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Celebrity Real Estate Deals: ‘Borat’ Star Buys Big and Leases out His Sunset Strip Area House; Soap Star, Rocker and Photographer of the Stars Buying and Selling, Too

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By Lauren Beale

RISMEDIA, October 8, 2010—(MCT)—Comedic actor and film star Sacha Baron Cohen has leased out his Sunset Strip area house for $9,000 a month. But the major real estate deal this summer for Baron Cohen and his wife, actress Isla Fisher, was the purchase of a nearby Mediterranean compound listed at $18.9 million.

Set behind hedges on close to four wooded acres, the gated property includes a main house, a guesthouse, a swimming pool, a detached theater, a wine room, a tennis court with a clubhouse and a caretaker’s cottage. The 1940s house has seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.

“Very nice, very nice,” Baron Cohen’s character Borat Sagdiyev might say. “How much?”

The answer to that question is not yet available from the Los Angeles County assessor’s office, where purchases often take months to appear on public records. But real estate listing and data aggregator PropertyShark.com shows it sold for $14 million.

The midcentury house that Baron Cohen leased had been recently renovated.

The 1959 single-story had been for sale at $2.9 million or for lease at $10,000 a month, down from the original $11,995.

The house, which he has owned for five years, has canyon and mountain views, beamed ceilings that rise to 22 feet, a river rock fireplace, a media room/den, three bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms in about 2,800 square feet of living space. The lot, less than a third of an acre, includes a lagoon-style swimming pool, a spa, a fire pit and an outdoor gym.

Baron Cohen, 38, is known for playing outrageous characters in “Da Ali G Show” (2000, 2003-04), “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (2006) and “Bruno” (2009). GK Films recently announced that he had been signed to star in a film about rock star Freddie Mercury of Queen.

Soap Mob Boss Hopes It’s a Hit

Soap star Maurice Benard and his wife, Paula, have listed a Hollywood Hills-area house for $1.55 million.

The pair bought the place in 2007 to live in while remodeling their larger primary residence and, in the meantime, they worked on customizing the smaller house, too.

“We dove into fixing this one up,” Paula Benard said, “to the point that we almost rebuilt the house.”

The contemporary Mediterranean has a great room with pitched ceilings, a stacked stone fireplace and slate floors. There are dormer windows, a kitchen with a breakfast area and center island, four bedrooms, four bathrooms and 2,872 square feet of living space.

The Benards like to have big parties and built a covered patio entertainment area with a kitchen, a dining area and a flat screen.

Although not new to remodeling and the temptation to over-improve, the couple wanted their temporary home to work for their needs. They included the types of amenities they like in a home.

“We personalized too much,” Paula Benard said.

They bought the house for $1.25 million and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the work. The Benards are selling because they have relocated their family home to Temecula, Calif.

Maurice Benard has played a mob boss on “General Hospital” since 1993.

Just the Spot for an Old Weezer

It may sound like an odd fit, but guitarist Brian Bell of the rock band Weezer has bought a Spanish-style house in a sedate Westwood neighborhood for $1.6 million.

The single-story, 1920s home retains such period details as arched doorways. The living room has cathedral ceilings, oversized exposed wood beams, a tile-framed fireplace and French doors opening to a porch and patio. There are four bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms in 3,000 square feet of living space.

Bell, 41, who is also a songwriter and singer, joined the band in 1993. He also performs with two others groups: Space Twins and the Relationship.

Weezer released its eighth studio album, “Hurley,” this month. (The character from the TV series “Lost” graces the cover.) “Raditude” was released last year.

Sports Agent Is Ready to Deal

Sports agent, developer and rare-coin collector Dwight Manley has listed a remodeled house in the Hollywood Hills at $4,995,000.

The Spanish-style home, built in 1923, has smart home technology, an oversized media room, three bedrooms and four bathrooms in about 3,000 square feet. The infinity pool features a waterfall.

The city-view house is also available for lease at $25,000 a month.

Manley, 44, has represented NBA stars, including Karl Malone. Manley bought the house from actress Beverly D’Angelo in 2005 for $2.2 million, public records show.

A-List Photographer Lists Hollywood Hills Pad

Celebrity and fashion photographer Mark Liddell has listed a compound in the Hollywood Hills area at $3.25 million.

The gated property, described as cedar lodge style, includes a main house, a guesthouse, a saltwater pool with a hot tub, a meditation garden, mature trees and lawns. Designed as two pavilions, the compound has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and 2,879 square feet of living space.

Liddell’s 2009 book, “Exposed: 10 Years in Hollywood,” looks at his more than 100 shoots of A-listers and luminaries.

He purchased the house in 2007 for $2,399,000, according to public records.

(c) 2010, Los Angeles Times.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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