The expanding real estate world of movie stardom: It's not only Beverly Hills and New York that the year's best actors call home
If you ever fantasize about ascending to movie star fame and fortune, your imagined lifestyle probably takes one of two forms. Maybe you live in a mansion in Beverly Hills or Hollywood Hills, lounging away your days beside your ridiculously large pool, sipping martinis with your fabulous friends. Or your primary residence is in Manhattan, with access to the best of everything, including the hippest nightclubs, which are right around the corner.
But judging from this year's list of Oscar nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, that real estate script isnt being followed so neatly. Of the 19 nominees in the four acting categories, only six live full time in Southern California or New York City.
Indeed, after the Academy Awards ceremony on February 24, the majority of the coveted statuettes could be packed up and shipped abroad. Ten nominees have their primary residences overseas, primarily in Europe and the U.K. Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") lives in France; Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men") is Spanish; and Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton") calls Scotland home. Australias double nominee, Cate Blanchett ("Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and"Im Not There"), eschews Hollywood for Sydney.
Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street") and Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood") share nods for Best Actor and dual residency: Depp and partner Vanessa Paradis live primarily in Paris and the south of France, while Day-Lewis and his wife, Rebecca Miller, own properties in Litchfield County, Conn., in addition to living in Ireland.
For those who hew to the classic celebrity lifestyle, however, Hollywood and Manhattan remain the favorite choices. George Clooney (Michael Clayton) has an eight-bedroom Tudor above Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. (When he needs an escape, hes got an Italian villa.) Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild) and his wife, Dixie Carter, own in that most famous of ZIP codes, 90210. Their Beverly Hills home is valued by Cyberhomes at $3.27 million.
That's Where I Want to Be
In the Neighborhood:
Beverly Grove Drive
Price: $4.45 million
Size: 4,000 square feet
Rooms: 4 bed, 4 bath
Special features: Restored and expanded version of a 1962 Buff/Straub/Hensman original; pool; media room with bath
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So what does it mean to own in Beverly Hills? The median home value is about $2.5 million, and 70 percent of the residents are homeowners. The nearly 24,000 residents have an average age approaching 47 years old. Beverly Hillers have ready access to shops on Rodeo and arent terribly far from the clubs of Sunset Strip. And their per-capita income, as you might expect, is more than triple the national average (almost $84,000, compared with the U.S. average of about $24,000).
Chris Ginther, agent with Hilton & Hyland Christies Great Estates, points out that areas like Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills and Bel-Air have universal appeal. If you drive through these neighborhoods, you cant not like them, Ginther says, citing the distinctive architecture, amazing views and party vibe as key ingredients in the allure. Everyone would love living there, but whats unique about the upper echelons of the entertainment industry is that they can actually afford to. Hilton & Hylands current listings range up to $50 million.
Such extremely high costs reflect, in part, the value placed on location and architectural provenance. "Fine architecture is almost equivalent to fine art," says Ginther, who has a masters degree in architecture and urban planning from UCLA. And no developer in the San Fernando Valley can recreate the setting and history of Hollywoodits unique.
Up the road from Beverly Hills live Casey Affleck ("The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford") and his wife, Summer Phoenix. They own two million-plus properties in the Mulholland Drive area. Mulholland isn't nearly as glitzy; the median home price is right around $1 million. But it's hilly and more rugged feeling, and most everyone still has a swimming pool. Mulholland dwellers are younger, too, an average of almost 41 years old. Affleck himself is 32.
If They Can Make It Here ...
In the Neighborhood:
1 Morton Square (condo)
Price: $2.35 million
Size: 1,600 square feet
Rooms: 2 bed, 2.5 bath
Special features: Center hall split; great light; private concierge and valet service
For more info: www.elliman.com/dks
New York claims three of this years nominees. Not all live in the city Ruby Dee ("American Gangster") is a longtime resident of Westchester County. The inveterate urban dwellers are Amy Ryan ("Gone Baby Gone") and Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Charlie Wilsons War"), both of whom inhabit the West Village.
Hoffman lives in a penthouse apartment of a 45-unit building where the median value ranges from $800,000 to more than $2 million. Cyberhomes values his unit at a little over $1 million. Those values are in sync with the neighborhood averages. Home ownership is less prevalent in the West Village, with fewer than a quarter of the residents owning their property. Hoffman is in the majority, however, when it comes to marital status. Like him, about 75 percent of his neighbors are unmarried.
No other part of the city has the West Villages mystique, according to Darren Sukenik, executive vice president and managing director of Prudential Douglas Elliman in Downtown Manhattan. Sukenik, himself a West Village resident, says the neighborhood has an urban feel but decidedly European polish. The high-end real estate available, coupled with little pedestrian traffic, make it feel very private and thus quite attractive to movie stars as well as titans of industry. "You're not going to see anyone from Ohio sitting on top of a double-decker bus pointing at your house," Sukenik says.
And then there are the brave stars who orbit universes far from New York trendy or California cool. Laura Linney ("The Savages"), for instance, owns a home in far northern Connecticut, in Salisbury. In fact, Linney lives close to where Day-Lewis spends some of his leisure time. The median home value here is about $425,000. There are only about 4,000 residents in Salisbury, an upscale rural retreat where celebrities arent likely to be hassled.
Tommy Lee Jones ("In the Valley of Elah") and his wife live in Terrell Hills, a community northeast of San Antonio. (They also reportedly have a ranch near Austin.) Terrell Hills has about 5,000 residents cozy like Salisbury but homes here are more affordable. The median price is a decidedly un-Hollywood $300,000.