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Arsenio Gets New 'Woof' Over Head


Late-night talk-show host ARSENIO HALL has purchased late crooner RUDY VALLEE'S longtime home on a mountaintop in the Hollywood Hills, sources say.

"Arsenio never walked through it before buying," a source said. "He just rode over in a helicopter."

The estate, on slightly more than two acres, was bought through a trust for $3.5 million in cash, public records indicate. The home was first listed in October, 1986, at $10 million, then was reduced nine months later to $5.5 million.

When the price was dropped from $10 million, Vallee's widow, Eleanor, said, "I didn't really want to sell it . . . (but now) I'm ready to go on with a new life." Several months later, she married attorney Edward Hustedt.

Vallee's widow, who moved with her new husband to a condo in Brentwood, had lived in the Hollywood Hills home for 40 years. She was a teen-ager when she became Vallee's fourth wife; at the time, he was in his late 40s. Vallee died at age 85 in 1986, after living in the home for 45 years.

The pink hacienda, with 360-degree views and a long private drive lined with oak trees, was built by late film star ANN HARDING in 1930. Harding sold it in 1940 to a man who gave it to his daughter as a wedding present.

"The newlyweds didn't know how to enjoy it, and in 1941, the father sold it to me," Vallee once wrote.

After he moved in, Vallee resurfaced the tennis court, heated the pool and added on to the five-bedroom, six-bath main house, which is about 6,000 square feet in size, not counting secret passageways. The property also has a theater, game room and kitchen below the tennis court.

It was most recently listed by Christine Tittel of Douglas Properties, who was unavailable for comment. When reached for comment, Hall's publicist denied that he had purchased a new home.

JULIAN LENNON has been on the move again.

For the third time in less than three years, the pop musician, son of the late John Lennon, has changed residences.

He has purchased a home in the Beverly Hills Post Office Area at close to its $1,525,000 asking price, and he's put the home he bought last October, off Mulholland Drive, on the market at $1,295,000.

He bought that home when he sold an estate in the Santa Monica Mountains that was used as the site of a World War II bunker.

"He moved this time because he missed having a view," said Erin Caldwell, a vice president of Alvarez, Hyland & Young, who represented Lennon in his latest purchase and has his listing.

"He didn't have a view at his last house, but he has one of Los Angeles at this one," she said. "He likes its views, trees, big lawn and pool. He likes the country feel to it, with its pitched beam ceilings. And he likes its privacy."

His new home is off a private drive and has three bedrooms and two baths in a 3,000-square-foot main house, which was built 55 years ago but has been completely remodeled, according to Caldwell. The property, about a third of an acre, also has a guest apartment.

The home that he's listed--a gated, 1930s Mediterranean-style residence--has three bedrooms, three baths, a used-brick motor court for six cars, a black-bottom swimming pool, fountains, ponds, orchids and ferns.

Film editor WILLIAM ZIEGLER--nominated for Academy Awards for his work on "Auntie Mame," "The Music Man" and "My Fair Lady"--built a four-bedroom, three-bath house in Encino in 1951, which his widow, Miriam, has sold for a bit under $1 million, public records show.

Ziegler, who also edited "Rebel Without a Cause" in 1955, lived there until his death in 1978, and he and his wife raised their three daughters there.

Miriam Ziegler moved to a townhouse in Northridge after selling the 2,345-square-foot house to a Los Angeles businessman and his wife who plan to turn the property, which has a flat lot totaling almost three-fourths of an acre, into a major estate, said listing agent Rodney Johnson of Century 21, All Properties Inc. in Chatsworth.

The buyers were represented by Arlene Herbert, Jon Douglas Co., Encino.

Multimillionaire sportsman BRIGGS CUNNINGHAM, the Procter & Gamble heir who skippered the America's Cup-winning yacht in 1958, and his wife, Laura, have completed their 15,000-square-foot Italian villa at Fairbanks Ranch in Rancho Santa Fe at a construction cost of more than $5 million.

"It was a big job--took 3 1/2 years, though the house itself is a small apple compared to some being built today," said Laura Cunningham, who designed the home with the help of architect Cliff Mills.

"The process wasn't new to me, because my father (the late Duncan Cramer) was an art director in the studios in the '20s, when I was a little girl, and he taught me how to read blueprints," she said.

Borrowing some of his techniques, she painted the house mustard yellow to make it look old and used trompe d'oeil techniques to give an impression of leaves on a wall. She also installed balconies and French doors to create the illusion of the second floor extending to the exterior wall, although there is a 30-foot high entrance hall.

"I decided, because we've had big boats, to use diesel steam heat and diesel hot-water heaters to try to conserve energy with this big house," she said, "and we're using drought-tolerant trees and plants."

The interiors are filled with the Cunninghams' collections of ivory figures, some life size; antique dolls and rugs; perfume bottles, parrots and mementoes of their car- and yacht-racing days.

The Cunninghams owned an automotive museum in Costa Mesa but sold that collection, except for a popcorn wagon, which is in their party room, and a scaled-down model of a 1926 Bugatti, which is in his library.

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