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Hoping to sleep less in Bel-Air

November 22, 2008|ANN BRENOFF

Remember that classic diner scene in "When Harry Met Sally" in which Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm and a nearby customer instructs the waitress, "I'll have what she's having"? Well, what we'd like to have is actress Ryan's Bel-Air house, which she just listed for sale at $19.5 million.

It was a pocket listing -- never in the Multiple Listing Service but known to be for sale for the right price -- for the last few years, having been shown to Galaxy soccer star David Beckham and wife Victoria-the-Posh and, more recently, to Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner, who apparently fall in and out of escrow with the frequency that Paris Hilton falls in and out of love.

The house, built in 1931, has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 6,877 square feet. The compound was restored to much of its original glamour and features a stenciled beamed living room, a 1930s-era bar, a formal dining room and complete cook's kitchen. All the main rooms open to views of the city.

There is a screening room with a separate entrance and a private knoll setting for the pool, spa and guesthouse. The master suite is away from the rest of the bedrooms for greater privacy.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday, November 25, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 50 words Type of Material: Correction
Hot Property items: In Saturday's Home section, an item about Rosemarie Stack selling her Wilshire Corridor co-op apartment, gave actor Edward G. Robinson's first name as Edgar. Another item, about actor Matthew Rhys buying a Mid-City home, said he was from South Wales, England. South Wales is part of Wales.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, November 29, 2008 Home Edition Home Part F Page 5 Features Desk 1 inches; 52 words Type of Material: Correction
Hot Property items: In the Nov. 22 Hot Propery, an item about Rosemarie Stack selling her Wilshire Corridor co-op apartment gave actor Edward G. Robinson's first name as Edgar. Another item, about actor Matthew Rhys buying a Mid-City home, said he was from South Wales, England. South Wales is part of Wales.

Ryan, 47, made her screen debut in 1981 playing Candice Bergen's daughter in "Rich and Famous." Her breakaway hit performance came with "When Harry Met Sally" in 1989, followed by "Sleepless in Seattle" in 1993 and "You've Got Mail" in 1998. She was also in "Kate & Leopold" (2001) and "Against the Ropes" (2004).

Aileen Comora and Paul Lester, both of Westside Estate Agency, Beverly Hills, co-listed the property, according to the MLS.

From dining room to living space

In a region known for its natural beauty, the appeal of living in a soulless apartment tower along the Wilshire Corridor is an enigma to some. But to each his own, and all that.

There is one unit, however, that stands out amid the uniformity of the corridor: It once was the Wilshire Terrace's dining room and was converted into a living space by Lucy Doheny Battson, widow of oil heir Edward "Ned" Doheny Jr. Yes, those Dohenys.

Rosemarie Stack, widow of "Unsolved Mysteries" narrator Robert Stack, just listed the 5,000-square-foot unit at $6.65 million, unfurnished. She has lived in it for about four years and is moving to her villa in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where she plans to pursue her painting.

The unit has about 2,000 square feet of limestone patio and gardens, designed by David Jones, that include mature trees, vines and waterfalls. There are two bedrooms -- the master suite and a den, with a wet bar, that serves as a guest room. Steven Spielberg has slept in the den and a plaque proclaims it. There is also a maid's room in the basement. The co-op apartment has five bathrooms, including the "hers" that is decorated with 40-year-old hand-painted wallpaper.

The kitchen has Viking and Sub-Zero appliances. A butler's pantry leads to the dining room, which seats 12 at a table once belonging to Edgar G. Robinson.

The unit, on the first floor, has a private gate to the building's immaculate, if rarely used, Olympic-size pool and spa.

Photos throughout the home document the Stacks' life in Hollywood. There are images of Clark Gable and Carol Lombard, one of Robert Stack playing polo with Spencer Tracy, prints of the Stacks with President and Nancy Reagan, and a Life magazine cover of Rosemarie Stack.

"I have such wonderful memories of entertaining here," Stack said.

The building is staffed 24/7. There is a beauty salon, concierge, valet and underground parking. Since the complex is a co-op, the buyer will need to be approved by the board. Britney should probably look elsewhere; this is an old-money building and celebrities who draw attention are unlikely to be welcome.

The buyer will also need to pay all cash, and the unit may not be leased out.

Robert Stack was the host and narrator of "Unsolved Mysteries" from 1987 to 2002. He made his big-screen debut as Deanna Durbin's lover in "First Love" (1939). He teamed with Durbin again, in "Nice Girl?" (1941). He starred in "Bullfighter and the Lady" (1951), a movie produced by his pal John Wayne.

Stack got an Academy Award nomination for "Written on the Wind" (1956). He delivered breakout performances in his signature role as Eliot Ness in the wildly popular TV series "The Untouchables" (1959), which ran for four seasons (118 episodes). And there was also the TV movie "The Scarface Mob" (1959). He successfully crossed over into comedy and appeared in "Airplane!" (1980) and "Caddyshack II" (1988).

Around 1955, Stack -- one of Hollywood's most eligible bachelors -- was introduced to Rosemarie Bowe by their mutual agent. Rosemarie had been under contract to MGM and Columbia, making such movies as "Million Dollar Mermaid" (1952) and "The Golden Mistress" (1954).

Bruce Nelson of John Bruce Nelson & Associates, Bel-Air, co-listed the property with Chris Willard of the same firm.

Malibu house has firm foundation

Long before there was a Victoria with a secret, there was Shirley of Hollywood.

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