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Is Malibu turning into the Larry Ellison beach club?

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who already has eight other houses along Carbon Beach, buys former Yahoo chief Terry Semel's Malibu compound for $36.9 million.

September 30, 2012|By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times
  • The beach-front estate Larry Ellison bought contains more than 10,000 square feet of living space.
The beach-front estate Larry Ellison bought contains more than 10,000… (Nick Springett )

The membership roll in Malibu's unofficial Billionaire's Beach club is shrinking. Former Yahoo Inc. Chief Executive Terry Semel and his wife, Jane, have sold their spot to Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, who already has eight other houses along Carbon Beach.

The couple, who had most recently priced their Michael Graves-designed oceanfront compound at $40 million, sold for $36,943,890. The sale is the most expensive so far this year in Malibu.

The three-quarter-acre lot includes three structures. The main house is entered through a three-story rotunda crowned by a skylight. Circular windows and openings throughout the contemporary home lend it a nautical vibe. A copper-roofed screening pavilion doubles as the family den. There is also a two-story guesthouse for a total of nine bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and 10,317 square feet of living space.

PHOTOS: Expensive things Larry Ellison has bought

A gazebo for outdoor dining sits by the swimming pool and a lawn, which stretches along the 151 feet of beach frontage.

Among the neighbors in the billionaire's enclave are entertainment mogul David Geffen, former Dodgers Chief Executive Jamie McCourt and business magnate and former junk bond king Michael Milken.

In addition to the Carbon Beach houses, Ellison owns commercial property along the sand that includes the Nobu Malibu restaurant.

Ellison, 68, is ranked as the third wealthiest person in the U.S. by Forbes with a net worth of $41 billion as of September. He made an estimated $500-million deal this year to buy 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai.

Richard Hilton, Judy Feder and Jeffrey Hyland of Hilton & Hyland were the Semels' listing agents. Hilton represented Ellison in the purchase.

Diller estate comes with a few gags

Filled with laughter for decades, the longtime home of comic Phyllis Diller has come on the market in Brentwood at $12.9 million.

The Country English-style house sits among mature trees on 1.23 flat acres. It was built in 1914 as a summer home for Lawrence C. Phipps, who made his fortune in the steel industry and went on to serve as a U.S. senator from Colorado from 1919 to 1931.

Diller bought the 9,266-square-foot house in 1965 and personalized it to reflect her varied pursuits.

An upstairs gallery is filled with Diller's artwork in oil, acrylics and watercolor, and the walls in many rooms of the eight-bedroom, five-bathroom home are lined with art. Her son and executor, Perry Diller, plans to sell the home's contents at auction.

He lived at the house during his high school years and recalls the kitchen as being at the center of their family life. "She was a great cook, and that's where a lot of the activity was," Perry Diller said. "We'd sit down and giggle a lot."

Among her signature dishes was a Depression-era concoction called "garbage soup," he said, which involved any sort of leftovers that were on hand. Chili, spaghetti and pork chops and sauerkraut were family favorites. There was also "heartburn salad," so called because it had a kick of heat in the vinaigrette, Perry Diller said, not because it caused an upset stomach.

When someone new moved in nearby, his mother would bring food over to welcome them to the neighborhood, he said. "She got along with everybody."

In the years she owned the house, Phyllis Diller named many of its 22 rooms. The living room became the Bob Hope Salon after the comic actor she considered her mentor. He gave her a large oil painting of himself, which stands on an easel in the room near a concert grand. A classically trained musician, Diller played the piano, organ and harpsichord.

The Bach Room doubled as her office and a salon. Her baby grand sat on a stage at one end of the room.

Some room names were takes on sight gags: A yellow guest room was called the Canary Suite; the red-walled kitchen became the Scarlet Scullery; a room with an organ in it was the Pump Room. More than one room was devoted to Diller's wigs and costumes.

But perhaps most reflective of her comic sensibilities are these two: a powder room named the Edith Head for the Academy Award-winning costume designer and a mirrored telephone room called the John Wilkes Booth.

Phyllis Diller died this year at 95.

Bruce Nelson and Raymond Bekeris of John Bruce Nelson & Associates are the listing agents.

Characters and plot in the 'birds'

Actors Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally have put their house in Hollywood Hills West up for sale at $12.65 million, and they might want to send a thank-you card to the new neighbors for the great "comp."

Last month, 31-year-old entrepreneur twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss — who won a $65-million cash-and-stock settlement in 2008 over claims that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea to create Facebook — bought the contemporary house next door in the celebrity-populated "bird streets" area for $18 million.

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