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Reel Places: Empire, Lucious Lyon and Music Mogul Mansions

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The real life and on-screen appearance of a mansion in Barrington, Illinois, that served as the home of Lucious Lyon in the FOX show Empire.

The life of a music mogul isn't easy, based the portrait painted by Empire Entertainment don Lucious Lyon. When dealing with so many power struggles and record deals, the payoff, in part, comes in the form of incredible real estate. Lucious began the series inhabiting an elaborate home, which, as Curbed Chicago has previously pointed out, is actually the former real-life suburban residence of a local strip club owner (and was on the market for $13 million earlier this year). While the French-country style estate, which took five years to build due to its elaborate ornamentation and woodwork, seems a fitting home for a self-made record exec, even boasting eight acres of gardens and a pair of lakes on site, it's also is one in a long line of magnificent homes owner by other industry masterminds. Empire creator Lee Daniels has said the main character was based on an amalgamation of similar stars including Berry Gordy, Jr., Quincy Jones and Jay-Z; It seems like the mansion Lucious inhabits also took cues from their elaborate homes.

Berry Gordy, Jr.
The Motown founder could be considered the inspiration for all that followed, considering his incredible success, firm grip on power and incredible skill at manipulating talent. One of his most lavish estates, known as the Motown Mansion, was only his primary residence from 1967 to 1969. Located in the city's historic Boston-Edison district, the 10,500-square-foot mansion was constructed by lumber baron Nels Michelson, which explains the wood detailing. In addition to the "athletic building" (sports included billiards and bowling), the building also sported an Olympic swimming pool. Supposedly singer Martha Reeves (Martha and the Vandellas) left her autograph on the scoring table of the bowling alley. A stage set up in the basement ballroom was once the site of a performance from Marvin Gaye.

Gordy decamped to Los Angeles in 1970, and while he didn't sell the home until 2001, the mansion quickly sank into disrepair once he moved. A former neighbor, Cynthia Reaves, entranced by the home's history and her own recollection of wild parties and star sightings, rescued and restored the building after purchasing it for $250,000 in 2002. Her work won her a preservation award, and also brought a trophy property back to life. Reaves has always said she felt a responsibility to preserve and protect such a noteworthy building:

Quincy Jones
The famed producer, nicknamed "Q," is probably best known, as far as real estate goes, for a Bel-Air estate that he purchased in 1986 for $3 million. Boasting tennis courts, four bedrooms and sweeping LA views, the home also had a musical past; Connie Francis and Julio Iglesias both called the mansion home (the later even titled an album after the address, 1100 Bel Air Place). Jones sold the home in 2005 and moved into his "dream home," a 25,000-to-30,000-square-foot compound with ocean views, a gated driveway and a recording studio. While certainly lavish, Jones has kept a lower profile about his property.

Hova and Beyonce have been very busy on the real estate front over the last few years, and what they lack in permanence, they definitely make up in price tag. Their latest home, according to Curbed LA, is a Holmby Hills mansion they're renting out for $150,000 a month. The home, used as the Lebowski mansion in The Big Lebowski, was previously owned by ex-Dodger owner Jamie McCourt, and boasts an Olympic-sized indoor pool with spa, a dance studio, and an atrium. Perhaps its unfair to compare Jay-Z to the others, since he's living a less permanent lifestyle. His spate of rentals suggests he's still searching for the home of his dreams.

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