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Between Gigs, He Buys First House


Actor Esai Morales, who played Ritchie Valens' older brother in the movie "La Bamba" (1987) and co-stars in the Fox Family Channel's upcoming movie "The Elian Gonzalez Story" as the boy's father, has become a first-time home buyer.

He bought a Hollywood Hills home for $750,000.

Morales, 37, is also in the cast of the upcoming movie "Spin Cycle" and has been in three episodes of Showtime's new "Resurrection Boulevard," a drama series about an East L.A. Latino family. "The Elian Gonzalez Story" has an air date of Sept. 17.

Morales also appears with Edward James Olmos in the pilot for the TV series "An American Family," about life in East L.A. CBS turned down the series for the fall, but it is being considered by other networks as a midseason entry.

A native of New York, Morales gained attention as Sean Penn's rival in the movie "Bad Boys" (1983). He made his Broadway debut in "Salome" (1992), appeared in the movie "My Family/Mi Familia" (1995), co-starred in the TV movie "Dying to Be Perfect: The Ellen Hart Pena Story" (1996) and starred in the film "The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca" (1997).

Morales is a co-founder of the Washington D.C.-based National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, organized three years ago to advance the presence of Latinos in the entertainment industry. Other co-founders include actors Jimmy Smits and Sonia Braga.

Morales bought a three-bedroom, 2,600-square-foot house built in the '50s. The ranch home, also described as "warm post-and-beam" in style, has a pool and lush landscaping.

Marilyn White of Coldwell Banker, Sunset, represented Morales in his purchase.


L.A. Dodger Shawn Green, the left-handed power hitter who graduated from Tustin High School, has sold the Pacific Palisades house he had purchased in February and has bought a house in Newport Beach.

He bought the Newport Beach home for about its asking price of $1.8 million. The house is newly built with three bedrooms in about 3,500 square feet.

He sold the Palisades home, also newly built, for just under $3.9 million--slightly more than he paid for it in February. That house has six bedrooms in 6,000 square feet.

One reason he bought in Newport Beach was to be closer to his family, sources said. His parents, Ira and Judy, still live in Tustin and operate an instructional school called the Baseball Academy in Santa Ana. His sister lives in Newport Beach.

Green, 27, was acquired in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in the fall, when the all-star right fielder signed a six-year, $84-million contract with the Dodgers. After that, he had a batting slump, attributed to his having put too much pressure on himself to justify his contract. Green has been emerging lately from the slump.

Steve Mitchell of Coast Newport Properties, Newport Beach, and Jody Fine of Fred Sands Estates, Pacific Palisades, represented Green in his sale, and Mitchell represented Green in his purchase.


Grayhall, the Beverly Hills home of the late Herbalife founder Mark Hughes, has been listed at $29 million.

Hughes, who died in May at 44, left an estate with nearly $100 million in real estate. Grayhall is the first of his properties to be listed for sale.

Grayhall was built between 1909 and 1919. One of its first owners was Silsby Spalding, the sporting goods magnate and first mayor of Beverly Hills.

Actor Douglas Fairbanks Sr. leased the home and built a secret tunnel to oversee construction of Pickfair, his honeymoon home with actress Mary Pickford. Actor George Hamilton was a later owner of Grayhall.

After Hughes bought the house in 1992, he bought three adjacent properties. Grayhall is now a 22,000-square-foot compound on about 2.5 acres.

The main house has a master suite, four family bedrooms and staff quarters, along with a subterranean garage for four to six cars, a padded music room and a walk-in vault. The dining room, originally the gun room, is in the shape of an octagon. The ballroom has a full bar, which was formerly the orchestra platform, and a hand-painted, carved ceiling imported from a castle in Spain.

There is a pied-a-terre on one of the adjacent properties that Hughes bought. It has three bedrooms and a cabana. The estate also has a gym and a sports court.

Jeff Hyland and Rick Hilton of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, are co-listing the home with Jerry Jolton of Coldwell Banker Previews, Beverly Hills South.

The longtime Bel-Air home of the late basketball great Wilt Chamberlain has come on the market at $7.45 million.

Chamberlain died in October at 63. The 7-foot-1 center dominated professional basketball in the '60s and early '70s. He helped lead the L.A. Lakers to a National Basketball Assn. championship in the 1971-72 season. During the '60s, he once scored 100 points in a game.

This is the first time that his house has been on the market. He designed and built it in 1971.

The wood-and-glass contemporary has soaring ceilings and city and ocean views. The six-bedroom, 7,200-square-foot house is on 2.6 acres, behind gates.

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