Stressed out about having to decide between a fancy beach house or a vacation mansion in the desert? Why not buy both! That’s the motto James Burrows toasted to last year, when records show the “Cheers” co-creator acquired two swank estates — one in Laguna Beach, the other in the desert’s La Quinta neighborhood. The veteran sitcom director shelled out more than $18 million to buy the two homes.
Burrows isn’t quite a household name, though he probably deserves to be one. The Los Angeles native, 81, first achieved Hollywood prominence in the 1970s by directing episodes of the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” He became one of the most prolific television staples in history, directing episodes of everything from “Laverne & Shirley,” “Taxi” and “Dear John” to “Two and a Half Men,” “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory.” However, he’s perhaps best known for directing every episode of “Will & Grace” during its initial eight-year run, and for helping to create “Cheers” — one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. (Burrows directed nearly all of the 275 “Cheers” episodes, naturally.)
Over the course of his 50-year career, Burrows has directed more than 1,000 TV show episodes and won 11 Emmy Awards. In 2016, NBC aired a special called “An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows,” featuring big-name attendees like Jennifer Aniston, Tony Danza, Debra Messing, Courteney Cox, Ted Danson, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry.
Today, Burrows and his longtime wife Debbie primarily reside in L.A.’s Bel Air neighborhood, where they own a palatial compound spanning nearly 13,000 square feet of living space. The couple acquired the property in 2004 for about $12 million and subsequently hired famed interior designer Michael S. Smith to redo the entire place. In 2009, the Burrows’ guard-gated Bel Air estate was photographed for Architectural Digest.
The Burrowses also own two multimillion-dollar properties in Florida’s wealthy Wellington community. As for the couple’s two new California vacation homes, both properties are located within exclusive guard-gated communities, and both of them feature resort-style amenities and loads of rich neighbors. But easily the bigger, more expensive and more impressive property is the Laguna Beach pad, which lies within the gated confines of Irvine Cove — arguably the most prestigious gated community in all of Orange County.