Some weeks ago, our longtime Romanian friend Vlad the Revealer at the Celebrity Address Aerial website queried Yolanda about the new owner of a gloriously secluded Malibu estate with a long history of celebrity ownership. Records reveal the home was sold last year (2016) for $6,200,000 to a mysterious blind trust.
The house, which we’ll choose to call a “Rustic Traditional” although that may not be a wholly accurate descriptor, sits high up in the mountains above the often traffic-choked Pacific Coast Highway and the big blue sea. It takes several minutes of driving and white-knuckling some hairpin turns up a long and twisty road to access this property, which is tucked away at the end of a narrow lane and secluded down a long driveway guarded by big gates. The house, however, has spectacular (if faraway) views of the ocean and the glorious sunsets for which Malibu is world-renowned.
All these features are perfect for a celebrity, of course.
The house was constructed in 1985, per permit records and listing information. By the late 1980s, property records indicate the parcel was owned by none other than Olivia Newton-John, she of the Grease legend. Not for lack of searching, but Yolanda is unsure whether Ms. Newton-John built the house herself or just bought it within a couple years after it was completed. Hmmm. We can’t find proof showing when she actually acquired the property, and it’s very frustrating to an OCD lass like Yolanda. Can anyone help? Bueller?!?!
In any case, Ms. Newton-John sold the house in November 1994 to married film producers Neal Marlens and Carol Black, who are the folks responsible for creating the 1980s hit sitcom The Wonder Years. After nearly a full decade of ownership, Mr. Marlens and Ms. Black sold the house in May 2004 for just under $5 million to Oscar-winning actress Sally Field.
In 2011, Ms. Field flipped the house for about $5.5 million to another couple named Michael Jones & Jennifer Johnston-Jones. Our Mr. Jones is the former CEO of that blessedly long-abandoned MySpace website. Ugh, what a hot mess that was. But nice house, Mr. Jones. And yes, it was the Johnston-Joneses who sold the house for $6,200,000 a few months ago to a secretive blind trust. So who could buyer be?!
Well, kiddies, this wasn’t an easy puzzle to piece together. But Yolanda finally did it and we’d like to announce that the new owner is a guy named James Gunn, who has a whole Malibu mountain-sized mound of money thanks to his role as screenwriter and director of Guardians of the Galaxy.
But that’s not his only credit, of course. Mr. Gunn also wrote Tromeo and Juliet, the Scooby-Doo movie and its sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, and 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. Mr. Gunn also wrote and directed the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which is scheduled for release within the next couple months. If it performs anything like the original, which grossed over $770 million worldwide, Mr. Gunn will most assuredly become far more wildly rich than he already is.
Now, here’s the interesting thing. Mr. Gunn may be best-known to the general public not as a very rich blockbuster screenwriter but rather for his eight-year marriage to popular actress Jenna Fischer of The Office fame and fortune. The couple had no children and split in 2008, but have remained on very amicable terms. How many other divorced couples still regularly buy each other silly gifts and joke around on social media? Not many, we have to assume.
Nowadays, Mr. Gunn has been dating an actress named Jennifer Holland for over a year. Although we ain’t know either of them, the two are clearly like-minded in their love for animals of all sorts, as demonstrated by the photos they frequently share on Instagram with Mr. Gunn’s 369,000 followers and Miss Holland’s 22,000.
It’s a good thing, then, that Mr. Gunn chose this property, as it spans a generous 3.06 secluded acres that abuts many hundreds of acres of national parkland. Lots of space for all the domestic pets Mr. Gunn and Ms. Holland could desire. Just be careful not to let them too far out of sight — this area has coyotes, bears, maybe even mountain lions.
As for the house itself, it’s actually a compound with a main house, guest house, three-stall barn, and a greenhouse. All that adds up to 6,802-square-feet with a total of 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms.
The driveway gates lead up a long inclined driveway to a two-car garage. Due to the unusual angling of the house, the front door (or at least we think it’s the front door? is a bit of a walk from the motorcourt down a brick, trellis-covered pathway.
Things are bright and airy indoors, with the white decor set off by medium-brown hardwood floors. The front door opens to a spacious and fireplace-equipped great room, which connects to a living room with what looks to be a couple of leather-bound Arne Jacobsen Egg Chairs, which can easily cost more than your average gently-used Daewoo. Elsewhere in the home is an family room with yet another fireplace.
Connected to the living room is a rustic-luxe dining room with a (cement?) table that easily seats 12 next to a newly-remodeled kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances and fixtures.
Three of the main house’s four bedrooms are located downstairs, so the master suite takes up nearly the entirety of the second floor. As you’d expect, it’s celebrity-style gigantic with a vaulted-ceiling the bedroom, a sitting area, a combo library/private office, a large master bathroom, and a private outdoor balcony with an outdoor dining area plus a cutesy swingin’ bench that Yolanda just loves.
Lots of interesting rooms up in here.
The real beauty of the home, however, is in the outdoors. The acres of property include ancient oaks, sycamores, and eucalyptus trees. There’s a lighted tennis court and a brick-surrounded pool plus lots of green grass. Other not-so-common features include a big wooden bench (like the kind you might see in a public park), a children’s play area, and a wigwam that looks quite fancy, actually. Might be the Mercedes-Benz of wigwams.
Most interesting, however, is that the listing states that the property “generates over six figures in annual income from location shoots.” Yolanda is not sure if “over six figures” means seven or eight figures — or maybe the agents meant over $100,000? In any case, that sort of income should, at the very least, cover Mr. Gunn’s hefty property tax payments each and ever year.
But we digress.
Other than his big new Malibu house, Mr. Gunn seems to live fairly modestly. The only other property we are aware of him owning is his longtime residence in the celebrity-swarmed Studio City area of the San Fernando Valley. The 3,825-square-foot, two-story Traditional was purchased by Mr. Gunn and Jenna Fischer (his wife at the time) way back in July 2002 for $875,000. Following their 2008 divorce, records show Ms. Fischer quit-claimed her share of the property over to Mr. Gunn.
One more thing: despite his busy work schedule, Mr. Gunn found time to write a number of lengthy reviews on his Yelp page. Yes, Mr. Gunn is a Yelper and he left his two cents (or a bit more) on the pages of some local businesses, including Kazu, Daichan (which we also like), and Ink.
Yolanda is eagerly awaiting his take on Nobu Malibu, Geoffrey’s, Moonshadows and other hotspots near his lovely new home.