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David Copley owned Lugosi home

Late publisher bought horror movie star's home last year; it's now on market

Last year, David Copley, former owner of the Union-Tribune, purchased the Hollywood home of Bela Lugosi, the former horror film star whose greatest hit was the title role in "Dracula" in 1931, according to the publication "Under the Hollywood Sign." Copley died just before Thanksgiving after suffering a heart attack. He intended to fix up the rundown home, whose "decrepitude was increasingly obvious from the outside," says the publication. In the previous winter, its slate roof had to be tarped because of leaks. A neighbor told the publication that Copley owned several Hollywood homes. According to the Huffington Post Los Angeles real estate section, the home had not been on the market for 40 years, was built in 1926, was called Castle La Paloma, and is on the market for $2.367 million. Zillow.com values the home at $2.566 million.

In 2005, the Union-Tribune alone was worth $1 billion. Copley sold it in 2009 for $51 million. But he obviously still had plenty of bucks. (The Ohio and Illinois papers had been sold for $381 million.) He still traveled the world on his $35 million yacht and kept his late mother's home, Foxhill, for entertainment purposes, although adjoining property is now for sale for development. It will be interesting to see how many Hollywood homes Copley had purchased, if the neighbor's statement is true.

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Last year, David Copley, former owner of the Union-Tribune, purchased the Hollywood home of Bela Lugosi, the former horror film star whose greatest hit was the title role in "Dracula" in 1931, according to the publication "Under the Hollywood Sign." Copley died just before Thanksgiving after suffering a heart attack. He intended to fix up the rundown home, whose "decrepitude was increasingly obvious from the outside," says the publication. In the previous winter, its slate roof had to be tarped because of leaks. A neighbor told the publication that Copley owned several Hollywood homes. According to the Huffington Post Los Angeles real estate section, the home had not been on the market for 40 years, was built in 1926, was called Castle La Paloma, and is on the market for $2.367 million. Zillow.com values the home at $2.566 million.

In 2005, the Union-Tribune alone was worth $1 billion. Copley sold it in 2009 for $51 million. But he obviously still had plenty of bucks. (The Ohio and Illinois papers had been sold for $381 million.) He still traveled the world on his $35 million yacht and kept his late mother's home, Foxhill, for entertainment purposes, although adjoining property is now for sale for development. It will be interesting to see how many Hollywood homes Copley had purchased, if the neighbor's statement is true.

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He apparently had a thing for Hollywood and the talent there. No real surprise, except that while he was having a fire sale of things such as the Copley Library, he was leaking money out the back door on things like this house.

Dec. 27, 2012

Visduh: Good point. He not only sold the library, he sold the contents therein -- very important historical papers dealing with key events in U.S. history. It was a shame. Those documents should have remained in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 27, 2012

Don, how was your working relationship with David Copley and his mother Helen? In my opinion, they didn't care about any employees except those in the newsroom.

Jan. 1, 2013

Gekko: I think while she was alive, Helen saved me from being fired. Herb Klein, Gene Bell, Chuck Patrick (de facto CEO of the company), and Gerald Warren all wanted to get rid of me for having the audacity to push for honest business reporting, and for opposing corporate welfare. Karin Winner was almost certainly in that group, too. Helen stood by me, partly, I think, because we had been on the same page in SCE's early 1990s attempt to take over SDGE. After Helen became comatose, I thought the cabal would spring into action, but it didn't. David might have had something to do with that, although they all knew that if they axed me, they would have had a helluva fight on their hands. I had planned all kinds of defenses that would have been publicly aired. I think Hal Fuson in La Jolla may have come in on my side -- not out of kindness to me, but because he realized what the consequences might be. I also think that unlike the others, he understood the importance of tough journalism, and knew that the U-T's reputation for brothel journalism was deleterious in the long run. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 1, 2013
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