For the third time since her December 2016 death, the longtime Bel Air home of Zsa Zsa Gabor has been sold. This week, the property went for exactly $16 million to Singapore-based diamond and precious metal mogul Robert Friedland, the founder of Ivanhoe Mines and a Forbes-listed billionaire.
That sale price is down considerably from what the house last fetched, in fall 2018, when it sold for $20.8 million to a mystery buyer. For publicly unknown reasons, that ’18 buyer never moved into the mansion or even attempted to renovate the place, instead leaving the estate vacant for more than two years before choosing to quickly offload it at a whopping $4.8 million loss — all before hefty realtor fees, property taxes, and carrying costs.
As for Gabor, records show the Hungarian-born Tinseltown icon bought the house way back in 1973 for just $245,000, remaining in residence for more than 40 years. Although she often said the decadent Hollywood Regency-style abode had been commissioned by Howard Hughes, it’s believed he only leased the place sometime in the late 1960s. The 6,400-square-foot sprawler also may or may not have once been occupied by Elvis Presley, depending on whom you believe; in any case, house was prominently featured in the 2012 Hollywood biopic “Behind the Candelabra,” as the fictional home of Liberace.
Today, the mustard-colored, mansard-roofed manse appears remarkably unchanged from Gabor’s days as queen of the household. There’s still a cacophonous array of clashing colors throughout the place, including a vaguely McDonalds-esque red-and-yellow paint scheme. Out back, a wee cabana sits on a brick patio, next to a large swimming pool. The house is hidden from the road by tall hedges, and the driveway is secured by iron gates.
Friedland’s intentions for the estate are not yet known, but the listing makes no secret that the nearly 1.1-acre promontory property could be developed, rather bluntly saying “[You could] tear it down and build a new iconic Bel Air trophy property.” It certainly helps that the nearly 1.1-acre lot is located near the best pocket of Bel Air, on a ridgeline with spectacular views of the city and ocean.
In any case, Friedland has a well-documented affinity for modern, contemporary mansions. Earlier this year, he paid more than $30 million for a two-house compound set just above the Sunset Strip. He and longtime wife Darlene continue to own a luxury flat in Singapore, plus a dramatic clifftop villa in Phuket, Thailand, that sports not one but three infinity-edged swimming pools.
Dan Beder of Sotheby’s International Realty held the listing; Tyrone McKillen of Compass repped Friedland.