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Rudy Vallee's 'Spanish Castle' for Sale

October 05, 1986|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Rudy Vallee's home for 45 years is on the market at $10 million.

The megaphone-carrying crooner, who died at age 85 while watching the Statue of Liberty centennial ceremonies July 3, bought the 20-acre mountaintop estate in the Hollywood Hills from the late 1930s screen beauty Ann Harding, who built the place in 1930 when there were no nearby homes. (Harding died at 79 in 1981.)

Vallee often called the estate his Spanish castle though he named it "Silvertip" for a pine tree on the patio.

The main house, not counting secret passageways and rooms, measures about 6,000 square feet and has a central, winding staircase and rotunda, hand-painted heavy beams and a 360-degree view from the ocean to downtown Los Angeles.

Another building, with a tennis court on the roof, has three stories and 20,000 to 30,000 square feet of space including a theater that seats 150 people, two long galleries currently displaying Vallee's broadcasting and record memorabilia, a playroom that can accommodate about 40 people with a bar 20 feet long, and quarters he called his Christmas Card Room with Christmas cards from people in show business.

In that building, he also kept silent film footage that he shot himself, orchestrations worth an estimated $700,000, and a 100-foot-long wine rack filled with wines from all over the world.

Eleanor Vallee, who shared his life for 36 years and was a teen-ager when she became his fourth wife when he was in his late 40s, is the crooner's sole heir, says Marilyn Watson of Celebrity Properties, which has the listing.

Why is Eleanor Vallee selling? "When you walk into the property, it feels like a shrine," Watson said. "Rudy Vallee kept everything, every picture and postcard he ever got from anybody famous, including kings and queens. And the home is huge, much more than Eleanor feels she needs or wants in her life. It's like living in a museum. She's a beautiful redhead and wants to go on with her life."

As for the memorabilia, Watson says Eleanor received an offer for all of it but isn't sure if she'll accept it.

Actor John Ireland sold his Italian villa in Montecito for more than $2 million and has moved into a nearby condominium.

"I feel like I'm on a holiday," he said by phone. "It's such a relief."

The condo is a lot less work than the villa, built in 1914 for a Chicago steel magnate. "We sold five acres but still had seven when we sold the house," he said. "Now the gardening is paid for."

And now that the house is sold, his gardener no longer lives with him. Ireland, his wife and their 16-year-old daughter live together in one town house, and their maid lives in another next door.

Ireland, who was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role in the 1949 movie "All the King's Men" and appeared in "Spartacus" in 1960 and a number of lesser known films since, just wrote a three-hour, TV mini-series for a Canadian production company. Ireland was born in Canada.

The news last Wednesday that international financier Bernard Cornfeld's Beverly Hills house is being sold to a Southern California mining concern had Beverly Hills sources buzzing. The mansion, known as Grayhall, has been on and off the market for several years, sources say, and the price has ranged from $2 million to $9 million.

Douglas Fairbanks lived in it before his legendary Pickfair was completed, and actor George Hamilton later owned it, after its original 35 acres were subdivided. Most recently, Dona Solomon, a former owner of the mansion built for silent-screen star Harold Lloyd, has been leasing Grayhall for an estimated $18,000 a month, a source who spoke only on condition of not being identified, said.

Ever hear of a condo for $25 million? There is one for sale at that price in New York, and it's not even new! It's 10 years old. Comes furnished, though. And it has four floors and a 360-degree view of Central Park.

The broker is Christie's-Douglas Elliman.

News from Spain: One of the finest and largest ranches there--"Los Millares Ranch," just southeast of Seville--has been sold for almost $3.5 million.

The 18,278-acre property known for its cattle breeding and hunting facilities was acquired by Elk Trust Ltd. of the Cayman Islands.

William Craig, the New York City office manager of Denver-based Previews Inc. who listed and sold the ranch, is also marketing what he calls a year-old, 50-acre "palace" near Gibraltar, which comes furnished, even with linens and china.

It took the owner, an American, 10 years to build. "He wants to move on to create another work of art," Craig said. Asking price? "In the area of $10 million."

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