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$45 mil buys a lot of Mackie

Cher lists Malibu palace. Big wigs welcome.

August 09, 2008|Ann Brenoff

DID YOU feel the ground move and think it was just another earthquake hitting the Southland? Actually, the temblor was Cher finally listing her house along Malibu's Pacific Coast Highway for $45 million.

As far as Malibu goes, Cher may be the biggest name with the smallest local presence. While the occasional and uninformed paparazzo might loiter camera-ready across the street when her fortress-like gates open each day at 4:30 p.m. to discharge the housekeepers, the Queen Diva is rarely around. No Starbucks sightings, she isn't a regular at Planet Blue, and nobody has ever spotted Cher squeezing tomatoes at the local Ralphs.

As best as locals can determine, Cher comes into town often enough to redecorate but otherwise doesn't spend a whole lot of time there. Two years ago, she auctioned off all her furniture because the mood struck.

But changing homes isn't quite the same as changing wigs, and rumors have been circulating for years that she wanted to unload the Palm Tree Palace. Then, out of the blue, there it was in the Multiple Listing Service on Aug. 1. She is reportedly still doing some work on the interior.

The house, which Cher built to look like an Italian Renaissance mansion, sits on 1.7 acres on a bluff high above the Pacific. Palm trees line the driveway and dot the property, distinguishing it from the other bluff mansions. The 14,000-square-foot villa has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a theater, gym and verandas from just about every possible window and door. There's a tennis court, pool, spa and a detached guesthouse.

The property is carefully landscaped, and little is visible from the street, especially if you are whizzing by along PCH. What is visible is the spectacular ocean view beyond and the knowledge that the Coastal Commission's new regulations probably wouldn't allow this house to be built today.

Robert Kass of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, is the listing agent.

The footsteps of famous ghosts

The allure of living where a long-dead celebrity once lived largely escapes me. Nevertheless, it is clearly tremendous in Los Angeles. To that end, we bring you the house where both Judy Garland and Sammy Davis Jr. once hung their dancing shoes -- not at the same time, of course.

The property, high in the hills above Sunset Strip and listed at $4,995,000, has a 5,000-square-foot main house plus a guesthouse. There are five bedrooms and 7 1/2 bathrooms in total, plus views galore.

The 1940s Hollywood glamour-traditional-style home has a pool, a state-of-the-art kitchen and a home theater. The dining room seats 12 to 14. There are maple floors, myriad French doors leading to terraces and many period details. A large bedroom area opens to a two-story great room.

Too bad there are no talking walls, because the scenes they've witnessed would surely be worth hearing about.

Garland, who died in 1969 at age 47 of an accidental drug overdose, bought the house, and possibly the lots on both sides of it, in 1945 with then-husband Vincente Minnelli. Daughter Liza was born the following year. The couple hired architect John Woolf to design an addition, which included a baby's nursery. Garland and Minnelli separated in December 1950.

According to one account, when Sammy Davis wanted to buy this house in the 1950s, it was necessary for his manager to secure the purchase for the singer because the owner would not sell to African Americans. Davis married singer Loray White in a ceremony at the home in 1958. The couple were divorced in 1959. Davis died of throat cancer in 1990 at age 64.

Gillian Caine of Coldwell Banker, Beverly Hills, is the listing agent.

Sitcom rebel sells Palisades roost

Jay Tarses, a self-described Hollywood outsider, has sold his Pacific Palisades home for $2,817,000, according to the MLS.

Tarses, creator and producer of several critically acclaimed shows, including "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" and "The Slap Maxwell Story," has fostered the reputation of Hollywood maverick. He is credited with helping shape television by introducing a more serious spin and complex characters to sitcoms. Tarses and Tom Patchett were the writers-producers of the original "Bob Newhart Show" on CBS in the 1970s.

Tarses is also dad to Jamie Tarses, who headed ABC's entertainment division from 1996 to 1999 -- the first woman to hold such a post at an American broadcast network. The character of Jordan McDeere, the head of a fictional network on the NBC show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," was loosely based on Jamie Tarses. She was a consultant to the show, which aired in 2006 and '07.

Jay Tarses was the original owner of the house he sold, built in 1987. The 2,915-square-foot, three-bedroom, 3 1/2 -bathroom house has ocean, coastline and mountain views. It has an updated kitchen and a fireplace in the master suite.

The house was originally listed in January at $3,489,000, and the price was lowered to $2,995,000 before the sale.

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