Ed McMahon Is Pitiful and Symbol of A Lot of What's Wrong With the U.S.A.

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by ByLoSellHi, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. “I made a lot of money, but you also can spend a lot of money."

    What a dumbass. Does he expect sympathy? Why is it SO difficult for people, especially those making a lot of money, to live within their means? WHY WHY WHY??



    MONEY TROUBLE Ed McMahon, who is best known as Johnny Carson’s sidekick, found his home in the Hollywood Hills facing foreclosure after he defaulted on his a mortgage.

    Published: June 15, 2008


    WITH sweeping canyon views, gated access and nearby homes owned by the likes of Britney Spears, Ed McMahon’s house above Beverly Hills looks like the symbol of a life well paid.

    That is why it came as a shock when Mr. McMahon, best known as Johnny Carson’s sidekick, confirmed this month that he was facing foreclosure.

    He quickly became a national symbol of an overspent borrower struggling with the mortgage crisis. But Mr. McMahon had an advantage over the average homeowner: he could go on “Larry King Live” to talk about his plight.

    “If you know where the money is, would you let me know?” Mr. McMahon joked during an interview in the six-bedroom, five-bathroom Mediterranean-style mansion he and his wife, Pamela, have called home for nearly 20 years.

    In his case, he added more seriously, the troubles were not about a subprime loan or ballooning adjustable rate mortgage, but simple overspending. “I made a lot of money, but you also can spend a lot of money,” he said.

    At 85, Mr. McMahon appears to be his jovial self. But he is in the twilight of a successful career, as a broadcast announcer, professional pitchman for brands like Alpo and Budweiser, and television host for shows like “Star Search” and “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes.” He also drew income from acting, radio and writing books, and from serving as a celebrity spokesman for the sweepstakes sponsored by American Family Publishers.

    His house is the one product he has not been able to sell. In the two years the 7,000-square-foot property has been listed on the market, currently at $6.5 million, he has not received a single offer, he said. The recent publicity is turning that around. By the end of last week, there were two offers for the house, said his real estate agent, Alex Davis.

    Earlier this year, he defaulted, he said, on a $4.8-million loan from a unit of Countrywide Financial Corporation, the mortgage lender that is one of a number of companies involved in the mortgage-market implosion. Mr. McMahon, who is more than $600,000 in arrears on the loan, refused to discuss any other details of that or any other debts. (According to Los Angeles County Superior Court records, he also owes American Express more than $747,000 after an arbitration judgment last April.)

    Foreclosures are happening at all income levels, but Mr. McMahon lives on Mulholland Drive in the Santa Monica Mountains, a 90210 neighborhood that real estate brokers say is not in a price slump.

    Mr. Davis, the real estate agent, said that there had been no urgency to sell until a few months ago, and that he had been selective in showing the property. One factor, he said, was the need to respect his clients’ privacy; but another, “for quite some time,” was the need to avoid the paparazzi camped out outside the gate.

    “Everybody was following Britney Spears, and we thought a lot of people were trying to get into the community” by posing as potential buyers, he said, adding that Ms. Spears’s home is now also for sale, and that the scene has “simmered down.”

    The McMahon house, full of Hollywood pictures and memorabilia and decorated by Mrs. McMahon, is listed as a “celebrity estate.” A well-publicized mold problem, which led to a $7.2-million insurance settlement, has been fixed, Mr. Davis said.

    But real estate agents in Beverly Hills say that an inability to sell in two years point at a too-high asking price. Originally $7.6 million in 2006, the price was lowered several times, to $5.7 million in January, then climbed to the current $6.5 million. (Mr. Davis said the increase was needed to cover Mr. McMahon’s debt.)

    “It’s not the market or Britney Spears,” said Drew Mandile, an agent for Sotheby’s International Realty in Beverly Hills, who brought clients to see the house in 2006. “Two years means you’re a stubborn person and you refuse to face the reality of the value of the home.”

    Mrs. McMahon offered another explanation. “Ed and I prayed that we wouldn’t sell it,” she said, admitting that they don’t really want to move.

    The financial crisis was long in the making. The McMahons cite his two divorces, their need to take care of family and friends, bad money management and worse investments. He also lost work because of the bad economy, and a neck injury he suffered in a fall (he faces his third surgery in the next few weeks). “A series of these things befell us, and that’s the easiest way to explain where we are right now,” he said.

    He didn’t gamble, he said, and alcohol wasn’t part of the equation, despite the running joke on “The Tonight Show” portraying him as an enthusiastic imbiber. “I haven’t had a drink in five years,” he said.

    A Marine fighter pilot who fought in the Korean War and retired with the rank of colonel, Mr. McMahon said he hasn’t stopped working since his first professional radio job at age 17. He recently released his latest book, “When Television Was Young,” which he wrote with David Fisher. His publicist, Howard Bragman, points at one common misconception. All those millions celebrities make, he said, dwindle fast after they pay agents, managers, lawyers, publicists like himself and, of course, the Internal Revenue Service. Next thing you know, Mr. Bragman said, “you take $20,000 a month.”

    Since his neck injury last year, in a fall he didn’t want to discuss, Mr. McMahon, who has four grown children (another son died) and two adopted children, has worked only on his weekly show, “The Ed McMahon Show,” for the USA Radio Network, which he tapes from his home office.

    “He has the texture to be able to withstand this,” said Ron Seggi, his longtime producer and close friend. “He doesn’t have a down bone in his body.”

    In fact, he went on “Larry King Live” wearing his neck brace to share his optimism with other struggling homeowners. “All kinds of things can happen,” he said. “Let it work out great for you, O.K.?”

    Because Mr. McMahon was always the second banana, making it easier for the public to identify with him, his plight may resonate more than those of many other celebrities who have hit financial bottom. “We can certainly see ourselves in Ed’s role,” said Walter J. Podrazik, an author of “Watching TV: Six Decades of American Television.” “One of his trademark identifiers was the hearty laugh, even if the joke was falling flat. You and I could do that.”

    He’s earned sympathy; a basket on Ms. McMahon’s desk is slowly filling up with letters from the public. And a caller on “Larry King Live” said he wanted to send in a contribution, which Mr. McMahon refused. But Jay Leno and Donald Trump have publicly vowed to help; others have quietly offered jobs, Mr. Bragman said.

    The renewed interest in the house from potential buyers is a good sign, but offers are yet to be negotiated. Mr. Davis, the real estate agent, had said last week that Mr. McMahon was also in negotiations with the lender, and a short sale, in which the house sells for less than what’s owed on the mortgage, was possible.

    Mr. McMahon — in bright orange shirt and suspenders, followed around by some of his seven dogs — said he has no doubt things will work out.

    “I’m not in the poorhouse,” he said. “I’m a lucky man.”
  2. Ed can eat me. I always knew he tossed my envelope with the red sticker. :mad:
  3. Tim Russert died, Ed is evicted. I'm so thankful no everyday folks endure such hardships. How would they get by? How would they cope?

    Ed can pick up a microphone and make what Richard Jeni used to call "bullshit money'. We can't do that. How can he just piss all that away, and idiots want to send him checks. He'll just piss that away too.

    Man, this country is upside down.
  4. hughb


    Ed has just as much trouble managing his $40,000,000 as I do managing my $40,000. Ed and I are both terrible with money. The difference between Ed and me, though, is that I know I'm careless so I never bought a house that I knew would just end up in foreclosure.
  5. ed was paid what he was paid because he made far more for the people paying him. once YOU are able to earn as much, then you can be Ed's nieghbor. You guys have no clue what its like living with those people, highly competitive, type A's all the way--it isnt easy.

    i feel bad for the guy.

  7. I don't feel sorry for him, surf.

    You are saying he was just trying to keep up with the Jones, especially because of his zip code.

    Well, we all have to resist the temptation to keep up with the Jones if doing so will put us in bankruptcy.

    People have to learn a simple formula no matter where they live, or who they live among, if they want to claim the mantra of being financially responsible:

    Spend less than you take home.
  8. LT701


    I saw him on the sunset strip with a carboard sign 'will laugh at your joke, for Budwiser'

    i threw an empty beer can at him and yelled 'LOSER'

    made my day

    I've got NO sympathy for this prick - he was the ultimate insider with the soft life - laugh at johnny's jokes no matter how lame they are and ching ching goes the cash register

    guy had to have the BEST of everything

    reap what you sow, ed
  9. A ballplayer knows he has a very finite life. I know a couple, about ten years retired, who made 30 mill, and still have it. Now, they make 14mm a year!!! But they have to know that they're lucky, and this is their lotto ticket.

    What was McMahon thinking? that he was this tremendous talent America couldn't live w/o? I have to live within my means, and my future is brighter, and hopefully longer, than his. Is he special?

    He'll get bailed out. He's got pals. But it's not much of an example.
  10. hughb


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    Ed McMahon's mansion saved by 'The Donald'
    Story Highlights
    Donald Trump to buy Ed McMahon's 7,000-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion

    Trump says he plans to lease the home to McMahon

    McMahon fell behind on mortgage payments after suffering neck injury

    BEVERLY HILLS, California (AP) -- Donald Trump will soon be Ed McMahon's landlord.

    Trump announced Thursday he would save the television personality's Beverly Hills mansion from foreclosure by buying it for an undisclosed amount and leasing it to McMahon.

    The developer told the Los Angeles Times he doesn't know McMahon personally, but acted out of compassion because helping out "would be an honor."

    McMahon, 85, who was Johnny Carson's sidekick on the "Tonight" show for three decades, has not worked for about 18 months because of a neck injury. He defaulted on $4.8 million in mortgage loans with Countrywide Financial Corp.

    McMahon's spokesman, Howard Bragman, told The Associated Press that paperwork on the sale had not been completed but that McMahon was "very optimistic" the deal would go through.

    "When I was at the Wharton School of Business I'd watch him every night," Trump told the Times. "How could this happen?"

    McMahon bought the six-bedroom, five-bathroom, 7,000-square-foot house in January 1990. The home was listed at $4.6 million last weekend -- down from a peak price of $7 million.

    Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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    #10     Aug 15, 2008