Thursday, August 30, 2007

The $165,000,000 Mega-Estate of Leonard Ross

SELLER: Leonard Ross
LOCATION: N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $165,000,000
SIZE: 20,570, 9 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms (main house as per assessor)
DESCRIPTION: "The Beverly House Compound." The most spectacular estate available. Located 3 blocks north of the Beverly Hills Hotel on approx. 6.25 acres of land and approx. 75,000 sf of living space of all structures. Legendary and incomparable history, formerly owned by William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies, Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy honeymooned there, never before has this estate been available. Shown to pre-qualified clients only.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama is one lucky bitch, because the other day we received a stupendous cache of photographs from a gentleman we'll call Sneaky Pete. The photos, of attorney and financier Leonard Ross's $165,000,000 house in Beverly Hills, include snaps of the exterior and the deliciously and obscenely lavish interiors. Like we did with the photos of Miz Suzanne Saperstein's $125,000,000 pile in the Holmby Hills, Your Mama is going to post a few snaps each day for the next few days so that all the children are not overwhelmed by the over the top interiors and the outrageous opulence of the grounds.

What can Your Mama tell the children about this staggeringly expensive Beverly Hills estate that has not been said a thousand times before? Certainly everybody already knows that the house was built in 1927 for Milton Getz and designed by the same engineer who designed Hoover Dam and the Greystone mansion, one of the other famous and vast estates in Bev Hills.

And of course everybody already knows the house was once owned by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Heart, who purchased the house in 1947 for his long time mistress Marion Davies. Hearst, who filled the house with life sized portraits of his lady friend, met his maker in 1951 in this very house, and Your Mama would not be surprised to hear that his corpulent ghost still roams the hallowed halls of the colossal crib.

Just weeks after Mister Hearst met his maker in 1951, Miz Davies married and moved in her own side action lover Horace Brown, who inherited the property when Miz Davies met her maker in 1961. Talk about a sugar mama. Brown subdivided the property and sold off the parcels in 1966, but it wasn't until 1976 that Lenny Ross bought the big house and started buying up the subdivided parcels.

According to listing information and a myriad of reports, the 6.5 acre estate now comprises 4 residences (plus an apartment and security cottage), three swimming pools, two tennis courts, 29 bedrooms, 40 bathrooms, and extravagant gardens that Your Mama imagines cost more to water every year than some small countries' gross national product.

Property records on file with the assessor show the big house, which Hearst dubbed "Beverly House," measures 20,570 square feet with 9 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms. Which seems a mite smallish considering all reports and listing information for the property state there is an outrageous 72,000+ of combined square feet under roof on the property.

Seventy-two thousand square feet. Lahwd children, there are some hotels with less square footage. Imagine the number of full time staff people and cleaning gurls it takes to keep this behemoth from turning into a West Coast version of Grey Gardens.

Not a single fancy schmancy real estate professional that Your Mama has spoken to thinks this collection of residences will sell for more than $100,000,000, let alone the $165,000,000 asking price. But prospective buyers should know that at least a couple of the properties can be used as high income producing rentals to offset the huge mortgage.

All the reports say that the Ross property includes several residences, but Your Mama was surprised to learn that two of the residences are currently available to lease? One property, sprawling across three-quarters of an acre, includes a single story 3,476 square foot 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom house with swimming pool and tennis court and can be had for the multi-millionaire only price of $45,000 per month.

A second property, a two-story 6,365 square foot house on just under an acre, includes 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and a large kidney shaped swimming pool. This house can be had for $57,500 per month (unfurnished), or $65,000 per month furnished on a long term lease or $75,000 per month furnished on a short term lease.

Your Mama imagines that when you've got a gargantuan house with a dozen bedrooms or more, it's really not necessary to also maintain and additional 10,000+ square feet of housing with another dozen bedrooms and bathrooms.

Stay tuned kiddies, we'll have some gorgeous pictures of the interior spaces in the next couple of day.


Jordy said...

wow wow! once again you are great! can't wait to see more pics!

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to bet-MAMA...that just as many women...and now men...move to LA for a shot at becoming the next Marion Davies as much they do to become the next Marilyn Monroe.Both their ghosts cast a psychographic shadow over this town in equal measure.Unfortunately for these soldiers of fortune-most of the wealthy realize they no longer have to go deep pocket like WILLIE there to get the goods.

I'm usually not a fan of BIG FOR THE SAKE OF BIG RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE...but this puppy actually has a little flair.Great landscaping.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow as well. I can't wait to see the rest of the photos.

What I find so compelling about this property is the architectural relevance. It appears to be designed for the lot and, by all reports, the property was designed for exactly how it was used. Entertainment, entertainment, entertainment. With a little showmanship thrown in.

Thanks, Mama!

so_chic_darling said...

Drama for the children,and Mama knows we like our drama!
It's just so over the top what can you say?

Anonymous said...

Contrary to what my many fans may think I'll say of this estate... I LOVE it. This is old Hollywood glamour at its best. The house is similar to Sonny & Cher's old house on So. Carolwood Dr. (yes I'm dating myself...). They may have been designed by the same architect. I'll have to rummage through my "books" to research the architect on Ross' estate & other such info to ascertain that one. But $165M ??? Mama is right, one would have to rent out the adjacent cottages to pay for the help and live-in pool boy. Or better yet, sell of the cottages for a comparitively minor fortune and forget about renting the pool boy: just buy him.

Anonymous said...

I've been there a few times. Nice - but not mega-$$ nice. Very traditional Spanish type interiors (i.e., Spanish tiled floor covering, etc.). I like the terraced backyard -- but $165M is plain nuts, or more accurately, a ego play.

Anonymous said...

hippie canyon,

The main house is a Gordon B. Kaufmann. I have no idea of the architect of Owlwood (the Sonny & Cher house) but would love to know what you turn up.

Anonymous said...

WooHoo Mama! This is going to be fun :) And I can tell already I'm going to like this house alot more than the Saperstein pile. It's Spanish, my old weakness, so I'm probably going to make a fool out of myself by drooling all over this place despite the price, lol. Can't believe Marion Davies married and moved a new man into the place just a few weeks after Hearst's death though. I guess that's true love and thanks among the uber wealthy.

Regarding the architect of the former Sonny & Cher home Owlwood, his name is Robert D. Farquhar. The mansion was built in 1936. It has just over 12,000 square feet of living space with 20 rooms, including 6 bedrooms. It was purchased in the 1940s by famed film pioneer Joseph M. Schenck. It was later the home of Tony Curtis and later Sonny & Cher. This home was featured in Architectural Digest in the 1974 May / June issue right after Sonny & Cher had the interiors redone by interior designer Ron Wilson.

Anonymous said...

I agree this is a tough sell as a "single family residence" but if someone was to buy and divy back up into multiple estates, the price isn't that crazy. Actually, Ross has said he would consider doing that himself if he gets a decent offer on the main house. He created the compound close to 30 years ago by buying up neighboring properties so it probably wouldn't be that difficult to undo.

Does anyone know if his Santa Barbara house ever sold? Wasn't it on the market for 75m?

luke220 said...

For MY $165 Million, I'd like to be a bit farther from my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

This is the home used in the Godfather for the studio heads estate; who wakes up in bed with the head of his horse.

I dont like most large homes this size, but this house has style, and taste.

Better than all the new construction crap, being built these days that never looks as good as these great older estates.

If you had the $$$, why not. You only live once and why not have THE pad in B Hills.

The only other home in B Hills as nice is the old Harold Lloyd estate, Green Acres.

Yeah, David Geffen has a massive home, but its just LARGE.

Anonymous said...

Copy this link to see Harold Lloyds old place, Green Acres. Similar style.

Anonymous said...

Sure are a lot of neighbors, though. Don't like, so far.

Anonymous said...

I really don't like the location. It's right near the corner of Coldwater Canyon and Beverly Dr and it's a total traffic nightmare. Truly one of the hardest places to get through during morning and evening rush hour. Also no view? For that money I want to see something more than the hedge that blocks the view of my neighbors house. I live semi- close by in Trousdale Estates and last spring watched the fires burning over towards that area from my back yard. In fact a house just a few doors down from this one was lost due to the fires.

Anonymous said...

Dear Phoenix, You have similar sources I see. Thanks for posting the details. As I recall, Ron Wilson's design work on Sonny & Cher's house was stunning while being comfortably "understated" in a manner that only he could do.

And Yes, D-Toluca, I agree that Green Acres is fantastic as well. That sense of style & scale apparently cannot be duplicated today. While my own home is "modern," my preference is for early 20th century traditional architecture. No bling, just great style -

Anonymous said...

My pleasure hippie canyon.. cool handle by the way :) Actually, my sources are primarily the internet. Over time I've become a bit of an amature search sleuth, due in no small measure to Google's enormous resources. Herre's where I found my factoids.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Ross and he can sale a home for that much but he can't give his employees insurance. Cheap Bitch

Anonymous said...

"I worked for Ross and he can sale a home for that much but he can't give his employees insurance. Cheap Bitch"

You were his accountant, right? Used to remember your name - start with a G, but not George - one of the other caretakers that did not speak much English. Son of one of the housekeepers? Is it Amelia? I do not really remember.

Anonymous said...

this house is OFF THE MARKET. and all of those defamatory comments are completely uncalled for, not to mention absurd; you are trying to talk sh** about a true self made man..i can only admire people like him..(though, admittedly, i fail to think of any others who should be as venerable......all the "venerable" people these days were born into it...not him..)how many of those can you find these days?
thats what i thought....
and whoever made that second to last comment...also under an "anonymous" name...(and yes i know it was a while ago that the it is not likely, i presume, that they'll see this...but i would dare them to tell me exactly what they did for him, because i have worked for him for years, and that comment is a pile of bs, for lack of a better description...)
and most importantly, to the person who made the last comment...FIRST OF ALL IT IS SPELLED EMILIA AND SECOND OF ALL SHE AND GEORGE ARE AMAZING PEOPLE WHAT ARE YOU...THE DRIVER OF A TOUR BUS? I HATE THOSE...GET A LIFE..(contain your jealousy much?)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I dated the owner of this house.....He is a self made man...Was great to me.....No one knows a thing about him......I do................These comments are hard to read given the fact that most are cheap shots and no one really knows the story of anyone....Do they? Since then I have two boys and a life...I can say this......The owner of this house was a true gentleman in everyway and I wish him all good things....I mention no names as I keep the obvious facts to myself....I do have all the photos way back in the day for I am a California girl ......We had quite a life....I wish him well....Thx