Thursday, April 25, 2013
Zsa Zsa's Bel Air Mansion Falls Out of Escrow
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 8,878 square feet, 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: After a couple of unsuccessful years on and off the market, ailing nonagenarian Show Business Super-diva Zsa Zsa Gabor's ninth husband—the sassy and wacky faux-prince Frédéric von Anhalt*—re-listed their legendary, timeworn but (mostly) still elegant Old School Hollywood Regency-style villa in Bel Air on the open market in May 2012 with an asking price of $14,900,000.
The property languished for nearly a year until late February (2013) when an unidentified buyer stepped up and put the house into escrow, or in contract or under offer or whatever the syntax is in whatever part of the real estate world you may be in. Our well-informed informant Yolanda Yakketyak snitched to Your Mama that she heard word it was a wealthy Indonesian who wanted to buy the well located estate but we can't vouch for the accuracy of that particular scuttlebutt.
Anyways, the couple have well-publicized money problems, partly due to Miz Gabor's exorbitant and mounting medical bills and partly due—so says Mister von Anhalt—to losing a $10 million bundle down the multi billion dollar sink hole created by financial services scoundrel Bernie Madoff a few years ago. Last fall, as the property faced foreclosure due to unpaid payments on a $700,000 mortgage, Mister von Anhalt launched a Facebook campaign that successfully if temporarily saved the property from imminent foreclosure. But—so the story goes—he has until the end of this year to pay off the $1.5 million dollar personal loan he managed to secure via his last ditch social media effort.
In early April an L.A. judge decreed that the outspoken and notoriously erratic German-born bon vivant, acting on his wife's behalf, can sell the quixotic and quickly aging couple's long time crib in what is known as a deferred transaction. The details of the deferred transaction, such as they've been reported, would allow Miz Gabor and her (in)famously eccentric faux-prince to remain in residence for up to three years or until 96 year old Miz Gabor passes over to the other side, whichever comes first. Additionally, the terms of the deferred transaction compel a buyer to pay Miz Gabor and her husband $325,000 per year for the length of their tenancy up to three years. Your Mama have no idea as to whether the 325 grand a year is to maintain the already down on her heels house or if it's simply a kind of house-sitting salary that would be used for the luxe-living couple's day-to-day living expenses but either way it's a ballsy demand by Mister van Anhalt and Miz Gabor.
The potentially cumbersome, time consuming and expensive terms of a continued tenancy by Miz Gabor and the faux prince may or may not have had something to do with the property falling out of escrow earlier this week and being quietly re-listed with a by-now-familiar $14,900,000 asking price.
Current online listings make hay of the fact it's the long time residence of "glamour icon, actress, and philanthropist, Zsa Zsa Gabor and husband Prince Frederic von Anhalt." Marketing materials go on to show the gated, two story house sits on a private knoll of just over an acre with "270-degree, jetliner views from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean and beyond," was built in 1955 and encompasses "over 8,878 square feet per owner."
Listing details are less clear on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. One listing shows there are six bedrooms and five bathrooms, another states there are 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms and, back when Your Mama first discussed the estate in mid-2011, listing information called it out as 6,393 square feet with four bedrooms and five bathrooms.
Whatever the case, listing details further reveal the house has sensationally circular foyer freshly painted a creamy beige from its previous lipstick red. Several more elegantly sized formal entertaining rooms include a large living room with fireplace, a reception room with built-in wet bar hidden behind limed wood cabinetry and a formal dining room that have all "entertained guests such as Queen Elizabeth, US Presidents, CEO's, dignitaries and celebrities."
A large and less formal entertainment space on the second floor includes a lounge with built-in bar, a family room area and a pool table because can't everyone picture ol' Zsa Zsa working a pool stick? Sliding glass doors connect the big but very ordinary party room space to a spacious and far more satisfying city view terrace for mid-party star gazing and cigarette smoking, although we imagine Miz Gabor does little of either of those things anymore. A wide exterior stairway for convenient access to the lower level outdoor areas. There's also, as per listing details, a "master-sized guest bed & bath" on the second floor.
Several of the lower level public rooms open to various outdoor living spaces that include an awning shaded, mirror-lined lanai with black and white checkerboard marble floor and glittery night time view over the city lights. A swimming pool guarded by a pair of life-like cheetah figurines and various other less fearsome statuary sits and a cock-eyed angle to the house in an expansive red brick terrace.
The house sits amongst some of the hoitiest of the toitiest estates in upper Bel Air including the sprawling compound of Quincy Jones next door. Many reports say the home was once owned and/or occupied by both Elvis Presley and Howard Hughes—at different time, natch—but we don't really know and the fine gentlemen at The Movieland Directory only show Mister Hughes as a resident in the 1950s.
Stay tuned, children, because where Zsa Zsa and her faux prince are involved it's always a tangled and fascinating ride.
listing photos: Carothers Photo for Rodeo Realty