Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's Look-see at Sue Mengers' Bev Hills Party Pad

SELLER: estate of Sue Mengers
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $4,995,000
SIZE: 4,434 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: All the children know that brevity ain't Your Mama's strong point. However, because we're well beyond fashionably late to this particular real estate party and because we have a very complicated pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap cookie crust to make–from scratch, natch–we're going keep our prattle to a bare minimum today.

About a month ago legendary talent agent turned Hollywood hostess-with-the-mostess Sue Mengers died at the age of 79...78 or or 81 depending on who you ask and where you read. Miz Mengers, in case any of y'all don't know, was a diminutive Tinseltown dynamo, a wonderfully zaftig powerhouse über-agent who often wore over-sized round glasses and possessed what surely was one of the most extensive collections of caftans in the entire world.

She used her sharp wit, fearlessly blunt manner and innate showbiz savvy to become the most powerful agent who over the years represented just about anyone and everyone who was or became anyone important in Hollywood including Barbra Streisand, Jack Nicholson, Mike Nichols, Ali McGraw, Peter Bogdanovich, Faye Dunaway, Bob Fosse, Cybill Shepard, Sidney Lumet, Cher, Michael Caine, Ryan O'Neal and on and on and on.

Besides engineering and steering the careers of countless Hollywood icons, Miz Mengers was equally well-known for her low-key but star-studded salon-style dinners, first at a small modern house on Dawnridge Drive in Beverly Hills where, according to a 1987 article in the L.A. Times, "Julie Christie met Princess Margaret" and "John Travolta met Laurence Olivier" and later at the gigantic French Normandy-style mansion on Bel Air Road she bought in 1977 from Zsa Zsa Gabor.

In May 1988, shortly after Miz Mengers officially retired, she shelled out $2,000,000 to acquire her final home and party pad, a spectacular salmon-colored John Elgin Woolf-designed Hollywood Regency-style residence on Lexington Road in Beverly Hills that was listed in the weeks after her death with an asking price of $4,995,000.

Listing information shows the immaculately maintained (if not entirely updated) single story residence was built in 1959, measures 4,434 square feet and includes a total of three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The house, according to someone Your Mama knows who knows such things, was originally built for Los Angeles ranching and real estate scion and politician Alphonso Bell Jr. That's Bell, people, as in the cities and communities of Bell, Bell Gardens and–you got it–Bel Air.

The primary entertaining rooms include a sizable living room with fireplace that opens to the central courtyard through a curved wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, an intimately scaled oval dining room, and a library with second fireplace and full wall of built-in bookshelves. Your Mama is quite certain we'd pass out from envy just from perusing the titles of Miz Mengers' collection of books.

The master suite, according to listing information, has "dual closets" and two bathrooms, one oval-shaped with a campy-glam pink marble floor and oval-shaped soaking tub set into a mirrored niche. The children will know the "Oui Oui" pillow on the chair in the bathroom. It's really dumb but sort of brilliant all at the same time, right?

The house wraps around a magnificent oval-shaped courtyard lined with what listing information calls "slender Greek Revival columns. At the center of the courtyard an oval shaped swimming pool that makes Your Mama's knees go weak with real estate desire and envy. At the far end of the courtyard, directly opposite the living room, a wide set of stone steps that ascend to a small but very private and grassy yard enclosed by thick foliage and mature shade trees.

The trustee responsible for the sale of the property is none other than billionaire entertainment mogul David Geffen who has set up the sale of the property so that all best and final offers on the house be submitted by December 7, 2011. According to the listing agent's website more than 125 interested parties have toured the property and with that Your Mama expects the house will have many and multiple offers and will eventually result in a sale price well above the $4,995,000 asking price. We predict the sale price will be millions more but then again, what do we know?

Your Mama and we imagine every other architectural enthusiast and (arm chair) historian can only hope Miz Mengers' manse is purchased by someone who will cherish and maintain the house in a manner respectful to Mister Woolf's original design but would anyone who knows anything at all about real estate in Los Angeles be surprised if the property was purchased by a developer who plans to blow Miz Menger's Woolf-house down and replace it with an horrifically over-articulated and belligerently bloated mcmansion? We shall see bunnies, we shall see.

listing photos: Nourmand & Associates


The Swan said...

Delish and super John Wolfe...I only pray that somebody doesn't come along and demolish or alter what's perfect!

One could hear Donna Summers at the Pink Hour...those were the days!

Anonymous said...

Woolf's work is wonderful. Classic in every way. It's too bad Mengers didn't have any taste with decorating...
I was in this house years ago when John Cottrell owned it. It's a small house in relation to how most folks want to live these days. Let's hope a Diva of some sort will buy the house and save it for a few more years. Most agents around town feel it's a lot to build on.

Anonymous said...

And, the reason Alphonso Bell sold the house was his child died in the pool right after they moved in. They couldn't bear to live there after that. And... the house is not updated. And... the square footage of 4,434 sq. ft. includes the two car garage that was converted to office/staff rooms years ago. The actual house is around 3,500 sq. ft.

Viva! said...

One word for this property: GLAMOUR! Old style Hollywood glamour, the type that is of a dying breed and that is housed within the walls of a place like this.

Sue Mengers was a legend and her house lives up to its owner. Hollywood Regency is my absolute favourite style. This house, with just a few interior updates, would be immaculate.

If those walls could talk.

Rosco Mare said...

Mama Dearest: Thanks for this holiday special, and happy Thanksgiving.

Graydon Carter wrote an homage to Sue Mengers in the December 2011"Vanity Fair" on p.72. The house is mentioned.

I saw her a few times around town. One time, she pulled her Mercedes SL (as Our Mama would say, "natch") into the driveway of the parking garage next to Williams-Sonoma on Beverly, and tapped her nails while I navigated through a throng of pedestrians across the sidewalk. I could almost hear her growl under her breath, "Get the f*** out of my way." Her sunglasses with a small rhinestone initial need no comment.

The house looks beautiful and not really outdated, in my meaningless opinion. It's a timeless, elegant kind of style that is admired by a certain generation that is slowly leaving us. I'd like to own it, but I admit, I'd hire one of Our Mama's nice gay or otherwise decorators to streamline the day-core. Can't beat the location and the ability to walk to the BH hotel for drinks, leaving the car keys at home.
Happy Thanksgiving fellow chil'ren!

Rosco Mare said...

One more thing...Forgot to mention that Ray Bolger's grecian-style MCM house next door, at the corner of Lexington and Beverly, was demolished for the over-built place that you can't miss today, even when you try your best to avoid it.

pollyanda said...

HA, BLAST FROM THE PAST....... MANY YEARS AGO... my friend was working as realtor asst.for one of those "grey ladies" know all button upped, well my friend hung himself and the grey lady(a guy) is ah now the grey shamu. HUGE,,.my buddy ,the hot guy, was wild, he put leather harnesses on the greek statues around the pool, (no longer there) while he house sat for a couple months. ha, so funny to see this house again, many fun saturdays at the pool while he was there.

Desert Donna said...

Pollyanda I want do have a drink with you!

Anonymous said...

Ms Mengers was from an era when there actually WAS talent to represent! Also, speaking of Mr. Geffen, does he still own Angelo drive? I know you said he was floating it out at 100M back in 2007. Was it ever photographed after he remodeled it?

Anonymous said...

As ugly and as grotesque as the town she consecrated.

Anonymous said...

Where "John Travolta met Lawrence Olivier". Wonder if, and if so, how, that went . . . . The mind reels.

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving Mama.

Anonymous said...

I toured the house recently, and the lady's round bath is to die for. I really hope this Woolf is not torn down. It is a great couple's house and with a little restoration could be a show-stopper. Sue had a lot of furniture crammed into this space.

Anonymous said...

Something about it reminded me of the Robert Evans house, Woodland...probably that mirror suspended in Sue's guest bath. I did a little search, sure enough, John Woolf designed them both. Robert had that cool fireplace with hidden smokestacks.
Very cool spots.

Babe Parish said...

love this. just love this. the bruised and tattered pool is my favorite part. when i saw the pics of the pool & courtyard, i thought wistfully, "oh, so sad. someone loved that pool, but now it's just resting, waiting to be reborn." menger's style was so perfectly 80s. perfectly 80s! rest in peace, mrs. ugh. i need a mocktail and the soundtrack to valley of the dolls. x