Before there were social media megastars like Emma Chamberlain, Olivia Culpo and Kylie Jenner, there was Cindy Margolis. The once digitally ubiquitous now 50-something year old mother of three was an early and famously bodacious internet sensation who in the 1980s, according to her own website, was crowned “Most Downloaded Celebrity on the Internet” by the Guinness Book of World Records.
In addition to being an OG download queen, the curvaceous model, actress and TV personality has been on the cover of a bunch magazines most people have never heard of, popped up in scads of movies and TV shows, starred in several short-lived reality series (“Seducing Cindy,” “Beverly Hills Nannies”) and in 2000 hosted her own frothy (and also short-lived) Miami-based TV show (“The Cindy Margolis Show”) during which she bopped around in lingerie and judged bikini contests.
While today’s TikTok and YouTube stars far surpass Margolis’ download figures —often with a single post — and haul in insane amounts of cash they spend on glitzy homes, Margolis has opted for a more low-key life. She occasionally pops up in productions like the 2015 TV movie “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” and in more recent years has produced a couple of movies. And, unlike many of her deep-pocketed (and often very young) social media successors with a taste for lavish living, Margolis has also opted for a comparatively affordable and decidedly more sedate residence in an unheralded pocket of Sherman Oaks that’s she’s picked up for not quite $1.9 million.
Originally built in 1940 but rebuilt since, the tan and generically Mediterranean home measures in at about 4,100 square feet with five bedrooms and four bathrooms. Neither a one-bedroom and one-bath guesthouse nor the finished basement is included in the square footage, according to listing descriptions.
The driveway is gated if otherwise pretty featureless and leads to a compact motor court and four-car garage. A turret houses a carved wood front door that opens to a capacious, double-height foyer with polished tumbled travertine tile floors and, unexpectedly, a rustic stacked stone fireplace. Just off the entry, the dining room overlooks the driveway, while the living room is privately positioned at the back of the house where it shares space with an open-plan kitchen that’s been fully updated with antique-white custom cabinets, sandy beige granite countertops and up-to-date stainless steel appliances. The finished basement contains a space the sellers furnished as a home theater.
A wrought-iron-railed second-floor gallery overlooks the foyer and leads to several guest bedrooms plus a spacious principal suite that generously comprises a bedroom with fireplace, a separate sitting room or office and a couple of walk-in closets along with a travertine tiled bathroom and a slender balcony.
Margolis does not appear to have been looking for a home surrounded by a lot of high-maintenance landscaping. The front yard is mostly taken up by the driveway, and the backyard is little more than a sliver of patchy grass hemmed in by 20-foot-high hedging. However, another of the home’s unexpected surprises is the corkscrew staircase that winds up to an (un-landscaped) roof terrace with wrap-around views that encompass a fairly up-close view of the small knot of mid-rise towers that make up the downtown Sherman Oaks skyline.
Tax records and other online resources show that shortly after she sealed the deal in Sherman Oaks she sold her longtime home inside the guarded-gates of the Mulholland Park enclave in Tarzana in a clandestine off-market deal valued at almost $3 million. Margolis purchased the seven-bedroom and eight-bathroom pan-Mediterranean mansion 20 years ago with her now ex-husband, restaurateur Guy Starkman, for $1.57 million.