After just over five years of ownership, versatile TV and film actor Christopher Meloni (“Oz,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Happy!”) and his longtime wife Sherman Williams have punted their historic Hollywood Hills home back onto the open market, where it’s landed with a nearly $6.5 million thud.
The famed half-acre estate sits just below the mouth of ever-popular Runyon Canyon park and features a two-story, traditional-style house originally built in 1916. There are five bedrooms and seven full baths in nearly 5,300 square feet of living space, a figure that likely includes the detached guesthouse, which sits poolside at the far rear of the property.
While the home itself is certainly pretty, the design is nothing groundbreaking. Rather, the property is legendary because of its prominent place in Golden Age Hollywood lore. During the 1950s and ’60s, the property was the television (and real life) home of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, the sitcom stars who arguably best epitomized American cultural attitudes of the 1950s.
In 1975, Ozzie Nelson died in the home’s master bedroom. The house has changed hands multiple times over the ensuing decades, and many of those owners have reportedly complained that the property is haunted, with spooky goings-on — bedsheets flying about in the night, locked doors opening and slamming shut — all the norm at the former Casa Nelson.
Haunted or not, the estate again achieved small-screen fame in the mid-aughts, as the on-camera home of fast-talking power agent Ari Gold in the earliest seasons of “Entourage.”
As for Meloni, he acquired the genteel abode in fall 2014, for $5.25 million from a developer, and a quick comparison of current photos to those from back then shows that not much has changed in the past few years. The gated spread has clearly undergone a light interior renovation, however, with new wall paint, re-stained hardwood floors, the addition of some snazzy light fixtures and a giant gold Buddha that now graces the foyer, perhaps to guard against paranormal activity.
The fully walled and gated spread offers plenty of off-street parking, and the driveway runs past the main house before dead-ending at the detached three-car garage. A raspberry red front door opens into the classic center hall layout, where there are formal living and dining rooms, plus an oversized family room with sets of French doors and a vivid tracery ceiling detail. The eat-in kitchen is fully outfitted with high-end stainless appliances, while an adjacent breakfast room/lounge has walls crammed with various art pieces.
In addition to downstairs maids quarters, the house has four bedrooms upstairs — all of them ensuite. The cavernous master offers a vaulted ceiling, fireplace and dual walk-in closets, while the other bedrooms have windows overlooking the lush yard. There’s also an upstairs family room for cozy movie nights at home.
Out back, a kidney-shaped swimming pool is surrounded by a brick terrace with plenty of room for sunbathing or outdoor entertaining. The estate’s gardens feature magnolia trees, a variety of flowering shrubs and a generous swath of grassy lawn, perfect for a lazy set of croquet.
Besides their apparently no-longer-wanted residential piece of Hollywood history, Meloni and Williams continue to maintain a vacation home on the shores of Connecticut’s scenic Candlewood Lake, originally acquired way back in 2003.