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Home's a Wrap for Film Duo


DINA MERRILL and TED HARTLEY, owners of RKO Pictures, are putting the finishing touches on a complete redesign of their Brentwood home, purchased in April for about $3 million, sources say.

The house was sold by consumer reporter David Horowitz, who is leasing nearby while shopping for a smaller house now that the last of his children has left for college.

Merrill, actress daughter of stockbroker E.F. Hutton and heiress-tycoon-hostess Marjorie Merriweather Post, and Hartley, a former actor who is now RKO's CEO, were married in 1989, soon after they bought RKO Pictures.

Among RKO's upcoming projects are "Mighty Joe Young," a film adaptation of RKO's 1949 classic about a giant ape who rescues a 6-year-old girl in the jungles of Africa, and "Holiday Affair," an adaptation for TV of a 1949 RKO film that starred Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh.

Merrill, once a fashion model, has appeared in a number of films ("Butterfield 8," "Caddyshack II," "True Colors," "The Player") and TV series ("Murder, She Wrote"). Hartley appeared in the films "Barefoot in the Park," "High Plains Drifter" and others.

The Hartleys, who had been renting in Brentwood, are bi-coastal, but now, with several projects in the works, they expect to spend more time in California.

Merrill had New York decorator Howard Elliot redesign her new home because she has known him for 35 years and he has decorated all four of her other residences: in the Hamptons, Manhattan, Palm Beach and Colorado.

Elliot describes Merrill's style as "casual elegance," different from the opulent Mar-a-Lago, where Merrill grew up. The 115-room Palm Beach mansion, owned now by Donald Trump, was built in 1927 by Merrill's parents.

The five-bedroom, 5,400-square-foot Brentwood house was built in 1941. Horowitz, a syndicated newspaper columnist who is developing a television show for syndication, lived there for about 12 years. He hopes to buy in Brentwood, where he has been the honorary mayor for the past five years.

Chrys Stamatis, the Prudential-Jon Douglas Co., Brentwood, was the buyer's agent; Joyce Flaherty, the Prudential-Rodeo-Douglas Co., Beverly Hills, was the seller's.


EVA GABOR's Holmby Hills home has been sold for close to its last asking price of $2.5 million, sources say.

The 6,400-square-foot home, on about an acre with a tennis court, came on the market last fall at $3.85 million. Gabor, who co-starred with Eddie Albert in the long-running TV comedy series "Green Acres," had lived in the home for 20 years before she died on July 4, 1995.

Designed by architect Paul Williams and built in 1938, the Colonial-style estate is said to have been leased, at various times, to David Niven, Frank Sinatra when he was married to Mia Farrow, and Audrey Hepburn when she was married to Mel Ferrer.

The new owners are Margaret and Murray Black. She is a senior vice president and branch manager of Dean Witter, who was transferred to Los Angeles from Jacksonville, Fla. He heads his own company, Florida-based Marine Drilling & Blasting. The Blacks opened and closed escrow in 15 days, sources say.

The Blacks "love the house . . . and don't plan any changes except to reopen an entry to the living room that was closed to create a screening room," a source said.

The new owners are also said to love the greenhouse and gardens. The home has six bedrooms, a guest house, caretaker's cottage and office.

Barbara Darnell of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, had the listing; Allen Worthy, Fred Sands Estates, represented the Blacks.


PRINCE BANDAR BIN MOHAMED AL SAUD of Saudi Arabia has leased a Bel-Air estate at $75,000 a month for a year, sources say. The walled and gated estate has 10 bedrooms, a guest house, media room, two pools and a tennis court.

Built in the 1930s, the home, on two acres overlooking the Bel-Air Country Club golf course, has been leased out in the past to such stars as EDDIE MURPHY and RICHARD HARRIS, sources say.

Kurt Rappaport of Stan Herman/Stephen Shapiro & Associates, Beverly Hills, handled the transaction.


A Laguna Beach house built in 1979 by BOYD JEFFERIES, one of the nation's most powerful traders of big blocks of stock until he pleaded guilty in 1987 to two counts of securities fraud, is listed at $16.5 million.

The 12,500-square-foot home, on a cliff over the ocean, has been owned since 1986 by a couple who now want to scale down and travel.

The house has a tennis court, gym, eight-car garage and glass-bottomed stairway over the ocean to the master suite, which has a domed ceiling that can be opened.

George J. Pagano and Boni C. Pereira of Coldwell Banker, Laguna Beach, share the listing.

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