TOM SELLECK and his wife, dancer JILLIE MACK, had just finished renovating and expanding the home on their Thousand Oaks-area ranch at a cost of $2 million when the Green Meadow blaze threatened to destroy it.
The October firestorm, which claimed more than 60 residences from Thousand Oaks to Malibu, burned 50 of the 60 acres on the Sellecks' ranch and came to within 20 feet of a newly built complex housing their movie theater, guest suite and gym.
What saved the complex, hay barns, animal-storage sheds and refurbished, 11,000-square-foot main house was a new, fire-sprinkler/fire-fighting system and the fact that the 48-year-old actor, who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award as Magnum, P.I., had spent the past year clearing brush and replacing it with fire-retardant vegetation, sources say.
Fire sprinklers were installed throughout the buildings, and water wells were drilled in a number of places around the ranch, complete with pumps and fire hoses.
The Sellecks, who also have homes at Lake Sherwood and in Hawaii, have owned the ranch for about five years. They started rehabbing the main house--maintaining its Early California, Mission-style architecture--nearly three years ago.
The house was built in the 1920s. The ranch was one of the first dairy farms in the area, and it was owned in the 1960s by singer Dean Martin. The Sellecks added a seven-car garage, helicopter pad, putting green, tennis and volleyball courts.
Selleck personally built a playhouse for his daughter with electricity and running water, sources said. Architect Robert Earl and interior designer Ron Wilson designed the rehab/expansion.
PIA ZADORA, reportedly separated from her husband, has moved back to the Beverly Park house where she was living before the rehab of her landmark estate, Pickfair, was completed in August, and Pickfair is now being shown to prospective buyers at $40 million, sources say.
Pickfair, home of early film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Sr., was practically demolished and then rebuilt by Zadora's 68-year-old husband, Meshulam Riklis, after the 38-year-old entertainer took title to it in 1988. (She bought it for just under $7 million.)
Riklis, who made a fortune in corporate takeovers, oversaw Pickfair's reconstruction and expansion from about 11,000 to 30,000 square feet, including 15 bedrooms and 21 baths.
Songwriter CAROLE BAYER SAGER has sold her Bel-Air home of seven years for $3.75 million, sources say. The original asking price was $5.9 million.
Sager, 47, has been a hit songwriter since she wrote "Groovy Kind of Love" in 1966. Later, she collaborated with then-husband Burt Bacharach, writing the lyrics for "That's What Friends Are For," which has become a theme song for activists in raising more than $1 million for AIDS research.
Her 10-bedroom, 8,500-square-foot house was sold to a Saudi prince, sources say. The same man owns a 25-bedroom, 36,000-square-foot home on a contiguous property, which he bought in 1990 for about $18 million.
YOURI FADAYEV, a young Russian banker who owns a Rolls-Royce dealership in Moscow, was the winning bidder in the court-ordered sale of a Beverly Hills residence once listed at $32.5 million.
Described as a "foreclosure" property, the 37,000-square-foot-plus house was sold in court for $11.5 million after a spirited bidding war, starting with a trustee-accepted offer of $7.25 million and leaping to the final price in increments of $50,000 to $500,000.
Fadayev was bidding, through Westside realtor Dan Cristo, against investors from Saudi Arabia, who had leased the house for a couple of months, and Beverly Hills residents originally from Iran, sources say. Escrow is due to close at the end of this month.
Fadayev, who is about 32, and his wife will make the house their main residence. When in the Russian Republic, he stays in a former home of Mikhail Gorbachev. Fadayev leases the home at $1 million a year, Cristo said.
The Beverly Hills home has 12 bedrooms; a 75-by-135-foot living room; two bowling lanes; a cut-crystal dining-room floor looking down to an indoor pool; parking for 50 cars, and a tennis court. Alexander Coler, formerly a partner in C-D Investments, built the house in 1988.
Cristo is with Gilleran, Griffen in Westwood. The sellers were represented by Raymond Bekeris of John Bruce Nelson & Associates; Penny Negrin-Duarte, Bernice Gershon, Michael Healy of Fred Sands Estates, and Madison Offenhauser, who shared the listing at Sands but is now with Jon Douglas Co., Beverly Hills.