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James Garner’s former Santa Ynez Valley hillside estate for sale

James Garner’s former Santa Ynez Valley hillside estate for sale

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A 400-acre Santa Ynez Valley estate once owned by the late Hollywood actor and producer James Garner, probably best known as the star of the TV show “The Rockford Files,” is up for sale.

The Rancho La Zaca estate is listed with Village Properties, which has an office in Santa Ynez, for $16.5 million.

“There is so much to fall in love with at this property,” said Realtor Carey Kendall, who specializes in legacy properties and is marketing the estate.

Live Oak Partners currently owns the estate, which includes Oak Savanna Vineyard, one of the oldest in Santa Barbara County, and a series of private pavilions, terraces and courtyards that offer 360-degree views of vineyards, old-growth olive trees, oak woodlands, hills and mountains.

Garner purchased the property, which originated from a 19th century Mexican land grant, from director Herbert Ross and his wife, Lee Radziwill, sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Then in the 1990s, Garner commissioned architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen, known for modernist-style buildings with pyramid and prism shapes, to design the 8,000-square-foot home at Rancho La Zaca.

Garner wanted a house that would showcase the expansive hillside location, Kendall said.

During his 50-year career, Garner starred in a number of TV series, including as Jim Rockford in “The Rockford Files,” which earned him an Emmy Award for best actor, from 1974 to ’80, and, in the 1950s as Bret Maverick in the Western “Maverick.”

He also had leading roles in more than 50 films, including “The Great Escape” with Steve McQueen in 1963, Paddy Chayefsky's “The Americanization of Emily” in 1964, “Grand Prix” in 1966, Blake Edwards' “Victor/Victoria” in 1982, “Murphy's Romance,” which earned him an Academy Award nomination, in 1985 and “Space Cowboys" with Clint Eastwood in 2000.

A racing fanatic, Garner owned American International Racers racing team in the late 1960s, fielding cars at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring endurance races, and is credited with raising the status of off-road racing.

He was one of the inaugural inductees of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1978.

Garner died July 19, 2014, of a massive heart attack at the age of 89 in his Los Angeles-area home.

For more information, contact Kendall at 805-689-6262 or or visit

This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, associate editor for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. He can be reached at


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News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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