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$25K Rent Fact for 'Fiction' Star


JOHN TRAVOLTA--who co-stars with Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson in the black comedy "Pulp Fiction"--and his wife, actress KELLY PRESTON, have leased a Beverly Hills home for nine months at about $25,000 a month, sources say.

The gated, Tudor-style home had been on the market at just under $4 million.

Travolta, 40, is in the Los Angeles area to make two films: "White Man's Burden," a low-budget independent feature being produced by "Pulp Fiction" director Quentin Tarantino's film company, and then "Get Shorty," about a loan shark who goes to Hollywood to collect money from a producer and ends up being partners with him on a film about his life.

Travolta is said to have made a career comeback in "Pulp Fiction," in which he plays a fast-talking, heroin-addicted hit man. Because of the role, he got the "Get Shorty" part and what is reported to be his highest upfront salary--about $3.5 million plus a $750,000 bonus if he is an Academy Award nominee for "Pulp Fiction" and $750,000 if he wins the Oscar.

One of the hottest movie stars of the '70s, Travolta starred in "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease" before "Urban Cowboy (1980) and then some less-than-stellar films. The popular "Look Who's Talking" movies (1989, 1990, 1993) did not restore him to dramatic lead status.

He and Preston, who co-starred in the movie "Run" (1991), were married three years ago, and they have a young son, Jett, named for Travolta's hobby--he owns and flies three jets and keeps his two smaller ones in a hangar behind his house in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Travolta, who also has a home in Carmel and another one on an island off the coast of Maine, once had a 17-acre ranch just north of Los Angeles but sold it in the late 1980s.

The Beverly Hills house he is leasing has four bedrooms, seven baths, an office and maid's quarters in slightly more than 7,500 square feet. Built in 1926, the home was "recently remodeled, down to the studs," a source said.

HOWARD KEEL, one of the biggest musical stars of MGM's Golden Era who appeared earlier this year in the TV movie "Hart to Hart: Home Is Where the Hart Is," and his wife, Judy, have put their home of nearly 20 years, in Sherman Oaks off of Mulholland Drive, on the market.

Keel, who played Clayton Farlow in the "Dallas" TV series, co-starred with Kathryn Grayson in director George Sidney's 1953 musical "Kiss Me Kate" and co-starred with Jane Powell in Stanley Donen's 1954 musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

The Keels are selling their home because they have a vacation home in Telluride, Colo., and a home they just bought in Palm Desert, which they want to make their permanent residence.

"He loves Palm Desert, and he loves golf, which he plays there," said Cissy Wellman-Guydus of Jon Douglas Co.'s Bel-Air office. Wellman-Guydus, whose father--the late Oscar-winning William Wellman--directed Keel in the 1951 movie "Across the Wide Missouri," has the Sherman Oaks listing at $895,000.

Built in 1958, the Sherman Oaks home, which has a 180-degree view of the San Fernando Valley, was expanded and remodeled in 1989.

The four-bedroom, 4,600-square-foot house has a Cape Cod exterior and a contemporary interior, with an open floor plan featuring a 2,000-square-foot great room, which houses the kitchen, living, family and dining areas. An octagonally shaped bar in marble and wood can accommodate more than a dozen people, Wellman-Guydus said.

St. Louis Cardinals' third baseman TODD ZEILE and his wife, 1984 Olympics Gold Medalist gymnast JULIANNE McNAMARA, are building a home in the Santa Clarita Valley, where he grew up and attended school.

Expected to be completed in time for Christmas at a cost of $1 million, the three-story, 7,500-square-foot house will have tennis and basketball courts, a gym, game room and pool.

There will be a chair in the shape of a big baseball glove in the game room, which will also have a pool table and high-tech audio visual equipment, said Jeanne James, who is designing the interiors with Hydee Hirschmann, her partner in their newly formed Creative Lifestyles of Marina del Rey.

Zeile, in his late 20s, was a standout catcher at his high school and at UCLA before he signed with the Cardinals in 1986.

McNamara won a gold and two silver medals in the '84 Olympics and was, next to Mary Lou Retton, the best-known beam and floor exercise competitor of the Games. She even defeated Retton in the uneven parallel bars, which is the event in which McNamara won her gold medal.

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