Jerry Weintraub's Power Hub for Sale: Inside the Mansion Where Clooney and Pitt Planned 'Ocean's Eleven'
A president slept over, Jimmy Connors used the court and Frank Sinatra planned a wedding there: Now, the late producer's widow lovingly describes their Beverly Hills manse on the market.
On the night in 1988 when George H.W. Bush was elected the 41st U.S. president, he and wife Barbara walked into the Beverly Hills home of producer Jerry Weintraub and his wife, Jane Morgan, who had been gearing up for a big celebration (Weintraub owned a home near the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, and knew the family for decades). But moments after the president-elect and his wife sat on the living room couch, they fell asleep.
"It didn't turn out to be the party we had imagined having on his first night as the president," Morgan tells THR by phone from Kennebunkport. "But we did have so many big parties at that house."
Weintraub and Morgan at the 1990 premiere of Franco Zeffirelli’s Hamlet.
The house is located on more than an acre of land on Doheny Road and is one of a handful of homes that not only has borne witness to but also helps bridge Hollywood past and present. If the walls of the 7,300-square-foot home (six bedrooms, nine baths) could talk, they would tell tales of Frank Sinatra planning a wedding for his lawyer, Mickey Rudin; of George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt scheming up Ocean's Eleven; and of Elvis Presley and his manager Colonel Tom Parker scheduling a tour. Morgan bought the house in 1976 for $300,000 while on a solo scouting trip from New York, which, according to her, prompted this comment from Weintraub: "What's the matter with you, Jane? You don't know anything about what houses should cost. That is ridiculous — we can't pay that."
From left: Michael Douglas, Damon and Weintraub at the Cannes photocall for Behind the Candelabra in May 2013.
Forty years later, the house is for sale for $22.5 million; it has been on the market for eight months (the home Weintraub built in Palm Desert in 2002 also is on the market, since February, for $16 million). Listing agent Fred Bernstein of Westside Estate Agency says the unique intimacy of the Doheny house doesn't jibe with current trends. "If somebody wants a contemporary home they want modern scale, and this has intimate scale," he notes. "It's not a big, flashy house. It is very tastefully done." Bernstein says he has strong interest from a buyer from Shanghai and that a few stars and music managers have toured the property.
To the left of the entryway is the poker room; to the right, an entertainment room with a piano and flat-screen TVs.
Weintraub, who died in July 2015, began his career as a concert promoter but ended up producing such seminal films as Nashville, Diner, The Karate Kid and Ocean's Eleven (his movies' key art still hangs in the workout room). Along the way he hosted notable stars and local politicians (and clearly some national ones, too). Morgan and Weintraub adopted three daughters, who were raised in the house along with his son from his first marriage. And though they separated during the 1980s, Weintraub and Morgan never divorced.For many years until his death, Weintraub lived with his girlfriend, Susie Ekins, and for a good portion of that time all three — Weintraub, Ekins and Morgan — lived together under the Doheny roof.
"He loved that house," says Morgan. "Over the years I would say, 'Maybe we should go live over here,' or get a bigger house or a smaller house, and he never wanted to. He had a powerful affinity for that piece of property."
The kitchen features a framed and signed pizza box from Puck (far left).
Twelve years ago, designer Guy Dreier (who also worked on the Palm Desert spread) gave the place a makeover, adding limestone tiling, an outdoor fountain and softly curved embankments leading to a walkway that pulls one from a 30-car driveway to the front door. Upon entry one is met immediately with a pungent Rat Pack vibe emanating from the poker room, the walls of which are adorned with encased tennis rackets and handwritten encomiums from Rod Laver and Jimmy Connors. On the bookshelf sits a large Torah.
From there it is a light-soaked walk through the living room — with a low-slung ceiling and a baby grand piano — into the media room, where an entire wall is eaten up by five flat-screen televisions (an unofficial tally put the number of TVs in the house at 17; some of the home's furnishings also are for sale to interested buyers).
The media room has several TVs and looks out on the pool one level below.
There are some oddities. The home office was nicknamed the "cockpit" on account of its low, curved desk and six flat-screens. The walls of the second floor are insulated with soundproofing, which muffles conversations in the hallway connecting the guest bedroom to the master suite. "Jerry was very into privacy," explains Morgan. "He didn't like people intruding on what he was doing."
An elevator connects the master suite and living room to the pool and yard on the lower level. Behind the 450-square-foot guesthouse is a tennis court backed into a grove of eucalyptus trees. The court's waiting list often included Wolfgang Puck and Connors. It also was the setting for the first fundraiser for what would become the Betty Ford Center (Weintraub also hosted fundraisers for such politicos as California governors Pete Wilson and Jerry Brown). "It was a good thing they created it when they did. It became more and more important," says Morgan of the early-1980s Betty Ford event. "There was a lot of drugs back then."
This art deco powder room was installed after Weintraub fell in love with a similar room he saw in Jennifer Aniston’s home, says Bernstein.
This story first appeared in the Oct. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.