Like many of the surrounding areas, Bel-Air has played home to a litany of famous residents over the years. NBA star Wilt Chamberlain, film director Alfred Hitchcock, actor Leonard Nimoy, professional basketball player Chris Paul, former president Ronald Reagan, actress Elizabeth Taylor, and several others have carried on a tradition of excellence throughout the rich history of Bel-Air.
Founded in 1923, the neighborhood has virtually no multifamily dwellings, just two restaurants, and has been the filming location or setting for multiple television shows throughout its rich history.
Jennifer Aniston lives high above the Bel-Air Country Club in an estate that she purchased in January 2012 for $20,970,000.
Wilt Chamberlain built his five-bedroom, 7,158-square-foot contemporary-style house at 15216 Antelo Place in 1971 and lived there until his death in 1999. Previously owned by two well-respected television writers who purchased the house from Chamberlain’s estate in 2002 for nearly $3 million—and who have owned it ever since—the house has attracted much attention over the years—both with this listing and in 2000-2002, when Chamberlain’s estate was trying to unload it, first for $7.45 million and later reducing its asking price to $4.38 million. The house’s unconventional features include a gold-lined hot tub, a retractable mirrored ceiling above the master bed, a swimming pool that flows into the living room, walls of glass, 40-foot ceilings, a wrap-around pool, and a balcony suspended over the living room. Other features include five-and-a-half baths and teak finishes. The house sits on a two-point-five-eight acre parcel that boasts ocean and city views.
Joni Mitchell’s Bel-Air estate, built in 1930, overlooks the Bel-Air Country Club. A Spanish-style home with six bedrooms, five bathrooms, and 6,560-square-feet of living space, the property was last sold for $350,000, on July 25, 1974, to Mitchell, and it sits hidden from the street on its own private drive.
Leonard Nimoy lived at 801 North Stone Canyon in Bel-Air and told The Wall Street Journal, when asked about his home: “When I bought my home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles in 1987, I was a little scared. I was single at the time—my marriage of 33 years had just ended—and I had been looking at modest places within a specific price range. My realtor had suggested we see a house that had just come on the market: a one-story, 5,500-square-foot, white-plaster Spanish-Mediterranean from the 1930s. I fell in love with it instantly. The house had charm and was easy going and very me. But there was a problem: The asking price was twice my budget.”
Ronald Reagan lived at 668 St. Cloud in Bel-Air. The 7,192-square-foot ranch-style house on a 1.5 acre lot is surrounded by a tall chain-link fence shrouded with tan canvas and is watched by security cameras, a sentry in a guard house at the beginning of the driveway, and the requisite Secret Service men in a car with red lights on its top.
Elizabeth Taylor’s former residence, sited at 800 Nimes Road on 1.27 acres, included a bricked motor court and swimming pool. The house is 7,000-square-feet and features a galley-like country kitchen, powder room, and maid’s quarters on the lower floor, with a master suite and an adjacent dressing room on the second floor.
Bel-Air is an exclusive community, with as many notable residents as any other community anywhere, and this rich history of residents and culture serve to further highlight the richness of that history.
Photos courtesy of Curbed, the NBA, and Architectural Digest