Money and Fame Find Solace in Hamptons

Like birds in reverse migration, celebrities flock to the Hamptons from points west including New York and Los Angeles every summer with regularity.

And each year several new celebrities join the exodus, buying or renting property there. This year high-end property sales above $3.5 million have been slow, but there were still notable additions the Hamptons scene.

In March, Actress Ren e Zellweger, a recent New York transplant from Los Angeles, bought a $2 million house in East Hampton village. The relatively modest1880s two-story famhouse is not a beachfront address, but it very “authentic”, according to a broker familiar with the property. The house measures 2,200 square feet on an acre of land and has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a front porch.

The purchase puts Zellweger, who was nominated this year for an Academy Award for her performance in “Chicago”, in the company of fellow East Hampton residents Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Jerry Seinfeld, and Martha Stewart.

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Meanwhile in Southampton, the producer of the movie “Chicago”, Marty Richards has put his Gin Lane oceanfront estate on the block for $50 million. Another Gin Lane oceanfront estate that was once home to the late publisher, Frances Lear, is on the market for $17 million. Lear was divorced from television producer Norman Lear, who prodcued such shows as “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons”, and was publisher of her own magazine, Lear s, in the late 1980s. The prestigious Gin Lane address is also home to financier Felix Rohatyn and Arthur (Punch) Sulzberger of the New York Times.

In February, fashion designer Helmut Lang signed a $1.5 million deal on a shingle-style residence built in the 1700s. The property, 6.7-acres, sits on a northern stretch of Three Mile Harbor Road, near an inlet of the Long Island Sound. Lang owns a house on Tyson s Lane that he purchased for $15 million several years back, and he hasn t commented on what he plans to do with the new property.

Also in February, Howard Stern bought the waterfront six bedroom five bathroom house he had rented for two seasons in Amagansett for $5.5 million.

The Hamptons has also seen its share of celebrities this year off-season as a result of two major movies being filmed there.

In March, a film starring Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, shot scenes in Montauk. Starting in late May, director Nancy Meyer, of “What Women Want” and “The Parent Trap”, shot scenes for a movie that explores a love triangle between an older man, played by Jack Nicholson, his wife, played by Amanda Peet, and her mother, played by Diane Keaton. The film planned to shoot for two weeks in the East Hampton area, with scenes slated for Main Street, and at farm stands and at the beach.