Update, Aug. 19: The buyers of Bea Arthur's quintessential ranch house were producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, as Variety reported and the Los Angeles Times confirmed. The couple founded Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg and are known for films including "E.T.," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," the "Jurassic Park" franchise and "Back to the Future."
By Sid Lipsey
To paraphrase the theme song from the 1980s sitcom "The Golden Girls," if you threw a party and invited everyone you knew ... you could probably fit them in this grand Los Angeles ranch house where the grand TV actress Bea Arthur lived for nearly 30 years.
The 7,000-square-foot home of the late TV legend — who played the quick-witted Dorothy on "The Golden Girls" — just sold for $14,925,000, Trulia reports. That's about $1 million less than the original asking price — but about 25 times the price she paid for the house.
Arthur bought the house in Brentwood for $551,505 in 1980, soon after divorcing her husband of 30 years, Broadway director Gene Saks. She was already a successful actress, having starred in the hit sitcom "Maude," a spinoff of "All in the Family," from 1972 to 1978. She won two Emmy Awards — for "Maude" and "The Golden Girls" as well as a Tony, for the 1966 musical "Mame."
The home is attributed to architect Cliff May, the father of the California ranch house, who developed the whole tract now known as the Old Ranch Road Residential Historical District. (News reports and real estate sites have said the house was built in 1924, but May would have been about 15. A report on May's historic district says the house was built in 1946.) It has five bedrooms and six baths — plus an art studio, a library, two offices and a gym.
The home appears to have undergone a major renovation supervised by Arthur's son Matt Saks a couple of years before her 2009 death. It had been rented out since then, asking $32,500 a month. Her estate put the 4-acre property on the market in June.
Arthur's home is nestled in an extremely desirable L.A. ZIP Code. The listing described the property as "gated and secluded" — the seclusion provided in part by acres of oak and sycamore trees.
"This is country out here," Arthur told A&U: America's AIDS Magazine in 1998. "I can walk around without anything on and nobody cares, and it's just lovely." (See the article scans in the last five slides of a Bea Arthur fan's clipping collection, or on the article writer's website.)
Inside, the living room and formal dining room feature Cliff May's signature high, beamed ceilings. A great room adjoins the kitchen, which has a separate eating area where you can almost picture "The Golden Girls" having one of their late-night cheesecake chats. In real life, cooking for friends was one of Arthur's pastimes.
The eating area leads to the 4 acres of grounds with resort-style pool, spa, tennis court (although she told A&U she did not play tennis), hiking trails and waterfalls.
No word on who the buyer is, but it's fun to think it's four older women trading wisecracks right now in their new kitchen.
Also on Yahoo Homes:
Throwback time! Here's the theme song from "Maude":