The Pursuit of Happiness with Jim Goldstein

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By Bruce Edwin

Jim Goldstein is a real estate investor who has become a celebrity for his hedonistic lifestyle as America's biggest basketball sports fan, globe trekking fashion fan, architectural leader, and his rich and famous, jet set life. The biggest NBA fan in the world, Jim Goldstein reportedly attends over one hundred NBA games each season, including most of the home games for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. He resides in Los Angeles.

He also flies around the country to see games, and has become friends with many top NBA players and coaches, often being photographed with them. Jim Goldstein also counts as friends- numerous former NBA players, including; Wilt Chamberlain, Sam Cassell, and Dennis Rodman among more.

His wild and haute couture fashion has made him a celebrity- aside from his ability to buy the best seats, clothes, and parties that the sports and fashion world has to offer. His massive passion for the NBA has been featured in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and ESPN among more.

NBA commissioner David Stern stated of Jim Goldstein, "He has so much invested in our sport. He probably has the largest investment of any fan in America, so we get a kick out of him. He has got quite a flair, and we love him as a sort of a superfan."

While non-academic sites online state that "Goldstein refuses to disclose how he made his fortune or his net worth," The Hollywood Sentinel found out. And while The Wall Street Journal estimated that Jim Goldstein was worth over a billion dollars, he reportedly laughed and stated that he is not really worth that much. Regardless of the specific amount of his net worth, it is undoubtedly plenty.

The man of mystery certainly is an intriguing one. While Hugh Hefner lives the life of a playboy and started the magazine of the same title devoted to the nude female form, James Goldstein created a real estate empire, and made his canvas two fold; One, his own fashion sense, which he takes court side to the NBA games as well as to top fashion shows around the world, along with his social circle of rich and famous friends, and secondly, his constant and ever expanding architectural growth and beautification of his magnificent mansion, nestled high up in the Hollywood Hills of Bel Air, beyond Beverly Hills, California.

For Jim Goldstein, his environment 'is' his canvas, from where he travels, what he sees, what he experiences, where he lives, and right down to what he wears. In this sense, he is a pop artist who has invented himself as his own work of art- a Tom Petty-esque, rugged, sun soaked Cowboy draped in Galliano. Even a number of supermodels have been spotted wearing long t-shirts with his image emblazoned on the front. Jim Goldstein interests popular culture because he is pop. And, as he gracefully ages, he admits, he is 'not' slowing down.

According to Interview Magazine, Jim Goldstein reported that he once dated screen legend Jayne Mansfield, who he met at The Whisky A Go Go on Sunset Boulevard, which had just opened, while he was still in college. His current circle of friends include the rich, the famous, and the famously beautiful.
Jim Goldstein's house, which has been featured in Town & Country, Architectural Digest, and the New York Times Magazine among more, was designed by John Lautner, the beloved student of master Frank Lloyd Wright, in 1963. After buying the property in the 1970's and finding it in a terrible state of dis-repair, Jim Goldstein commissioned John Lautner to improve the house and make it as magnificent as the architect wanted. When asked about the budget, Jim told John Lautner, "There is no budget. Let's do it in the best possible way." And so it is with that spirit, that the magnificent mansion went on to become featured in a number of feature films including 'Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle,' and 'The Big Lebowski' among others, as well as rented out to photograph some of the most beautiful models on the planet for international fashion magazines.

Jim Goldstein has put in an installation by light artist James Turrell in a concrete structure below the main residence, known as "Skyspace." His bedroom features a movable glass wall that slides open with a push of a button on his remote control. To say that the home is stunning would be an understatement.

Jim Goldstein is now working directly with Duncan Nicholson, who took over after Lautner's death in 1994, working in his similar style. His current project? He bought the property right next door, and is building a guest house, glass office overlooking the city, mountainside—for his staff, and—a nightclub and bar. Yes, a nightclub—right below his infinity walled tennis court. Talk about living the American dream.

I drive up the winding road in Bel Air, and arrive at my destination. I see an antique Rolls Royce in the garage—which is open, and a second car nearby. Jim told me that I would find him out on the tennis court, to meet him out there. I arrive at the court, and it is amazing. The court looks brand new, flawlessly painted deep blue and forest green, it appears to disappear infinitely into the clouds and sky beyond the mountain which it sits on beneath the home.
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A young, well built player is hitting tennis balls rapidly over and over from one side of the empty court to the other side. Nearly a hundred shiny yellow fuzzy tennis balls are scattered around the court and on the court side lawn, which feels like sod. Jim and I sit briefly in two lawn chairs near the court, then he offers me my choice of flavor of vitamin water out of the court side refrigerator, and we walk up the stairs to go inside the famous house.

While most bachelor pads are a mess, the home of the single Jim Goldstein is immaculate. No clutter, no debris, no dust. It is perfectly organized, spacious, and sparse, in an aesthetically comfortable sort of way. It feels like a museum with a great party waiting to happen—and in fact, it is.


Bruce Edwin: Do you prefer James or Jim?

Jim Goldestein: In the U.S. I go by Jim, when I am in Europe, people don't understand the name Jim...

Bruce Edwin: (laughs)

Jim Goldstein: So I use James over there.

Bruce Edwin: I see. You're a really interesting guy to me, and you obviously have a major love of basketball and the NBA, and a major lover of fashion- models- which go along with that, and architecture, which I read- you have all three listed on your business card- as your passion...

Jim Goldstein: Yeah.

Bruce Edwin: First of all I want to thank you for having me over today to your home, it's quite amazing, I read about it, so I appreciate seeing it in person here. Kind of take me back where you began. I read that when you were 13, you bought a pink suit—and pink was the rage at that point you have stated. You moved out here to L.A. when you were 18, is that correct?

Jim Goldstein: When I was 18, I enrolled in Stanford University (*1) which was my first taste of California, and then I used to visit L.A. quite frequently while I was at Stanford, and decided that I really loved L.A., so I went to business school, and got my masters degree at UCLA, and I chose it mainly because I wanted to try living in L.A., and I stayed here ever since.

(*1 Stanford is regularly ranked among the top five universities in the world, along with Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, and MIT).

Bruce Edwin: interesting, and you got a Masters degree in what?

Jim Goldstein: In business, an MBA.

Bruce Edwin: OK, and I read that you started out in the investment industry.

Jim Goldstein: Yeah.

Bruce Edwin: Will you tell me about that? In what capacity or such?


Jim Goldstein: Well after getting my Masters degree, I went to work for a very dynamic young guy who had just had his picture on the cover of Time Magazine, and learned a lot working for him, in the investment property field. Looking back, I probably worked for him longer than I should have but I eventually went out on my own which became more lucrative, and I was completely independent which is really what I'm all about, although even when I was working for another company, I had a lot of freedom in terms of how I dressed, what hours I put in, and that sort of thing, which isn't typical for somebody working for another company, but I did always enjoy a certain degree of freedom.

Bruce Edwin: Who was this gentleman?

Jim Goldstein: His name was Art Carlsberg.

Editors Note: There is little public history to be found on Art Carlsberg. Art's brother, Richard P. Carlsberg, was also a real estate developer, who passed away on October 17th, 1994. According to the Los Angeles Times concerning Richard, "He was founding president of the giant Santa Monica-based real estate development firm Carlsberg Corp." and later, "head of the historic Brooks Lake Lodge near Togwotee Pass in Wyoming." The Los Angeles Times further states that "At one point Carlsberg Corp. was one of the Southland's biggest land development firms. It was sold to Southmark Corp. for $53 million in cash and securities in 1985 (...) Richard Carlsberg later took over the Wyoming resort, a ski and snowmobile attraction in winter and dude ranch in spring and summer."

Bruce Edwin: Was this, did you say predominately real estate or..

Jim Goldstein: It was in property investment.

Bruce Edwin: I see, OK, so that would be in commercial real estate I assume?

Jim Goldstein: Well it was a variety.

Bruce Edwin: Was that in the U.S, domestic only?

Jim Goldstein: In California.

Bruce Edwin: O.K., interesting, and so you branched off working form him and started your own investment company?

Jim Goldstein: Well, with Rick, an unfortunate accident that ended up killing Art Carlsberg. While I stayed working with his brother on a partnership and then after a few years, went off on my own, the best thing to do.

Bruce Edwin: Exactly, I have always been fortunate for many years also to be self employed, so I can appreciate that.

We stop briefly for Jim to reply to a text message, and all I can hear for a brief moment is the gentle, peaceful, steady flow of water coming form the waterfall near the Koi pond, which is right near the living room where we are sitting. It is soothing.

Jim Goldstein: (Jim returns attention back to the interview) O.K.

Bruce Edwin: O.K., and so is that something you're still doing today with, real estate investments?

Jim Goldstein: Yeah, I still hold a number of investments that I've made, years ago, and I'm still involved in the operations of those properties, but it really doesn't take up much of my time, and I'm free to travel, and if I need to, I'll send a few e-mails and make a few phone calls. It doesn't occupy much of my time, so I do the things that I really enjoy.

Bruce Edwin: That's great. Excellent. Is there any family in the picture? Have you ever been married or have any kids?

Jim Goldstein: No, I've never been married.

Bruce Edwin: O.K. Any desire to, or just...

Jim Goldstein: I've never really believed in marriage. I like to have my freedom and I've been involved in romantic relationships from time to time, taking it to the next step in marriage, hasn't really come close to me.

Bruce Edwin: laughs, well that's cool I think that you know that about yourself, because you know, a lot of guys will make the leap and get married and then screw it up, get divorced, cheat, whatever, so that's cool that you know that- of what you want or don't want in this regard, and can admit that and follow your own will there. Now, the issue with fashion; I'm seeing here a picture of you with Karl Lagerfeld, and I see a picture of Giselle there. Was that picture of Giselle shot here?

Jim Goldstein: Here, yeah.

Bruce Edwin: Wow. I've always remembered that image. I love fashion myself, and have followed it since I was a kid. What really got you in to the fashion industry? Was there anything that really sparked it?

Jim Goldstein: Well as a little boy, I think, my father first gave me the impetus, because he was in the retail clothing business and so he wanted me dressed up on many occasions, and he'd take me to New York, and make sure that I was dressed up when I was a little boy, and that kind of took (hold). So I was living in Milwaukee at the time, which is not exactly the hotbed of fashion...

Bruce Edwin: laughs

Jim Goldstein: but you know, at school, certain fads would come along, and my fellow students would follow the fads, and I would always try to be one jump ahead of them and so that's when it started

Bruce Edwin: I see. For me, music has always been a big influence on me, and then later the fashion. Was music ever a big part of your life?

Jim Goldstein: I wouldn't call it a big part of my life, I've always enjoyed music to dance to and listen to and I've gone to many concerts and that kind of thing but I wouldn't call it a big part of my life compared to the three subjects that you just mentioned (basketball, fashion, and architecture).

Bruce Edwin: Sure, that makes sense. I've read that some of your favorite designers are European designers, will you tell me about that?

Jim Goldstein: Well other than my tennis clothes, I don't think I've bought an article of clothing made in the United States since I can remember.

Bruce Edwin: (Laughs), Wow, O.K,. and why is that? Because I definitely know for men, European clothes are definitely more form fitting, most of them fit better, when it's ready to wear, but why do you consider it better?

Jim Goldstein: Well I consider Paris and Milan to be the hotbed of fashion where the top designers are, it's where the craftsmanship is at its highest level, it's where the new trends begin, so that's the source for me, I go back there frequently and do my shopping.

Bruce Edwin: Interesting, and what about those styles versus American makes you love them and not care for the American designers?

Jim Goldstein: I don't know how to express it other than to say that it's the cutting edge, whereas the American styles are more for the masses, more in the way of mass production, not with the same degree of uniqueness and the European man is shaped differently than the average American man. I'm slender, and I like a slender look.

Bruce Edwin: Cool, that makes sense. Now the fashion industry with regard to models has obviously gone through a lot of changes, for example when American designer Guess? brought out more bustier models, vs. like when Kate Moss started out, and I read that you like the aesthetic of models tall and thin, like is the standard of runway models. What do you think of models with regard to being a curvier woman?

Jim Goldstein: My personal preference is tall, slender women, and I think seeing hundreds of fashion shows every year, it certainly has an impact on my taste in women (...)


Bruce Edwin: I've worked as a model and talent manger for many years, for about a decade, so I have seen countless aspiring models who want to be a star and walk the catwalks in New York and Paris and all that, many of them think that any one can do it, but I think there is a real skill to it obviously, and an artistry. What are your thoughts on that, on what makes a really successful model?

Jim Goldstein: For the catwalk of course, the walk is crucial, along with being tall and slender, and there are so many different gradations of modeling opportunities, that it depends on what level you are talking about. There are fashion shows now in nearly every city throughout the world, and within those local cities, there are different designers that have different requirements, so even at the highest level in in Paris, when I go to the shows there, different shows have completely different types of models, so it's very difficult to generalize, but I know what most of the really top level shows have in the way of models, and occasionally there are some shorter girls that seem to make it, and once a girl has made it in to a few shows, it seems that many other designers want to use them too, so it spreads like wildfire, but certainly the typical star models are tall, slender, have a really graceful walk, and they aren't necessarily the prettiest girls, but they know how to wear clothes, they know how to show them off on the runway, and that's very important. Now for photography models, it's a different story.

Bruce Edwin: Sure, what are your thoughts on some of the top models like Kate Moss, who got huge back in the day, and Gisele, and what are your thoughts on some of them and who are your favorites?

Jim Goldstein: Kate Moss is not tall. And her looks don't jump out at you in person the way they do in photos, she is undoubtedly one of the most photogenic girls that has ever come along. She turns on for the camera in a way that no one else does. She's done some photo shoots here at my house.

Bruce Edwin: Oh, wow!

Jim Goldstein: ...And she and I are friends, I just saw her in Paris a couple of weeks ago...

Bruce Edwin: Excellent.

Jim Goldstein: And I've photographed her myself where she wasn't 'on', the way she is 'on' for a professional photographer, and the look of my photo was completely different than the look of when she is doing a job. So I thought that was pretty interesting.

Bruce Edwin: That is, that's really cool, yeah I've seen with the right styling, or make up, or angularity, a model can look so different.

Jim Goldstein: Oh, even with make up already on, she was posing for me just the way she looks naturally, but she wasn't trying to strike a modeling pose, and that made a difference!

Bruce Edwin: Interesting, she's amazing I'm sure, she has the looks down to a 't.' Who are some of your other favorite models that are really known in the industry, any one that comes to mind?

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Jim Goldstein: Well I think the top model who appears regularly on the runway, is Karly (Kloss, born in Chicago) who interestingly enough, is American. (We both laugh). I've been watching her since she was fifteen years old, and she has a unique walk. I don't have to see her face to know who it is on the runway.

Bruce Edwin: Wow.

Jim Goldstein: And so I enjoy watching her, I've gotten to know many of the top models from going to so many shows, and I can usually go backstage after the shows, so my personal friendship probably clouds my thinking when it comes to evaluating the models!

Bruce Edwin: That makes sense, and you said Gisele shot this image here...

Jim Goldstein: Yeah, now Gisele isn't doing runways any more, but she is really amazing, when it comes to modeling, I remember the days when she was on the runway...

To be continued in the next issue of The Hollywood Sentinel, where we discuss with Jim his favorite sport- basketball, and much more.

Watch the video here below of Jim Goldstein discussing basketball and fashion, and view many more pictures of Jim Goldstein and his famous friends at his official website in the link below.

A video here below of supermodel Alesandra Ambrosio (pictured with Jim above), with music by Joy Division.

This story is ©2013, Bruce Edwin / The Hollywood Sentinel, all world rights reserved.