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This story first appeared in the Nov. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman and wife Deborah purchased the late Sue Mengers‘ Beverly Hills pad in 2011, little did they know that the Hollywood Regency-style house would be portrayed on Broadway.
Then the couple discovered that Bette Midler, already a Grubman client, would be headlining as the uber-agent in Broadway’s I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers, set in the living room where its caftan-wearing hostess entertained actors from Marlon Brando to Jennifer Aniston. (Midler takes the role to L.A.’s Geffen Playhouse beginning Dec. 3.) So it only seemed natural to invite Midler over to see the house.
“My wife and I agreed that Bette and Martin [Midler’s husband] would be our first guests,” says Grubman, who has enlisted architect Scott Mitchell (clients include Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg) to execute a sensitive update. “So Bette comes and is sitting on the sofa, and I’m sitting there looking at her at my house. It was one of those unique moments.”
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