Throughout 2015, many of the world’s top superstars tried to sell their glamorous mansions and compounds. From Beverly Hills to St. Tropez and New York City, there was a celebrity property on sale for almost anyone who is extremely wealthy.
“Johnny Depp’s French Village Sold for $25 Million”
Hitting actors’ gold with his Pirates of the Caribbean films franchise, in 2001 Depp bought an entire French village 17 miles north of St. Tropez. The original 12 structures were built in the 1800s and cover 37 acres near the village of Plan-de-La-Tour. Depp spent millions renovating the buildings over a period of 15 years during his 14-year relationship with French actress and singer, Vanessa Paradis, and their two children. The couple called it quits in 2012 and Depp put the compound on the market closing the door on that part of his life after his marriage to Amber Heard.
Unlike most wealthy celebrities who bring in decorators and architects, Depp decorated each building himself. With approximately 10,760 square feet of living space, the property has 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, a main house, several guest cottages, a chapel, bar and restaurant, a workshop/garage and a staff house. There is a pirate-themed wine cellar, a skate park enjoyed by his children and two swimming pools. Also conveyed to the buyer were the contents including books, DVDs, furniture and some works of art.
Johnny Depp’s private ancient stone village in the South of France, restored and updated over 15 years. Listed for sale priced at $25.76 million and sold for $25 million.
“Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch”
Michael Jackson’s Neverland will never be forgotten by his fans, but for a new owner the compound has been stripped of most of the King of Pop’s toys. Before the estate was placed on the market in 2015 asking $100 million, most of the signs of Michael’s life, menagerie of animals and carnival rides were removed. It was renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch and restyled back to the home built and designed in 1982 by Robert Altevers for William Bone.
The main house at 12,000 square feet has rooms of large scale containing formal rooms, fireplaces, a comfortable but commercially functioning eat-in kitchen, hardwood floors from an 18th century French villa, six bedrooms including a master suite complex on two levels with fireplace in sitting room, two large baths and cedar walk-in closets, one with a hidden safe room. There is a four-bedroom guesthouse, a two-bedroom guesthouse, a free-form swimming pool, large covered barbecue area, basketball court, tennis court, 50-seat movie theater with private balcony and stage, and a four-acre lake with waterfall. Long distance views include meadows and mountains. Michael’s flowerbed clock is still at the walkway entrance. There are numerous structures on the property including several barns, animal shelter facilities, corrals and a maintenance shop.
“Bob Hope’s UFO House”
Celebrities have been attracted to Palm Springs, California since the early 1900s. By the 1930s there were neighborhoods with so many celebrities, they were referred to as the Movie Colony neighborhoods. Quickly developing into a resort town, they were drawn by the dry heat and insulation from the press. By 1973, Bob and Dolores Hope asked John Lautner to design their dream home and he created a massive home referred to as the volcano or spaceship house. But by the time the house was completed, Dolores had made so many changes to Lautner’s original plans that he no longer claimed it, even though it was the largest private residence he ever designed.
At 23,000 square feet under the dramatic high undulating roof, it has open spaces in the walls and ceiling which allow daylight – or stars to shine through, casting shapely shadows into the interior. The curved openings also allow for stunning views across the landscape and mountains, while appearing to be nestled comfortably into its desert landscaping and outdoor living areas. The house also has a spa with greenhouse wall, 6 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, indoor and outdoor pools, a pond, putting greens, and a tennis court. Originally listed in 2013 at $50 million, it has experienced price cuts to $34 million and $25 million which has gone unchanged for the last year, still looking for that special buyer.
“Miley Cyrus’s Tuscan Mansion Sold”
It wasn’t until the onset of filming “Hannah Montana” in 2007 that the Cyrus family moved from their 500-acre Tennessee farm to a new home in Toluca Lake, California – an easy commute to the Disney studios for Billy and Miley. The home was where Miley spent most of her teen years and after the series was over, the family moved back to Tennessee and the home was placed in a trust for her. In 2015, she put it on the market for $5.995 million.
Tuscan style, gated and tucked privately away inside walls and thick tropical vegetation, the home is accessed by a long-bricked drive bordered by trees and thick hedging opening onto a brick motor court. Designed and built in 2007 by architect Bob Easton, its appearance with patches of vine-covered walls, red-barrel tile roof and Old World ambiance belies its youth. At 8,700 square feet on just under an acre, it houses six bedrooms, seven baths, grand entry foyer with curved staircase accented with wrought iron and formal rooms that open to views of the pool and lush landscaping. There is a large chef’s kitchen with ogee-edged granite countertops, family room, home theatre and Billy’s former guitar display room. Built on two levels, the master suite has a rooftop terrace with fireplace and large walk-in dressing rooms. Both inside and outside are multiple venues with fireplaces for lounging and entertaining both covered and open air. A state-of-the-art security system and cameras protect all areas of the property. The listing agent is happy to report that the home was sold at the full $5.995 million asking price.
“The Bing Crosby Home”
Known for his love of golf, Bing Crosby, picked the Coachella Valley in Southern California for his vacation retreat. But instead of choosing the city of Palm Springs, as an avid golfer inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, he chose Rancho Mirage with its twelve golf courses. Every holiday season we remember Bing Crosby when his melodious baritone gets us in the Christmas spirit with the song White Christmas, the classic song of the season.
Bing’s former Rancho Mirage home is still available to buy. Located in Thunderbird Heights, Bing’s ranch-style home rests on 1.36 acres with grand views of mountains and city lights. Built in 1957 for indoor and outdoor living and entertaining, the 6,700-square-foot, mid-century house contains a total of six bedrooms and six baths. It includes an attached casita, named after President Kennedy, with two bedrooms, two baths, a living room and complete kitchen with its own private entrance. The casita is completely private and was named for the President after he stayed there, as legend goes, with Marilyn Monroe. Features include custom Moroccan wood entry doors, large, open and airy formal living and dining rooms, media room and chef’s kitchen with granite and stainless steel. All glass walls surrounding the outdoor entertainment area retract and open the house seamlessly to the pool, patios, outdoor kitchen and bar with mountain and Coachella Valley views. Having undergone a complete restoration, it is still for sale and remains priced at $5 million.
“President Obama’s Vacation Home”
President Obama likes to take some family time with his children at the end of the summer before they start school in the fall. It’s always a mini vacation not far from Washington, D.C., but having grown up with the love of the ocean pulsing through his veins, one can be sure it will be somewhere near a beach. A favorite family destination has been Martha’s Vineyard.
One of the prettiest vacation spots for the Obama family was this lovely private compound on Chilmark Pond, with views over the pond and crashing waves on the beach just a short row boat ride away. Originally built in 1961, the house had a complete redesign in 2006 by Seattle architect Rick Sundberg and landscape architect Steve Stimson. Emerging from the rebuild as a sophisticated, light-filled residence taking full advantage of the view in its reconfiguration, the home on almost ten acres is contemporary design similar to the Obama winter vacation rentals in Hawaii. A special perk for the president is the half basketball court and home gym. There is a heated infinity pool and a private boat dock on the pond as well as three beachfront lots for enjoying sand and sea. The 6,967-square-foot main house sits 120 feet above sea level and features six bedrooms and seven baths including a private master suite with its own den. The open floor plan includes pool, pond and ocean views from the chef’s kitchen, living room and dining room. There are three fireplaces, custom millwork, marble baths and floor-to-ceiling windows. Also on the property is a two bedroom guest house. Originally listed at $22.5 million, the property has been reduced to $19.125 million.
“Lauren Bacall’s Central Park Apartment”
The Dakota at Central Park West in New York City is one of the most prestigious residential addresses in the world with a long history of some of the world’s most powerful business, sports and movie star owners. The building’s design is a mix match of French Renaissance, German Gothic and English Victorian steep-pitched roofs, dormers, moldings, balconies, pavilions and a Dakota Indian figure watching over the main entrance. It has been the home for dozens of celebrities over the years.
One of the most famous long-time residents of The Dakota was the sultry, contralto-voiced actress, Lauren Bacall, who bought the apartment in 1961 for $48,000 and lived there for 53 years. Her nine-room, three-bedroom, four-bath home with almost 100 feet facing Central Park was put on the market in 2014. The large apartment retains the exceptional 19th century Dakota features such as 13-foot ceilings, foyer fireplace, 11-foot pocket doors, wainscoting, original butler’s pantry, plaster moldings, shutter-framed windows and hardwood flooring. The 70-foot long gallery opens to the major public rooms including the library, great room and formal dining room. There is also a Juliette balcony that opens over treetop Central Park views. Stage and screen star Lauren Bacall’s home in The Dakota in Manhattan was originally priced at $26 million then reduced last spring to $23.5. It recently sold for $21 million to Oaktree Capital managing director Ronald Beck.
“Jeff Bridges’ Montecito Estate”
From the time Lloyd Bridges starred in the television series “Sea Hunt” in the 1950s, the star-studded Bridges clan has lived in Montecito, California. It was in this series where Jeff and his brother, Beau, began their careers as actors, though Jeff had appeared in film scenes before the age of two as early as 1951.
Jeff Bridges, now 66, and his wife of 33 years, Susan, are now selling their 19.5-acre Tuscan-style family estate in Montecito where they raised their three daughters. Purchased in 1994 from Kenny Loggins who designed much of the home, the almost 20-acre hilltop property consists of the main house, a caretaker’s cottage, a detached auxiliary garage, a pool house and guest house. With 9,593 square feet of living space, the main house has five bedrooms, six baths, large formal rooms for entertaining opening along the grand hall with every room having banks of French doors opening to ocean and garden views and multiple terraces. Included are a large theatre, an attached four-car garage and a wine cellar below ground. The second level contains five bedrooms on wings jutting out from the main structure adding much privacy for the occupants. The master suite is its own private island with bedroom fireplace, huge master bath and a walk-in closet of over 200 square feet. Up the stairs on the private third level above the master is a large private rooftop terrace and private study. Outside are terraced destinations for dining, swimming next to a waterfall, lawn games, a vineyard, olive trees and view over the Pacific and the Channel Islands. Still available, the property is priced at $29.5 million.
“Tyler Perry’s Atlanta Home”
Tyler Perry, creator of the character Madea and his successful TV series “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” is the first filmmaker in history to have five films open at #1 in five years beating the records of Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Quentin Tarantino. His thirteen most popular films have grossed over $600 million at the box office but cost less than $10 million to make. By being independent with his own studio and filling the major roles himself, Tyler has been able to rake in a larger share of the profits.
During the years of his growing success, Tyler understood the value of real estate and has bought and sold real estate across the country. Currently focusing on the Atlanta area where he lives and found most of his success, Tyler has acquired over 1,000 acres where he plans to build his new home. He put his current Atlanta mansion on the market in 2015 asking $25 million.
The French provincial mansion is perched atop 17 acres with views over the Chattahoochee River in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood. Palatial in every conceivable aspect, the 34,688-square-foot home has seven bedrooms and fourteen baths, stately formal rooms, a two-story library, infinity-edge swimming pool, lighted tennis court on top of a two-story parking garage, fully equipped gym, spa, theater, hobby house and an underground ballroom with catering kitchen. There are both formal and informal gardens, an entire estate generator, guard house, caretaker’s suite and presidential-level security system including two gated and secured residential entrances. Perry’s impeccable Atlanta estate is still listed at the original price of $25 million.
“The Danny Thomas Mansion”
“Make Room for Daddy” star, Danny Thomas, appeared as a nightclub comedian and father who was always on the road playing in nightclubs, returning home to a family who was too accustomed to his absence. Adhering to the theory that success comes from doing what you know, the sitcom was based so much on his own family life that his wife was the one who came up with the name for the show. As his career soared, Thomas spent much of his time raising money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
In the late 1960s, Danny bought two and a half acres on a private promontory in Beverly Hills’ Trousdale Estates. It wasn’t until 1970 that he built the mansion with its Moorish flair. The 18,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom, 12-bathroom home has 360-degree views of all of Los Angeles. After Thomas died in 1991 and his widow passed away in 2000, his three children sold the property for $5.764 million in 2012. The current owner, who put it back on the market this year at $135 million, undertook a total restoration and renovation, bringing in French architect Jacques Garcia to freshen the decor by enhancing the Moorish design and ornate detail, adding $2.5 million of Baccarat chandeliers and hand-woven carpets that are included in the sale. The Danny Thomas family home for 30 years is still on the market and still listed at $135 million.