Owlwood Estate

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Owlwood Estate
General information
Location 141 South Carolwood, Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California
Coordinates 34°04′53″N 118°25′32″W / 34.0813936°N 118.4255765°W / 34.0813936; -118.4255765
Completed 1937
Client Florence Letts Quinn
Design and construction
Architect Robert D. Farquhar

Owlwood Estate is a historic mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. It was built in 1936 and designed by architect Robert D. Farquhar. Previous owners include actors Tony Curtis and Cher.


It is located at 141 South Carolwood, Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California.[1]


The 12,000-square-foot Tuscan-style mansion was designed by architect Robert D. Farquhar (1872-1967) in 1937.[2][3] It has eight bedrooms, ten bathrooms, a tennis court, a pool house and a swimming pool.[4]


The first owner was Charles H. Quinn (1876-1975), a businessman, and his wife, Florence Letts Quinn (1868-1944), the widow of Arthur Letts]] (1862–1923). Arthur Letts, the original developer and visionary of Holmby Hills, cherry picked 141 South Carolwood Drive from all the acreage in Holmby Hills to build his family's estate but he died before building commenced and his wife became the owner 141 South Carolwood Drive, a 3.7 acre lot at the end of the cul de sac which bordered the Los Angeles County Club.[5] 141 South Carolwood Drive was the only property excluded from the original Holmby Hills lot offering.[1][6] Florence Letts selected the Master Architect Robert D. Farquhar to design and build the mansion and was responsible for the European influences seen the selections and finishes. The original 12,600 square foot mansion, circa 1936, was the largest mansion built in Los Angeles the year it was built.[5] This Italian Renaissance two-story mansion with basement offered 6 bedrooms and 2 staff bedrooms, 7 full bathrooms and 5 half bathrooms, theatre and a full size elevator to all three floors.[5] There was also a guest house and swimming pool.[5]

The second owner, Texas entrepreneur, Joseph Drown, the founder of the Hotel Bel Air, only lived at 141 South Carolwood for two years and made no major changes to the estate.[5] The third owner was Joe Schenck (1878-1961), the first President of United Artists and Chairman of 20th Century Fox.[5] During his ownership, Marilyn Monroe, a close friend, was a regular visitor.[citation needed] He sold the estate in 1956 to William Keck of Superior Oil.[5]

In the 1960s Tony Curtis (1925-2010), purchased the estate from Mr. Keck. In 1967, Sonny Bono (1935-1998) and Cher attended a birthday party at the estate; Cher fell in love with the estate but Tony Curtis refused to sell his beloved Carolwood. But when he began filming in London a few years later, he called Cher. She and Sonny Bono purchased the estate and she began an extensive design project. When it was completed, Architectural Digest featured 141 South Carolwood Drive in the June 1972 issue and it appeared on the cover of the magazine.[citation needed] Cher sold the estate to Chase and Ralph Mishkin in 1976. The Mishkins were responsible for renaming it "Owlwood", in honor of the owls which lived in the towering trees on the property. After only two years, they sold "Owlwood" to the 8th owner, Ghazi Alta, an investor from Monaco.[5] Alta then acquired the neighboring 4.6 acre estate which had been owned by Bill Osco, the producer of Flash Gordon and prior to that the Olympic swimmer and actress, Esther Williams. Alta sold 141 South Carolwood Drive, the 3.7 acre "Owlwood" estate and 10060 Sunset Boulevard, the 4.6 acre estate, to Dawn and Roland Arnall in 2002.[5] They added the adjacent estate, 10010 Sunset Boulevard, and the street, South Carolwood Drive to the original Carolwood estate, 141 South Carolwood Drive and 10060 Sunset Boulevard.[5]

In 2016, "Owlwood", known as "The Crown Jewel of Holmby Hills" was being quietly shown to vetted buyers by Ann Dashiell of Douglas Elliman Real Estate as a private off-market listing at a sales price of $150 million. "Owlwood" was never listed for sale in The MLS, publicized or advertised.[2][3][4]

In September 2016, the Owlwood estate sold for $90 million USD. The buyer, Sturmer Pippin Investments, LLC, was represented by Adam Rosenfeld of the Los Angeles luxury real estate agency Mercer Vine and the seller was represented by Ann Dashiell of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.[5] Bob Shapiro, head of Sturmer Pippin Investments and Woodbridge Luxury Homes, said he intends to honor the property's legendary past.[7] In 2016, the Owlwood purchase at $90 million set the record as the third highest Residential Sale in Los Angeles history and represented the 2016 highest off-market private sale in Los Angeles.[8]

In July 2017, the Owlwood Estate returned to the Los Angeles real estate market, listed for sale at $180 million USD. The sale of the property is being represented by estate agent Adam Rosenfeld of Mercer Vine Luxury Real Estate.[9][10]

In December 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against the Woodbridge Group of companies, which owns Owlwood, and Bob Shapiro, alleging that Woodbridge and its associated companies operated as a Ponzi scheme.[11]


  1. ^ a b Marc Wanamaker, Westwood, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2010 [1]
  2. ^ a b Ann Brenoff, Owlwood Estate In Holmby Hills, Calif. On The Market For $150 Million, The Huffington Post, August 13, 2012
  3. ^ a b Jennifer Exley, Infamous Owlwood Estate Listed for $150 Million, The Hollywood Reporter, Jule 26, 2012
  4. ^ a b Lauren Beale, Big listings land in Los Angeles and Orange counties, The Los Angeles Times, August 10, 2012
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Talbot, Victoria (July 21, 2017). "Holmby Hills' 'Owlwood' Estate Listed for $180 Million by Mercer Vine" (PDF). The Beverly Hills Courier. p. 10. Retrieved July 22, 2017. 
  6. ^ FindAGrave: Florence Martha (Letts) Quinn
  7. ^ Samantha Sharf, L.A.'s Storied Owlwood Estate Sells To Developer For $90 Million, Forbes, September 16th, 2016
  8. ^ Neal J. Leitereg, Owlwood's $90-million sale continues spate of high-end transactions in L.A., The Los Angeles Times, October 14th, 2016
  9. ^ Rachel Spacek, Storied Owlwood estate returns to market with a bang: $180 million, The Los Angeles Times, July 20th, 2017
  10. ^ Mercer Vine Editorial, Mercer Vine Lists Owlwood Estate - The Crown Jewel of Holmby Hills, Mercer Vine, July 31st, 2017
  11. ^ James Rufus Koren, SEC says L.A. developer who bought celebrity real estate ran $1 billion Ponzi scheme, The Los Angeles Times, December 22nd, 2017