News Column

Bob Newhart lists Bel-Air beauty designed by Wallace Neff

July 14, 2013


You may picture him as Papa Elf living in a miniature home in the North Pole, but off-screen Bob Newhart owns a recently expanded estate on Amapola Lane in Los Angeles. For the first time in 23 years, the actor/comedian has listed the five-bedroom, seven-bath home for $15.5 million.

Built in 1941 by architect Wallace Neff, the home is one of several mansions designed in his famous "California style," which drew heavily from Spanish and Mediterranean architecture. Neff's designs grew in popularity among Old Hollywood stars and remain in high demand by celebrities today.

The French-country estate is located in Old Bel-Air. The main house features spacious living rooms, a dining room, maid's quarters, cook's kitchen and a sunny breakfast nook. The second floor has a master suite, his-and-hers baths and walk-in closets, and two additional bedroom suites. A poolside cabana -- complete with a kitchen, two baths and a second-floor guest apartment -- provides outdoor entertainment space.

Property records show Newhart purchased the home under a family trust in 1990. The Chicago native reportedly launched his acting career in 1958 as a copywriter for a major independent film and television producer. He went on to record a best-selling album of comedic monologues, "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart" and star on "The Bob Newhart Show." More recently, Newhart has played film roles in "Elf" and "The Librarian."

Octavia Spencer makes modest purchase

Closing on a Toluca Lake house and making a red-carpet appearance for her latest film Octavia Spencer's keeping busy.

The Academy Award-winning actress just bought a 1,714-square- foot home for $841,500, according to property records. In the world of Los Angeles real estate, anything less than $1 million is typically not used as a celebrity's primary residence. Time will tell whether Spencer uses the home permanently or as a weekend getaway.

The modest sized Spanish-style home has a lot of character from dark hardwood floors and plantation shutters to vintage tiles and original fixtures. The property is located near Toluca Lake boutiques and restaurants on Riverside Drive.

Spencer received several prestigious accolades including an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2011 film adaptation of "The Help." The 41-year-old actress also has several film and television credits on her resume.

Her latest film, "Fruitvale Station," released in theaters July 12, is based on the true story of Oscar Grant, who was killed by transit police in Oakland, CA on New Year's Eve four years ago. Spencer plays Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson.

Pharrell Williams looking to 'Get Lucky'

With two big hits bouncing the radio airwaves this summer, producer/singer/rapper Pharrell Williams is in no mood to sit around and wait for his stellar Miami Beach penthouse to sell. That explains why he's just knocked the list price down to $10.9 million on the 2127 Brickell Ave. apartment he bought back in 2007.

This is the second price drop by Williams on his 9,000-square- foot, 40th floor apartment with views of Biscayne Bay and its own pool. Williams originally had it listed in November 2012 for $16.8 million, then $13.9 million.

Pharrell has been eager to design a new custom home.

Chelsea Handler's penthouse listed

Vodka-loving comedian and talk show host Chelsea Handler used to be attached to NBC chairman Edward "Ted" Harbert III, which led to their purchase of a Marina del Rey, Calif., penthouse back in 2008. After their breakup, Hander sold her share to Harbert, who now decided it's time to sell.

The penthouse in the Azzurra building cost Handler and Harbert $3.7 million, and the 3,319-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom abode at 137000 Marina Pointe Dr., currently listed for $3.95 million. That includes a 100-gallon fish tank.

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