Los Angeles Unreal Estate

Author Michael Gross Chronicles Los Angeles Unreal Estate Built by Tycoons, Mobsters, Movie Stars


Michael Gross, author of the popular “740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building,” has now shifted his focus to the west coast with his latest book, “Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles.” 

In doing so, “Unreal Estate”  has now landed on the Los Angeles Times best-seller list.

To celebrate the the new book’s publication, Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine, the City of Beverly Hills, Friends of Greytone and Broadway Books teamed up Nov. 9 for a reception with the author. Nearly 200 people turned up at Greystone, aka the Doheny Mansion, in Beverly Hills to greet Gross and get their books signed.

As the title suggests, the new book explores Los Angeles unreal estate, meaning the properties, such as Greystone, Grayhall, Greenacres and the Bel Air mansion made famous by the “Beverly Hillbillies” television series. They are the palatial estates built by the oilmen, railroad tycoons, mobsters, movie stars and Spanish land grant families who founded and populated Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Park.

Gross chose 16 homes to follow through the decades, chronicling all those who passed through them. They included movie stars Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Harold Lloyd, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, George Hamilton, Tony Curtis and Cher, in addition to the corporate giants, entertainment moguls, foreign royals, con men and more.

Of the party guests, many either own the historic houses detailed in the book or their families once did. They included Will and Libby Doheny, Peter McCoy and Kacey Doheny McCoy; Jeanne and Robbie Anderson, James Mehdizadeh and Robert Mehdizadeh, Bridget and Michael Gless, Teri Solomon and her daughter Cori Solomon, Jackie Kong Driver, Carla Kirkeby, Dona Powell and her son Nick Solomon, Steve Powers, Diane Stockmar, Jeff Palmer and Rex Ross III.

Fellow writers in the crowd were Gigi Levangie Grazer, Beverly Jackson, Bret Parsons, Cari Beauchamp and “Your Mama” of the popular ‘The Real Estalker” blog.

More guests were Joyce and Michael Ostin, Phyllis and Peter Bart, Sessa and Richard Johnson, Jacques Silberstein and Francesca Drommi Partello, Nancy Stoddart, Vanna White, Suzanne Lanza, Ann Turkel, Fawn Hall, Jeff Hyland, Carolina de Portago, Darrell Schmidt, Dimitri Villard, Annabelle Begelman Weston, Paula Zinneman Frank Bowling, Francesca Drown Keck, Jill Collins. Firooz Zahedi, Julie Jaffe, David Netto, Douglas Urbanski, Lizzie Dalling and Stacey Fields.  

Photos from top, from the Los Angeles Unreal Estate party: author Michael Gross, left, with Richard Johnson, legendary former editor of the New York Post’s Page Six (credit: Jacques Silberstein); among party guests Julie Jaffe, left, and Gigi Levangie Grazer, author of “The Starter Wife” and “The After wife” (photo: Eric Charbonneau/ Le Studio); Dona Powell, a former owner of Greenacres, aka the Harold Lloyd estate, and her son, Nick Solomon (photo: Eric Charbonneau/ Le Studio). More in the gallery  below.


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Published Nov. 26 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA