Work with any realtor long enough and you’ll discover there are three “D’s” they hold close to their heart. Not those fake boobie bolt-on D’s either. Get your damn heads outta the gutter. No, we mean Death, Divorce, and Diapers. Those are perpetually the most common reasons for buying or selling a house, celeb or not. Think of them as the winning lotto numbers for real estate agents. All three happen simultaneously (Is that even possible)? Jackpot for your friendly neighborhood agent.
Today we bring you a sad case involving a house bought because of Death. Yep. As anyone with even a modicum of interest in pop culture knows, legendary and groundbreaking comedian Joan Rivers went to meet her maker back in September 2014 at the tender age of 81. Say what you will about Ms. Rivers’ controversial stand-up routine, but we love it and the lady is unquestionably a pop culture icon.
Yes, you read that right. This house, this swanky $11,000,000 mansion – in what’s arguably the best part of Santa Monica – was sold by a former Playboy Playmate named Shae Marks. According to our trusty gal pal Wikipedia, Ms. Marks began her career at the tender age of 20 and went on to become Playboy’s May 1994 Playmate of the Month.
So how did Ms. Marks afford this house? Did she save her Playboy pennies? Invest in Apple before Steve Jobs came back aboard? Hahaha. Of course not, sillies! She got rich the old-fashioned way. Ms. Marks married money. Her ex-hubby Randall Breitenbach – they were married more than 10 years, congrats! – is a very rich player in the highly-lucrative oil industry.
Anyway, property records show that Mr. Breitenbach and Ms. Marks paid $7,825,000 in 2007 for a big 7,048 square foot house on an almost-one-acre lot, privately-situated at the end of a very quiet cul-de-sac. The couple appear to have divorced sometime in the past couple years and thus the house unsurprisingly popped up for sale in January (2016) with an asking price of $11,900,000. (Remember how one of the other “D’s” is Divorce, don’tcha? See?!) It was less than a month later that Ms. Rivers came along and very quietly slammed down a fat $11,000,000 for the property. Yolanda heard from a very good source that Ms. Rivers also paid cash. Who says the ultra-high-end real estate market isn’t sizzling hot? Yolanda does. But apparently Ms. Rivers disagrees with your gurl. Well, we can live with that.
The “Mediterranean” property was built in 1991 and is ideal for a celebrity, being hidden at the end of a little-traveled cul-de-sac, down a long driveway and behind gates painted a rather disturbing shade of blue. (EDIT: On second thought, we don’t believe the gates are that shade of blue at all. Some photographer out there has been hittin’ the bottle while horsin’ around with their new-fangled camera, we think.)
The main level of the residence has lustrous oak wood floors that appear to have been polished within an inch of their lives. The residence has generously high ceilings and plenty of light thanks to the many windows. White countertops and cabinetry adorn the kitchen, and there’s high-end appliances plus a huge array of those fluorescent lights that have become all too common these days. We’d like to have seen some kind of chandelier or light fixture above the center island, but to each their own.
The dining room opens directly in to the den, which spills out into the lush backyard (more on the yard in a minute). The breakfast nook has matte gold/beige walls and more of that rich-looking wood. Frankly, 1990s mock-Med is one of Yolanda’s least-favorite architectural styles but this house really isn’t too terrible at all.
The master bedroom has wall-to-wall beige carpeting. There’s also a rather finicky-looking chandelier that seems bizarrely out of place. Why does the bedroom get this but not the kitchen? Huh. Anyway, the master back has beige tiles, beige countertops, beige walls, and gold-trimmed fixtures that we’re sure would have made Joan Rivers’ heart swell with pride for her daughter’s excellent taste in furnishings.
The master bath itself seems to outsize the bedroom, with a huge step-in shower, a separate (and rather lovely) stone alcove for the bathtub/jacuzzi, and even a padded bench seating facing the shower and toilet. Clearly, the house was designed by a person(s) who loved their me-time in the poop-closet. We like to think the late Ms. Rivers is making endless jokes about this situation in her new home way up in the sky.
Holy HDR, Batman! The flagstone surrounding the irregularly-shaped pool and spa appears to be pink and purple, but we’re not sure if that’s just the exposure playing tricks on us. Over in another corner of the lush setting are some lovely lounge chairs surrounding a firepit.
The estate’s grounds span nearly an acre and as such contain a huge football-sized field of grass that appears to have been used by the previous owner as a badminton court. There’s also a wall spanning the entire length of the field that has been completely and fastidiously covered with ivy. We weep for Ms. Rivers’ future gardeners but at the same time, it’s pretty damn magnificent.
Y’all may recall that it was only last July (2015) that Ms. Rivers dumped her late mother’s frippery-laden NYC penthouse for its full $28 million asking price. Within a few weeks, the buyer had been identified as powerful Prince Muhammad bin Fahd, a son of the late and long-reigning King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Prince Fahd soon worked a few apparently bored-as-hell neighbors into a tizzy with his renovations. So the story goes, all the locals were shocked, just shocked, when His Highness decided to rip out Ms. Rivers’ Louis XIV decor. “How could he?!” all the local gossip hens clucked. “He’s ruining Joan’s legacy!!!!!11 Mrs. Spencer will not be pleased!”
Oh, please. Listen up, beotches. The man paid top dollar for the house so Yolanda can’t fathom why the neighbors would think it their business to comment on how he chooses to decorate the place. If they wanted it to remain a shrine to Ms. Rivers, why didn’t they cough up the $28 million for that shit? Lawd have mercy. People these days. Sheesh!
Let’s also digress a little more for just a few moments. Our Prince Fahd is US-educated (UC Santa Barbara grad, holla) and reportedly spends a fair amount of time in America. In case you didn’t know, he’s also a real estate baller of the highest caliber who also allegedly owns not one but two incredibly lavish and brutally expensive compounds in Los Angeles.
His Royal Highness’s humble abode in Bel Air is actually two side-by-side mega-mansions. The older, vaguely scorpion-shaped beast on the right was built by the Prince’s father King Fahd himself way back in 1985 and designed by the recently-retired architect Bob Ray Offenhauser. The house originally had “only” 15 bathrooms but either King Fahd or someone else in his household must have had an incurable poo-poo problem because the house now contains a mind-melting 41 crappers. No, my dears, Yolanda has not once again over-indulged in mid-morning libations. The house really does have 41 shitters in just under 20,000 square feet. We can’t fathom how that’s even possible. Is there one in the kitchen’s center island? A latrine in the wine cellar? A secret pooper hidden under each chair in the movie theater? The mind boggles.
After the King’s death in 2005, Prince Fahd inherited his big mansion as well as a vacant parcel next door, where he proceeded to construct a monster mansion to rival his father’s. This property was designed by starchitect Richard Landry and completed in 2009. Supposedly, it contains 42,000 square feet of interior space spread throughout five inter-connected buildings or “wings”. We think the reason that it appears to be roughly the same size as the late King’s old pad next door (in actuality, it’s allegedly more than twice as giant) is that a significant portion of this house is underground. And apparently the Prince doesn’t have as much money as papa, because the house contains just 36 lavatories. Poor dear. How ever will he cope?
Take a nerve pill, because Yolanda has hired her nice little second-grader nephew to do some math for her and we can exclusively confirm that Prince Fahd’s Bel Air compound contains a nightmarish total of 61 bedrooms, 77 bathrooms, and 60,000+ square feet of interior living space. We’re sorry for all the bold font, we really are. But that’s so otherworldly-level insane Yolanda still has trouble wrapping her head around it. Think of those Target runs, y’all. How you gonna shop for enough Clorox, Lysol, and Charmin to accommodate 77 bathrooms?!?! We think Prince Fahd’s toilet-scrubbing team must have to roll a freakin’ 18-wheeler or a cargo helicopter to the store each and every week just to supply this hot mess.
But wait, kiddies. There’s more. Turns out this is not the only compound Prince Fahd owns in LA. Oh no. He’s also – so we’ve been told – allegedly got a massive hilltop complex that overlooks the high-priced Trousdale Estates area. We’ve heard from someone who’s actually visited this site that Prince Fahd also inherited these properties from his late father and that he has never actually lived in either one of these houses, yet continues to own and maintain them. That same person also told us these properties have some of the “best views in LA”. Yes, we know that’s the most overused phrase in real estate, so Yolanda’s just as inclined to tune it out as y’all. But in this case, we think it just might be true.
This compound includes three separate parcels of land that total 6.71 acres. The large single-story sprawler on the left was designed by accomplished but relatively obscure architect George MacLean in 1961 for billionaire shipping magnate Daniel K. Ludwig. Yolanda confesses she’s not exactly sure when King Fahd acquired this estate, but it was definitely not after 1996. We’re also not sure who, if anyone, actually lives in these houses, but a 2011 lawsuit alleges there is or was a random Saudi princess occupying the premises.
Though they’ve probably never met, seeing as how Prince Fahd doesn’t actually occupy this compound, one of His Highness’s nearest neighbors in Beverly Hills is Jeffrey Katzenberg’s $50 million++ pad. You can see it under construction in the photo above. (Yes, we’re fully aware that these aerial shots are a few years old. Quit yer gosh-darn whining.)
As for Ms. Rivers, property records reveal she continues to own the same Pacific Palisades Traditional-style mini-mansion she acquired way back in 1998 for $2,350,000. The high-hedged, walled, and gated property contains 4 beds and 4 baths (including a suite in the converted garage that was often occupied by her late mother whenever she was in town). It also sports a Range Rover-approved single carport.
To wrap this too-long spiel up, it’s a shame we don’t have the iconic Joan Rivers here to entertain us anymore. But that’s life, right? One day we’re here, the next we’re a billion pieces of dust hurtling upward into God’s territory. We’re glad Miss Rivers didn’t struggle with any long illness. We’re relieved we’ve got her YouTube videos to tide us over until our own number is called.