Although I’m usually loath to cover celebrity real estate goings-on unless they involve preservation battles, NIMBY outrage
, and/or Walter White
, I'd be remiss in not sharing news that Bernie Madoff victim and Beverly Hills Copslapper™ Zsa Zsa Gabor, 96, has finally unloaded her gated Bel Air estate for $11 million to a Los Angeles-based real estate holding firm.
The 6,393-square-foot manse, built in 1955 and purchased for $280,000 by the Budapest-born beauty queen-turned-actress-turned-socialite-turned-tabloid fixture in the early 1970s, first hit the market
in June of 2011 with a price tag of $15 million.
To be clear, Gabor’s
40th ninth husband, adult adoption enthusiast and professional crazy person Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, took a break from gluing his eyelids shut, swallowing bees, running for governor of Los California, and being involved in nude carjackings to oversee last month's sale as the ailing "Hollywood Squares" staple's conservator, a court-appointed role that expires in August.
Previously, a listing agent had billed the dramatically ornate/outdated hillside manse at 1001 Bel Air Rd
.— features include a statue-flanked swimming pool, Quincy Jones as a neighbor, and an “exquisite dining room that has entertained guests such as Queen Elizabeth, U.S. Presidents, CEOS, dignitaries, and celebrities" — as a fabulous fixer-upper; a property not in need of a major structural overhaul but definitely requiring a million-dollar-plus remodel. Now, according to Curbed LA
, the home will most likely be razed and the property redeveloped once the buyer takes possession (more on that in a bit).
This is all a shame, in my opinion, as chez Zsa Zsa has been enjoying an interesting renaissance as of late. To help pay for Gabor’s mounting medical bills — strokes, amputations, blood clots, hip replacements, and blood pressure-related scares resulting from the death of Elizabeth Taylor
don’t come cheap — von Anhalt has been renting out his wife’s longtime/stuck-in-time residence as a filming location to producers in need of a private home that screams hideous 1970s glamour and excess. Most notably, it was featured in both Oscar-winner “Argo” and HBO’s lauded, Michael Douglas-starring Liberace biopic, “Beyond the Candelabra” (but of course).
Personally, I’d love to see someone swoop in and save the home from demolition, preserve in its current state, and open it as some sort of living history museum dedicated to Hollywood decadence of yesteryear. If he isn’t busy, maybe Robin Leach could serve as head docent? Perhaps Melvyn's of Palm Springs could run the concession stand?
In addition to pimping it out as a movie set, the whole reason von Anhalt is selling the four-bedroom home is to pay for Gabor’s aforementioned medical expenses including home health care costs that exceed her monthly retirement income. Von Anhalt also needs cash for home upkeep as well as a $1.15 million loan payment.
Since this is Zsa Zsa Gabor that we're dealing with, naturally there's a twist:
As part of the sale, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Reva Goetz approved a proviso that would allow Gabor and von Anhalt to stay put in the home for another three years — or until Gabor dies — while taking in approximately $3.275 million in revenue from the transaction. Gabor’s only child and von Ahalt’s arch nemesis, Constance Francesca Gabor Hilton, is none to pleased
with the deferred transaction as she worries that if her mother does indeed live beyond three years that the profits from the sale will have long been gobbled up by taxes and other costs, leaving her a penniless near-centenarian.
“If she lives beyond three years it could be a disaster," explains Hilton’s attorney.
Although she cannot properly communicate, Gabor is apparently is delighted with the sale. According to von Anhalt, she indulged in a bit of champagne to celebrate what he calls a "good deal" for both he and his wife. “She was very happy. She doesn't drink much, but she did have a little sip," he said.
Three more years Quincy Jones ... just three more years.
Frederic von Anhalt photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images