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Rupert Murdoch to Restore Stein Home

September 21, 1986|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch has closed escrow on the Beverly Hills-area home previously owned by the late philanthropist/physician/creator of a billion-dollar entertainment empire, Dr. Jules Stein.

And aficionados of the late great architect Wallace Neff will be glad to hear that Murdoch plans to maintain the 1927 house, which sits on about seven acres, with a panoramic view.

Murdoch wrote from his News America Publishing firm in New York to Neff's son Wally in Southern California that the house will be refurbished.

"My wife and I are extremely excited about it," Murdoch wrote, "and we plan to make it even more as your late father intended." "This certainly is good news," Neff said by phone last week.

The elder Neff designed many homes for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills, Pasadena and San Marino in the '20s and '30s. He built the Stein house for Fred Niblo, who directed such silent films as "The Mark of Zorro" and "The Three Musketeers."

Stein bought the house in 1940. He died in 1981. The house was put on the market after his wife died in 1984. The property was sold by the Doris Stein Family Trust, which had been asking $10 million. Murdoch took out a $7-million loan with an Australian bank for the home, the grant deed shows.

Documents were signed for Murdoch by Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive of Murdoch's 20th Century Fox Film Corp. Last December, Murdoch completed his buy-out of the company from Denver oilman Marvin Davis for $325 million.

John Reilly, a star of the ABC-TV daytime serial "General Hospital," and his wife, Liz, just bought and sold homes in the Hancock Park area of L. A.

Elias James Sayour with Fred Sands' Sunset Boulevard office says he sold the Reillys' two-bedroom Cape-Cod style home to Brian Harlig, partner in the Good Times Ticket Agency in L. A., and then sold the Reillys a larger, Mediterranean house nearby.

Sayour also recently sold two Hollywood Hills houses for actor Lorenzo Lamas, Sayour said. One was a home Lamas owned with his famous father, Fernando, who died in 1982. The other was a home the younger Lamas had lived in with his wife before they were divorced, Sayour explained. Lamas, a regular on the weekly CBS-TV show "Falcon Crest," now has an apartment in the Marina, he added.

Architect Stanley M. Brent celebrated the one-year anniversary of his firm's move to new offices in Sherman Oaks last Friday with an open house and "artist showcase of the Valley's own, very original Catherine Stapp," a stamp-design artist who has created artwork for the homes of singer Pat Boone and actors Richard Crenna and Henry Winkler.

In case you didn't know, a stamp-design artist designs collages using postage stamps.

Sturdywood, a Bel-Air mansion built in 1936, has been turned into Claridge House by (who else?) Gail Claridge, an L. A. interior designer, and to mark completion of her $4-million restoration, Claridge is planning a 50th birthday party for the house on Oct. 5.

The mansion, built by architect Alfred Trousdale Gilman, is one of the oldest homes in Bel-Air. Claridge updated it while maintaining the Georgian Colonial architectural style.

The home has a six-car garage, seven fireplaces, and $12,000 Strauss crystal chandeliers in the entry and banquet-size dining room. The grounds have 17 60-year-old Sycamore trees.

Claridge recently purchased the mansion, which had been threatened with demolition, and is now trying to market it through Bruce Nelson at Asher Dann & Associates in Beverly Hills for $4.5 million.

Claridge's own abode in Chatsworth will play in the TV mini-series "Fresno," about some raisin barons in the San Joaquin Valley. "Fresno," a spoof of prime-time soaps and starring Carol Burnett and Dabney Coleman, is scheduled to run on CBS, but the air date has not yet been announced.

An offering of more than half of the nearly 700-acre Chanslor Ranch in western Sonoma County is part of a movement to develop the sleepy fishing village of Bodega Bay.

"There is already a new motel, two new restaurants and a new marina in the area, and a new hotel is also being built nearby," Charlene Schnall with Coldwell Banker's Santa Rosa office said.

She has the $1.6-million listing, with her associate Pat Spencer, for 378 acres of the ranch, currently used for cattle grazing and a six-unit bed-and-breakfast. "The ranch has been been approved for 30 additional units," she said.

Verne Paule, one of the general partners in a partnership that has owned the ranch since buying it from San Francisco industrialist John Chanslor in 1973, said that the site is identified in the Sonoma County Coastal plan for expanded recreational purposes. The partnership, known as the Bodega Salmon Creek Co., will retain ownership of 320 acres.

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