Lachlan Murdoch Buys Estate Famous From “The Beverly Hillbillies”

Where real wealth and fictional wealth converge

Chartwell
Chartwell in 1988.
Alan Light/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / December 15, 2019 8:23 am

What happens when one wildly popular real-life story about wealthy families overlaps with one wildly popular fictional story about wealthy families? You end up with something like what took place this past week in California, in which two narratives that were nominally miles apart ended up converging.

The first story? That of the Murdoch family: specifically, of the politically influential media empire started by Rupert Murdoch and the sometimes contentious relationships among his children as they seek influence over parts of it. 

The second story is a little more absurd: it involves a family from the Ozarks who found themselves with an unexpected windfall when oil was discovered on their land. With the proceeds, they relocated to a posh California neighborhood. There, they found themselves in hilarious misadventures with their new neighbors. 

And if you’re thinking, “That sounds like the plot of the 1960s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies,” you’re entirely correct: the fish-out-of-water comedy is precisely the second narrative we’re referring to here. This converged with the tale of the Murdochs when Lachlan Murdoch, generally considered to be his father’s heir apparent, purchased the mansion that’s perhaps best-known for featuring prominently in the television show’s credits

The estate is also known as Chartwell. It’s located in Bel-Air, and the Los Angeles Times’ report on the sale suggests the price for the estate was around $150 million. 

The Beverly Hillbillies had a long run on network television, and also inspired a 1993 feature film. Given that nearly every media property is being rebooted these days, and given that the Murdochs helped inspire Succession, we’ve got a couple of interesting ideas for a crossover episode right now.

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