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House of the Week: Olympian Ian Thorpe’s Home, Once Frequented by John Lennon

Erika Riggs
October 4, 2013

8522 Oak Ct, Los Angeles, CA
For sale: $999,000

This house packs quite a bit of history into a mere 960 square feet. Currently owned by Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe, the house has hosted a number of well-known guests over the years, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Built in 1961 by actor John Compton (best known for the movie “Jesse James Rides Again” and the 1959 TV series “The D.A’s Man”) the home was clearly designed to be a hideaway.

“You go up some 90-something stairs to get there [to the home],” explained listing agent Jo O’Key of The O’Key Group. “It’s a little hideaway that no one would expect to be there.”

Although private, the home has incredible views of the city below from three decks, including an enormous one accessed from the third level.

In 1977, Compton sold the home to Elliot Mintz, a publicist and good friend of Lennon and Ono, among other stars. (Mintz recently tweeted a photo of himself visiting the home.)

It was during Mintz’s ownership that neighbors recall seeing Lennon visit the home and even stay a few days. The decks were a common place for Lennon to spend time.

O’Key says she even likes to think that he could have written the song “Imagine” there as he gazed out at the rooftops of L.A. below.

Thorpe bought the home in 2006, and like previous residents, was attracted to the views and the privacy. However, he’s no longer spending a lot of time in L.A., and after renting out the home for a while, O’Key says the swimmer is ready to sell.

And it’s highly possible he’ll be selling to another privacy-seeking star.


Erika Riggs, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties and home design trends. Read more of her work here