Haute Properties: Celebrity Real Estate Gossip

There are days when I think Los Angeles is inhabited by a bunch of celebrity real-estate gossips that sit around sipping martinis at lunch and discussing what so-and-so bought or sold. Oh wait, might I be among them?

Here are a few of the properties that we’ve talked about lately, and please pass the chive butter.

Multiple Oscar-man Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump in 1994 and Philadelphia in 1993) bought the home of producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall (The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons in 2008 and Seabiscuit in 2003). The house had been listed at about $26 million and is large enough—14,513 square feet—that one might consider dropping breadcrumbs to find the way out again. If there are any left in our breadbasket, I promise to send them over.

The home was built in 1996, and has four bedrooms and five bathrooms. I personally am delighted that Hanks bought this place. My lunch mates reminded me how I spent the better part of last year trying to prove that Hanks had bought a house in Beverly Hills—a house that actually was bought by Batman star Christian Bale. Or at least we think Bale bought it. Funny, isn’t it, how when you repeat a rumor often enough it takes on a life of its own, true or not.

And then of course there was the chatter over entertainment mogul and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg’s $35 million purchase of an 8,704-square-foot mansion on six-plus acres in Beverly Hills—a house that wasn’t on the market. Pocket listings are the lunchtime fuel that keeps our little group alive. They are akin to finding Beluga caviar on sale.

In the case of Katzenberg, the home had been owned by Simon Ramo, the “R” in TRW. Ramo led development of microwave and missile technology and is sometimes known as the father of the intercontinental ballistic missile. Compare that to anything Katzenberg ever did—OK, Shrek is kind of cute in a big galoot kind of way—and help me understand why we are more excited about where Jeffrey Katzenberg lives than nonagenarian (he’s 96!) Simon Ramo.

And just before dessert came, my little club of gossiping galloping gourmands chewed on this one: The $75 million listing of Edra and Tim Blixseth’s 240-acre estate known as Porcupine Creek in Rancho Mirage.  An interesting pair, those two, and with so many salacious details about their divorce and bankruptcy proceedings to be discussed, they are almost worthy of a lunch alone.

The fallout from their misfortunes has spewed forth the sale of properties, island retreats, fine jewelry, and antiques around the world. Together, they built the Porcupine Creek estate, which includes an 18-hole golf course and 25,000-square-foot main residence, several guesthouses, a gym, and spa. Porcupine Creek, with its multiple commercial kitchens, has hosted numerous charitable events of more than 500 guests entertained by superstar bands.

Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland and Tyler Morgan of Pacific Union GMAC Real Estate in Palm Springs have the listing; a sale would be subject to bankruptcy court approval.