Author Topic: Famed comedian Bob Hope's Toluca Lake estate up for sale  (Read 947 times)

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Offline R4 TrumPence

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Famed comedian Bob Hope's Toluca Lake estate up for sale
« on: September 24, 2013, 12:51:16 AM »
Bob Hope's estate in Toluca Lake has an indoor pool, rose garden, two butler pantries, a guest house and an adjoining 4,000-square-foot office space. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times / September 19, 2013)  Video at link

TOLUCA LAKE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The late comedian Bob Hope was once one of California's biggest property owners. His crown jewel was his house in Toluca Lake. Monday, that estate hit the market. The place is a lot more than a piece of celebrity real estate.

From 1940 until the day he died in 2003, the estate is where Bob Hope called home. And now it's on the market with an asking price of $27.5 million.

Step inside the 15,000-square-foot estate, walk into the living room and you can almost see frequent guests like Phyllis Diller or Elizabeth Taylor, and you can hear the famous voice that entertained so many thousands at USO shows.

Bob and Dolores Hope raised a family here. Dolores died two years ago. Their furnishings were sold at auction. The home is now staged with furniture for prospective buyers. All proceeds, including the sale of the house, are going to the charities of the Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation.

Prospective buyers have already shown interest.

"People will always come to see a celebrity home, but normally that is not what sells it," said realtor Jade Mills. "And I really feel what's going to sell this home is its uniqueness. It's five acres."

Realtors say that in all of Los Angeles, there are only 22 homes on five acres or more. This one comes with a restriction that once sold, at least for a while it can't be subdivided.

The house has six bedrooms, seven baths, plus outbuildings and two pools. And it gradually grew larger when Bob went on tour.

"Every time Bob would leave town, Dolores would remodel or add on," said Mills. "So he would come home and say, 'This is a different place.'"

Hope, who poked gentle fun at presidents, must have been thinking of his Toluca Lake home when Johnny Carson asked the comedian if he ever had aspirations for the White House.

"I wouldn't want to be the president," Hope said. "Dolores wouldn't want to move to a smaller house."

The estate preserved in time, a dream house filled with memories.

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Offline R4 TrumPence

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Re: Famed comedian Bob Hope's Toluca Lake estate up for sale
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2013, 12:53:11 AM »,0,7805719.story

Bob Hope's 1939 Toluca Lake 'dream house' is for sale
The five-acre property — with an asking price of $27.5 million — evolved over the decades to fit the needs of the star and his family.

By Rebecca Keegan
September 21, 2013, 8:25 p.m.
Richard Nixon's helicopter once landed on the back lawn so the president could play a round at the nearby Lakeside Golf Club. Lucille Ball and Jack Benny drank and gossiped at the holiday parties in the living room. And the homeowner, Bob Hope, tried out punch lines on his kids in the dining room.

For the first time since the long-lived entertainer built his home in a San Fernando Valley walnut grove in 1939, Hope's 5.16-acre Toluca Lake estate will go on the market Monday, at an asking price of $27.5 million.

The compound that Hope shared with his wife, Dolores, and their four children has a nearly 15,000-square-foot house, a golf hole, an indoor pool and a manicured rose garden. The flat, sprawling lot is unusual for the upscale neighborhood and others like it; in Toluca Lake and similar ZIP Codes in Sherman Oaks, Encino, Studio City, Bel-Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills, there are only 22 properties of more than five acres that belong to a single owner, according to a property search conducted by the estate.

The comedian and movie star collected real estate and at one point was one of California's largest individual property owners, holding some 10,000 acres in the San Fernando Valley alone. But it was the house at 10346 Moorpark St. that he considered home, according to his daughter, Linda Hope, who still lives a few blocks away.

"The Moorpark house is a very special property in the Valley and something that meant a whole lot to my mother and dad," she said. "They built what for them was kind of a dream house."

The sale will mark a major change in the neighborhood that the Hopes helped to shape.

The home, which is listed with Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker and Drew Fenton of Hilton & Hyland, has grown and evolved over the years. Architect Robert Finkelhor designed the original English traditional-style main house, and in the 1950s, John Elgin Woolf renovated it in a more contemporary style, using glass to accommodate Dolores' desire to bring the expansive feeling of the grounds inside.

The Hopes left many belongings for their heirs to sort and distribute, a process that has taken years: multiple auctions of items such as Bob's golf cart and Dolores' Chinese porcelain, a sale at St. Charles Borromeo Church and a garage sale at the home that had lines stretching down Moorpark.

Another Hope home, in Palm Springs, a modernist estate that architect John Lautner designed to resemble a volcano, went on the market in February with an asking price of $50 million and has yet to find a buyer.

"Putting the Moorpark house on the market, in a way it's a light at the end of the tunnel," Linda Hope said. "It's been an occupation for two years at least. Every time we'd open a closet, we'd go, 'Ahh!' "

One amusing find, particularly given the Hopes' vast wealth, was bags of quarters — Dolores' winnings from years of playing gin rummy with actor Telly Savalas.

The six-bedroom, seven-bathroom main house has been staged for sale with contemporary furnishings, but elements of the Hopes' lifestyle dot the property, including the giant "H" in the iron entry gates.

When Bob Hope traveled, often on one of his 57 tours to entertain the U.S. military, Dolores liked to add a room or two. "When Dad came back, Mother would joke that he'd need a road map to find the bedroom," Linda Hope said.

The estate was designed around the particular needs of the Hopes, including privacy, with large trees bordering the grounds, and a 4,000-square-foot front office building for the staff that managed the Hopes' very successful businesses in radio, television, film and real estate.


The Hopes, who had met at a nightclub in New York where Dolores was singing, arrived in Los Angeles in 1937 via the Super Chief passenger train. In town for Bob's first feature film, Paramount's "The Big Broadcast of 1938," they planned to stay for a few weeks. Instead, Bob would go on to make more than 50 more movies, and they would build the home where they remained until their deaths, his at age 100 in 2003, hers at 102 in 2011.

Both avid golfers, Bob and Dolores selected the location, Linda said, because it was "basically a long driver from Lakeside." At the time, many entertainers were moving west from New York, and silent-film stars such as Mary Pickford and Rudolph Valentino had built their homes in the Beverly Hills area.

Toluca Lake was transitioning from agricultural to residential. The unpretentious neighborhood was one of the Valley's first bedroom communities, convenient to the nearby Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal studios lots. Hope's friend and eventual co-star Bing Crosby lived nearby on Camarillo Street, and Amelia Earhart had just plotted her final voyage from under a carob tree in her yard on Valley Spring Lane. Frank Sinatra and Roy Disney also settled in the area.

The neighborhood, which is within the city of Los Angeles, retains some of the Mayberry-esque charm the Hopes enjoyed and helped to create. They used to hand out silver dollars at Halloween, forging Toluca Lake's reputation as a destination that attracts trick-or-treaters from other neighborhoods. There is also a tiny Fourth of July parade with a brass band. And the original Bob's Big Boy, where Bob went for burgers and malts, still stands.

With a population of about 8,500 people living in a mix of single-family homes on large lots and condos in a 1.22-square-mile area, Toluca Lake has one of the lowest population densities in the city, according to a 2008 planning department estimate. Nearly 14 percent of households had incomes of more than $125,000, a figure similar to those of such areas as Sherman Oaks and Marina del Rey but far less than those of Bel-Air and Pacific Palisades.

The Moorpark house has attracted early interest from show business personalities — both actors and executives, according to Mills. "A celebrity will draw people to look," she said. "But when it comes down to really buying, someone has to want the lifestyle."

The main attraction, Mills said, will be the land, which is rare to find within the city limits.

In accordance with Dolores' wishes, there will be an unusual title restriction on the home that prevents it from being subdivided for five years. "She wanted us to find somebody that was going to love it and live in it," Linda said.

Toluca Lake has changed somewhat since the Hopes first arrived. The Tick Tock eatery on Riverside Drive, where they dined on Thursdays, is now a chain restaurant called the Counter, and a neighbor for the new owners will be Miley Cyrus.

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Offline R4 TrumPence

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Re: Famed comedian Bob Hope's Toluca Lake estate up for sale
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2013, 12:54:58 AM »

I am Repub4Bush on FR '02

Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Famed comedian Bob Hope's Toluca Lake estate up for sale
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2013, 01:08:07 AM »
I'm glad they won't be able to subdivide it for at least five years.

Amazing that both he and Dolores lived to 100 and over.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

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