Two years ago nonagenarian multibillionaire mass media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his 60-something-year-old fourth wife Jerry Hall, the six-foot-tall Texan fashion model and actress who once shared a Paris apartment with Grace Jones and has four adult children with former mate Mick Jagger, splashed out about £11.25 million — that’s roughly US$15 million at today’s rates — for an 18th-century Georgian mansion set on about 26-acres near Henley-on-Thames, about an hour’s drive due west of Central London. Married in 2016 after a fairly brief courtship, the May-December couple turned around the following year and bought a 200-year old fixer upper in the Cotswold village of Great Tew, about 1.5-hours by car northwest of London. The gargantuan manor house is in dire need of a costly and comprehensive restoration, and, so the reporting goes, they plan to spend about £30 million on updates.
Meanwhile, the infinitesimally deep-pocketed globe-trotters have just expanded their stateside holdings with the not-quite $4.3 million purchase of a secluded home that’s adjacent to what’s known as Moraga Bel Air, Murdoch’s boutique vineyard and winery that is somewhat implausibly located in the heart of a tony residential enclave on the ritzy border between L.A.’s Bel Air and Brentwood neighborhoods. Originally the horse-ranch home of Victor Fleming, legendary director of “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz,” the 13-acre spread was acquired in the late 1950s by late Northrop Corp. CEO Tom Jones and his wife Ruth. It was the Joneses who, in the early 1980s, first planted the undulating rows of grapevines that now line the estate’s steeply sloped hills. Murdoch has owned the winery since 2013, when he bought it for $28.8 million.
Since the deal for went down off-market, not much is publicly known about the Murdoch’s newly acquired property that spans almost three-quarters of an acre and is surrounded on three sides by the vineyard property, making it a snap to incorporate. Tax records indicate the almost 4,700-square-foot home was built in 1939 with five bedrooms and five bathrooms. Completely invisible down a long and gated drive, the single-story home surrounds a tree-shaded central courtyard, while huge specimen trees shield the backyard gardens and swimming pool.
The Murdochs also keep a sky-high bolthole in New York City, a mansion-sized triplex penthouse, plus the full-floor unit below, that Murdoch picked up in two 2014 transactions that records show totaled about $58 million. Murdoch unsuccessfully tried to sell the triplex penthouse in 2015 at a spine stiffening $72 million.
At least some of Murdoch’s six children exhibit equally voracious appetites for huge, high-maintenance properties: younger son James, who resigned from News Corp’s board of directors last year “due to disagreements over certain editorial content”, according to his resignation letter, bought his father’s stunning Wallace Neff-designed home high in the mountains above Bel Air in 2015 for $30 million, And, just over a year ago, younger son Lachlan, executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation, ponied up a staggering (and record setting) $150 million for Chartwell, the by-every-standard lavish Bel Air estate of late media tycoon Jerry Perenchio.