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Newest Mogul Hitting Beach

March 23, 1997|RUTH RYON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

EDGAR BRONFMAN JR., head of Seagram Co. and Universal, has purchased comedian BOB NEWHART'S Malibu home for $6.5 million, according to industry sources.

The Malibu house, which Newhart bought from actor-director Robert Redford in 1985, was built in the 1920s and has three bedrooms in about 3,500 square feet plus a pool and 80 feet of beach frontage.

Realtors not involved in the deal say that Bronfman, who has been renting another house at the beach, probably will raze the house and build anew.

Bronfman, 41, has been renting at the beach since Seagram, the Montreal-based beverage and liquor giant owned by his family since 1928, bought control of MCA and its Universal Pictures in June 1995. Bronfman succeeded his father as Seagram chief executive in 1994.

One of Hollywood's newest and biggest players, the younger Bronfman has been overseeing Universal with a well-publicized hands-on approach.

It isn't his first venture into Hollywood. When he was 26, Bronfman produced the Jack Nicholson movie "The Border" before returning to Montreal to learn the family business. He also has been a songwriter for 20 years and co-wrote "Whenever There Is Love" from the Sylvester Stallone movie "Daylight" (1996).

Bronfman is married and has three children from a previous marriage. His wife, Clarissa, has been described in published accounts as an "oil heiress with a degree in industrial relations." She is from Venezuela.

Newhart and his wife, Virginia, just completed a major remodel of a Bel-Air home that they have owned since 1989, when they purchased it for $4.2 million. The 56-year-old Country English-style house has seven bedrooms in about 6,000 square feet.

The comedian has been talking with CBS about headlining a sitcom for next season that is set in a bookstore on Martha's Vineyard. He also appears in the upcoming movie "In and Out," starring Kevin Kline.

Newhart, 67, has starred in several TV series, including an NBC comedy-variety show for which he won an Emmy and a Peabody Award and three CBS sitcoms: "The Bob Newhart Show," 1972-78; "Newhart," 1982-90; and "Bob," 1992-93.

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The longtime Trousdale home of the late actress AUDREY MEADOWS and her husband, Continental Airlines founder ROBERT SIX, has been listed at just under $2.4 million.

Meadows, who played Alice opposite Jackie Gleason's Ralph in the TV comedy classic "The Honeymooners," died in February 1996. She was 69. Six, to whom she was married for 25 years, died at 79 in 1986.

The couple built the 4,000-square-foot contemporary-style house in 1962. In 1968, they built "an authentic Japanese teahouse," said their nephew Bill Allen, trustee for the property.

After that, the couple built a chauffeur's quarters and a storage facility for their extensive Asian art collection, Allen added.

The estate has downtown-to-ocean views, a pool and gardens. It is listed with Joe Babajian and Michael Collins of Fred Sands Estates, Beverly Hills, and Greg Friedman of Sands' Santa Monica office.

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CHARLES DUTTON, who co-starred in the 1996 films "Get on the Bus" and "A Time to Kill," has sold his Studio City home for close to its $1.45-million asking price to record producer Don Gehman and his wife, Grace, an interior designer, industry sources indicate.

Dutton, 46, has been working in Florida on the upcoming HBO film "First-Time Felon," in which he makes his directorial debut, but he has leased a home on an acre in Hidden Hills, a guard-gated community in the San Fernando Valley, for a year, a source said. The home has a tennis court and pool.

Gehman, who has produced Hootie & the Blowfish albums and Tracy Chapman's "New Beginning," has had many hit albums since he produced Stephen Stills' and Neil Young's "Long May You Run" in 1976.

The house Dutton sold has five bedrooms in nearly 6,000 square feet. It also has two family rooms, a library, pool house, pool and motor court. It was built in 1938.

Barbara Robinson of John Aaroe & Associates, Beverly Hills, had the listing, and Joan Duffy of Fred Sands Realtors, Sherman Oaks, represented the buyers, other sources said.

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Indy 500 racing legend ANDY GRANATELLI has put his Scottsdale, Ariz., home on the market for $2.5 million, furnished.

The house, built three years ago on 20 acres that can be subdivided, has five bedrooms in 9,000 square feet under roof. It has a 30-foot by 60-foot pool, a 102-foot-long gallery, vaulted brick ceiling, tennis court, orchard and corrals.

Granatelli, 73, and his wife, Dolly, live in Montecito.

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Visual effects wizard WILLIAM MESA, who heads Flash Film Works, and his wife, Penny, have bought a Hancock Park home once owned by cowboy film star Tom Mix. Built in 1916, the 3,500-square-foot home sold for $625,000, a source said.

The Emmy-winning Mesa completed visual effects for the HBO film "DNA," airing Tuesday and Saturday. He also won film awards for work in "The Fugitive" and "Fearless."

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The Bubble House in Pasadena, designed by late architect WALLACE NEFF, has been listed at $329,000.

Neff, who designed dozens of movie-star mansions in Beverly Hills, built the two-bedroom, one-bath house with a bomb shelter in 1946 as an example of affordable housing.

The construction process entailed tying down a large synthetic balloon to a concrete slab, then inflating the balloon and covering it with steel rods and mesh, sprayed with concrete except where there were windows and doors. When the concrete dried, the balloon would be deflated and dragged through the front door to be put on the next slab and inflated again. The idea was to build many homes with one balloon.

Thousands of the dome-shaped homes were built overseas, but only a couple were built in the United States, including the one in Pasadena, where Neff himself lived for a few years, almost until he died in 1982.

The house has been updated by builder Randy Nerenberg, its owner of almost 20 years. Lu Gordon of Coldwell banker Residential Real Estate in Pasadena has the listing.

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