This one-of-a-kind estate sits in the most expensive and exclusive pocket of Pasadena, just steps from the ultra-posh Langham Huntington hotel, and was designed by acclaimed architect Myron Hunt (and later expanded by equally venerated architect Gordon Kauffman.) Billed as “Pasadena’s largest and most exceptional estate,” the place includes a main mansion plus a separate 20,000-square-foot art gallery for the serious collector. Maybe it’s ironic that the property remains best-known for its association with Dr. Gene Scott, the flamboyant, decidedly controversial pastor and televangelist known for off-color rants, cigar smoking during sermons, and his televised demands for money.
While Dr. Scott’s name likely isn’t familiar to the TikTok and Instagram generations, back in the ’80s and ’90s he ruled U.S. airwaves, his oddball visage captivating millions during 24/7 televised broadcasts. He wore sombreros, baseball caps, and other assorted headgear during sermons, paraded his scantily-clad girlfriends before the congregation, and even showed pictures of his thoroughbred horses while preaching. Eventually he amassed an ardent following of devotees around the globe, people who appreciated his straightforward, plain-speaking approach, a departure from other pastors of the era.
Scott was known for his fiery temper, more than once referring to his ex-wife as “the devil’s sister.” But his most famous catchphrase was “Get on the telephone!” He would repeat that on nearly every broadcast, demanding money, and he often wouldn’t end a sermon until the day’s fundraising goal had been met.
His followers loved it, and those followers gave “Doc” — as they affectionately called him — money in droves. At the height of his career, his ministry earned more than $1 million a month in tax-free donations, enabling him to live a billionaire baller-worthy lifestyle and build a property empire that included two horse ranches in Kentucky, plus a $15 million compound in the exclusive Bradbury Estates guard-gated community, and the Pasadena mansion. Scott also owned the historic United Artists Theater in Downtown L.A., which is now the posh Ace Hotel; the building changed hands in 2015 for a whopping $103 million.
While Scott was famed for his blue-collar appeal, he was an odd contradiction of sorts. Outside of the pulpit, he was a highly educated scholar, with two Ph.Ds from Stanford University. He was also a renowned philatelist, who assembled one of the world’s foremost collections of rare stamps and became a member of Prince Rainier of Monaco’s exclusive Club de Monte-Carlo, an invite-only organization. He also bred thoroughbred horses on his ranches; some of his stallions went on to win national championships.
Scott also amassed lots of toys, including a car collection that reportedly included several limousines and multiple special-edition Ferraris, though he rarely traveled anywhere without an assortment of armed bodyguards. He was also an artist who painted over 1,000 watercolor paintings, some of which were displayed in the “art gallery” on his Pasadena estate.
Upon his 2005 death from prostate cancer, his third wife — Pastor Melissa Scott, a former model — inherited the lot. While she still resides on the Bradbury Estates property, she sold off the Pasadena estate in 2011 for “just” $7.2 million to philanthropist John Vidalakis. Per the current listing, Vidalakis subsequently spent seven years and an untold second fortune on renovations to the property.