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Celebrity Real Estate: Former Bing Crosby Estate Sold in Toluca Lake; Also Previously Owned by Mickey Dolenz, Andy Griffith, and Jerry Van Dyke

Hot off the presses from the always informative Lauren Beale of the L.A. Times Hot Property comes word that the former Bing Crosby estate in Toluca Lake was recently sold on December 20, 2011 for $4.020 million.

Bing Crosby was an American singer and actor with over half a billion records in circulation. From 1934 to 1954, Crosby was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses. His recording of Irving Berlin's White Christmas has sold over 100 million copies around the world according to Guinness World Records. His list of accomplishments, performances, and business ventures are too many to list for this post. If you are interested in researching further, I recommend reading, the Official Home of Bing Crosby, and the Bing Crosby Media Archive.  For a small tease, here is a performance by Bing Crosby and David Bowie for the song Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth which was recorded in London in September 1977 which was aired weeks after his death.

Also, more importantly to this blog, Crosby sang a song titled San Fernando Valley, which was written by Gordon Jenkins. According to the America's Suburb blog by Kevin Roderick:
The tune "San Fernando Valley" was written by Gordon Jenkins and appeared, sung by Roy Rogers, in the 1943 Republic Pictures western by the same name. It was Bing Crosby's rendition, however, that enticed war-weary GI's with the promise of a mythical place. "San Fernando Valley" hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart on April 29, 1944.
Jenkins, who lived in Sherman Oaks, never felt the song was one of his best. He was a composer-arranger-conductor who wrote for popular orchestra leader Benny Goodman. Jenkins later became the musical director at Decca Records. After moving to Capitol Records he worked with Frank Sinatra and did the arrangement for Nat King Cole's "When I Fall in Love."
Before his death in 1984, at age 73, Jenkins expressed wonder that "San Fernando Valley" had any tug at all on the World War II generation. The lyrics never actually say anything positive about the Valley, except that the singer yearns to go there. Of course, it helps when the singer is the most popular crooner of his day.
Once the war ended, about a year after the song reached No. 1, plenty of Americans took Bing's advice and took a trip to California to make the Valley their home.
Here is the video for the San Fernando Valley song:

So back to Real Estate. According to the listing, this 6 Bed/8 Bath home on 7,132sqft on 1.91 acres which is a Southern Colonial Mansion states:
Bing Crosby Estate, circa 1936. This approximately 2 acre compound sits behind totally private grounds w/ 2 electric gates & full circular driveway. Exquisitely appointed. Approx 7200 sq ft, Southern Colonial Mansion. This Majestic Masterpiece has sweeping foyer, 6 beds, 5.5baths, 5 FP's, & chef's gourmet kit. Large formal dine. Grande liv rm w/ marble FP. Billiard room & den w/ wet bar. Fabulous mstr suite w/ deluxe marble bath w/ steam shower, spa tub. Hardwood floors throughout. The manicured lawns, rose gardens, lush landscaping, and many fruit trees add to its beauty. Championship tennis court w/ gazebo & grand stands. Oversized swimming pool w/ separate inground spa & Italian FP w/ Viking BBQ. The cabana has 2.5 baths, 2 changing rms, steam shower & kitchen. Separate guest house w/ 2bedrms, 2 baths, full kitchen w/ top of the line appliances, living room & gym. This magnificent home boasts too many amenities. A must see for your most discriminating buyer.
Bing Crosby only lived in this home from 1936 through 1943 when a fire destroyed the home caused by Christmas lights but there were other celebrity owners too. According to the Berg Properties blog,
Crosby did indeed live on this property in Toluca Lake (before he moved to his mansion on Mapleton Drive in Los Angeles’ Holmby Hills area, which was of course torn down to make way for Aaron and Candy Spelling’s monstrous 52,503-square-foot mansion, which now is on the market for a staggering $150,000,000), and he built the guts of what stands there now in 1936. However, the house burned down on January 3, 1943 from a fire that was caused by Christmas lights, of all things, and Crosby subsequently sold the estate and the charred remains of the house for $15,000. Our good friend E.J. tells us that other celebs who since have lived on the rebuilt estate have included Mickey Dolenz, Andy Griffith and Jerry Van Dyke. In fact, Griffith had owned it from the 1970s until the 1990s, and subsequent owner Van Dyke sold it for close to $1,930,000 in 1997 to the estate’s current owners, according to a December 1997 column by the Los Angeles Times’ Ruth Ryon. The current owners, who are big fans of Crosby, are not celebrities.
I also recommend checking out the Paradise Leased site for a thorough and extensive history on this estate which was posted in the beginning of the year. So whats even more amazing about this property on top of the massive history, is the recent price history. This home was originally listed for $10,000,000 in 2009 and has been price chopped and sold for $4.020 million representing a humongous $6 million price drop. Take a look at the price history over the past two years from Zillow. Luckily, the previous owners, entertainment  publicist Keri Fretty-Stickney and attorney Larry Stickney purchased at a good price and were able to sell at substantial profit not including expenses. Talk about chasing the market down!

So I just have one question, who are the new owners of this historic estate?

You can find more San Fernando Valley Celebrity Real Estate here

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Marty Mcfly

Anything and everything about the San Fernando Valley. This blog will take you back in time when the valley was covered with dirt and orange groves to a leader in the space race to its current status as America's suburb. Come along and join me on this adventure, I guarantee you have been influenced/impacted by the San Fernando Valley in one form or another even if you have never visited or heard of the SFV.

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