Marx Brothers Scion & Fitness Icon Offer Beverly Hills Manor For $12.5 Million

Real Estate

Bob and Gilda Marx’s Beverly Hills manor is listed for $12.5 million.Bel Air Photography

A Beverly Hills English-style manor comes to market with an extraordinary pedigree of success and positive energy, courtesy of Bob and Gilda Marx, the active homeowners who have radiated exceptional light and love on this dynamic estate for 36 years.

The elegant estate is located on Benedict Canyon.Bel Air Photography

After 36 years of TLC, the Marxes are downsizing.Bel Air Photography

Listed for $12.5 million by Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, the Benedict Canyon manor is the center of the couple’s universe—where they laugh and live healthy, purposeful lives.

The Beverly Hills estate is a stone English-style manor.Bel Air Photography

The residence spans 8,600 square feet.Bel Air Photography

The Marxes are celebrities, business tycoons, committed philanthropists, and a happy husband-and-wife team who recently celebrated their 44th anniversary. This authentic English manor is their beloved, stately comfort zone of countless fond memories. Alas, it’s time for the retired couple to downsize. But don’t mistake that for slowing down. Slowing down isn’t part of their genetic makeup.

The manor was built in 1982Bel Air Photography

Spectacular backyard with pool, spa, vibrant flowers and fruit trees.Bel Air Photography

Bob Marx is a former TV executive, home builder and descendant of comedy royalty, the Marx Brothers. He’s the son of Gummo Marx and nephew of “Groucho,” “Chico,” “Harpo,” and “Zeppo”—vaudeville, Broadway and Hollywood icons who defined slapstick humor from 1905 to 1949 and beyond. Gilda is a fitness and fashion legend who invented the world famous Flexatard workout apparel. She has influenced the likes of Jane Fonda, Oprah Winfrey and Barbra Streisand, and is the reputed inspiration for the 1979 Streisand-Ryan O’Neal film, The Main Event.

The Marx Brothers in the film, ‘Duck Soup’ (clockwise from top left: Zeppo, Groucho, Harpo and Chico)—after Gummo left the comedy troupe.

Oh, is that all? The couple invested that success into their meticulous, 8,600-square-foot Beverly Hills sanctuary, which emulates a grand English countryside estate with old-world charm. “This is an extraordinary house,” says Bob. “There are walls that are 12 inches thick. You can’t hear a car going by 50 feet in front of the house. The ceilings are up to 30 feet high. It’s like walking into a small castle. To live in a house like this validates that you’ve had a successful life.”

The property is meticulously landscaped.Bel Air Photography

Spectacular backyard sanctuaryBel Air Photography

Built in 1982 on half an acre, the enchanting six-bedroom manor looms elegantly behind a gated entrance and large motor court, with its majestic gray stone façade, bay windows, cherub and lion sculptures, hedged paths, lush lawn, and front garden with fruit trees.

Manicured hedges, flowers and orange trees surround the home.Bel Air Photography

Sweeping red-carpet staircaseBel Air Photography

“I love my flowers and my fruit trees,” says Gilda, recalling what she’ll miss when the manor sells. “We had lemon and orange trees. We’d walk out every day to see what bloomed. One year, I ate an entire orange tree—120 oranges.”

The grand foyerBel Air Photography

Wood-framed entranceBel Air Photography

The manor opens to a grand foyer and a red-carpeted staircase framed by an imposing coffered ceiling and ornate chandelier. Interiors feature the fine craftsmanship of a bygone era—refined furnishings, intricate hardwood floors, exquisite carpentry (railings, moldings, built-ins), and wood-framed doors and towering windows with beveled glass—all beneath soaring ceilings. Museum-style paintings and bronze sculptures decorate the home.

Formal living room with opulent furnishingsBel Air Photography

A fireplace and sophisticated furnishings highlight the living room.Bel Air Photography

The main level includes a living room with fireplace, formal dining room, a wooden library parlor (with spiral staircase), family room with fireplace and bar, and an expansive kitchen with island, breakfast room, and butler’s pantry with wine storage.

Library parlorBel Air Photography

China cabinetBel Air Photography

Downstairs houses a one-bedroom suite while upstairs offers five bedrooms, including a spacious master suite with fireplace, sitting area, dual walk-in closets, and large bathroom with sauna and dual vanities. There’s also an elevator, gym, laundry room, powder room, storage space, and a central vacuum system.

Master bedroom suite with fireplaceBel Air Photography

Spacious master with sitting area.Bel Air Photography

“Everything in this house is female friendly as well as male friendly,” says Gilda. “There’s everything that women want to have for themselves, including separate hers and his showers, and privacy in the dressing room of the master. You’re together but you each have privacy.”

Hers and his showersBel Air Photography

Dual vanities offer couples privacy in the master bath.Bel Air Photography

The resort-like backyard is spectacular, primed for entertaining with open and covered patios, an outdoor living room, terrace overlooks, an oval pool, raised rock spa, and a spotlighted hillside landscape—amid a sea of green and red floral arrangements. In this space, the Marxes entertain family, friends and charity events.

Outdoor living roomBel Air Photography

Covered patioBel Air Photography

“I adore looking at the landscaping every morning at breakfast and seeing the greenery, trees and nature,” says Gilda, who frequently walked her Tibetan terrier Romeo around the grounds. “So much inspiration for my Flexatard line came from nature.”

Expansive kitchen with view of natural surroundingsBel Air Photography

Breakfast room with floral viewBel Air Photography

Gilda Marx’s fitness empire took Hollywood by storm from the late 1960s through the 1980s—before Jane Fonda’s Workout, Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ To the Oldies, and Denise Austin’s Hit the Spot videos. “I started it,” she says. “It was like I lit a match. My studio incubated the whole fitness craze for women.”

Ryan O’Neal and Barbra Streisand’s 1979 film, ‘The Main Event’ is purported to be partially inspired by Gilda Marx. (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Her Century City fitness studio students included A-listers Streisand, Fonda, Bette Midler, Mary Tyler Moore, and Jodie Foster. Fonda toned up before filming On Golden Pond and Streisand filmed scenes for The Main Event in the panoramic penthouse studio-fashion boutique, which Bob built.

Actress and fitness enthusiast Jane Fonda was influenced by Gilda Marx.

Sold in 45 countries, Gilda’s Flexatard leotards (with vibrant colors and prints) were a smash hit—cherished and worn by Streisand, Princess Diana and Oprah Winfrey, who featured it on her TV show. She even designed fitness icon Jack LaLanne’s unitards. “I felt so validated by the fact that I created something that women loved,” says Gilda.

The residence features fine craftsmanship and exquisite carpentry.Bel Air Photography

Bob and Gilda Marx lived in the cozy manor for 36 years.Bel Air Photography

A member of the National Fitness Hall of Fame, Gilda has authored books (Body By Gilda), produced fitness videos, received an invite from Harvard Graduate School of Business (for entrepreneurship), and she even carried the 1984 Olympic torch.

Imposing coffered ceilingBel Air Photography

ElevatorBel Air Photography

“[Once], on a flight from L.A. to San Francisco, I was permitted to stand up with a megaphone and lead an exercise class for the whole flight so that the passengers wouldn’t get stiff,” says Gilda. “That could never happen now.”

The residence has six bedrooms (five of which are upstairs)

SaunaBel Air Photography

After his military service, Bob joined the family business in Hollywood as a public promotions VP at CBS, followed by stints on the Groucho Marx-hosted show You Bet Your Life and the Art Linkletter show People Are Funny. Later, he was an assistant director and assistant producer at Screen Gems.

All of the Marx Brothers(front) Harpo, Chico, Groucho, and (back) Zeppo and Gummo). (Peter Stackpole/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Bob Marx worked with his uncle Groucho Marx on ‘You Bet Your Life.’Bel Air Photography

Not satisfied, he ditched the entertainment industry to become a builder of striking Midcentury modern properties in the Rancho Mirage, California desert. With his architect partner Val Powelson, Bob built iconic homes such as 1957’s “Sputnik House” (named after the Russian satellite) for his father, and the “Maranz Residence” for his former father-in-law (Tastee-Freez ice cream founder Leo Maranz)—which, due to their dramatic rooflines, are highlighted in the book Mod Mirage: The Midcentury Architecture of Rancho Mirage.

View from backyard living roomBel Air Photography

Backyard sanctuary adjacent to a bar.Bel Air Photography

“The concept for both of these homes was to flare the houses out over the [Tamarisk Country Club] fairways so that the greenery was the focus from inside the homes,” says Bob. “Originally, my father had a small house in the desert. Groucho and Harpo started spending more time at the Tamarisk Country Club. [So my father] wanted a bigger house. I had no idea that 50+ years later people would think that Val and I did these wonderful things.”

Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, Groucho, and Gummo Marx at Chico’s play opening. (Allan Grant/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

(Original Caption) The three original Marx Brothers years ago when they played in Vaudeville. Left to right: Harpo, Groucho, and Gummo.

When Bob left show business, he had a heart-to-heart with his father Gummo, who questioned why his son opted out of a good contract. Bob told his dad, “I never know if my success is because I made it or because of you. You will never know what it’s like to be Gummo’s son.” Gummo responded as only a quick-witted Marx Brother can, “You say to me that all your life you’ve been Gummo’s son, but all my life I have been Groucho’s brother!”

The Marxes will move on from their beloved state by downsizing and traveling.Bel Air Photography

Now, Bob can rest assured—he is happy and successful in his own right. This Beverly Hills sanctuary, its $12.5 million price tag, and the golden years’ promise of future travel with Gilda are proof enough.

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