LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 5,508 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms (plus staff room)
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Every now and then Your Mama hears from one of our myriad of real estate and/or celebrity obsessed sources who ask us something like, "Did you know that Soandso Celebrity surreptitiously bought a house a couple years ago?"
Such was the case late last week when we received a short but informative missive from the our profoundly plugged in (and rarely incorrect) source Yolanda Yakketyak who wondered if Your Mama had previously heard through the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine that way back in late 20011 British (tabloid) journalist and television host Piers Morgan quietly snatched up a five-and-some million dollar house in the Beverly Hills.
We had not. And as far as we know none of the other property gossips have either.
Mister Morgan is perhaps best known to Americans as the exuberantly and obstinately opinionated lefty-liberal lightening rod who took over Larry King's long-running late night interview-fest a few years ago (2010). His frequent tirades about gun control and other controversial issues often sacred to conservatives are the stuff of Showbiz legend and he regularly provokes the angry dander of politicians, pundits and other high profile people. He's also notorious in Tinseltown and beyond for his entirely unfiltered and undiplomatically colorful language as well as his long-standing and ongoing feuds with handfuls of famous folk: He called Madonna boring, annoying and "a complete con artist," described supermodel Kate Moss as "a vile little creature," labeled Hugh Grant a "tedious little man" and, last September (2012), called out Kelsey Grammer as a "tiresome diva."
Forty-seven year old Mister Morgan has additionally written eight books including three memoirs, was a judge on both Britain's Got Talent and America's Got Talent and he won Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice program in 2008. Before he made his way to tee-vee Mister Morgan was a well-known and very successful tabloid journalist in the U.K. who has been embroiled—and implicated—in the naughty phone hacking scandal that rocked and continues to rock Rupert Murdoch's tabloid newspaper empire.
Anyhoo, property records do indeed show the house in question, the one confidently alleged as Mister Morgan's by Yolanda Yakketyak, was quietly acquired for $5,362,500 in November 2011 through a generically named trust. This was right about the same time Mister Morgan's second wife Celia pushed out a baby at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills. Incidentally and for what it may or may not be worth to anyone, the house—a restored, updated and renovated 1929 hacienda—happens to be located on the very same tree-lined same street where Sharon Osbourne—a judge on America's Got Talent at the same time as Mister Morgan—and her doddering rock star hubby Ozzy currently lease a house of similar vintage, architectural style and size. In what may or may not be an additional coinky-dink, Mister Morgan's second wife's maiden name is identical as the name of the street on which this house sits. All of which adds up to nothing more than some circumstantial celebrity real estate rumor and gossip.
Listing information Your Mama quickly cajoled out of the internets shows the two-story, mid-block residence sits on just under a third of an acre, measures 5,508 square feet and includes four principal bedrooms, one staff room (or guest quarters) and 5.5 bathrooms.
The tree-shielded house sits well off the street in a plush if fairly nondescript pocket of the Bev Hills flats and wraps tightly around a gated and lushly landscaped entry courtyard with a colorfully tiled fountain, vine draped loggia and an outdoor fireplace. An exterior staircase with brightly tiled risers ascends to interior space above the garage that may or may not be the aforementioned staff room/guest quarters.
Now listen, kids, we're not even going to discuss the inoffensive and ho-hum day-core seen in the listing photos because it belongs to the non-celebrity seller and Your Mama assumes that Mister Morgan has the good damn sense and the dough to hire a talented lady or nice-gay decorator to do this house up in a manner that does it justice.
The primary public rooms include a roomy formal living room with wide-plank wood floors, French doors on two opposing walls for excellent light penetration and cross breeze, a fireplace and a well preserved exposed wood ceiling with heavy cross beams and carved corbels. The dining room has a rather unusual ceiling detail as does the fireplace in the wood paneled den where we hope Mister Morgan has retained—and possibly improved upon—the convenient built-in wet bar.
A short butler's pantry with at least two under counter wine fridges connects the formal dining room to the center island eat in kitchen complete with two sinks, a combination of butcher block and slab stone counter tops and the customary complement of high-grade stainless steel appliances that include side-by-side fridge and freezer.
The spacious second floor master suite has a fireplace, two fitted dressing rooms, two adequate if stylistically uninspired bathrooms and a private veranda with what appears to be a disturbingly direct view into numerous windows of the neighboring residence.
Back downstairs the compact but well organized backyard has a trellis-shaded dining terrace just off the kitchen and family room, a wee patch of grass, a heated swimming pool backed by a dense thicket of jungle foliage, an elevated spa, a sunbathing terrace and a poolside pavilion perfect for escaping the relentless southern California sunshine with a stack of gossip glossies and industry rags.
Iffin Your Mama is being honest—and we always are—we'd confess to the children that we have no idea about Mister Morgans other real estate holdings. Presumably he maintains some sort of residence in New York City where his CNN program Piers Morgan Tonight tapes and we assume he's kept a property foothold in the U.K., probably in London and, perhaps, also in some scenic and upscale locale.
listing photos: Westside Estate Agency