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No Home Court Advantage Here


SHAQUILLE O'NEAL has purchased a Beverly Hills-area home with eight bedrooms and 14 baths--but no basketball hoop, yet--for $2.6 million, sources say.

The star center, credited with bringing back full houses to the Forum, had been leasing a three-bedroom 5,000-square-foot penthouse on the Wilshire Corridor at $25,000 a month. He also had been staying in a Manhattan Beach house since leaving the Orlando Magic for the L.A. Lakers last summer.

This summer, O'Neal, 25, will play a comic-book superhero in the movie "Steel," produced by Quincy Jones, and he is promoting his third rap CD, "You Can't Stop the Reign." He is also developing his own TV series, "Hoops," about basketball. He signed a $120-million seven-year contract with the Lakers in 1996.

O'Neal bought a 15,000-square-foot house with a tennis court and a city view. Built about three years ago, the house is contemporary in style with large-scale rooms and a 35-foot-tall entry hall, both of which appealed greatly to the 7-foot-1 300-pound NBA all-star. There is also an elevator in the three-level house.

"It doesn't have a basketball hoop, but he'll probably put a couple on the tennis court," a source said. O'Neal has been known to insist on having an NBA basketball hoop outside his trailer when making movies during the summer, when he's not playing pro ball.

O'Neal had been house hunting since at least April. He has been said to have wanted a larger home for his longtime girlfriend, Arnetta Yardbourgh, and their baby, about a year old, to stay with him when they are in town. They have been living in Houston, where Yardbourgh has been going to graduate school, sources said.

Raymond Bekeris of John Bruce Nelson & Associates had the listing, other sources said.


Grammy Award-winning record producer and songwriter GLEN BALLARD and his wife, Liv, have purchased a Beverly Hills-area home for $2.8 million, sources say.

Ballard, 43, was named songwriter of the year in April by the National Academy of Songwriters for co-writing and producing Alanis Morissette's hit album "Jagged Little Pill." Ballard and Morissette also picked up a single of the year honor, for "Ironic," in March at the Juno Awards in Canada.

Ballard also co-wrote Michael Jackson's 1987 hit "Man in the Mirror" and Morissette's 1996 Grammy-winning song "You Oughta Know," and he wrote a screenplay, "Clubland," which he and Grammy-winning music producer-songwriter David Foster are producing.

Built in the 1920s, the Ballards' Mediterranean-style home has seven bedrooms in 5,500 square feet.

Barry Sloane represented the Ballards in purchasing the house. Sloane is director, architecture and historic properties, Fred Sands Estates, Beverly Hills.


JIMMY PANKOW, trombonist with the band Chicago, and his former wife, Karen, have listed the Malibu home that they've owned for 20 years at just under $3.7 million.

Pankow, 49, has been with Chicago since its beginning 30 years ago. In the 1970s, he wrote "Colour My World," which has become an enduring prom theme.

Chicago has been one of the highest-earning groups in rock with reputed earnings, in 1993, of $160 million in sales from 20 million copies of its first 14 albums alone. Last month, to mark its 30th anniversary, the band released a greatest-hits collection with two new songs, including one written by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard.

The Pankows' main house has four bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths in about 6,000 square feet on 4.3 acres. It also has three fireplaces, a media room, sauna, wine cellar, two kitchens and a sitting room.

There are also two guest houses, each with a kitchen, living room and bath; a tennis court and cabana; horse-riding ring and horse stalls; pool and spa; and an organic vegetable garden.

Jack Pritchett of Pritchett/Rapf & Associates, Malibu, has the listing.


Grammy Award-winning singer MELISSA ETHERIDGE has sold a Hollywood house that she owned for $470,000, sources say. She purchased the house in 1989 for $705,000.

The three-bedroom traditional-style house had three bedrooms in about 2,000 square feet. It was vacant when escrow closed in mid-June, a source said.

Etheridge, 36, sold her home in the Hollywood Hills last year for about $1.3 million, sources said at the time; however, the singer and her companion, Julie Cypher, still live in the L.A. area, Etheridge's publicist said. The couple became parents of a baby girl, born to Cypher in February.


DONICK CARY, a producer of "The Simpsons," has purchased a 5,000-square-foot Italian-style villa in Hancock Park for nearly its $850,000 asking price, sources say.

Cary, 28, and his companion, Kim Huffman, a coordinator for MTV, moved to Los Angeles from New York, where Cary was a writer on David Letterman's NBC show and head writer on his CBS show.

Built in 1924, the house has a two-story entry, a sweeping staircase and a step-down living room. The dining room seats 40 and overlooks a garden, pool and spa. The library has floor-to-ceiling bookcases.

Alice Buckley of Coldwell Banker, Hancock Park, had the listing, and Renee Wilson of Dalton, Brown & Long represented Cary in his purchase.

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