BUYER: Sid Bass
SELLERS: Patrick Dempsey and Jillian Fink
LOCATION: Malibu, Calif.
PRICE: $15 million
SIZE: 5,547 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Amid rampant drooling and tongue wagging by property gossips around the globe, former “Grey’s Anatomy” beau-hunk Patrick Dempsey and his estranged wife, makeup artist Jillian Fink, recently sold their fetchingly photogenic, Frank Gehry-designed residence in Malibu to a mysterious buyer who wanted the place badly enough to cough up 500,000 clams more than the $14.5 million asking price. At the time, word on the Malibu property gossip grapevine was that the buyer was an otherwise unidentified Texas-based businessman, and property records do indeed show the gated, 3.23-acre spread, tucked up into the foothills above Zuma Beach, was purchased through a corporate concern with an address in Fort Worth, Texas. Well, children, inestimable real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak now says she’ll swear on a mile-high stack of barbecued baby back ribs that the previously unidentified buyer isn’t just any ol’ cowboy boot wearing businessman from Texas but Forth Worth-based septuagenarian billionaire investor Sid Bass.
The casual but carefully groomed estate, originally built for abstract artist Ron Davis and deservedly gushed over in the March 2014 issue of Architectural Digest, has a trapezoidal-shaped, corrugated metal-sided main residence of 5,547 square feet with voluminous, loft-like living and entertaining spaces along with three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. A perfectly restored Airstream trailer provided extra space for guests or an at-home getaway and the extensive grounds encourage outdoor living with an al fresco kitchen with pizza oven, pergola-shaded dining area, swimming pool and spa, outdoor shower and a rock climbing wall. There’s also a chicken coop, raised bed organic gardens and equestrian facilities.
Mister Bass may not be a household name in the Hollywood scheme of things, but those who follow the palace intrigues of the American aristocracy well know Mister Bass, the scion to a vast oil and gas fortune, as a dignified man with a scandalous romantic past broadly chronicled in the tabs and much tittered about amongst the high-nosed inhabitants of the upper echelons of high society. Over the summer of 1986, when Mister Bass was still married to his socially prominent first wife Anne Bass, stylish Iranian-American socialite and philanthropist Mercedes Tavacoli Kellogg — she was, at the time, hitched to Francis L. Kellogg, a special assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger — allegedly tossed a bread roll at Mister Bass at a luncheon in the Hamptons and thus an illicit romance began. Bass and Kellogg soon jetted off to Europe and secretly holed up in a posh Paris hotel until Aileen Mehle, a gossip columnist better known at that time as Suzy Knickerbocker, caught wind of their clandestine affair. Upon exposure, each quickly divorced their spouse — he is widely reported to have paid a settlement of $200 million or more — and lickety-split, Sid and Mercedes married in a glittery ceremony at the Plaza hotel in New York City. Over the next couple of decades the couple were fixtures on the Big Apple social circuit and donated oceans of money to the Metropolitan Opera and other pet causes. But alas, sometime in 2010, after 20-some years of marriage, Mister Bass and the second Missus Bass mutually agreed to amicably part ways. He reportedly craves a quiet life of painting, and she remains a fixture on the social scene.
Although we admit to mild flabbergast that Mister Bass would buy a big spread in Malibu — we had no idea Malibu was on his real estate radar — it’s not such a surprise that he was in the market for a spectacular new home or two since, so the reportage goes, Mercedes was granted three of the couple’s super-luxe homes in their 2011 divorce. Those properties include a baronial, 25-acre-plus estate in Mister Bass’ hometown of Forth Worth, a ski house in Aspen, and an 18-room cooperative apartment at 4 E. 66th Street, one of New York City’s toniest buildings, where other residents include a bevy of blue-blooded plutocrats, fantastically rich financiers and hedge fund fat cats.
As for the Dempseys, shortly before it was announced they were headed for the court of divorce, the erstwhile couple coughed up $1.925 million for an über-contemporary micro-compound in Venice and, so we’ve been told by no fewer than three well-connected real estate snitches, the ex-Missus Dempsey decamped Malibu for Pacific Palisades, where she shelled out $6.1 million for what listing details described as a “classic French Country home” with 6,135 square feet of “luxurious living space” that includes a double-height living room and paneled library along with five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms in the main house plus another bedroom and bathroom in a self-contained guesthouse.
Listing photos: Hilton & Hyland