BUYER: Leeza Gibbons
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 7 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Over the years, starting with the late 2006 discussion of the West Hollywood compound she and her third husband, architect and inventor Stephen Meadows, then had on the open market with an asking price of $7,995,000,* Your Mama has often discussed the real estate doings of entrepreneurial and philanthropic t.v. personality and radio hostess Leeza Gibbons.
Miz Gibbons rose to Showbiz prominence in the mid-980s as the approachable host of the entertainment news program Entertainment Tonight. Since then she’s popped up on a few game shows (Pyramid, Hollywood Squares) and television programs (Murphy Brown, Sunset Beach, The Simpsons) and hosted the televised 75th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade. In the mid-Aughts she landed her own, eponymous (if short-lived) daytime chat show and in 2007 she secured a much-coveted (but also short-lived) spot on Dancing With the Stars.
She took home an Emmy last year for her hosting duties on the PBS series My Generation, currently hosts the long-running and well syndicated radio show Hollywood Confidential and co-hosts the also syndicated, news-related t.v. program America Now with reality television star/author/motivational speaker Bill Rancic. In the early 2000s she developed a mineral make-up line and founded a nonprofit, Leeza’s Place, aimed at providing support to caregivers of people with memory disorders.
We last heard word of the real estate doings of Miz Gibbons back in July 2011 when she put a Beverly Hills faux-Tuscan mini-manse on the market with an asking price of $6.895 million. She bought the house only since June 2010 when she paid paid $6.6 million for the big but bland six bedroom and 5.5 bathroom residence on Tower Road.**
The following July (2011), shortly after she married her fourth (and much younger) husband, Steven Fenton,*** she hoisted the oppressively banal house back on the market for $6,895,000. Although it did not sell, it was taken off the market just a few months later because Miz Gibbons leased the property, according to tireless real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak, to entertainment advertising bigwig Steph Sebbag. It was less than half a year later, in early December, 2011, that Miz Gibbons and her new mister surreptitiously shelled out $5.2 million for what’s commonly known by real estate people in Los Angeles as the Al Jolson Estate, a celebrity pedigreed two-plus acre estate in Encino (CA).
According to the fine fellas at Movieland Directory, Mister Jolson sold the house in the early 1940s for $28,000 to Oscar winner Don Ameche. Later residents include Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen (long divorced), Kirstie Alley and Parker Stevenson( long divorced), and Katey Sagal and Jake White (also long divorced). Anyways, the Gibbons-Fentons quickly caught a classic case of The Real Estate Fickle because Your Mama found digital evidence they flipped the celeb-pedigreed property back on the market less than a year later, in late September, 2012, with a significantly higher $6.5 million price tag. The price eventually fell to $5.995 million before it was taken off the open market in April 2013, although it still appears as an “active” listing on the digital portal of at least one of Beverly Hills’ more lee-gendary lady real estate agents.
At the same time Miz Gibbons and Mister Fenton de-listed their fabled estate in Encino they re-listed the aforementioned faux-Tuscan on Tower Road for $6,995,000 and this time, butter beans and bean counters, they had Lady Luck on their side. Property records show the house in late August (2013) for $6.9 million to a corporate entity Yolanda swears is connected to a non-famous Israeli businessman.
Given alls real estate hurly-burly over the last few years Your Mama might have imagined that Miz Gibbons and Mister Fenton could have easily decided to stay put in Encino but no siree Bob. Thanks to good ol’ Yolanda it’s come to Your Mama’s celebrity real estate attention that in late January (2014) Miz and fourth Mister Gibbons quietly coughed up $7,690,000 for a classy, clapboard-sided fixer upper on a much-coveted, tree-lined street in the flats of Beverly Hills.****
Official listing details don’t show the square footage of the center hall traditional—the L.A. County Tax Man puts it at 4,294—but do indicate the well preserved (if wan) residence was built in 1927 and sits on a mid-block lot that’s all but half an acre. As far as we can tell from a careful perusal of various digital marketing materials, there are a total of seven bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms divided between the main house and a detached guest house at the back of the property.
The tightly curved floating staircase, original moldings, and honey-toned wood floors in the bullet-shaped center hall foyer hint loudly at the architectural and decorative elegance easily pulled out and polished by an accomplished and highly compensated nice-gay or lady decorator.
Side-lit French doors in the foyer open into a spacious formal living room with street-facing bay window and fireplace and identical side-lit French doors on the opposite wall open into the step up formal dining room where angled, glass-fronted china cabinets flank a bank of multi-paned windows that stretch almost to the floor. A third set of side-lit French doors link the dining room to a clubby, wood paneled library with fireplace, leaded glass windows, and garden access through—you got it—French doors.
It’s not going to win any style or design awards but the kitchen has, as per listing details, been updated. Your Mama notes perfectly ordinary white raised panel cabinetry, flecked dark grey granite counter tops, tile back splashes, and a full suite of high-grade appliances including a six (or maybe eight) burner commercial-style range.
In addition to the ones in the living room and library there are at least two more fireplaces in the main house, one an awkwardly off-center wart in one of the upstairs bedrooms and the other in an adjoining sitting room/sun porch with symmetrical built-in book shelves and at least three sizes of multi-pane windows.
The grounds look in listing photos to be gardener maintained if a bit, uhm, tired and encompass a trellis-shaded veranda, multi-level red brick terraces, a simple rectangular swimming pool—we did not spy a spa, and a rose garden planted with a few fig trees. A long driveway runs from the street to the extreme rear of the parcel where there’s a car park area next to the aforementioned guest house that has yet another fireplace.
*Miz Gibbons and Mister Meadows, by then long divorced, finally sold the property in June 2010 for $4,795,000.
**In late 2011, about six months after she bought the Tower Road residence, Miz Gibbons shelled out $1.199 million for an unassuming micro-compound just off hotsy-totsy Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood. Listing details from the time of the purchase show the compact 5,000 square foot lot includes a two-story main house with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms plus a detached guest house with living room, laundry, kitchen, another bedroom and bathroom. It’s Your Mama’s understanding Miz Gibbons uses—or at least used—the house as a base for her various business and philanthropic ventures.
**Miz Gibbons is currently married to her fourth husband, the 13 years younger Steven Fenton. We’re not sure exactly what Mister Fenton does for work right now but at the time they were married he was most frequently identified as the former president of the Beverly Hills Board of Education. Incidentally, his father, a financial services executive, was also previously the president of the Beverly Hills Board of Education and was also, very briefly in 2008, the mayor of Beverly Hills. Anyways…