Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mandela Day: A Look at the "Homes" of Mandela

AP Photo/Debbie Yazbek-Nelson Mandela Foundation

SPECIAL SATURDAY EDITION--World renown human rights activist and former South African President Nelson Mandela turns 91 today. In an effort to start an official Mandela Day to be celebrated every year on his birthday (July 18th), numerous celebrities are participating in various events--including a birthday bash hosted by former President Bill Clinton and a concert tonight with performances by Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Josh Grubin, Queen Latifah, and others.

In honor of Mr. Mandela, Celebrity Digs HQ thought we'd show you the places he lived throughout his years as a public figure.
Below is his modest tract home in Soweto (now part of Johannesburg, South Africa). He lived here for several years until 1961, when he was forced to go underground in his struggles against apartheid. The home was recently restored and turned into a museum.

Photos: Soweto Heritage Trust

Mr. Mandela was subsequently arrested in 1962 and spent the next 27 years in prison. The first 18 were spent in the prison cell below on Robben Island, South Africa, where he performed hard labor in a lime quarry. He had the floor for his bed and a bucket for his toilet.

Photo: Wikipedia
He was transferred in 1982 to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town, where he remained until he was freed in 1990. Below is his prison cell. (We apologize for the tiny photo. It's the only one we could find.) Although the cell looks large, he was isolated from other prisoners and lived a lonely existence.
And, finally, below is his home today in Johannesburg. It appears to be a stately home, befitting a person of his stature. In light of all that he endured, we can't think of anyone more deserving.

Photo: David Henderson

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela! Happy Mandela Day too! More details on the Mandela Day Concert here.

Walter Cronkite Dies at New York Home

SPECIAL SATURDAY EDITION--Legendary News Anchor Walter Cronkite died yesterday at his home in New York. He was 92 years old. Known as "Uncle Walter," Cronkite anchored the CBS evening news for many years and is best remembered for breaking the news of John F. Kennedy's assassination and covering the early days of America's space program. He was also an avid sailor. Trolling the internet, we ran across a beautiful photograph of a house in Edgartown (on the Vineyard) identified as his summer home:

R.I.P. Uncle Walter.

Friday, July 17, 2009


It was an eventful first week for us here at Celebrity Digs HQ! Lots of juicy bits on all sorts of famous folks and how they're livin'. We'll see you back here on Monday.

Before we go, we have to identify our first CHOW--Celebrity Home of the Week:

You guessed it! Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch! We love it and we love him!


Late Steve McNair's Estate in Limbo?

As we all know by now, married superstar football player Steve McNair was shot and killed on July 4th in a murder-suicide by his 20-year-old girlfriend, Sahel Kazemi. Now The Tennessean reports that McNair died without a will and that the probate court gave his wife Mechelle McNair control of his estate, on behalf of herself and their two sons.

Problem: Steve has two other children from previous relationships with two other women. At least one baby mama is planning to file a claim against the estate today.

Looks like McNair -- who earned more than $75 million in the NFL -- did no estate planning. Apparently, his personal affairs were as messy as his other personal affairs.

Maybe his baby mamas and children should just move into that $3 million, 9-bedroom, 14,000s.f., monstrosity (shown above) that he left behind in Green Hills, Tennessee.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stedman Cruises Around Oprah's Hawaii Digs

So they ARE still together! Oprah's longtime beau Stedman Graham was recently spotted biking around Oprah's posh Hawaii home, shown here:
And what a gorgeous home it is--albeit a little generic in decorating. Enough with the horses and roosters already!

I guess we can't blame Stedman at all for sticking around for all these years. Photos: Michel Arnaud. Visit Oprah's site for the slideshow.

Bling Burglary at Orlando Bloom's Hollywood Home

TMZ reports that sexy Orlando Bloom's home in the L.A. Hollywood Hills was burglaraized last night. Burglars reportedly entered through a window and made off with watches and jewelry worth $500,000. There are rumors that it might have been an inside job though. Check out his digs:

Celebrity Homes in Foreclosure

CNN reports today that 1.53 million U.S. homes are in foreclosure so far this year. And we're only halfway through the year. Unfortunately, even celebrities aren't immune to these rough economic times.

Photo: Vincent DeSalvio/Journal News
According to the Journal News, Actor Stephen Baldwin and his wife, Kennya, are in default on their home (pictured above) in Upper Grandview, NY. They owe more than $800,000 on a house that only cost them $515,000.

At first we thought only somebody like Stephen could let that happen to him, especially since we aren't talking about a terribly expensive house. And we suppose this could happen to anyone. But what we can't understand is, why his brother Alec (who is reportedly house-shopping in NYC) and the rest of the Baldwin clan can't help him out. Anyway, more details here.

Other celebrity homes in foreclosure include those belonging to Bravo's unReal Housewives of Atlanta and Orange County.

Nevermind that none of the Real Housewives of Atlanta really lived in Atlanta. They still faced the real issue of wannabes pretending to be high-rollers. Sheree Whitfield's ginormous home in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs, GA, reportedly went into foreclosure in February, eventually selling via auction for $1.1 million.

We might as well mention that the trashy Atlanta Housewife NeNe Leakes lost her digs too earlier this year, but she was just a renter anyway. That was just more proof of her wannabe status.
Finally, Real Housewife Jeana Keough of Orange County -- another wannabe and a freakin' realtor -- also fell behind on her ostentatious home and various rental properties, but at least she was smart enough to seek a loan modification and put her home up for sale. For more details and photos of her less-than-stellar interiors, go here.

Looks like REALITY is the New Reality TV. Good luck to all of them in finding new digs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grand Style for the Granddaughter of Cosmetics Giant Estee Lauder

For its July/August 2009 issue, Elle Decor magazine visits with Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer, senior VP and creative director for Estee Lauder. She not only graces the cover (OMG those chairs are fabulous!), but she gives us a 2-for-1. Readers get a peek inside her Manhattan apartment as well as the East Hampton, NY, weekend country home she inherited from her famous grandmother.

First up, her Manhattan digs. Okay, so she was stuck with that ugly 18th century tapestry for the entry hall below. It's so busy you can barely even make out the flowers on the table! It's probably an heirloom worth a fortune, though. Fortunately, that's about the only we didn't like.

This place is FABULOUS! Take a look:

As for the weekend digs: it's a Greek revival home in East Hampton retaining many of the original interior design features (grandma Estee used famed designer Mark Hampton). It has that classic, and allegedly timeless, style. Yawn.

But we really love the fresh updates to the kitchen and kids' bedrooms. And that library is so chic! Not bad for a weekend place. Not bad at all.

Photos: Simon Upton

It's still early yet, but these digs are already in the running for our Celebrity Home of the Week (CHOW). Be sure to check out the full article and tour as well as Aerin's style tips on Elle Decor's website.

Speaking of Old Money Digs: du Pont Mansion Reopens

Last week, the Washington Post featured the newly reopened Nemours Mansion and Gardens. It is the Beaux Arts home that Alfred I. du Pont built for his second wife, Alecia du Pont. This lesser known 300-acre estate is located in Wilmington, Delaware. It recently underwent a $39 million renovation and is now open again for tours (May thru December).

Photo: Jim Graham

Be sure to check out the Washington Post article and slideshow for more about Alfred "The Count" du Pont, a colorful member of the du Pont family who left his fortune to a children's healthcare organization. You can also learn more at:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Celebrity House Hunters: Brangelina, Megan Fox & Others

Looks like a few of our favorite celebrities are on the hunt for new digs.

Photo: Corkery/News

New York Daily News reports that megastars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are checking out hi-rise digs on NY's Upper West Side. Under consideration is the century-old Apthorp Building, described as "fortress-like luxury" and in the process of converting to condos. They might spend to the tune of $25 million for 3 units. Guess they need all that space for their tribe.

Other celebs who may buy there too: Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick with their recently expanded clan, and Alec Baldwin. Hey, maybe uber-parent Alec can babysit all the kids!

Poor Megan Fox. Perez Hilton reports that she's house shopping in L.A. But we think she's shopping with chump change: $2-$3 million. Fortunately for her, the economy is lousy, so she might score a real bargain. Of course, no amount of money can buy her some class. Saw the photo, Perez. Geesh!

Chace Crawford Moves Out of Ed Westwick's Apartment

Chace Crawford Moves Out of Ed Westwick's Apartment

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US Weekly has the exclusive: The Gossip Girl star, who is also set to star in a remake of the movie Footloose, is reportly moving to Dwell95 in NY's Financial District.

Bernie Madoff's New Digs: The Big House

Starting today, after receiving a 150-year sentence for an illegal Ponzi scheme, Mr. Madoff will spend the rest of his life in this North Carolina federal prison. It's a long way from the New York penthouse he used to call home:

Welcome to the Big House, Bernie! Make yourself at home!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch: Underrated?

Photo: Jim Wilson/NY Times

R.I.P. MJ -- We always loved you and your over-the-top style! We all know the familiar photos of Neverland Ranch, like the Graceland-ish front gate and Disneyland-like train station. But the above photo from a recent New York Times article reveals the true Neverland, a gorgeous French country home in Santa Barbara County, California, that we bet interior designers would LOVE to get their hands on.

Exposed brick walls, oak floors, cedar closets, picturesque views of lovely grounds. The list just goes on and on. Just check out the Today Show's tour:

Alas, Neverland will probably wind up as a tourist attraction a la Graceland.

In a perfect world, we would love to see an L.A. designer like Peter Dunham or Betsy Burnham take it on as a project. Okay, in a perfect world, we would love to see MJ come back to us. We miss you MJ!

More photos from the NY Times and other sources below.

Let's Dish the Dirt on Celebrity Homes!

ALL celebrities, some rich and some not-so-much, HAVE to live somewhere . . . .

Some celebrities live in beautiful homes . . . .

And some . . . well . . . not-so-much!

Here at CELEBRITY DIGS HQ you'll get the latest scoop on celebrity homes found in shelter mags and pulled from other news sources.

Naturally, we'll tell you which celebrity homes we really DIG! And we'll even take a few "digs" at celebrity homes we really hate!

Can't wait to dish with you!

--Celebrity Digger (C.D.)
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