The Secluded Ranch Owned By Hollywood Animal Trainer Hubert G. Wells is Available For The First Time in Over 50 Years
As a result of Hubert G. Wells' passing earlier this year at the age of 88, his rustic, creekside home and long-term training facility, which he owned for more than 50 years, have come up for sale for the first time in more than 50 years. Wells was known for his work with animals around Hollywood, so he was a real-life Dr. Doolittle if there ever was one. The 9.5-acre estate is located behind the fancy-pants Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, tucked away in a semi-remote canyon. For $1.1 million, the property is available for sale.
In addition to starring in the original “Doctor Doolittle” film (1967), Wells trained wolves for “Never Cry Wolf” (1983), served as the chief animal trainer for “Out of Africa” (1985), and appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”. In 1984, he took five lions, four chimpanzees, three leopards, four white horses, dozens of flamingos, a few macaws, an elephant and a rhino to Kenya for the film “Sheena.” He has also appeared in films such as “Living Free” (1972) and “Babe: Pig in the City” (1998).
Wells acquired the secluded property where he lived amongst the lions, elephants, chimpanzees, and myriad other exotic animals he used to train around the time he created Animal Actors of Hollywood in 1969, about a decade after he came to the United States from Hungary from his native land. It is situated in a natural wonderland surrounded by only a few homes and, after a ten-minute drive beyond the road that is maintained by the county, the property is hidden.
Upon entering the ranch, visitors are greeted by a picturesque driveway that spans a creek. It may not come as a surprise to see two stone lions flanking the river-stone path leading to the modest residence on the ranch. With a total living area of 1,800 square feet and a U-shaped design, this home is in need of some TLC. It has a large living room with a rock fireplace, as well as a utilitarian kitchen with an eat-in area.
The apartment has two bedrooms, one of which has a flocked brocade wallpaper that is emblazoned with theatrical reds and golds in varying shades of red, and a couple of bathrooms, one of which has a large, jetted bathtub. Rich Report revealed that there were lion cubs that were raised in a laundry room on the property owned by Wells during her time living there as a body double for Meryl Streep as well as living on the Wells property for a period of time after her death.
There is also a detached two-car garage, several storage buildings, and numerous animal enclosures, mews, and exercise yards located on the property, all of which require deferred maintenance and need to be repaired. In addition to the septic system and well, there are other things that need to be maintained, but have been deferred. There are, however, a few things you cannot improve on, and one of them is the rugged beauty of the mountains surrounding the area.
Sotheby's International Realty, Westlake Village Brokerage is representing the property on behalf of Megan Mathews, a licensed agent.