To the rest of the world, the stars of Hollywood are the actors who appear in films and TV. But people in Los Angeles know that there are other stars of Hollywood, too: the deal makers – the people who find common ground between egos and sooth the ruffled feathers so that the show will go on.
In this category, few deserve Hollywood’s Nobel Peace Prize more than James Wiatt, former president and co-chief executive of the William Morris Agency, and former co-chief exec of International Creative Management, who has listed his Pacific Palisades home at $19.5 million while he shops for another home in Los Angeles.
Wiatt was the force behind merging William Morris with the Endeavor Agency – a deal that led to his own stepping aside in 2009. But the reality is that it’s not easy to stick around this town for as long as Wiatt has. While his reputation isn’t that of big talent schmoozer, he is frequently credited for keeping peace during the clashes and ego flare-ups that are legendary in Hollywood. William Morris and ICM are the powerbrokers, and Wiatt was at the helm of both. Need we say more?
Wiatt, now a consultant, is on the board of directors for AOL. He is also a member of the board of the USC School of Cinema-Television, the Music Center of Los Angeles and the UCLA Executive Board for the Medical Sciences.
The five-bedroom, 12-bathroom Georgian-style mansion he is selling has almost 12,000 square feet and was built in 2007. The home is approached from a gated, graveled driveway lined in cobblestones. It has a semicircular staircase off the formal entryway and the floors are parquet hardwoods. There are formal living and dining rooms, plus a wood-paneled library-bar. All of the public main rooms have French doors leading to the landscaped grounds. The home has marble fireplaces, Viking appliances and solid mahogany doors. The swimming pool is radiant heated and the playroom area is made from sustainable bamboo.
Leslie Kavanaugh of Sotheby’s International Realty in Beverly Hills has the listing.
Bel Air Listing
German entrepreneur and venture capitalist Daniel Giersch, the soon-to-be-if-not-already-ex-husband of actress Kelly Rutherford (star of “Gossip Girl”) has listed for sale his Bel Air home at $4.85 million.
Giersch is the founder and managing director of Giersch Ventures. He founded a postal delivery service company, KDI, in Germany – which was expanded into Monaco and the United States via franchises. And he took on Google and won: Google is not permitted to use the “gmail” name in Germany because, thus far, Giersch has prevailed in an infringement suit.
The 3,458-square-foot home that sits on about an acre was built in 1951. The single-story home, according to the MLS, was remodeled using nontoxic and eco-friendly materials. There are three bedroom suites, a library with a wet bar, a sunken entertainment area with 20-foot-high ceilings and a media room. The property has formal gardens, a pool and pool pavilion.
Aileen Comora of Westside Estate Agency, Beverly Hills, is the listing agent.
Beny Alagem, a legendary figure in the world of personal computers, had his seven-bedroom home in Beverly Hills on the market for $10.5 million briefly. But when the Business Journal inquired about the house, his listing agent said it was taken off the market because the tenant extended his lease. There was no word on whether the home will remain a pocket listing – a common practice when very private folks would rather not let the world know they want to sell their home so they don’t list it in the very public MLS, but instead spread the word among agents that they’re open to offers. Go ahead, ask me what I think.
In 1985, Alagem bought Packard Bell, which was then a failing consumer electronics firm. Alagem began marketing personal computers under the brand and by the mid-1980s, the business was generating more than $500 million in annual revenue. Packard Bell computers were the first to come equipped with both three- and five-inch disk drives. And it was also the first company to pre-install software on its computers.
Alagem is the chairman, president and chief executive of Oasis Group Inc., a consortium of real estate businesses involved in constructing or acquiring condos and hotels. In a deal estimated at $130 million, he bought the Beverly Hilton Hotel in 2003 from Merv Griffin. Three years later, he purchased the Hilton Los Cabos Beach and Golf Resort for an estimated $91 million. He is also the force behind a controversial plan to convert the Beverly Hilton into a high-rise Waldorf-Astoria. The measure was narrowly approved by voters in 2008 and a recent corporate press release anticipates construction to be completed in 2013.
The 10,000-square-foot home he listed then unlisted is a contemporary Mediterranean, built in 1987 and designed by architect Peter Choate. The home has high ceilings, high-end finishes and a gourmet kitchen. The master suite has a fireplace, sitting area, and his and her bathrooms. There is a large motor court, a pool and detached guesthouse.
‘Bird Street’ Lease
Franklin “Biff” Levy, a partner with law firm Duane Morris LLP and a novelist, has leased a 3,000-square-foot home in the so-called “Bird Streets” of the Hollywood Hills for $7,000 a month, according to the MLS.
Levy recently rejoined the firm after spending a few years in Las Vegas. He served as counsel for the Las Vegas Sands Corp., a leading international developer of resorts. He was a partner at Duane Morris from 2004-06, and focuses his practice on business and personal litigation, including trademarks and copyrights, securities fraud, contracts, trade regulation and trade secrets. In the gaming industry, he has represented casino owners and developers in matters relating to acquisitions, licensing and related trademark and copyright matters, negotiation of contracts and litigation of disputes.
In 2008, Levy’s first novel, “Die, Decorator, Die,” was published by Phoenix Books, and he has a sequel awaiting publication. He is also a founder (with wife Lynda) of Nantucket Magazine.
The one-story home is located in the gated Doheny Estates and has a heated pool and spa.
Gracee Arthur of Ewing and Associates Sotheby’s International Realty in Malibu represented Levy in the lease. Chad Rogers at Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, listed the property.
Ann Brenoff can be reached at email@example.com
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