We have a tale that our Los Angeles readers in particular are going to find fascinating. It involves Scientology, a weird final will, an extremely long-lived pooch, and expensive real estate!
One of the many odd little stories involving Scientology has to do with a very fancy house at 2345 Chislehurst Drive in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Close to Griffith Park, the finely-appointed estate, on 0.31 acres, was the place where Mary Sue Hubbard, the third and final wife of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, lived out her last days.
Mary Sue’s story is a fascinating one. Recently portrayed as Peggy Dodd by actress Amy Adams in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film The Master, Mary Sue Whipp was a fiery redhead who was a no-nonsense administrator and helped Hubbard run his worldwide empire after marrying him in 1952. They ran Scientology from England after 1959 and then from the helm of the yacht Apollo from 1966 to 1975. After that, they moved around in the US until a 1977 FBI raid ensnared Mary Sue in a subsequent criminal prosecution.
In 1980, to make sure he wasn’t pulled into the prosecution himself, Hubbard went into seclusion while Mary Sue faced the music. She was one of 11 Scientology executives who were convicted and faced prison sentences. In a hotel room in July 1981, she was told by a wired up David Miscavige and Bill Franks (with John Brousseau in a van nearby listening in) that she was being sacrificed for the good of Hubbard and Scientology.
Sentenced to five years in prison, Mary Sue served a year, from 1983 to 1984. She then returned to participating in Scientology to a certain extent. Her husband died in seclusion in 1986, and Mary Sue developed breast cancer in 1995 which became metastatic in 1998. She died on November 25, 2002. She was 71.
She had been living at 2345 Chislehurst for years. Lawrence Wright, in his book Going Clear, says she was given the house by the church after her prison stay. After Mary Sue’s death, according to public records the house was passed to her children Diana, Suzette, and Arthur in a family trust, which was administered by a man named Neville Potter.
Besides his Rowlingesque name, Potter is known for his background as a musician — he worked as a lyricist with fellow Scientologist Chick Corea back in the 1970s.
Potter was one of four people who cared for Mary Sue in her final days. And there was another resident of the house that Mary Sue wanted to make sure would be taken care of in the style she was accustomed to.
That was her white, fluffy Shih Tzu dog, named Tzu (and pronounced TEE-zoo).
In her will, Mary Sue Hubbard requested that the house remain in the family as long as Tzu was alive. Potter lived there, taking care of the dog, until it died about two months ago — nearly eleven years after Mary Sue preceded her into the great beyond.
With Mary Sue’s will fulfilled, the family is now free to sell the house, and with LA real estate on the upswing, that’s exactly what they’re doing, we’ve been told. For several weeks, preparations have been going on to put the house on the market. Housing websites are estimating the property’s worth between $2 million and $2.5 million. So that gives some indication of what the family will be looking for.
The home has 3,155 square feet, with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, as well as a nice swimming pool.
Wow, Tzu had it good.
And now you can too, for around two and a half million clams.
Bonus Fact: Over the years, on occasion some have wondered if Scientology leader David Miscavige ever used the Chislehurst House as a place to stash his wife Shelly, who has not been seen in public for the last six years. Nonsense, say our sources who know the house and its history well. For many reasons — including the house’s ownership by the Hubbard family rather than the church, and also because Shelly has been working, not simply being kept on ice — our sources assure us she has never been kept at the house. Recent activity seen at the house is about its impending sale, not about Shelly, who has been at a mountain compound these last six years (until, we hear, she may soon make an appearance). We hope this once and for all puts this silly rumor to rest.
A Special Request From Your Pedantic Proprietor
Posted by Tony Ortega on August 6, 2013 at 07:00
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