I used to have a real job, but now I chase celebrity real estate listings for a living. Actually, that was what I used to do for my real job too. What can I say? Journalism isn't about what it used to be. Here are some pickings from the week.
Barbie's Doll House
Collecting $50,000 a month in rent for the past two years is nothing to sneeze at, but Barbie Benton - who will go to her grave being known first and foremost as Hugh Hefner's ex-girlfriend - is ready to call it quits with long-distance land-lording. She and husband George Gradow spend most of their time in Aspen -- and who needs the albatross of a 15,000-square-foot Bel Air mansion hanging over your head?
Benton has listed it for $12,900,000. Yes, she will take $50,000 a month if another tenant who isn't part of a heavy metal band can be found, but she'd prefer to sell. The contemporary home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood has its own 2.4-acre promontory with views of the city and ocean. The dining room seats 32 and in addition to the three-car garage there is parking for more than 20 cars -- suggesting that at one time, the Barb-meister did a fair amount of entertaining. The home has 8 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, four fireplaces, a library, gym, wine cellar, media room, elevator and spa. There is a detached two-bedroom, two-bathroom guesthouse off the pool plus a separate two-bedroom, two-bathroom staff residence. Nothing wrong with a lot of space.
The home has been rented by singer Mariah Carey, actor Michael Caine and Prince, who recorded his 2006 album, 3121, in the house and named it after the property.
Benton, who graced the Playboy cover several times, never reached the coveted centerfold status - despite her seven-year relationship with the boss, which I suppose proves you can't sleep your way to the middle. Since putting her clothes back on, she's best known for her years as a regular on the county music series Hee Haw. She also had a top five hit on Billboard's country singles chart in 1975 with "Brass Buckles." Benton has recorded eight albums, the last of which she produced herself.
Joe Babajian and Scott Cort, both of Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills, share the listing.
Hanoi Jane's rebirthing loft
Actress-activist-fitness guru Jane Fonda has listed her Atlanta loft for sale or lease. Having divorced CNN founder Ted Turner in 2001, about the only question is why it's taken Jane so long to divorce Atlanta. She's been there for 19 years but is now headed back to Los Angeles where she plans to resume her acting career.
This is how she describes the entryway of the 4,700-square-foot loft she is leaving: "To me it is a womb with a narrow birth channel and then you enter the wide open sunny loft to be reborn again." Welcome home to Los Angeles, I say.
There is also apparently a mirror above the master bed, shielded in the listing photos by an oval canopy with wooden tassels. The master bedroom also has a glass fireplace. Listing price: $4.5 million; lease it for $10,000 a month.
The amazingly fit Fonda has been an activist for varied political causes, the most noted one being her opposition to the Vietnam War. The allegedly retired from the film industry in 1991, but has made several movies and a zillion exercise videos since then. Last year, she earned a Tony nomination for her role on the Broadway show 33 Variations.
The listing agent for her Atlanta property is Tina Hunsicker at Atlanta Fine Homes, Sotheby's International Realty.
Goings on in the 'bu
With apologies to David Geffen and all those other Carbon Beach dwellers, I just don't see the allure of that particular stretch of sand. Give me the further north stretch known as Broad Beach any day. In fact, if you give me $40 million, I can tell you precisely the property I'd buy.
It's actually an estate that sits on a double lot, owned by Paula Kent Meehan, the cofounder of Redken hair care products. It just came on the market at $39,995,000 and has the breathtaking vistas to prove it. The two homes that sit on the property have a combination of eight bedrooms and nine baths in 5,887 square feet. The two homes are gated and have a combined 175 feet of beach frontage. Both homes have been fully remodeled.
Wailiani O'Herlihy of Sotheby's International Realty, Malibu, has the listing.