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Mrs. C Gets an A for Remodel


MARION ROSS who played the grandmother, Sophie Berger, on the comedy series "Brooklyn Bridge" and Richie Cunningham's mom, Mrs. C, on the long-running sitcom "Happy Days"--has completed a major renovation of her Woodland Hills home.

Ross, who has had a steady stage and film career since graduating from San Diego State University in 1950, is hoping to do a movie based on "Brooklyn Bridge," which was in its second season when CBS recently took it off the air.

Since ABC's "Happy Days" ended its 11-year run in 1984, Ross starred on Broadway with Jean Stapleton in "Arsenic and Old Lace," went on a national tour of "Steel Magnolias" with Barbara Rush, and played late poet Edna St. Vincent Millay in a one-woman stage show.

Ross, who is divorced with two grown children, bought her Woodland Hills home, on an acre with a tennis court, for $285,000 in 1980. "It was an old, Valley ranch house on a dirt road with lots of fruit trees, so I called it 'Happy Days Farm,' " she said.

She rented it out at first, because she had a house in Tarzana. "But then I decided to move in and do a little bit of fixing," she said with a laugh. The "little bit of fixing" took 10 years and $600,000. The home reminds her now of "a huge mountain cabin or a chalet."

The original house was expanded from 2,500 to 4,000 square feet. "We turned the two-car garage into a TV room, built a three-car garage in front, kicked walls out and took the roof off," she said. Her bedroom and office are in a large loft addition.

In her back yard, she built what she calls her "Barn" or "Grandma's Attic," an air-conditioned shed with window boxes, where she keeps a rocking horse for her 2-year-old granddaughter.

Two-time U.S. Open champion TRACY AUSTIN, 30, has purchased a home in Rolling Hills for nearly its asking price of $1,795,000.

Ranked No. 1 in the world when she was only 17, Austin, who became the youngest member of the Tennis Hall of Fame last summer, retired in 1984 because of recurring neck and back injuries. Last July, she won a $1.35-million settlement for injuries sustained in a car accident.

In January, she returned to tournament tennis on a limited basis, and in April, she married mortgage broker Scott Holt, 32.

Their new home is a three-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot house on three acres, zoned for horses. The 34-year-old residence has been described as "a charming, beautifully maintained country home, with spectacular ocean and mountain views behind the gates of Rolling Hills."

Austin had been living in Redondo Beach. Her new home had been listed by Lynn Ramsdell of RE/MAX, Palos Verdes.

GEOFF MURPHY--director of the upcoming HBO film "The Last Outlaw," starring Mickey Rourke--has leased a house just outside of Beverly Hills.

Murphy was the writer, producer and director of "Never Say Die" (1988), and he was the director of "Freejack" (1992), starring Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger and Anthony Hopkins.

He leased a home with three bedrooms and a den in about 3,000 square feet for close to the monthly asking price of $3,000. Murphy had been renting another home since 1991, when he moved to California from New Zealand.

Bobbi Ward represented Murphy in the lease, and Inga Cohen represented the lessors. Both Ward and Cohen are with Asher Dann & Associates, Beverly Hills.

CHRISTOPHER ROBINSON--lead singer of the working-class, blues-based rock band the Black Crowes--has leased a house in the Hollywood Hills for close to its $5,400 monthly asking price, sources say.

The Black Crowes, an Atlanta-based sextet, is said to be relocating to Los Angeles, with Robinson leading the way. Robinson has been likened to a Mick Jagger in Ichabod Crane's body. With its hard-rock sound and pro-marijuana message, his band has been trying to restore a renegade element to rock 'n' roll.

Robinson, a bachelor in his 20s, leased a three-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot Italian villa-style house. Jeanne Valvo of Fred Sands' directors office in Beverly Hills represented Robinson, and Barry Peele and Victoria Lockwood, of the same office, represented the lessors.

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