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HOT PROPERTY

'Don Juan' Buys Sunset Castle

October 15, 1995|RUTH RYON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

JOHNNY DEPP, who starred in the film "Don Juan DeMarco" with Marlon Brando, has purchased celebrity divorce lawyer MARVIN MITCHELSON'S Sunset Strip-area home for $2.3 million, sources say.

Depp, 32, starred as a half-metal adolescent in the movie "Edward Scissorhands" (1990). Earlier, he was a teen idol in Fox-TV's undercover cop show, "21 Jump Street." Since "Scissorhands," he played the leads in "Ed Wood" (1994) and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" (1993).

In August, 1993, Depp, who plays guitar, and a couple of musician friends opened the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip. Shortly after the opening, actor River Phoenix collapsed and died just outside of the club.

Mitchelson, 67, won a landmark settlement for actor Lee Marvin's girlfriend in the case that coined the term palimony. His clients have included Joan Collins, Sonny Bono and Bianca Jagger. In 1993, Mitchelson was sentenced to 30 months in prison for tax fraud. Shortly before the conviction, upheld last April, he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. He is expected to start serving his sentence on Nov. 14.

FOR THE RECORD - CLARIFICATION
Los Angeles Times Sunday November 12, 1995 Home Edition Real Estate Part K Page 8 Real Estate Desk 2 inches; 45 words Type of Material: Correction
In the item referring to attorney Marvin Mitchelson (Hot Property, Oct. 15), the lawyer won an award of $104,000 for actor Lee Marvin's mistress, but the judgment was reversed on appeal. Even so, the case resulted in new laws recognizing the right of unmarried partners to sue for palimony , a word Mitchelson coined.

During the 1993 trial, Mitchelson was accused of avoiding taxes to subsidize his luxurious lifestyle, which included maintaining his mansion, known as "the castle," owned in the 1930s by Bela Lugosi, who played Dracula.

Depp is known for his love of old "stuff"--as he calls it--and Old Hollywood. "The castle" was built in 1922. Mitchelson is said to have purchased it in 1980 for $1 million. Depp bought it from a bank.

The walled and gated estate, which Mitchelson put on the market late last year at $9.9 million, has four bedrooms and a guest house in 9,000 square feet. Mitchelson added a lagoon pool to the 2.5-acre site.

When in town, which is seldom because he likes to travel, Depp has been living in Laurel Canyon.

MATT LeBLANC, who plays aspiring actor Joey in the hot NBC sitcom "Friends," has become a first-time home buyer with his purchase of a San Fernando Valley mountaintop home for close to its $399,000 asking price, sources say.

LeBlanc, 28, stars in the upcoming film comedy "Ed," about a minor league pitcher who meets a baseball-playing chimp. The movie is due to be released next spring.

He bought a three-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot house built in the 1940s on an acre, called "a spectacular site." "If he tears down and builds, he'll never move," a source said. "The site has incredible views and privacy."

The actor bought the home from a TV composer and his wife, who purchased a 160-acre-plus ranch in Paso Robles, where they plan to build.

The sellers were represented by Dave Yobs of the Prudential-Jon Douglas Co., Woodland Hills, and LeBlanc was represented by Paul Czako, Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills.

DAVID CASSIDY, who starred in the musical "Blood Brothers" on Broadway last year and reprised the role in the road show in Orange County last spring, and his actress wife, SUSAN, have sold their Sherman Oaks home of five years for about $1 million to bandleader HORACE HEIDT JR. and his wife, SANDRA. Heidt is son of the late bandleader whose Musical Knights produced some of the best-known big band era hits.

Cassidy, 45, was a pop singer/teen-idol 25 years ago when he appeared on the TV series "The Partridge Family" with his stepmother, actress-singer Shirley Jones. Cassidy's father was the late actor Jack Cassidy.

David and Susan Cassidy sold their New England-style farmhouse in Sherman Oaks because they moved to New England, where they bought a similar home but on more land, sources say.

Heidt bought the six-bedroom, 4,600-square-foot home, on nearly an acre, because he wanted a larger residence. "I have a 2 1/2-year-old daughter," he said.

Heidt, 49, leads a big band that will perform on New Year's Eve in the Avalon Ballroom on Catalina, and he has a 10-acre, 180-unit apartment complex in Sherman Oaks, which was his family's ranch.

"My main business is the complex, so I didn't want to leave the area," he said. "Another reason I bought the Cassidys' home is that they did extensive work on it after the [Northridge] earthquake." He also liked the musical heritage of the home, with Cassidy a singer-songwriter and his wife a niece of pianist-composer Lalo Schifrin. Debbie Reynolds was owner at one time, he said.

Connie Nelson of the Prudential-Rodeo-Jon Douglas Co., Sherman Oaks, shared the listing with Robert and Diane Bluman of Fred Sands' Sherman Oaks office. Heidt was represented by Lisa and Scott Sorrentino, the Prudential-Rodeo-Jon Douglas Co., Sherman Oaks, and Cherie Block of the Douglas office in Encino.

CLARIFICATION: Actress Jane Seymour did not build the house owned by the Artist Formerly Known as Prince (Hot Property, Sept. 17). The house was built by actress Christopher Norris, when she was co-starring on CBS in "Trapper John, M.D.," and her husband, Walter Danley.

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