Beverly Hills home where Howard Hughes almost died in plane crash hits market
Wallace Neff-designed home was later owned by convicted fraudster Ben Neman
It’s got location: Beverly Hills. Add a dash of true crime: It’s owned by convicted fraudster Morad “Ben” Neman. And history: Howard Hughes almost died there in the 1946 crash of his experimental aircraft.
Now the 6,500-square-foot home at 805 N. Linden Drive, designed by renowned LA architect Wallace Nefff, is for sale for a bit less than $16 million, according to Mansion Global.
Neff, active from the 1920s to his death in the early 1980s, was among LA’s pioneering residential architects. He’s credited with establishing the California Style, a mix of modern American and revivalist designs, particularly Mediterranean styles that he incorporated into the Linden Drive home. His work includes the Pickfair Mansion in Bel Air, the now-demolished Falcon’s Lair in Beverly Hills and the Straus House of Santa Barbara.
Better known than its architectural pedigree is the home’s connection to Hughes, who by the late 1940s was among the nation’s top pilots. He was at the controls of his XH-11 during the prototype’s maiden flight when a propeller problem forced him to attempt an emergency landing at the golf course of the nearby Los Angeles Country Club.
He lost altitude 300 feet short of the golf course and slammed into at least three homes, tearing almost half the roof off one at 803 North Linden Drive that was owned by dentist Jules Zimmerman, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.
“Simultaneously, the plane’s right wing sliced through the upstairs bedroom of the home next door to Zimmerman’s at 805 N. Linden Drive, narrowly missing the occupants, Jerry De Kamp and his wife Elizabeth, who were in the room at the time,” the newspaper reported.
The De Kamps are long gone now. Today, the home is owned by Neman, who was sentenced to two years in prison in early 2019 for his role in a drug money-laundering scheme run through his L.A. textile business Pacific Eurotex Corp.
Neman, who bought the home in 2013 for $6.3 million from former Beverly Hills Mayor Richard Stone, put the property on the market in 2017 for $15 million. He chopped the price to $14 million later that year before taking it off the market.
[Mansion Global] — Dennis Lynch