For the first time in nearly 40 years, a stylish ranch located in Brentwood’s coveted Sullivan Canyon neighborhood is publicly available for sale. Built in the 1940s, the 1.6-acre estate was sold in 1983 for just $220,000 to Robert Wagner, best known for the lovably campy ’80s TV detective show “Hart to Hart” and for his tumultuous marriage to Natalie Wood, and Wagner’s now-wife Jill St. John, who portrayed flame-haired Tiffany Case alongside Sean Connery in the 1971 James Bond flick “Diamonds Are Forever.”
Today, it will take more than a purse full of Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s best diamonds to purchase this sprawling compound, which is currently offered with a hefty $11.995 million pricetag. Still, that ask is $2 million less than what the property previously fetched in August 2007, when Wagner and St. John sold it in an off-market, all-cash $14 million deal. The buyer was Rita Kogan, heiress to a video game empire worth billions. (Her father, the late Ukrainian arcade pioneer Michael Kogan, founded Japan’s Taito Corporation, which is best-known for inventing “Space Invaders.”)
For unknown reasons, Kogan and her husband — Academy Award-winning “Star Wars” cinematographer Richard Edlund — never moved into the $14 million Brentwood estate. Instead, the couple left the property sit vacant for nearly 12 years. Kogan died nearly two years ago, leaving no children, and the long-empty ranch is being sold on her estate’s behalf by one of her only surviving relatives, her Monaco-based car collector brother Abba Kogan.
Perhaps tellingly, the current listing makes no mention of the fact that the property’s main house and guesthouse were both designed by legendary architect Cliff May as his family’s own personal residence. There are also no interior photographs offered, confirming that the place is not in turnkey condition. More likely, the structures are teardown or — at the very least — significant fixer-uppers.
Despite the years of neglect, exterior photos show that Cliff May’s original architecture remains remarkably intact. There’s a single-story main house with more than 7,000 square feet of living space, six bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, per listing notes. The detached guesthouse has another 2,448 square feet with an additional two beds and two baths. May built and remodeled both structures between 1940 and 1946, and he lived on the lush property into 1953, when he decamped these digs for a larger estate in the same neighborhood.
Wagner bought this compound shortly after Natalie Wood’s death, and he subsequently commissioned Cliff May to renovated and expand the property he had designed 40 years earlier. May added a detached dance studio and a detached office for Wagner, and the property was subsequently photographed for the May 1987 issue of Architectural Digest.
Also on the grounds are a full-size sports court that appears to be in dire need of a resurfacing, plus a long-empty swimming pool and equestrian stables.
The gated ranch sits at the very end of a whisper-quiet cul-de-sac, though it does back up to a busy stretch of Sunset Boulevard. On the whole, however, it’s admirably quiet thanks to a shield of mature sycamore and eucalyptus trees that cuddle the grounds under their park-like canopy.
If Kogan’s name sounds vaguely familiar, it could be because she was a major Los Angeles landowner. Last summer, her estate sold off three other Sullivan Canyon ranches for a total of more than $16 million, all of which happen to lie just around the corner from the former Wagner complex. And way back in 1995, Kogan paid $5 million for a Bel Air mountaintop compound that she let sit vacant and neglected until late 2012, when she flipped it for a huge profit — $28 million, to be exact. The buyer was Nile Niami, who recently built the new “The One” megamansion on the premises. That house, the largest in all of Los Angeles, is now for sale, asking as much as $340 million.
Dan Beder of Sotheby’s International Realty holds the listing.