TopTenRealEstateDeals â€“ In May 1980, Fidel Castro opened the harbor at Mariel, Cuba with what was supposed to be his intention of letting some of the Cuban people join their relatives in the United States. Within seventy-two hours, 3,000 U.S. boats were headed for Cuba to collect the refugees. To the surprise of all, it soon became evident that Castro was perpetuating a scam on the United States by requiring the boat owners to carry back with them not only their relatives, but the worst criminals from his jails. Of the 125,000 refugees that landed in Florida an estimated 25,000 were documented criminals. In Miami, they were referred to as the Marielitos. Drugs became prevalent as did local drug wars in South Florida. It was not unusual to sail by bales of marijuana floating in the waters of Biscayne Bay awaiting pickup on any Sunday afternoon outing. In time, and under law enforcement pressure, drug lords found it easier to move their drop off locations to the deep woods of the mid Atlantic states and Miami was mostly bypassed and eventually returned to normal.
In 1983, Oliver Stone wrote the script for â€œScarface.â€ For those viewing the film in the majority of the country, it was just entertainment, but for those who lived in Miami in those years, it was a frightening reality. Tony Montana, Al Pacinoâ€™s character, was unfortunately as realistic as they came and was clearly a Marielito. This was also the first major film for actress Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Elvira, Tonyâ€™s trophy wife, which propelled her to stardom.
Tonyâ€™s palatial trophy home was a big part of the movie, especially the scenes in the Roman sunken tub. But though most of the film was shot in Miami, the Miami Tourist Board was afraid of a negative reputation that would drive tourists away. That prompted many scenes to be shot in California, such as the actual house, known as the El Fureidis Estate, which is in Montecito, California.
Now for sale, the 10-acre estate was designed as a Roman villa in the early 1900s by architect Bertram Goodhue. He and the owner, James Waldron Gillespie, a wealthy New Yorker, traveled to the Middle East and Europe for a year looking for inspiration. That resulted in adding Persian touches such as the gardens and fountains and accents like a Byzantine-style sitting room with an 18-foot domed ceiling decorated with a floral hand-painted, gold and blue design in 24k gold-leaf modeled after the church of St. John Lateran in Rome. The barreled dining room ceiling is also finished in gold leaf, and according to the listing agent, depicts a scene of Alexander the Great conquering Persepolis.
At 10,000 square feet, the mansion has four bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a library, sitting room and a lounge. A large rooftop terrace provides 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, mountains and Channel Islands and makes an excellent venue for large scale entertaining. Due to the mild climate, the multiple terraces of the estate can be used year round.
Montecito estate used as Tony Montanoâ€™s lavish mansion in the film â€œScarfaceâ€ is now priced at $35 million.