October 1, 2022


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Beverly Hills Hearst estate lists at discounted $90 million

As Southern California’s red-hot real estate market sees homes selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price, one of the region’s most legendary properties is hitting the market at a massive markdown.

The famed Hearst estate — a Mediterranean Revival-style mansion with ties to William Randolph Hearst, John F. Kennedy and “The Godfather” — just relisted for $89.75 million.

A bankruptcy court is forcing the sale. The home’s longtime owner, attorney Leonard Ross, once tried to sell the trophy property for $195 million in 2016, but has since racked up a debt of more than $50 million on the estate. As a result, he put the property into bankruptcy, and the lender, Fortress Investment Group, petitioned the bankruptcy court to force a sale and succeeded.

It’s the latest update in a nearly century-long saga that has seen the estate play host to politicians, business magnates and celebrities and even appear on the silver screen, most notably in “The Godfather” and “The Bodyguard.”

It was built in 1927 by Gordon Kaufmann, the decorated architect behind the Hoover Dam, Greystone Mansion, the Hollywood Palladium and the former Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles. He designed it for local banker Milton Getz, and it was later bought by publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst and actress Marion Davies. In 1953, Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy spent their honeymoon on the romantic 3.5-acre spread.

The glitz and glamour still stands today, as the 29,000-square-foot main house features 22-foot hand-painted ceilings, a two-story paneled library, two screening rooms and an Art Deco nightclub with a bar salvaged from Hugh Hefner’s now-defunct nightclub Touch. The billiards room adds original herringbone floors and a stone fireplace moved down from Hearst’s former home, the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Calif.

Also known as the Beverly House, the salmon-colored home is shaped like an H and holds eight bedrooms, expanding to a variety of patios and balconies. Various structures, including two guesthouses, a pool house and a two-story gatehouse, tack on an extra 7,000 square feet.

Vintage lampposts light manicured gardens outside, and the private grounds also feature fountains, loggias, lawns, terraces, a tennis court and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Anthony Marguleas of Amalfi Estates shares the listing with Gary Gold of Hilton & Hyland and Zizi Pak of Rodeo Realty.

A forced bankruptcy sale of such a notable property is rare, but not unheard of. Last month, The Times reported that spec developer Nile Niami owes more than $110 million on “The One,” a 100,000-square-foot mega-mansion he’s building in Bel-Air. His lender, Hankey Capital, served him a default notice on the property in an attempt to force it onto the market.