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Hot Property

A Mogul Plots His Dream Home

March 04, 2001|RUTH RYON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hollywood power broker Michael Ovitz and his wife, Judy, have purchased a Beverly Hills home in the $6-million range.

The superagent-turned-supermanager and his wife, who breeds horses on the couple's 90-acre ranch in Ojai, have long had a home on the Westside, but they always wanted a view, real estate sources said.

The property they just bought is on more than two acres with city-to-ocean views, a tennis court, a pool, cabanas and a guest house.

However, the main house--a three-bedroom, nearly 5,000-square-foot traditional built in the 1940s--is in need of a total renovation. It is expected to be torn down.

Ovitz's dream is to have a house designed by I.M. Pei, according to local Realtors. The renowned architect, 83, has designed only a couple of houses, among them his own. He is known for his museums and commercial buildings, including the one housing the Beverly Hills offices of Creative Artists Agency, which Ovitz, 54, co-founded in 1975.

Ovitz arranged to have Pei design the CAA building in 1986. Ovitz left CAA in 1995 to become president of the Walt Disney Co. A year later, he left Disney with a severance package valued at more than $90 million.

About two years ago, he co-founded Artists Management Group (AMG), Artists Television Group (a TV production company) and Artists Production Group (a movie production company).

AMG puts together film or TV deals with its own talent. AMG manages such big-name actors, writers, producers and directors as Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Crichton, Sydney Pollack and Martin Scorsese.

A 15,000-square-foot Holmby Hills home with a screening room and a tennis court has been sold for close to $14 million.

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Thomas O'Gara and his wife, Victoria, sold the home, which they purchased last year for $12.5 million.

O'Gara and his brother, Bill, have been involved in the Kroll O'Gara Co., an Ohio-based security services company that is breaking into two separate, publicly traded companies after an aborted sale to an investment group.

The Holmby Hills house, which the O'Garas sold to a European buyer, was sold to the O'Garas by Barbara Cohen, widow of both local businessman Richard Cohen and actor Cary Grant.

Victoria O'Gara, a former model, was previously married to the late tycoon Lord Gordon White of Hull, a co-founder of Hanson Industries.

Jerry Seinfeld's former home above the Sunset Strip has come back on the market at just under $3.4 million. It went on the market last summer at just under $4.2 million.

Seinfeld sold it in 1998, when he moved back to New York City. Alec Berg, a writer and an executive producer of "Seinfeld," bought it from the comic-actor.

Berg, in his 30s, remodeled the kitchen and baths and then got married. He and his actress wife, Michele, bought a 1926 Spanish-style home in Hancock Park.

Seinfeld's former house was built in 1967 by the late actor George Montgomery, ex-husband of the late singer-actress Dinah Shore.

The house was totally redesigned and refurbished before Seinfeld bought it in 1992. The nearly 6,000-square-foot house has three bedrooms, a game room, gym, office, screening room, pool, garden, four-car garage and city views.

Joe Babajian of Prudential Estate Properties, Beverly Hills, has the listing.

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Germany-based art-book publisher Benedikt Taschen, owner of the John Lautner-designed Chemosphere house in the Hollywood Hills, has purchased a neighboring home on nearly an acre for close to its $1.2-million asking price.

The Chemosphere house, built in 1960, also has been known as the Flying Saucer and the Mushroom House because of its shape. The glass-and-wood platform structure, which sits atop a 30-foot pole, is reached by way of a "hillevator," or hillside tram.

Taschen, 40, will live primarily in his new, gated home, when not at his residence in Cologne, and he plans to use the two-bedroom, 2,200-square-foot Chemosphere house mainly for entertaining. His new, 4,000-square-foot home, built in 1955, is surrounded by Japanese gardens and has city views from every room.

The sellers, two physicians, bought a home, built in 1942, in Fryman Canyon. It was designed by Greek architect Raphael Soriano, who has been featured in architecture and interior-design books published by Taschen.

The Fryman Canyon home, which has walls of glass, is expected to be renovated. It sold for about its $1.25-million asking price.

Julie Jones of Coldwell Banker, Sunset Strip, represented Taschen in buying; Ronna Brand of Brand Realty, Beverly Hills, represented the physicians in selling and buying; Andrew Manning of Coldwell Banker, Studio City, had the listing on the home.

A 6.5-acre North Valley ranch, which actress Janet Gaynor sold to actor James Cagney in 1953, has come on the market at $3 million.

Known as Highwater Ranch, the hilltop property, with city and mountain views, has a main house with five bedrooms, including a 600-square-foot master suite with a two-story sauna, a spa and a gym. The property also has koi ponds and waterfalls.

Cagney, who died at 86 in 1986, mostly lived on his farm in upstate New York after he retired in 1961.

Sally Forster Jones of Coldwell Banker Previews, Beverly Hills, has the listing.

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Did you miss Thursday's Hot Property column in Southern California Living? Want to see previous columns on celebrity real estate transactions? Visit http://www.latimes.com/hotproperty on the Internet for more Hot Properties.

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Thomas O'Gara, Benedikt Taschen

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