The Malibu oceanfront estate of Max Palevsky, a pioneer in the computer industry and a founder of computer chip giant Intel, has come on the market for $55 million, which is a lot of computer chips no matter how you store it.

Palevsky died in May at 85. He had quite a trajectory.

In 1957, Palevsky joined Packard Bell Computer Corp., a division of Packard Bell. A few years later, he and about a dozen colleagues set off on their own and formed Scientific Data Systems, intending to build computers for small and medium-size businesses that were being ignored by giants like IBM. Their instincts were on the money, quite literally, and in 1969, Xerox bought the company for $1 billion. Palevsky took some of his newfound wealth and financed a small startup company in Santa Clara. That startup became Intel – today’s largest producer of computer chips in the world. Something like this happened to me once, too, only I woke up.

Palevsky first ventured into politics in the 1960s, supporting liberal Democratic issues and candidates. His support for Tom Bradley helped propel the L.A. city councilman into the first of his five mayoral terms. Later, Palevsky adopted campaign reform as his pet issue and raised money for John McCain in the 2000 presidential primary.

Palevsky embraced the arts and crafts movement in the early 1970s. His extensive collection of furniture and Japanese woodcuts was donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

And this being Los Angeles and all, he invested a bit in Hollywood as well. He helped finance “Badlands” in 1973 and produced the 2005 remake of “Fun With Dick and Jane.”

Despite his groundbreaking work in the computer industry, Palevsky wasn’t thrilled with the influence his computer technology had on our culture. He wrote with some lament in a museum catalog essay in 2005 about “the hypnotic quality of computer games, the substitution of a Google search for genuine inquiry, the instant messaging that has replaced social discourse. …”

Truth is the man never owned a cell phone or computer. And now we know why: If you had views like the ones from the house his estate is selling, you wouldn’t be spending your time looking at a computer screen either.

The estate, which isn’t in the MLS yet, sits on 6.5 acres on a bluff above the ocean. The main house has 11,300 square feet of living space and the 260 feet of sandy beach below are accessible by a private staircase from its bluffs location. There are seven bedrooms, including master suite and maid’s quarters. The master suite has two fireplaces and a large office. There is a detached guesthouse with a bed, bath and kitchen. The 1975 home has a pool and lighted tennis court. There is a large kitchen with a butler’s pantry and breakfast room; the home has a wine cellar. A spa and fire pit sit out on a promontory on the bluffs overlooking the ocean and the home has a formal dining room, family room and all the amenities you’d expect of real estate in this price bracket. But I suspect that it is not equipped with Wi-Fi.


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