Los Angeles' obsession with houses is about to get the full treatment from author Michael Gross, whose 2005 book, 740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building was one of the definitive looks at Manhattan real estate. In his new book, Unreal Estate, Gross explores the history of sixteen estates in Los Angeles’ most exclusive neighborhoods. The book, due out November 1st from the Crown Publishing Group, not only delves into the history of some of the most coveted homes in Los Angeles but also takes a gossip- and scandal-filled look at their famous owners.
In a just-released video, Gross narrates a Google-image flyover of the Golden Triangle explaining the development of Beverly Hills by oil and railroad men and a look at some of the mansions that will be included in the book.
Subtitled "Money, Ambition and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles," Unreal Estate sheds light on such renowned estates as Greenacres, the former home of movie star Harold Lloyd which is now owned by billionaire Ron Burkle, The Knoll, whose former owners include Dino Di Laurentiis, Kenny Rogers and former 20th Century Fox owner Marvin Davis, and, of course The Playboy Mansion.
One of the most colorful cast of characters lived at Owlwood estate in Holmby Hills: "It’s centerpiece was this house now called Owlwood, but once three separate estates that were homed to Rudy Vallee, Jayne Mansfield, Tony Curtis, Sonny and Cher, Cher and David Geffen, Cher and Gregg Allman, a movie mogul who had and affair with Marilyn Monroe in a guest house, an oil man and two pornography king pits. Today it's all the property of the widow of a mortgage banker who pioneered the so-called liar loans that helped bring down the world economy," says Gross in the video.