The longtime residence of late soap opera icons William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell, co-creators of The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, has come on the market for a cool $39 million. The gorgeous estate sprawls 2.5 acres of hilltop land in the prime lower Benedict Canyon area of Los Angeles.
The property has a storied history nearly as entertaining as the material that soap opera fans see play out on their screens every day -- and certainly just as glamorous. According to Variety, the mansion, which was originally built in 1934, was owned by Academy Award-nominated actor Charles Boyer, a Hollywood leading man of the 30s and 40s who starred in a number of classics like Gaslight, Algiers, Conquest, and Love Affair. Boyer had a contract with RKO Pictures, one of the big five studios of Hollywood's Golden Age, and when he sought to terminate that contract in the late 1940s, the studio agreed to purchase his estate in an unusual settlement negation. At that time, RKO was owned by eccentric business magnate Howard Hughes, so Hughes essentially became the home's new owner, though his name never appeared in property records.
The next resident was Hughes's ex-flame and longtime confidante Katharine Hepburn, who reportedly settled into the compound sometime around 1951 -- right around the time she filmed her Oscar-winning role in the iconic film The African Queen. The mansion passed into the hands of a few other less notable owners until it was sold in 1986 to pioneering soap opera creators William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for $2.9 million.
The sprawling property boasts a substantial four-bedroom, eight-bathroom main house, two detached guesthouses, a pool house, and a full-size tennis court with a viewing pavilion. High ceilings and walls of glass create a welcome airiness, while views include much of the L.A. basin and the Pacific Ocean.
According to IMDb, several B&B scenes have been shot on the property, including the 1988 storyline in which a drugged-up Thorne (then Clayton Norcross) shot Ridge (then Ronn Moss) in the head after learning that Ridge had slept with his wife, Caroline (Joanna Johnson); and a 2012 storyline in which Hope (then Kim Matula) fell into a swimming pool while on pills. The Bells also hosted many holiday parties for the cast and crew of B&B and Y&R at their home over the years.
William Bell lived in the mansion until his 2005 death; Lee Phillip Bell continued residing there until her own passing earlier this year. Their children -- Bill Bell (Jr), Bradley Bell (B&B executive producer and head writer), and Lauralee Bell (Christine Blaire, Y&R) -- moved off the property into their own homes many years ago.
To see photos of the historic property and mansion, click here.
As Soap Central readers may recall, the Bells' gorgeous Malibu mansion went on the market earlier this spring. The historic farmhouse-style home with ocean views remains available and is listed at $21.5 million.
UPDATE (July 10, 2020): NBA legend and Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James has reportedly purchased the 9955 Beverly Grove Dr. home that belonged to soap creators William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell. It’s unclear at this time if he paid the full $39 million asking price.
This is the third L.A. County mansion purchase for James, who signed as a free agent with the L.A. Lakers in the summer of 2018. Previously a player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, he bought two homes in Brentwood -- one for $23 million, and another for $21 million.
James is a three-time NBA Champion and four-time Most Valuable Player. He has continued to play at an MVP level in his 17th NBA season, and the Lakers are a title contender when the season resumes next month in a quarantined Orlando enclave.
This article has been updated from its original posting to note that the house has now been sold.
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