Home & Leisure

Hot Property: Actress' auction is a no-go: Elsewhere, a former Ford desert property is for sale

Neal J. Leitereg, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Home and Consumer News

LOS ANGELES--After shopping her Palm Springs compound for more than a decade, Suzanne Somers appeared on the cusp of selling her longtime desert retreat at auction last month. She must have had a change of heart.

The actress-entrepreneur and her husband, producer Alan Hamel, decided not to go through with the no-reserve bidding scheduled for Jan. 31. The 73-plus-acre property, which first hit the market in 2008 for $35 million, remains active on the Multiple Listing Service with a price of $14.5 million, records show.

The hillside retreat has been owned by Somers and Hamel since 1977, the year they married. The compound comprises multiple structures, including a main house that was designed by architect Albert Frey and evokes a French villa. Stone-lined paths connect various living quarters, which combine to offer eight bedrooms, nine full bathrooms and two half-baths.

There are outdoor dining areas, a stone amphitheater and a carousel. A separate tasting room and wine vault hold 5,000 bottles. There are also a lap swimming pool and a waterfall-fed pond. A private funicular railway system provides means for navigating the property, which sits among boulders overlooking the Coachella Valley floor.

Somers, 71, is best known for "Three's Company." Hamel, 81, hosted 1960s game shows and later produced a number of Somers' TV and video specials.


A desert home with ties to Hollywood and the White House has listed for sale in Rancho Mirage at $3.695 million.

Set in the Thunderbird Country Club, the contemporary house was built in 2016 on what was once part of former President Gerald Ford and Betty Ford's estate. The previous house, once home to actress Ginger Rogers and next door to the Fords' longtime residence, was used during their ownership as a command post for the Secret Service.

Entered through a walled and palm-topped courtyard, the five-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom house features high ceilings, white walls and floor-to-ceiling windows. A long entry hall lined with wood panels leads to the common areas.

The 5,852 square feet of open-plan space includes a living room with a modern wall fireplace, a formal dining room, a family room and a center-island kitchen. There are walk-in closets and a glass box-like shower in the master suite.

Covered terraces and sunning areas create additional living space outdoors. A swimming pool and spa, a fire pit, lawn and cactuses complete the setting.


The former Rancho Mirage home of "Interview With the Vampire" author Anne Rice has come to market at $3.9 million.

The gated contemporary-style home is on a little more than an acre in the Thunderbird Heights neighborhood. Rice bought the house in 2005 and owned it for about seven years, records show.

The single-story 1995 home of about 9,200 square feet of living space has custom floors and an updated kitchen with a broad island. A step-down wet bar sits off the living room, which has one of three fireplaces.

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The master suite lies in a separate wing and comprises multiple rooms. Including a two-bedroom casita, there are six bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms.

Walls of glass doors open to the back, which holds an outdoor kitchen, patio space and a swimming pool with built-in seating. An outdoor dining terrace overlooks a cascading pond feature, lawns and desert landscaping.

Rice, 76, gained fame for her series of supernatural novels known as "The Vampire Chronicles."

Her other works include "Servant of the Bones" and "The Feast of All Saints," the latter of which was made into a miniseries.


The Edris House, a modernist design by architect E. Stewart Williams, has returned to the market in Palm Springs at $3.2 million, down $1 million from when it first listed earlier this year.

Built in 1952 for movie theater and farm owner William Edris and his wife, Marjorie, the knoll-top estate encompasses slightly more than two-thirds of an acre with commanding mountain and city views.

Concealed steel beams are used to support the home's distinctive roofline, which features a subtle pitch and overhanging eaves. Original built-in screens serve as partitions for the 2,700 square feet of open-plan space.

In the heart of the home is the living and dining area, which has walls of windows and a rock-finished fireplace that runs from floor to ceiling. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a kitchen filled with original details complete the living spaces.

Patio space, desert landscaping and a swimming pool and spa make up the grounds.

The property previously changed hands in 2001 for $1.2 million and in 1999 for $690,000, records show. Last year it was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a Class 1 site.

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