brown said. "He's more West L.A."
But Barbara Dion, a local real estate agent for nearly 30 years, said Springsteen might very well want to live in the city, which is known for strict architectural controls and quiet neighborhoods.
"He's coming here for privacy and tranquility," she said. "People are friendly, but they respect your privacy."
Despite the groupies that now follow Springsteen from concert to concert, he is said to be a very private person offstage. He once told an audience about the time he climbed the fence of Elvis Presley's Graceland estate in Memphis so he could meet the King, adding, "I hate when people do that to my place now."
Does the thought of fans flocking to their maybe-neighbor's home bother folks in Palos Verdes Estates? Not really.
"My son likes him too much," said Susan Kao, the mother of a 15-year-old. "We'd welcome him."
Sharon Tedesco said the Estates already is home to football stars and other celebrities, and she recalled when a member of the rock group War lived two doors away. "There was no problem," she said.
Tedesco said that if Springsteen really does move into town, she'll probably send him a neighborly bottle of champagne. "It beats a casserole."
And if the Boss, as the singer is known, should choose to wash his vintage mid-60s Chevy in his driveway, Christina Tedesco said she would gladly help out.