Six years after they acquired it, maverick media mogul Shane Smith and his wife Tamyka have officially flipped out, slapping a $50 million pricetag on Santa Monica’s epic Villa Ruchello estate — as was first reported by Mansion Global. Should the property sell for anywhere near that amount, it would rank as the biggest residential deal in Santa Monica history, and easily one of the biggest deals ever recorded on L.A.’s Westside.
So the story goes, Smith bought the house sight unseen in 2015, paying $23 million. At the time, the place had reportedly slipped into rundown condition, and Tamyka later told the Wall Street Journal that the couple had to replace “all the plumbing, all the electrical” along with giving the entire place a seriously expensive facelift. Along with a variety of other upgrades, those fixes transformed the three-acres estate into a showstopper worthy of its showbiz history.
Built in 1932, the grand hacienda-style complex was long owned by filmmaker Henry Jaglom and his ex-wife Victoria Foyt, who sold the property to the Smiths. To the general public, however, the house may be best-known for appearing in “Entourage,” and for its very central role in the 1994 blockbuster “Beverly Hills Cop,” the film that launched Eddie Murphy to international stardom. In the movie, the house portrays the residence of villain Victor Maitland, and serves as the setting for the climax — a shootout between Murphy and Maitland’s goons.
Perhaps the property’s most covetable feature is its private setting, tucked deep into Santa Monica canyon and invisible from the street behind massive gates and a jungle’s worth of leafy foliage. The main house, an eight-bedroom mansion, contains lavish public spaces, and there are two guesthouses and a separate pool house scattered around the estate.
Notably glam amenities include a curvaceous staircase clad in Moroccan ceramic tile and white oak, hand-painted ceilings, and a wood-paneled library with its own hidden speakeasy. The onyx-clad room is accessed via a secret bookshelf, which swings open to the boozy escape, original to the Prohibition-era house. There’s also a massive family room with an exposed-wood ceiling and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, plus a music room and a hammam.
Outside, the intricate gardens also house nifty upgrades of their own — there’s a 74-foot swimming pool, a Japanese-style cedar hot tub, and a bocce ball court. The pool house includes its own pizza oven, naturally, and there are dozens of fruit-bearing trees — orange, lemon, lime, and avocado among them.
Smith, 51, co-founded Vice magazine in 1994 and helped transform it from a print magazine into a digital leviathan with $1.7 billion in funding, driving the company’s value to $5.7 billion. The Canada native served as the firm’s CEO until 2018, when he stepped down become executive chairman of the business. His net worth has fluctuated greatly in recent years, with Forbes proclaiming him a billionaire in 2017. Since then, however, major investor Disney wrote off a $353 million chunk of their stake in the company, and the Wall Street Journal has described Vice as “struggling to turn a profit.”