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Sampiro
01-16-2005, 09:10 PM
I generally assume that famous people are a lot wealthier than most of the people I know, but sometimes it's really odd when I learn that "Hell, I made more money than s/he did last year!" or, the opposite, "Shit! I knew s/he was rich, but I didn't know s/he was that rich!"

Who are some celebrities whose financial condition surprised you one way or the other? I'll start with some of mine:

Famous Po Folks

Rosa Parks- I was surprised to learn that she was actually on the verge of being evicted from her apartment last year for being more than $4,000 delinquent in the rent. While I knew she wasn't super rich, I would have assumed that she made enough from lectures through the years (most people of her stature earn several thousand dollars for a personal appearance and she made many each year) that she was financially secure. Also I would have assumed that some of the Oprahs or Cosbys or other very wealthy black or white liberal celebrities would have provided for her (what's $4500 to a celebrity whose enterprises earn more than that in an hour?). Maybe that's why she sued the rappers.


William Shatner- while he's very rich now, there was a period in the 1970s (between the TV show and the Trek movies) when he was so broke he was living on friend's sofas and even spent some nights in his truck. I'm not sure of the details that brought this about, but I'm guessing multiple alimony/child support payments, typecasting as an actor, poor management and lack of residuals had something to do with it.

Peter Lawford- formerly one of Hollywood and Vegas's top paid entertainers who swung with Frank and Dino and Sammy and married into the Kennedys (coordinating their trysts with his next door neighbor Marilyn), he died so broke that his last few gigs were making appearances (fully clothed- not as a participant) in hard core porn to give some filament thin legitimacy and advertising sex toys in hard core magazines. There was some scandal for years over the cost of his cremation never being paid because his widow was too indigent.

Burt Reynolds- I have relatives in Florida who were majorly screwed by him for bills owed for building fences around his place and for prescription medication. He may since have recovered, but for a while he was literally bouncing $30 checks to restaurants. (I still don't understand how you earn $45 million in five years and wind up owing more than that.)

Tonya Harding- I read that a couple of years ago her total income from all sources (including Celebrity Boxing) was $18,000 and she and her live-in agent were facing eviction from the apartment they shared. (This begs the question "If you're only making $18,000, why the hell do you need a live-in agent?")

Lorenzo Lamas- I don't know that he's destitute, but his most recent ex-wife claims he tried to talk her into being a call-girl to bring some money into the house and he's one of the

Hollywood is Calling (http://hollywoodiscalling.com/) celebs alongside Kato Kaelin and Todd Bridges (which I don't think is someplace you want to be if you're even able to get an infomercial)


The Very Rich

Burl Ives- his widow lives in a beautiful California estate and he bequeathed more than $3 million to various charities in addition to what he left her

Tony Randall- while it didn't surprise me he was wealthy, court records from NY probate rated his estate at over $10 million. He gave millions of his own money to regional and repertory theater projects (especially the financially damned one he started where he met his second wife). That's pretty impressive for somebody who was always a second banana and was a non-Top 5 TV show star in an era when stars on Top 5 shows made less in a year than stars on Top 5 shows make for an episode today.

Gore Vidal- while a bestselling novelist he's never sold in numbers akin to Stephen King or Anne Rice, yet his villa in Italy (recently used for filming in The Life Aquatic recently sold for $15 million. (He didn't sell it due to financial need but because he's now in a wheelchair at most times and the villa is built on numerous levels, plus the death of his domestic partner of 50 years and his own health problems prompted his return to his California home).

Krystine Haje- this one's a fluke sorta, but the redhead from Head of the Class pic (http://5cardstudthemovie.com/christine.jpg) invested in small software companies while she was an 80s TV star and due to a couple of really lucky strikes is now worth tens of millions.

Of course the Mike Nesmith/Liquid Paper thing is well known but I discount that since it's from inheritance rather than financial genius on his part (though he did recently win a huge settlement from PBS [which seems to have screwed him in some video dealing]).


Any celebrity financial trivia you find interesting and would like to share?

Zsofia
01-16-2005, 09:40 PM
Wayne Newton is evidently feeelthy rich. I mean, he's been around for forever and his Vegas thing is very popular - but he's rolling in it, I hear. I caught the last ten minutes or so of his Vegas ranch on MTV Cribs or something like that, and he made all of those silly rappers look like Little Leaguers.

Bryan Ekers
01-16-2005, 10:10 PM
When I heard John Travolta had his own 707, my reaction was "What? Where? When?"

Sampiro
01-16-2005, 10:31 PM
Another poorhouse one: Nell Carter died with assets of $90,000 and debts of over $1 million. I'm hoping she left behind some life insurance as she was the (adoptive) mother of two young boys.

Randy Quaid recently declared bankruptcy (about two years ago) with assets of $50,000 and debts of several million.

A couple of years before she died, Amanda "Miss Kitty" Blake sold her story of destitution and living only on her friends charity and her credit cards to the tabloids (she had starred on Gunsmoke for 20 years but lost her money through poor investments, poorer marriage and medical bills [she was HIV+ due to a bisexual husband]). However, when she died there was a court battle over her $400,000 estate. While not lavish, I would certainly not consider $400,000 destitution; I'm not sure what the full story was.

Truman Capote, who wrote very little in his final years and hadn't had a major bestseller in quite some while and who was known for being extravagant, generous and hopping planes at the last minute and who was too coked up and drunk for much of the 70s to see to his own affairs, still managed to leave a multimillion dollar estate.

Victor Borge, who was playing high school auditoriums in small cities rather than major venues a few years before he died (for which I'm thankful because that's how I was able to see him in Montgomery, AL) clearly didn't need the money as he left a fortune to charities (including $250,000 to the Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam) as well as providing for his family. By all accounts he was a super nice individual so I'm glad he died well off.

Paulette Goddard's estate was enormous- her jewelry fetched in the low 8 figures and she willed more than $20 million just to NYU.

Gloria Swanson, while not poor by any means, was certainly nowhere near the league of Norma Desmond (or of "herself" on The Beverly Hillbillies), clocking in at around $1 million. Considering that she earned more than that tax free in one year in the 1920s and could easily have been in league with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Gene Autry (all billionaires or very close due to real estate investments) it's not that much.

Fred MacMurray was one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood with a nine figure fortune at his death. He was also neurotically stingy; one of his 'My Three Sons' mentioned the buffet backstage at which doughnuts were available for a dime on the honor system- Fred would take break off half a doughnut and deposit a nickel in the cup.

Desi Arnaz, while well to do by most people's standards, wasn't anywhere near as wealthy as I'd have thought- he had assets of less than $1 million which, considering his role in the pioneering of syndication rights and the hits he produced for Desilu (he cleared something like $6 million when he sold out to Lucy) wasn't a lot. He basically frittered most of it away on women, gambling, high living and later had high medical bills for himself and his wife. (Off subject, but I've never heard either of his children speak of him in less than glowing terms as a father or in more than lukewarm terms about their mother [they'll basically concede she was a comic genius]; apparently, though a major philanderer he was apparently "the good parent".)

Dick York (the first Darrin) died penniless, but it actually wasn't because of having to quite Bewitched due to his back or even due to medical bills; he actually had a very nice nest egg and Liz Montgomery and her husband gave him a comfortable severance package, but he was a terrible business manager who wouldn't let experts handle it for him. Within a few years of leaving the show he'd lost everything on bad real estate investments and taxes. (His co-star David White lost his only son in the Pan Am Lockerbie crash; since the son had no wife and children I'm assuming that White's estate would have received the millions paid by the Libyan government, but by then he was dead as well.)

Sam Stone
01-16-2005, 10:34 PM
Wayne Rogers - Trapper John abandoned acting and became a financial planner to the stars or something. Apparently, he's worth huge amounts of money.

Sublight
01-16-2005, 10:39 PM
Gabe Kaplan from Welcome Back, Kotter apparently did very well in the stock market and retired from acting in the mid-80's.

As for Burt Reynolds, he may be doing better now, but in the late 70's-early 80's, he had major league drug and alcohol problems, plus a small army of "buddies" who just sponged off of him. That's a combination that will dry up even the biggest fortunes.

As for Tonya Harding, I think "live-in agent" is just a euphemism for "guy trying to screw her two ways at once."

Tuckerfan
01-16-2005, 10:46 PM
Ringo Starr's apparently broke again because I saw him in an infomercial last night. Kind of like turning on the TV and finding Jesus beginning for money, I thought.

Lamia
01-16-2005, 11:01 PM
In the late '90s, David Bowie was reputedly worth something like $900 million. This made him either the wealthiest musician in the world or very close to it. Plenty of bigger names with more hits don't have anywhere near that much, but Bowie apparently was much, much smarter than most when it came to both investment schemes and making money off his own back catalogue.

Last I heard he'd lost a lot in the dot com crash and I don't know what his financial situation is like now, but I'm sure he's not hurting for cash.

Sampiro
01-16-2005, 11:09 PM
In the late '90s, David Bowie was reputedly worth something like $900 million. This made him either the wealthiest musician in the world or very close to it. Plenty of bigger names with more hits don't have anywhere near that much, but Bowie apparently was much, much smarter than most when it came to both investment schemes and making money off his own back catalogue.

Last I heard he'd lost a lot in the dot com crash and I don't know what his financial situation is like now, but I'm sure he's not hurting for cash.

Sting is also worth something like $300 million. Elton John otoh is supposedly a walking financial disaster waiting to happen (at one point he consolidated $40 million worth of credit card debts).

Tuckerfan
01-16-2005, 11:09 PM
In the late '90s, David Bowie was reputedly worth something like $900 million. This made him either the wealthiest musician in the world or very close to it. Plenty of bigger names with more hits don't have anywhere near that much, but Bowie apparently was much, much smarter than most when it came to both investment schemes and making money off his own back catalogue.

Last I heard he'd lost a lot in the dot com crash and I don't know what his financial situation is like now, but I'm sure he's not hurting for cash.
Bowie has also gotten in on the ground floor of artists selling stock in themselves. He gets a lump of cash from investors now, and they get a fixed percentage of his earnings for a number of years.

The Scrivener
01-16-2005, 11:17 PM
According to IMDB.com:

Randolph Scott was worth several hundred million, due to shrewd investments, at the time of his death.

Gene Autry (the "singing cowboy"), at the time of his retirement from the movies in the early '60's, already owned hotels, radio stations, other real estate, and the California Angels baseball team.

Colleen Moore, a flapper starlet during the early 1920's, invested wisely in stocks (presumably before the Crash in '29), married two stockbrokers, wrote a book advising women on how to invest, and funded the construction of a magnificent $500k dollhouse which is still on display in a Chicago museum.

Dana Andrews, though a successful leading man in the '40's and elected president of the Screen Actors Guild in '63, lived modestly and said he made more money from real estate than he ever did from movies.

Buster Keaton went from owning his own production company and being a huge silent-film star in the '20's, to being divorced, alcoholic, reduced to supporting roles, and finally checking into a mental hospital by the early-mid '30's. He slowly rebounded, though, in the '40's and '50's, and continued to benefit from renewed public appreciation of his work after that (and presumably some measure of financial stability).

Bela Lugosi helped form actors' labor unions in Hungary and in the U.S. (becoming Member #28 of the Screen Actor's Guild), was married five times (once for only three days!), was addicted to heroin for donkey's years, and was probably never paid more than $10,000 for any one picture (and that peak was for one pic in 1935). His nadir was undoubtedly his Ed Wood period; he was paid $1000 for appearing in the transvestite opus "Glen or Glenda". When he died, Lugosi's widow was so destitute, Frank Sinatra paid for the funeral.

Sampiro
01-16-2005, 11:22 PM
A surprise member of the super-rich club is Jim "Gomer Pyle" Nabors. His money came from an incredibly shrewd deal that included part ownership of Gomer Pyle USMC (a rerun staple for more than 30 years now) and investment in Hawaiian real estate. His main house in Hawaii includes a huge crystal chandelier that once hung in Napoleon's bedchamber.

Buddy Ebsen was very well to do in part due to investments in, of all things, coins (he owned one of the great coin collections of all times- as an old man he sold off about $8 million worth to finance his divorce of his wife of 40+ years). Irene Ryan, while not superrich, was frugal and had no children and left her entire estate to an acting scholarship fund that now generates over $1 million per year.

Max "Jethro" Baer, otoh, was almost broke soon after the series ended due to a divorce, typecasting and playboy ways and was homeless (as in "living with friends" rather than shopping cart variety). He cashed out his insurance and retirement, tapped money from every friend he had and put the entire collection (about $100,000) into an ultralow budget movie, Macon County Line (http://imdb.com/title/tt0071788/?fr=c2l0ZT1kZnxteD0yMHxzZz0xfGxtPTIwMHx0dD1vbnxwbj0wfHE9bWFjb24gY291bnR5IGxpbmV8aHRtbD0xfG5tPW9u;fc= 1;ft=1). The film grossed more than $30 million, most of which went to Baer, who retired from acting to dabble in business endeavors (he's been trying to build a Beverly Hillbillies theme casino for years) and much younger porn-star girlfriends (there have been several).

In spite of a huge settlement from Roseanne, Tom Arnold (according to a recent interview) is almost broke due to extravagant living, an IRS problem and his own subsequent expensive divorce. Couldn't happen to a sleazier guy.

Viggo Mortenson announced post LOTR trilogy that he was nearly broke.

I've read conflicting accounts of Merv Griffin, some putting him in league with Aaron Spelling and others maintaining he is held up by a mountain of debt. I thought it was very ironic that Donald Trump, who is held aloft as the pinnacle of success and wealth and brilliance, was having to file for bankruptcy for his casinoes even as his show would have you believe he was Bill Gates and only 12 years ago he had a negative worth of $200 million (the inspiration I think for Charlie Croker in A Man in Full).

astro
01-17-2005, 12:40 AM
Gene Barry is reputed to be quite wealthy via investments (http://xmission.com/~emailbox/barry.htm)

Little Nemo
01-17-2005, 01:32 AM
Heather Locklear is very wealthy. Apparently back in the early 80's when she was doing TJ Hooker and Dynasty she invested her income well. By the time she left these shows she was set for life. I once read an interview with her where she said by 1990 she had enough money to retire for life and everything since then was just extra. And she wasn't really a big star until after 1990.

While not wealthy, Audrey Meadows was another star who made at least one great fiancial decision. Most stars have professional agents negotiate their contracts. Meadows asked her two brothers, who were lawyers but had no experience in show business, to negotiate for her when she was working on her contract for The Honeymooners. There apparently was some minor issue being discussed and the brothers agreed to give in to the studio on the issue if they agreed to give Meadows perpetual royalties from the show's broadcasts. The studio lawyers were quietly amused by the suggestion as it showed the brothers' inexperience. Back then televsion broadcasts were usually never reshown and the handful of exceptions were only show once. It would be like a modern basketball player asking for royalties every time one of his games was rebroadcast - it was a pointless request. So they gladly agreed. The result of course is that unlike her co-stars, including Jackie Gleason, Meadows received a check every month for all the times an episode of The Honeymooners appears on the air.

One more surprise (for me anyway) was Herbert Hoover. Not that I thought he was poor but I was surprised at how wealthy he was. Franklin Roosevelt was perceived as a wealthy man, but when they ran against each other in 1932, Hoover had four times as much personal wealth as Roosevelt did.

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 01:54 AM
Super rich "old school" country stars:

Johnny Cash- his estate has been valued at between $200-$400 million

Roy Orbison (not exactly country, but...) estate valued at over $20 million (not bad considering all the times he was on the county fair circuit)

Dolly Parton- quite possibly the wealthiest woman in music (and one with incredible business sense even without an education- shortly after she left Porter Waggoner she wrote a song with Elvis in mind- he loved the song and really wanted to sing it, but his manager Col. Tom Parker would only allow it if Dolly would sign over half the publishing rights- as much as she loved Elvis and as much as she needed the money even half the rights from a big hit would bring quickly (she was destitute due to a huge lawsuit with Porter), she refused- the song was I Will Always Love You which earned her millions each time she had a hit with it (three times) and much more than that when Whitney Houston sang it). I've never read an estimate of her wealth that was less than $100 million.

Roy Acuff- controlled a real estate empire in Nashville

Roy Clark- as an owner of Hee-Haw as well as a very successful songwriter he's rolling in it

Minnie Pearl- Nashville tourists used to be shown her home, which is next to the Governor's Mansion and was delineated as "the nice one". Also got rich from post WW2 real estate.


The Not as Rich as you'd think they are/were category:

Patsy Cline- she never earned enough in her lifetime to hire her own band and always had to play with the house band instead. Her husband and children, however, have earned gazillions as Shania Twain was the first female country performer to sell more albums in life than Patsy did after death.

Loretta Lynn- she has a lot of assets and is certainly far from broke as most people would understand the term, but she is very cash poor due to some flopped farming investments, waning interest in her career and, more than anything else probably, being overly generous with her tribe of adult children, grandchildren and great grandchildren (her oldest grandchildren were born when she was in her early thirties). The new Jack White produced album may help, but in spite of poor health she was touring constantly because of a cash flow problem.

Tammy Wynette- went broke several times, though she lived better "bankrupt" than most do with an upper middle class job.

Dottie West- lost everything through bad investments, the IRS and divorce.


Judy Garland was always broke, which is well known, but there's a mystery as to why. Liza Minnelli (who spent years paying off her mother's debts even though no law compelled her to do so) says she has no idea where the woman's money went: even towards the end her income was fairly impressive and, in spite of her reputation, she wasn't a lavish spender. It's believed it was embezzled; Liza stated once she believes Sid Luft was responsible, causing a temporary rift twixt her and Lorna (until such time as Lorna needed money, probably). Two centuries before Liza there was a similar mystery with the money of Wolfgang Mozart, who was buried in a pauper's grave even though his income was way above average for the time; some biographers believe he had a gambling addiction.

Wendell Wagner
01-17-2005, 02:53 AM
Lamia writes:

> In the late '90s, David Bowie was reputedly worth something like $900 million.
> This made him either the wealthiest musician in the world or very close to it.

Paul McCartney is usually estimated to be worth somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion. I believe that McCartney's fortune is worth something like ten times the amount of John Lennon's estate, so this is another example where good investment has meant quite a difference in the latter worth of two people whose initial earnings from their music was the same.

Sampiro writes:

> [Speaking of Loretta Lynn] . . . her oldest grandchildren were born when she
> was in her early thirties . . .

She was 29, in fact.

Walloon
01-17-2005, 04:59 AM
Peter Lawford . . . he died so broke that his last few gigs were making appearances (fully clothed- not as a participant) in hard core porn to give some filament thin legitimacy and advertising sex toys in hard core magazines.This sounds fishy to me, and no such porn titles show up in his filmography (http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0492444/) in the Internet Movie Database, which is famous for sniffing out obscure credits.Fred MacMurray was one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood with a nine figure fortune at his death.Worth more than $100 million dollars? Reports of his estate have been greatly exaggerated its value was closer to $5 million.Gloria Swanson, while not poor by any means, was certainly nowhere near the league of Norma Desmond (or of "herself" on The Beverly Hillbillies), clocking in at around $1 million. Considering that she earned more than that tax free in one year in the 1920sNot tax free. The federal income tax was reinstated in 1913, and the top income tax rate in the 1920s was 25 percent (http://treas.gov/education/fact-sheets/taxes/ustax.shtml).

Othersider
01-17-2005, 05:20 AM
Desi Arnaz, while well to do by most people's standards, wasn't anywhere near as wealthy as I'd have thought- he had assets of less than $1 million which, considering his role in the pioneering of syndication rights and the hits he produced for Desilu (he cleared something like $6 million when he sold out to Lucy) wasn't a lot. He basically frittered most of it away on women, gambling, high living and later had high medical bills for himself and his wife. (Off subject, but I've never heard either of his children speak of him in less than glowing terms as a father or in more than lukewarm terms about their mother [they'll basically concede she was a comic genius]; apparently, though a major philanderer he was apparently "the good parent".)
Sounds like Lucy had some 'splainin' to do.


A surprise member of the super-rich club is Jim "Gomer Pyle" Nabors. His money came from an incredibly shrewd deal that included part ownership of Gomer Pyle USMC (a rerun staple for more than 30 years now) and investment in Hawaiian real estate. His main house in Hawaii includes a huge crystal chandelier that once hung in Napoleon's bedchamber.
Surprise, surprise, surprise.


Tammy Wynette- went broke several times, though she lived better "bankrupt" than most do with an upper middle class job.
Guess she shoulda stood by her man.

I probably should have refraind from making such puerile, predictable one-liners, but it's 5:30 in the morning and I can't help myself. Sorry to subject you all to these. :smack: :D

Scissorjack
01-17-2005, 05:27 AM
Lamia writes:

> In the late '90s, David Bowie was reputedly worth something like $900 million.
> This made him either the wealthiest musician in the world or very close to it.

Paul McCartney is usually estimated to be worth somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion. I believe that McCartney's fortune is worth something like ten times the amount of John Lennon's estate, so this is another example where good investment has meant quite a difference in the latter worth of two people whose initial earnings from their music was the same.

Bowie, after lengthy legal battles with a dodgy manager, owns all his song rights, and was able to issue bonds based on his back catalogue: in exchange for a huge wad of cash, he effectively leased his publishing - investors get all the royalties for a specified period, and after that the rights and royalties revert back to him. Senor Bowie, he no stupid.

McCartney was shrewd enough to buy the song rights of others: he owns Buddy Holly's catalogue, among others.

One which surprised me was Tracey Ullman: because the ur-Simpsons originally appeared on her show in the late 80's, she still retains a share of the rights, and is apparently worth about $50,000,000 now, mostly based on that.

Paul in Qatar
01-17-2005, 05:45 AM
Perhaps the most interesting and informative thread on the Dope in a long while.

(Herbert Hoover was a mining engineer who made his money in South America. John Nance Gardner, one of FDR's veeps made a fortune when he invented the chicken.)

An Arky
01-17-2005, 06:06 AM
Um, John Nance Garner invented what? Would you please clarify?

An Arky
01-17-2005, 06:12 AM
Oh, now I see. It was Henry A. Wallace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_A._Wallace), and he came up with a chicken breed that became predominant at the time (post-VP).

Hook
01-17-2005, 07:03 AM
Another very shrewd person was Dave Clark of the Dave Clark Five. I believe that he bought the rights to many of the videotaped performances of 60's bands on British television, particularly "Ready, Steady, Go". Due to nostalgia for these performances I'm led to believe he made more money from this than the band ever did. Can any English Dopers confirm this?

chrisk
01-17-2005, 07:49 AM
Paul McCartney is usually estimated to be worth somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion. I believe that McCartney's fortune is worth something like ten times the amount of John Lennon's estate, so this is another example where good investment has meant quite a difference in the latter worth of two people whose initial earnings from their music was the same.


Total hijack here... (but not one that takes us out of 'Cafe Society' as it happens,) when I was reading this, I was reminded of the Krikkit 'Informational Illusion' sequence in "Life, the universe and everything" where Adams was trying to convey the idea that Krikkit folk music was like Uber-Beatles... everything that he thought was great about the Beatles, only several hundred thousand times moreso. ;)

And the way he conveyed that, partly, was that as Arthur listens to each verse and chorus, he imagines Paul McCartney gradually buying more and more english counties outright, (if he had actually written the songs in question.) :D First purchasing Essex, then Kent and Sussex, putting in an offer for Hampshire, getting Winchester and gazing with interest towards the Test Valley. :)

Annie-Xmas
01-17-2005, 08:19 AM
I find that very hard to believe about Elton John, now that he has the composer's rights ("grand rights") to both AIDA and especially The Lion King. The amount of money paid to composers of hit shows is staggering, and when you factor the overseas and touring companies, it's downright obscene. He has to be making a pretty penny from all of that.

Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA are making more off of Mammia Mia! than they did when they were in ABBA. All they did to earn it was say "Yes, you can use our songs"

middleman
01-17-2005, 08:29 AM
How many people are on the "poorer" list due to cocaine? :D

zamboniracer
01-17-2005, 08:47 AM
<snip>
While not wealthy, Audrey Meadows was another star who made at least one great fiancial decision. Most stars have professional agents negotiate their contracts. Meadows asked her two brothers, who were lawyers but had no experience in show business, to negotiate for her when she was working on her contract for The Honeymooners. There apparently was some minor issue being discussed and the brothers agreed to give in to the studio on the issue if they agreed to give Meadows perpetual royalties from the show's broadcasts. The studio lawyers were quietly amused by the suggestion as it showed the brothers' inexperience. Back then televsion broadcasts were usually never reshown and the handful of exceptions were only show once. It would be like a modern basketball player asking for royalties every time one of his games was rebroadcast - it was a pointless request. So they gladly agreed. The result of course is that unlike her co-stars, including Jackie Gleason, Meadows received a check every month for all the times an episode of The Honeymooners appears on the air.

<snip>


As a slight hijack, that story reminded me about the shrewdest contract in the history of sports negotiated by the owners of The Spirits of St. Louis (http://ernietheattorney.net/ernie_the_attorney/sports/)

ElvisL1ves
01-17-2005, 08:58 AM
Fred MacMurray was reputed to be one of the richest men in Hollywood even before "My Three Sons", despite his never having broken out of the B-movie world, as a result of shrewd real-estate investments.

Flo Ballard of the Supremes died on welfare in a crack house.

Sam Stone
01-17-2005, 09:02 AM
Paul McCartney is usually estimated to be worth somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion. I believe that McCartney's fortune is worth something like ten times the amount of John Lennon's estate, so this is another example where good investment has meant quite a difference in the latter worth of two people whose initial earnings from their music was the same.


While it's true that McCartney has been a shrewd investor, he also had the royalties from 'Wings', which were huge. It was the most successful act of the 1970's, selling millions and millions of albums.

And unlike the Beatles, where McCartney split the royalties 50/50 with Lennon, almost 100% of the royalties for Wings went straight to him.

And of course, McCartney has had 25 more years of touring and active investing of his money on his side.

Jonathan Chance
01-17-2005, 09:30 AM
While true, I seem to recall a People Magazine cover from about 1984 that already named McCartney as the first 'billionaire musician'. So it's not like the last 20 years had much to do with that part.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
01-17-2005, 09:42 AM
Flip Wilson was comfortable from the money he made from his variety series. He was able to live al eisurely life, pay for his divorces and kids, and just have a good time, despite not having much in the way of work in the intervening years.

However, he also retained full ownership of his variety show. A year or two before he died, TVLand paid him several million bucks for the rights of airing his old variety series.

One that coulda been: Rod (and Carol) Serling. Serling cashed out his one-half interest in "Twilight Zone" for a little over $600K. Not a bad nest egg for the mid '60s. However, CBS in the meantime has made untold millions from licencing and syndication. Rod would live only another 10 years, but Carol would be VERY wealthy now, instead of just well-off.

Paul in Qatar
01-17-2005, 09:45 AM
Yes, you are right, it was Hank Wallace who invented the chicken. (And corn, by the way.) For some reason I have Nance Gardner on my brain this week. Sorry.

Bryan Ekers
01-17-2005, 10:16 AM
It just goes to show that Chris Rock was right about the difference between wealthy and rich. Shaquille O'Neal is rich, but the white man who signs his checks is wealthy. You can't get rid of wealth, but rich is something you can lose after one bad summer and a coke habit.

AppallingGael
01-17-2005, 10:25 AM
I probably should have refraind from making such puerile, predictable one-liners, but it's 5:30 in the morning and I can't help myself. Sorry to subject you all to these. :smack: :D
Hey don't apologize...because then I'll have to.

Johnny Cash- his estate has been valued at between $200-$400 million

Man in (the) black, indeed.

Dolly Parton- quite possibly the wealthiest woman in music

There really is gold in them thar hills.

Burl Ives- his widow lives in a beautiful California estate and he bequeathed more than $3 million to various charities in addition to what he left her

No wonder he was so jaded about silver and gold (to me, it means so much more in my pockets).

TellMeI'mNotCrazy
01-17-2005, 10:35 AM
I find that very hard to believe about Elton John, now that he has the composer's rights ("grand rights") to both AIDA and especially The Lion King. The amount of money paid to composers of hit shows is staggering, and when you factor the overseas and touring companies, it's downright obscene. He has to be making a pretty penny from all of that.


I'll have to dig up a cite but I remember reading a few years ago that he spends his money extremely frivolously - something like 50,000 a month in flower purchases alone (I can't remember the figure, but it was some obscene amount of money. For flowers.)

The Punkyova
01-17-2005, 10:37 AM
Gore Vidal- while a bestselling novelist he's never sold in numbers akin to Stephen King or Anne Rice, yet his villa in Italy (recently used for filming in The Life Aquatic recently sold for $15 million. (He didn't sell it due to financial need but because he's now in a wheelchair at most times and the villa is built on numerous levels, plus the death of his domestic partner of 50 years and his own health problems prompted his return to his California home).

<snip>

Of course the Mike Nesmith/Liquid Paper thing is well known but I discount that since it's from inheritance rather than financial genius on his part (though he did recently win a huge settlement from PBS [which seems to have screwed him in some video dealing]).


I put these together because when I read your paragraph on Gore Vidal, my mental question was how much of it was inherited. Vidal comes from a very wealthy background. His given name is Gore as in Al Gore, as in a very wealthy southern family. He is somehow related to Jacqueline Kennedy's stepfather, a nephew I believe, and there was a lot of money in that family as well. So while I don't doubt that he handled his money well, I suspect that his wealth gave him leisure to write, rather than his writing leading to wealth.

TellMeI'mNotCrazy
01-17-2005, 10:38 AM
That was easier to find than I expected.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1024745.stm

The singer's lavish lifestyle saw him spend more than 9.6m on property and 293,000 on flowers between January 1996 and September 1997.
Ok, so that's only (heh) $30,000 a month on flowers.

Shodan
01-17-2005, 10:39 AM
Didn't Fess Parker put the money he earned from the Davey Crockett series into California real estate?

Ka-ching!

Regards,
Shodan

Evil Captor
01-17-2005, 10:46 AM
It just goes to show that Chris Rock was right about the difference between wealthy and rich. Shaquille O'Neal is rich, but the white man who signs his checks is wealthy. You can't get rid of wealth, but rich is something you can lose after one bad summer and a coke habit.

No, it's different than that. A rich person is someone who's got so much income that he can live comfortably without losing it or having to worry about making more. A welathy person is someone who manages that money (or hires someone to manage it for him) in such a way that he lives comfortably but does not lose the bulk of his money. Rich people can lose it all. Wealthy people can too, but only due to extremely bad economic times or malfeasance on the part of the person(s) managing their wealth for them.

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 10:54 AM
This sounds fishy to me, and no such porn titles show up in his filmography (http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0492444/) in the Internet Movie Database, which is famous for sniffing out obscure credits.

Hmm. I can't find any of the titles, but this is from a biography of him written in the 90s. I do know for a fact that he did print ads in adult porn mags for a device called the Accujack (it's basically a masturbation aid- a fake vagina that folds to the size of a wallet).

Worth more than $100 million dollars? Reports of his estate have been greatly exaggerated its value was closer to $5 million.

His Brentwood (http://findadeath.com/Deceased/m/Macmurray/fredgarage.jpg) home (http://findadeath.com/Deceased/m/Macmurray/fredhouse.jpg) alone would have been worth almost that much, plus he earned more than that for My Three Sons. (He had the most lucrative TV contract of the 60s- interest in the show and he only shot for about three months per year- notice on the reruns that there are terrible continuity errors because much of the show is Dad talking to the boys in one frame while they respond in another- these were filmed at different times so Fred could go to one of his fish camps.) He was a megamillionaire.

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 11:03 AM
I put these together because when I read your paragraph on Gore Vidal, my mental question was how much of it was inherited. Vidal comes from a very wealthy background. His given name is Gore as in Al Gore, as in a very wealthy southern family. He is somehow related to Jacqueline Kennedy's stepfather, a nephew I believe, and there was a lot of money in that family as well. So while I don't doubt that he handled his money well, I suspect that his wealth gave him leisure to write, rather than his writing leading to wealth.

He claims to have inherited almost nothing. His mother died in "genteel poverty" in Mexico, having long since divorced Auschinschloss (who then married Jackie O's mother) and exhausted her inheritances from him and her father. (Vidal and his mother absolutely hated each other, so any estate she had would have gone to his younger half-siblings.) Vidal's father was a wealthy man (he founded three airlines) but he lived until Vidal was well into middle age and had several other children from subsequent marriages who would have shared any inheritance.

Vidal talks of being broke in the 1950s due to several books flopping in succession and to the insane income tax laws of the time (he claims to have earned $100,000 one year in the early 50s and paid $90,000 in agents fees and income tax). That's when he went to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter (insert his famous and highly disputed by Charlton Heston Ben Hur gay-subtext anecdote here) for several years strictly to become financially secure.

So- he says he inherited nothing but he's definitely prone to embellishment. I do know that Howard Austen (his live-in partner for half-a-century) managed his investments full time. (They were apparently never a romantic item- Vidal claims they never had sex.)

Mr Jim
01-17-2005, 11:09 AM
I put these together because when I read your paragraph on Gore Vidal, my mental question was how much of it was inherited. Vidal comes from a very wealthy background. His given name is Gore as in Al Gore, as in a very wealthy southern family. He is somehow related to Jacqueline Kennedy's stepfather, a nephew I believe, and there was a lot of money in that family as well. So while I don't doubt that he handled his money well, I suspect that his wealth gave him leisure to write, rather than his writing leading to wealth.

Oh i think I actually know this one: Gore's mother was married to Hugh Auchincloss, and after they divorced Hugh went on to marry Jackie's mom making them step-siblings. He is a very distant cousin of Al Gore.

According to a bio I read of him since he wasn't directly related to Auchincloss or the Bouvier/Kennedys he was far less wealthy than his roots would suggest.

Rex Fenestrarum
01-17-2005, 11:16 AM
I'll have to dig up a cite but I remember reading a few years ago that he spends his money extremely frivolously - something like 50,000 a month in flower purchases alone (I can't remember the figure, but it was some obscene amount of money. For flowers.)

Yeah, Elton John spends money like it's effing water. The Atlanta Urinal-Constipation used to run the occasional oddity of his spending, like how Elton tried to put a $60,000 Range Rover on his AMEX. If I remember the story correctly, the salesman didn't recognize him and actually laughed at him when he pulled out his card - one of those supposedly super-rare black AMEX cards - but the manager knew who he was (and, one would suppose, the average income of a black AMEX card holder) and gladly swiped Elton's card. Elton was also famous for spending $200,000 on random shopping sprees at Lenox Square or picking up $8,000 worth of CDs at Tower.

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 11:21 AM
Elton was also famous for spending $200,000 on random shopping sprees at Lenox Square or picking up $8,000 worth of CDs at Tower.

Well, in fairness, $200,000 at Lenox Square is just 8 sweaters at Neiman Marcus and two designer Barbies at FAO Schwartz. (For non-Atlantans, Lenox Square is the mall you have to have a credit check to park at.)

Rex Fenestrarum
01-17-2005, 11:31 AM
Well, in fairness, $200,000 at Lenox Square is just 8 sweaters at Neiman Marcus and two designer Barbies at FAO Schwartz. (For non-Atlantans, Lenox Square is the mall you have to have a credit check to park at.)

Well, it's not *that* posh. Sure it has "ritzy" stores like Needless Markups, Burberry, Crane and Co. and whatnot. But it also has "regular" stores like Macy's, Eddie Bauer, Abercrombie & Fitch, The Gap abd others. Even Phipps Plaza has places where us regular folk can shop.

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 11:39 AM
Well, it's not *that* posh. Sure it has "ritzy" stores like Needless Markups, Burberry, Crane and Co. and whatnot. But it also has "regular" stores like Macy's, Eddie Bauer, Abercrombie & Fitch, The Gap abd others. Even Phipps Plaza has places where us regular folk can shop.

Hijacking my own thread, but once I was in Phipps Plaza and a car driven by two Latino fellows stopped me. "Hey man, look what we got..." and they pulled out a McDonald's sack filled with Tiffany & Co. empty boxes- "you buy your girlfriend something from the pawn shop, put it in this box... she think you got it from Tiffany! You'll get some poosay! Only $25!"

Had they been $10 I'd have bought one to applaud their initiative and entrepreneurial spirit, but having no girlfriend twasn't worth it. (I still wonder where they got these- this was clearly the real item and not just a knock off- I wonder if Tiffany's tosses boxes in their trash cannister?)

Ol'Gaffer
01-17-2005, 11:43 AM
Didn't Fess Parker put the money he earned from the Davey Crockett series into California real estate?

Ka-ching!

Regards,
Shodan

He owns a resort and winery (http://fessparker.com/html/winery.html) in Los Olivos, Santa Barbara County. It seems pretty expensive and that is some very pricy real estate (he apparently owns some 700 acres of vineyards). He was just in the news (maybe last summer) because he was donating a big chunk of land to his neighbors, the Santa Ynez Chumash.

Walloon
01-17-2005, 11:50 AM
Oh i think I actually know this one: Gore's mother was married to Hugh Auchincloss, and after they divorced Hugh went on to marry Jackie's mom making them step-siblings.Let me put on my genealogist's hat here. Jackie would have been Gore Vidal's step-sister only if Hugh Auchincloss was related by blood to either Jackie or Gore, which he was not.

ralph124c
01-17-2005, 11:50 AM
What i find fascinating are the obituaries that you sometimes see in newspapers..somebody was a leading quarterback for the NY Jets (in the 1960's) or something like that..and you find out they were broke. The people who have retained their wealth did so because they were smart enought to invest it. If you are suddenly rich, and decide you want a $20 million mansion, you can piss it away faster than spit..maintaining a big estate is one of the worst investments you can make.
I also think that before the residuals were available to actors, most had very little income once they retired.
Course I'd love to see Paris Hilton's obit (ca 2070): paris Hilton died at the motion pictures actor's home..her estate totalled $1.76...

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 11:57 AM
When Bud Cort was offered the male lead in Harold & Maude, a fairly low budget movie (with the only big price tag already given to Ruth Gordon), he was offered $60,000 plus 5% of the film. Afraid the film would flop (an 80 year old does it with a 20 year old? Who wants to see that?) he settled for $100,000 and 0%. Bad move: while the film wasn't a blockbuster, it was a hit and the midnight showings and then subsequent TV and video rights would have earned him millions. Instead he was freeloading off Groucho Marx (courtesy of a friendship with Groucho's concubine Erin Fleming) and joining cults in the 70s rather than counting his money.

The flip side of this, of course, is Alec Guinness's brilliant "nah... pay me less but give me some points in the movie" deal for Star Wars that made him probably the richest actor in England. (You can just imagine Rex Harrison kicking himself [or his wife] with "why didn't I bloody think of that!".)

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 11:59 AM
Course I'd love to see Paris Hilton's obit (ca 2070): paris Hilton died at the motion pictures actor's home..her estate totalled $1.76...

That's a horribly depressing thought.

That she would live until 2070, I mean... not the $1.76 part

Wendell Wagner
01-17-2005, 12:42 PM
ralph124c writes:

> Course I'd love to see Paris Hilton's obit (ca 2070): paris Hilton died at the
> motion pictures actor's home..her estate totalled $1.76...

Not likely. Paris Hilton is wealthy, not just rich. All that partying didn't really cost her that much in comparison to her wealth (and, I suspect, she was comped for things like her clothes, since designers often give clothes to people who will put them into the news spotlight). She and Nicole Richie are being well paid for doing _The Simple Life_. In some ways, I think of her as someone who is playing a part, as the stupid rich girl who throws away her money. The first thing wealthy people teach their children is "Never touch the principal," and I suspect that she lives on the interest on her money, not the principal.

Walloon
01-17-2005, 12:43 PM
Fred MacMurray was reputed to be one of the richest men in Hollywood even before "My Three Sons", despite his never having broken out of the B-movie worldFred MacMurray starred in: Alice Adams** (1935), Trail of the Lonesome Pine* (1936), The Texas Rangers* (1936), Dive Bomber* (1941), Take a Letter, Darling* (1942), Flight for Freedom* (1943), No Time for Love* (1943), Double Indemnity** (1944), The Egg and I* (1947), The Caine Mutiny** (1954), The Rains of Ranchipur* (1955), The Apartment** (1960), The Absent Minded Professor* (1961), Bon Voyage!* (1962), Kisses for My President* (1964), The Happiest Millionaire* (1967).

* Oscar nominees.
** Oscar nominees for Best Picture (4).

middleman
01-17-2005, 01:32 PM
I imagine Conrad Hilton, who actually worked for a living, created Trusts that would never allow Paris to be anything but wealthy.

Even if she WANTED to piss it away, she likely couldn't. Spendthrift trusts are a great thing for third or fourth generation wealth!

Captain Crunchy Crunch
01-17-2005, 02:10 PM
Mike Tyson :rolleyes:

And straight from The Motley Fool:

10. Willie Nelson: To settle a tax tab of $2 million, Nelson's lawyers and accountants recommended that he borrow $12 million to invest in cattle and gain a tax-write-off. The IRS didn't allow the write-off and, when the back-taxes and penalties exceeded $30 million, confiscated most of Nelson's property (leaving Willie to sing, "To all the stuff I've owned before / That the IRS lugged out my door...").

9. Billy Joel: He's the third-best-selling singer in the U.S. (behind Garth Brooks and Elton John), but at one point, Billy Joel didn't have much to show for it. The Piano Man hit the wrong keys by letting his ex-brother-in-law manage his money. Alan Weber defrauded Joel out of $30 million, $10 million of it toward worthless investments.

8. Dee Snider, lead singer of Twisted Sister: Lawsuits over tour advances and endorsements led Snider to bankruptcy. Despite his music success (and famous showdowns with Tipper Gore), Snider eventually took a minimum wage computer sales job, riding a bike because he couldn't afford a car. (The "Riches to Rags" episode noted that Dee had a radio gig in Connecticut, but since the show ran, he's been replaced by syndicated blob-jock Bubba the Love Sponge.)

7. Harry Wayne Casey, lead singer of K.C. and the Sunshine Band: When he wasn't shake-shake-shaking his booty, Casey was abusing his snooty. He spent $100,000 a year on cocaine and drank a fifth of Vodka every day.

6. The Goo Goo Dolls: They sold 2 million albums but owed money to their record label. These guys weren't profligates as much as over-eager artists who signed a contract that turned them into indentured servants.

5. Ted Nugent: He let others handle his money, which ended up invested in mink farms and Clydesdales. According to Nugent, the managers "wiped me out -- flat broke."

4. Eric Burden (lead singer of The Animals): His $6 million fortune, managed by a fellow by the name of Mike Jeffries, disappeared into a "tax-free Caribbean account." Where the money really went will never be known, since Jeffries was killed in a plane crash.

3. Peter Frampton: Too busy touring to keep an eye on his money, he let others do it -- until he realized a million bucks was unaccounted for. He lost the rest in the market crash of 1987. (One can't help but wonder if Frampton sold at the bottom when he should have held on. The VH1 special doesn't say.)

2. TLC: Their album "CrazySexyCool" sold 10 million copies, yet the group had to declare bankruptcy. After paying their lawyers, accountants, managers, production company, record company, and taxes, the three members of TLC saw their $5.6 million take dwindle to $50,000-a-year incomes. (Of course, for most people, 50 grand a year is just fine.)

1. MC Hammer: Good old Stanley Burrell (a.k.a. Hammer) squandered $30 million by buying a lavish mansion and maintaining a $500,000-a-month payroll. Some of those on Hammer's dole managed his resources in ways that weren't too legit. Says Burrell: "You can't watch everybody, and when you can't watch everybody, watch out."

:eek:

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 02:10 PM
Even if she WANTED to piss it away, she likely couldn't. Spendthrift trusts are a great thing for third or fourth generation wealth!

A greater thing is social revolution, arrest and deportation. (I detest the notions of inherited wealth, though I'll admit if I had some my views might be different.)

Some odd inheritance trivia about Hollywood stars:

John Wayne (a member of the "rich but not as rich as you'd think he'd be" crowd- he lost a bundle on The Alamo) left an odd will paying his children under 35 an amount equal to $5,000 for each year between their age at his death and 35. Those over 35 received $5,000 each. His will was challenged from several directions (including by his wife, Pilar, from whom he was separated) and probate costs reduced it to less than half of what he left.

Peter Sellers was on his way to amend his will to disinherit his fourth wife, Lynne Frederick, whom he was in the process of divorcing, when he had a fatal heart attack. Consequently she inherited almost his entire estate (worth about $12 million) while his children were given very modest bequests (a few thousand dollars). Lynne Frederick then briefly married David Frost who lived off of Sellers' fortune with her (she also sued several tabloids and movie studios successfully, adding to it). I've never read a nice thing about her and there was actually some comments to the effect of "good" when she died at 40 of alcoholism and drug abuse. I'm not sure who her heirs were or if she left Sellers' fortune intact.

Bing Crosby left no provision for his children from his first marriage, though this was in part because they had inherited the estate of their mother Dixie Lee.

Alex Haley left one of the most disastrous legal quagmires possible when he died, with an estranged wife not written out of the will and the discovery that there was a lot of property but no cash and lots of debt, etc.. It took years to straighten out during which time his property (including his papers for Roots) was sold at auction and ultimately his estate broken even- the sale of property paid his debts with nothing left.

I have heard very mixed reports on Sammy Davis Jr.'s estate; I know that his older children were provided for due to trust funds set up long before his death, but his widow ended up hostessing at a restaurant and there is a rumor his body was exhumed to remove the fortune in jewelry he was wearing. His widow seems to be doing well now (financially and in other ways) so apparently the smoke finally cleared.

NDP
01-17-2005, 04:05 PM
ralph124c writes:

> Course I'd love to see Paris Hilton's obit (ca 2070): paris Hilton died at the
> motion pictures actor's home..her estate totalled $1.76...

Not likely. Paris Hilton is wealthy, not just rich. All that partying didn't really cost her that much in comparison to her wealth (and, I suspect, she was comped for things like her clothes, since designers often give clothes to people who will put them into the news spotlight). She and Nicole Richie are being well paid for doing _The Simple Life_. In some ways, I think of her as someone who is playing a part, as the stupid rich girl who throws away her money. The first thing wealthy people teach their children is "Never touch the principal," and I suspect that she lives on the interest on her money, not the principal.
If I may hijack this thread for a political comment, the only good reason Paris Hilton exists is as a reminder of why we should never get rid of the estate tax.

Tuckerfan
01-17-2005, 04:06 PM
When Bud Cort was offered the male lead in Harold & Maude, a fairly low budget movie (with the only big price tag already given to Ruth Gordon), he was offered $60,000 plus 5% of the film. Afraid the film would flop (an 80 year old does it with a 20 year old? Who wants to see that?) he settled for $100,000 and 0%. Bad move: while the film wasn't a blockbuster, it was a hit and the midnight showings and then subsequent TV and video rights would have earned him millions. Instead he was freeloading off Groucho Marx (courtesy of a friendship with Groucho's concubine Erin Fleming) and joining cults in the 70s rather than counting his money.
Donald Sutherland did something similar with his appearance in Animal House. The way he tells it, they didn't have the money in the budget to pay him even the per diem that SAG requires and offered him a percentage of the gross instead. Sutherland insisted on the per diem (which was something like a couple hundred dollars at most) and got it. He later figured up that if he'd taken the percentage it'd have yielded something like $60 mill. He's said that ever since he's required a percentage, and none of the movies he's been in have been the hit of that Animal House was.

Annie-Xmas
01-17-2005, 04:09 PM
Similar story with the very first, orginal recording of "Jesus Christ Superstar." The singers could opt for $250 scale or a percent of the profits. Murray "Judas" Head was the only one to go for the profits. That made him a millionaire the first year, and is still providing royalties.

Tuckerfan
01-17-2005, 04:24 PM
The cast of The Sound of Music got screwed out of almost all their royalties. When they were getting ready to start production, the producers went around to all the actors individually, and said, "Okay, everyone's agreed to sign over their rights to royalties for record sales, etc. and if you don't do it, we'll get someone to replace you." Because of an odd quirk, the only royalties the cast gets are from when it's shown on TV.

Loopus
01-17-2005, 04:41 PM
To reach into the past, there's Mark Twain. He was, of course, a very popular author and lecturer and earned quite a bit of moolah. However, thanks to investments in inventions that tanked and his failed publishing company, he went very deep into debt. Instead of declaring bankruptcy, he went on the lecture circuit (which he had grown to dislike) for years to pay off all his creditors dollar for dollar.

JohnT
01-17-2005, 05:20 PM
Two centuries before Liza there was a similar mystery with the money of Wolfgang Mozart, who was buried in a pauper's grave even though his income was way above average for the time; some biographers believe he had a gambling addiction.


Let me quote Maynard Solomon's Mozart: A Life:

It (a third-class funeral) was the least expensive funeral available, save a pauper's burial, to which it was identical in every respect except that paupers paid no fee. Nevertheless, such funerals were chosen by most Viennese citizens: of 74 burials listed on the St. Stephen's death register between mid-November and mid-December 1791, 51 - the great majority - were for third-class funerals, while only five were first-class and seven second-class, the remainder being of paupers. Primarily this was a matter of money: first class funerals cost 110 florins; second-class funerals cost 40 florins, and third-class only 8 florins, 56 kruzer. Partly, though, it was a question of regulation and socially accepted practice: many citizens sympathized with Emperor Joseph's rationalist proposals for simplification of burials in the interest of hygiene and economy. Indeed, it was Joseph's decree of 20 December 1784... that prescribed sack burials in communal graves.

So, Mozart's funeral is not an indication of his "reduced" status. Interestingly enough, Mozart's best year financially was the last year of his life when he earned from 3,600-5,600 florins (once, while bored, I tried converting this to today's dollars... my final figure was about $300,000-$500,000. Don't cite me on this, please. ;) )
.....

Fred MacMurray starred in: Alice Adams** (1935), Trail of the Lonesome Pine* (1936), The Texas Rangers* (1936), Dive Bomber* (1941), Take a Letter, Darling* (1942), Flight for Freedom* (1943), No Time for Love* (1943), Double Indemnity** (1944), The Egg and I* (1947), The Caine Mutiny** (1954), The Rains of Ranchipur* (1955), The Apartment** (1960), The Absent Minded Professor* (1961), Bon Voyage!* (1962), Kisses for My President* (1964), The Happiest Millionaire* (1967).

Actually, The Apartment did win for B. Picture... the last B&W film to do so, until Schindler's List came along.

.....

JP Morgan was worth "just" $80 million when he died, far lower than the net worth of many people who's fortunes he helped create. John Rockefeller, upon hearing of Morgan's net worth, exclaimed "And to think he wasn't even a rich man!" (Rockefeller was worth, at that time, about $300 million - he became a billionaire only after the Supreme Court broke up Standard Oil).

Laughing Lagomorph
01-17-2005, 05:42 PM
What i find fascinating are the obituaries that you sometimes see in newspapers..somebody was a leading quarterback for the NY Jets (in the 1960's) or something like that..and you find out they were broke. ......

I realize you were using this as a hypothetical example but keep in mind that professional atheletes in such sports as baseball and American football didn't necessarily make a lot of money prior to the free agency era in the 1970s.


An NFL player in the 1960s woouldn't make remotely close to the kind of salary players do today, even adjusting for inflation.

kunilou
01-17-2005, 05:44 PM
TV pioneer Ernie Kovacs died owing both gambling and tax debts (a bad combination whoever you are). His widow, Edie Adams, did nightclub acts, bit parts in movies and a long-time stint as the Muriel Cigar girl to pay them off.

Qwertyasdfg
01-17-2005, 05:52 PM
I was surprised to learn that Jimi Hendrix's father was only getting $50,000 a year for Jimi's catalog after Jimi's death, because he was basically screwed over by his lawyer.

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 06:19 PM
So, Mozart's funeral is not an indication of his "reduced" status. Interestingly enough, Mozart's best year financially was the last year of his life when he earned from 3,600-5,600 florins (once, while bored, I tried converting this to today's dollars... my final figure was about $300,000-$500,000. Don't cite me on this, please. ;) )
.....

Hmm. That's very interesting- so it's possible he wasn't poor at all at the time of his death and that's just another thing Amadeus misrepresented.


JP Morgan was worth "just" $80 million when he died, far lower than the net worth of many people who's fortunes he helped create. John Rockefeller, upon hearing of Morgan's net worth, exclaimed "And to think he wasn't even a rich man!" (Rockefeller was worth, at that time, about $300 million - he became a billionaire only after the Supreme Court broke up Standard Oil).

Carnegie made a similar comment. I've wondered before if accounts of Morgan's "poverty" took into account his collection of antiques, antiquities, rare books, etc., on which he spent millions and millions throughout his life. (There is a rumor that he was actually accumulating a burial treasure like the great pharaohs he so idolized, but that his family basically said "to hell with that dad... we're splitting up the cash and opening a museum (http://morganlibrary.org/) with the stuff.)

An interesting robber baron fortune story was that of Cornelius "the Commodore" Vanderbilt (1793-1877). There's no shortage of stories about his stinginess (e.g. he wouldn't pay for pre-printed checks from his bank, when his doctor advised him to drink champagne for a stomach ailment he drank soda water instead because it was cheaper, etc.) or about his complete bastardy (people he ruined financially due to a personal slight, placing his wife in a mental hospital because she objected to his constant affairs, the younger son he browbeat so badly the kid eventually committed suicide, etc.). When he died (January 1877) he left an estate worth just over $107 million, an amount almost impossible to evaluate in today's currency and the vast majority of it liquid- at very least we're talking a Sagan (billions and billions).

In his will he bequeathed the interest from a $200,000 trust fund to his youngest surviving son, Cornelius Jeremiah (not the money itself, just the interest, though the interest would have still put him in the top 10% of American incomes), and to his 8 daughters he bequeathed amounts ranging from $250,000 to $500,000. He left his half-century-younger second wife (who was also his second-cousin) their home (a nice townhouse though nothing like the monstrosities his grandchildren would build) and $500,000 (again, the equivalent of several million today- she was well set) and the balance of the estate, well over $100 million, to his oldest son (whom he couldn't stand for most of his life) William Henry.

The daughters and younger son were furious about this (even though they'd inherited the equivalent of millions by today's standards) because William got so much more. The result was an absolutely incredible trial that makes for fascinating reading in the NYT microfilm. It turns out Vanderbilt, one of the most brilliant businessmen of his own or any other time, was a complete sucker for two things: spiritualism and attractive women who put out. William Henry, who'd been pretty much ignored by his father for most of his life, used both of these to his advantage by employing the services of Tennessee Claflin and her sister, Victoria C. Woodhull (first woman to run for president and on the Free Love ticket no less), "spiritual mediums" and con-artists extraordinaire.

The Commodore used the sisters to contact his mother, his first wife (who was also his first cousin), his youngest son (who was killed in the Civil War and was the only child Vanderbilt seemed to have any affection for) and others of his dearly departed. All of these shades gave him the same news from the other side: you know, William Henry is the only person on Earth who really totally loves you and just wants what's best for you, and that's why you need to leave him every cent you have. Needless to say, the sisters were double agents who'd been promised beaucoups of money if their channeling worked to William Henry's advantage.

The lawsuit was finally settled out of court when William H. basically doubled the inheritances of his siblings and still made out with the largest fortune in the U.S. . He died a few years later with the largest fortune in the world (he doubled his inheritance) and his own heirs spent the fortune on the most obscene collection of mansions the world has yet produced. By mid-20th century the fortune was effectively gone- a moderate millionaire great-grandson here or there, but unable to pay upkeep on the 100 room palaces. The richest descendant is Gloria, who actually earned the vast majority of her fortune (she inherited a $2.5 million trust fund she split with a much older half-sister but is worth in the nine figures).

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 06:22 PM
I was surprised to learn that Jimi Hendrix's father was only getting $50,000 a year for Jimi's catalog after Jimi's death, because he was basically screwed over by his lawyer.

There's an interesting Halle Berry movie called Why Do Fools Fall in Love (http://imdb.com/title/tt0123324/) about the wives of Frankie Lymon (a bigamist best known for singing the title song- he died young and destitute). It goes into the brow raising practices of studio contracts at this time (Lymon was screwed out of more than $1 million in royalties due him, which is what his numerous wives went to court over).

Hijacking my own thread, but what exactly is it that causes singers to be in debt to their recording company? I've read of singers who had gold albums who ended up owing $2 million to their label- are they charged exorbitant management fees or what?

astro
01-17-2005, 06:56 PM
Didn't alcoholic Mickey Mantle die impoverished, and nortorious cheapskate Joe Dimaggio died well off.

Little Nemo
01-17-2005, 07:00 PM
I'm no fan of Paris Hilton's but the facts are the facts - she's not just wasting away the family fortune. In actuality, she has succeeded in earning more money on her own through endorsements and acting income than she inherited as part of her family trust.

kung fu lola
01-17-2005, 07:05 PM
Hijacking my own thread, but what exactly is it that causes singers to be in debt to their recording company? I've read of singers who had gold albums who ended up owing $2 million to their label- are they charged exorbitant management fees or what?

They have to pay back the money that the label spends promoting them. Imagine having to pay for all the glossy posters, the HMV window displays, the $50,000 budget for the music video, the photoshoot for the cover of the lead single..... the label only invests a small amount in that stuff, the rest is a loan, and when album sales start, the first thing the label does is pay itself back for all that stuff.

Little Nemo
01-17-2005, 07:11 PM
Hijacking my own thread, but what exactly is it that causes singers to be in debt to their recording company? I've read of singers who had gold albums who ended up owing $2 million to their label- are they charged exorbitant management fees or what?
It's been discussed before. Basically the singers get screwed over (but legally) by their record labels. The label starts by creating a contract that's not real favorable to the performer. The unknown performer is in position to negotiate a better deal. Then the label charges all kinds of expenses - studio time, wages, legal fees, actual production of discs and tapes, advertising, etc. Even though many of these expenses are actually going right back into the label's pockets they're still being charged to the performer. Of course the performer doesn't have this money, so he ends up borrowing money from the studio (at interest) to pay the studio the expenses it's charging itself. The studio also loans the performer money for his personal spending. By the time the first record hits the stores the performer may be millions in debt. This debt is usually not a direct issue, the label is more interested in keeping the performer working and producing new income rather than wringing every dime out of them. But the threat of it is used by labels to control performers - it's the reason you see major stars being forced to sign over song rights, release "contractual obligation" albums, and pay huge sums to change labels.

Little Nemo
01-17-2005, 07:20 PM
One who I don't think has been mentioned is Elvis Presley. When he died his estate was valued at only seven million dollars. The explanation is simple: Colonel Tom.

Lochdale
01-17-2005, 07:33 PM
One who I don't think has been mentioned is Elvis Presley. When he died his estate was valued at only seven million dollars. The explanation is simple: Colonel Tom.

The "Colonel" certainly didn't help. Elvis was never incorporated so he paid personal income tax. It appears that the "Colonel" took 50% of the gross and Elvis paid for everything else with his 50% (taxes, hangers-on etc. etc.).

jimmmy
01-17-2005, 07:35 PM
I think he is OK today, but not so long ago Willie Nelson had 4 decades as a song writer, philanthoist, movie star and hit maker and nothing to show for it.

Kelsey Grammer is like no.16 on the 2004 list of Forbes celebrity pay -- becuase he was making 39million a year off Fraiser which I think is sort of surprisng -- and fully expect a nose dive soon.

Ingelbert Humperdink being worth $149 million makes him the 5th richest Pop singer in Britian which surprises me a bit (richer than Bowie, Sting, Clapton and each U2 guy) -- the wealth of Jim Kerr (Simple Minds), $60 million, and Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), $57 million was a bit surprsing to me too


http://vh1.com/artists/news/1437129/11282000/richards_keith.jhtml

AppallingGael
01-17-2005, 07:49 PM
I realize you were using this as a hypothetical example but keep in mind that professional atheletes in such sports as baseball and American football didn't necessarily make a lot of money prior to the free agency era in the 1970s.

An NFL player in the 1960s wouldn't make remotely close to the kind of salary players do today, even adjusting for inflation.

If "Jet quarterback in the 1960's" was meant to represent any typical high-profile pro football player of that era, it was an unlucky shot in the dark, as the Jet quarterback in the (latter) 1960's, Joe Namath, signed for $400,000 a year right out of college. This was the biggest pro football contract ever signed up to then, and was largely due to the signing war going on between the NFL and the upstart AFL. Granted it still palls compared to the top contracts today.

Sampiro
01-17-2005, 08:14 PM
Kelsey Grammer is like no.16 on the 2004 list of Forbes celebrity pay -- becuase he was making 39million a year off Fraiser which I think is sort of surprisng -- and fully expect a nose dive soon.

One interview show gave a tour of his home- unbefreakinglievable. It's literally a palace, or a series of palaces (there's a guest home that's basically a mansion itself) on several ACRES in Malibu (where land is sold by the square foot). I remember thinking that even if he is the highest paid actor in TV history, that place is going to have to be sold if he doesn't follow up Frasier with a huge hit in the next few years- I'm guessing that the taxes and upkeep on the place would cost more than most hit sitcom stars will make at the pinnacle of their success.

His wife actually reminds me a bit of Paris Hilton- blonde, skinny, airheaded, sense of entitlement, etc.. I saw her once on an interview show crying and hysterical because she had been pulled out of line and searched at an airport. "I kept telling them... I'm MRS. KELSEY GRAMMER! But they wouldn't listen they didn't care boo hoo hoo..." Particularly annoying when one remembers that her husband's friend and boss, David Angell, along with his wife, were among the murdered on 9-11. (Here's hoping Kelsey signed a pre-nup or else he'll be doing The Odd Couple with Anson Williams at Captain Sid's Porkchop Playhouse in Ft. Ketchikan Alaska when he's 80.

Ingelbert Humperdink being worth $149 million makes him the 5th richest Pop singer in Britian which surprises me a bit (richer than Bowie, Sting, Clapton and each U2 guy) --

I believe Ingelbert Humperdink is now dead.

[shakes head- not really]

[nods- really]

[shakes head]

[nods]

{/Dressed to Kill reference}

Rex Fenestrarum
01-17-2005, 09:07 PM
Ingelbert Humperdink being worth $149 million makes him the 5th richest Pop singer in Britian which surprises me a bit (richer than Bowie, Sting, Clapton and each U2 guy) -- the wealth of Jim Kerr (Simple Minds), $60 million, and Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), $57 million was a bit surprsing to me tool

Wow - I wonder what Kerr and Hucknall did to make that much money? Everyone else on that list seems to be a megasuperstar or an artist that's been around for a long time that has probably invested their money well (like Van Morrison and The Bee Gees). Simple Minds and Simply Red weren't *that* big in Europe, were they?

Wendell Wagner
01-18-2005, 01:00 AM
jimmmy writes:

> Ingelbert Humperdink being worth $149 million makes him the 5th richest Pop
> singer in Britian which surprises me a bit (richer than Bowie, Sting, Clapton and
> each U2 guy) -- the wealth of Jim Kerr (Simple Minds), $60 million, and Mick
> Hucknall (Simply Red), $57 million was a bit surprsing to me too

Note that this is inconsistent with earlier claims in this thread. Others in this thread claim that both McCartney and Bowie are worth more than this. I'll leave it up to someone else to resolve this.

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 02:32 AM
I imagine Conrad Hilton, who actually worked for a living, created Trusts that would never allow Paris to be anything but wealthy.

Conrad only bequeathed his youngest child, Constance Francesca, born to his wife Zsa Zsa Gabor when he was about 60, $100,000 in his will (and that with an "in terrerum" [sp?] clause). She contested anyway and received an "undisclosed settlement". I'm not sure if this is because he didn't believe she was his or because he hated her mother so much (plus he paid her a lot in the divorce settlement), but she's now writing a tell-all book about the Hilton family.

Richard Burton's many many siblings were furious at the lack of provision for them in his will. Most of his $3 million estate (which would have been much more had it not been for the trinkets he bought Liz and a lavish lifestyle) went, understandably, to his last wife (Sally, to whom he was only married for a year).

Richard Harris had a roller coaster life and was dead-broke several times, once having to live with chum Peter O'Toole and another time with his ex-wife Ann Turkel after being evicted from his rented house. When he died he was evidently in the chips again, thanks in part to a really lucky hand at cards in which he won a small estate in the Cayman Islands and of course to the Harry Potter movies (which he declined initially but did at the urging of his grandchildren).

I'm curious as to the estate left by Orson Welles. He apparently left something fairly substantive as there was a legal battle between his longtime mistress and business partner, Oja Kodar, and his estranged wife Paola (Comtesse de Mori) and their daughter. I know he made no provision other than perhaps nominal for his older daughters (his oldest, Christopher, said she had no idea how to contact him, not that she wanted to). He was a notorious spendthrift and also, to quote one biographer, "the great producer and director who never seemed to be producing or directing anything", and I've wondered if he was wealthy or not.

Vincent Price and Edward G. Robinson are two stars who left art collections as the bulk of their estate.

Butterfly McQueen, the actress bka Prissy from Gone With the Wind and who walked away from a very successful movie career rather than play another sly slave or maid, died in a 3 room shotgun house in Augusta, GA when the kerosene heater that supplied the home's only warmth set her dress on fire. This led many to assume she was poor, but they were wrong: the day she died she had signed and mailed checks totalling $40,000 to various charities, she owned a home and rental property in Harlem and she owned several houses on the street where she lived. In her will she left several of her rental properties to the long-term tenants who lived in them, money to various colleges and African-American charities, and several thousand dollars from her NYC bank accounts to the Freedom From Religion Foundation ("Prissy" had been a militant atheist since childhood, calling religion "the second slavery" to control black Americans).

Her co-star Hattie McDaniel, constantly under attack by the NAACP for portraying maids and mammies, made the famous retort "I've been a real maid in my life as well as an actress playing maids, and I'll tell you something: I'd much rather be playing somebody's maid for $700 a week than being somebody's maid for $7 a week". In real life, she earned much more than $700 at the height of her career and actually lived in a sprawling mansion with maids of her own. She died broke, but partly by choice: faced with a lingering illness, she sold her furniture and belongings, gave money and gifts to relatives and friends, and donated the rest to the Motion Picture Home where she spent the rest of her life.

I wish I had a cite for this but I promise it is true: Natalie Shafer, bka 'Mrs. Howell' from Gilligan's Island, was very wealthy due to shrewd real estate investments made before GI. When she died she left her house on Rodeo Drive [ pic (http://findadeath.com/Deceased/g/Gilligan's%20Island/Nat%20Schae%20home.JPG) to her poodle. (I think it passed to a charity upon the dog's death.) She also left a chunk to Dawn Wells, who in addition to playing Mary Ann was her caretaker late in life (they majorly bonded during the show), and the bulk of her estate to the Motion Picture Home (which named a wing after her).

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 02:39 AM
And now for something completely related: an actor you probably knew was rich but may not know is super-rich is John Cleese. In addition to his earnings from his Monty Python films (all of the troupe did quite well by those, incidentally- Holy Grail was made on a shoestring so all received a percentage of the gross [as both performers and writers] to make up for low salary and, of course, the film was a huge success) and from his many points as actor, director and star of the blockbuster A Fish Called Wanda, he owns a company that makes training films that has earned him far more than his acting career. He was also paid a fortune for the rights to Americanize Fawlty Tower in a major flop starring Bea Arthur (in which they actually wrote out the character of Basil Fawlty). He & Eric Idle evidently do not get along and when Idle hired him to do a cameo for Splitting Heirs lamented that John was paid more for a few minutes screentime than the entire budget for either of the first two Python movies.

Terry Jones of Monty Python may or may not be well to do, but I applaud his "following his dream"; with his share of the Python monies he opened a microbrewery to indulge his lifelong interest in homemade beer and he returned to school to receive a degree in his other passion, medieval history.

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 02:47 AM
Then there's the Hogan's Heroes crowd: Werner "Klink" Klemperer was one of the first stars to negotiate a really great residual deal. (He had the producers by the short hairs- in the first place he had the clout of winning two consecutive Emmys for his role, and in the second it would be almost impossible to write out his character when his contract was up.) Though he rarely worked again in television, it was more from choice than from being dried up- he earned more from repeats than from the series. He turned down lucrative offers to appear as Klink from Conan O'Brien (who actually wanted him for the kitsch sidekick role that went to Abe Vigoda), though he did it for scale for an episode of The Simpsons. Mainly he toured with orchestras, which was his first love anyway.

Bob Crane also negotiated a great deal, BUT it didn't go into effect until years after the show ended. After ten years of modest residual rights, he would receive partial ownership of the show- it was actually a very wise move, but because he died prematurely he died almost broke (or at least very cash poor). His widow and their children, however, have received millions since his estate received partial ownership. His older children have sued for a piece of the pie but unsuccessfully; his youngest son also has one of the internet's sleaziest sites (NOT WORK SAFE) dedicated to his father at http://bobcrane.com/ on which he sells his father's homemade porn tapes.

Othersider
01-18-2005, 02:53 AM
And now for something completely related: an actor you probably knew was rich but may not know is super-rich is John Cleese. In addition to his earnings from his Monty Python films (all of the troupe did quite well by those, incidentally- Holy Grail was made on a shoestring so all received a percentage of the gross [as both performers and writers] to make up for low salary and, of course, the film was a huge success) and from his many points as actor, director and star of the blockbuster A Fish Called Wanda, he owns a company that makes training films that has earned him far more than his acting career. He was also paid a fortune for the rights to Americanize Fawlty Tower in a major flop starring Bea Arthur (in which they actually wrote out the character of Basil Fawlty). He & Eric Idle evidently do not get along and when Idle hired him to do a cameo for Splitting Heirs lamented that John was paid more for a few minutes screentime than the entire budget for either of the first two Python movies.
...and he still acts occasionally, from the occasional guest role on TV shows to having cameos in Bond and Harry Potter movies.

Agrippina
01-18-2005, 10:29 AM
Laurence Olivier went through various financial problems towards the end of his life, which explains why he was in "Clash of the Titans". He explained it away as trying to earn enough money to support his family. Like Richard Burton's lavish lifestyle with Liz, Olivier also had a lavish lifestyle when he was married to Vivien Leigh.

Wasn't Marlon Brando in fiancial problems during the last year of his life?

Duke
01-18-2005, 11:06 AM
Tom Scholz (http://boston.org/goldmine.html), the lead singer of Boston and an electronics whizkid, made millions after he invented the "Rockman" amplifier. Then, with that pile of cash, he sued his old record label CBS over lost royalties, and made millions more. Those revenue sources, combined with careful investments and keeping off the drugs, has probably made Scholz the richest "classic-rock" musician around. And, yet, I had to look up his name to make sure to spell it right--not exactly a household name, there!

Little Nemo
01-18-2005, 11:19 AM
Holy Grail was made on a shoestring so all received a percentage of the gross [as both performers and writers] to make up for low salary and, of course, the film was a huge success
I was just reading about the making of the film. When it was being discussed, no respectable financial investor expected it would earn any profits so nobody would loan the company any money. The cast members were forced to go to wealthy fans of their show (mostly rock stars) and ask them to loan them money in exchange for a percentage of the potential profits. Those that agreed ended up earning something like a 10,000% return on their investment.

Annie-Xmas
01-18-2005, 11:25 AM
I was just reading about the making of the film. When it was being discussed, no respectable financial investor expected it would earn any profits so nobody would loan the company any money. The cast members were forced to go to wealthy fans of their show (mostly rock stars) and ask them to loan them money in exchange for a percentage of the potential profits. Those that agreed ended up earning something like a 10,000% return on their investment.

The London CATS had similar financing--Andrew Lloyd Webber put up his house for 1/4 of the money, over 2,000 individual investors put up 1/4, and the theatre backed the rest. Those that invested made about 10,000% on their money. I wish I had.

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 11:38 AM
The London CATS had similar financing--Andrew Lloyd Webber put up his house for 1/4 of the money, over 2,000 individual investors put up 1/4, and the theatre backed the rest. Those that invested made about 10,000% on their money. I wish I had.

On a documentary I saw a guy who worked in a coffee shop where Webber and crew had lunch. He was intriqued and asked if he could invest a very modest amount (something like $100) and to his surprise Webber took it. Today he uses his "share" of the play to take a very nice vacation every year.

As memory serves George Harrison was one of the major investors in the Python movies.

carlb
01-18-2005, 11:57 AM
Unless there are family squabbles we don't know about, Julia-Louis-Dreyfus stands to inherit a buttload of money. Her father (well, her family) was number 170 on Forbes' World's Richest People 2004 list (http://forbes.com/finance/lists/10/2004/LIR.jhtml?passListId=10&passYear=2004&passListType=Person&uniqueId=DDGH&datatype=Person) . If this site (http://gorillamask.net/heiress.shtml) is correct, she stands to inherit more than Paris Hilton.

Plus, I think she's way hotter than that Hilton skank, too.

Scumpup
01-18-2005, 12:31 PM
Seems to me that I read somewhere that Chevy Chase is the wealthy heir to the Crane fortune. They make porcelain urinals, toilets, etc.

Uncommon Sense
01-18-2005, 12:33 PM
MC Hammer and Mike Tyson, both legendary financial collapses.

Hammer squandered more than 20 million but seems to have made somewhat of a comeback.

Tyson, I believe, has lost over 200 million and is in debt upwards of millions.

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 01:16 PM
Seems to me that I read somewhere that Chevy Chase is the wealthy heir to the Crane fortune. They make porcelain urinals, toilets, etc.

The richest celebrity from inheritance is almost certainly Dina Merrill, daughter of E.F. Hutton and Marjorie Merriwether Post [of Post Cereal fame]. Trump's estate in Florida, Maralago, now a resort hotel, was her family's vacation home.

Other rich from inheritance celebrities:

Carly Simon- heiress to the Simon & Schuster publishing fortune

McLean Stevenson- son of an heiress and a cousin of Adlai Stevenson

Cole Porter- a millionaire by birthright long before he became a super successful songwriter thanks to his grandfather's patent medicines and drugstores

Goldie Hawn- a debutante from a very aristocratic and wealthy South Carolina family (though her own fortune has far outpassed theirs)

Katharine Hepburn- born and reared in her family's mansion

Robin Williams- grew up in a 30 room mansion in Michigan, though his father cut him off without a dime when he went into show business; his mother died on September 11, 2001 (though not as a result of the plane crashes) and presumably as only child he inherited then

Glenn Close- one of those "so rich they drive 10 year old cars" "old money" families

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 01:18 PM
Forgot to add to the above: Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine are both heiresses.

Actresses very wealthy from inheritance from their husbands include Jennifer Jones (who inherited more than 100 million from Norton Simon) and Maureen O'Hara (who inherited and managed her husband's airline and is one of the wealthiest living actresses [and still a damned fine looking broad])

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 01:23 PM
Forgot to add to the above: Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine are both heiresses.

Actresses very wealthy from inheritance from their husbands include Jennifer Jones (who inherited more than 100 million from Norton Simon) and Maureen O'Hara (who inherited and managed her husband's airline and is one of the wealthiest living actresses [and still a damned fine looking broad])

The writer Jerzy Kozinsky inherited a considerable fortune (enough to live lavishly for the rest of his life) from his first wife, Mary Hayward Weir, who in turn was the widow of National Steel billionaire Ernest T. Weir (who was at least 40 years her senior- she was the inspiration for the Eve Rand character in Being There; she and Kosinsky actually divorced but she died soon after and left him a fortune in her will.

jsc1953
01-18-2005, 01:51 PM
And now for something completely related: an actor you probably knew was rich but may not know is super-rich is John Cleese....he owns a company that makes training films that has earned him far more than his acting career.

To hijack slightly, I've seen one of these films: Meetings, Bloody Meetings. It's hilarious (and effective).

Shodan
01-18-2005, 03:14 PM
Most boxers, even champions, wind up broke like Joe Louis. There are some exceptions -
Jess Willard, the Great White Hope who finally beat Jack Johnson for the title suffered a horrific knock-out at the fists of Jack Dempsey. He was floored seven times, and was led from the ring - cheekbone smashed, ribs broken, eye closed tight - muttering to himself, over and over, "I have $100,000 and a farm in Kansas. I have $100,000 and a farm in Kansas."
Gene Tunney earned $990,00 for his last fight, in addition to what he earned for the "Battle of the Long Count", in an era before income tax and a loaf of bread was a nickel. He was on the board of directors of several banks. One son became a US Senator.
Billy Conn, who held the light-heavyweight championship of the world (according to the New York Boxing Commission) and was knocked out by Joe Louis in what Ring Magazine voted the most exciting fight of all time, had a rematch with the Brown Bomber after WWII. He lost embarassingly, put his earnings into oil stocks, and died a very wealthy man.
Max Schmeling, who Joe Louis also knocked out in a famous fight, was the Coca-Cola distributor for West Germany. The winner and loser of the most famous one-round knockout in boxing history were reunited many decades later. The loser - prosperous, successful and cheerful. The winner - broke, half-demented, and confined to a wheelchair.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Regards,
Shodan

MsRobyn
01-18-2005, 03:39 PM
As memory serves George Harrison was one of the major investors in the Python movies.

IMDB (http://imdb.com/name/nm0365600/?fr=c2l0ZT1kZnxteD0yMHxzZz0xfGxtPTIwMHx0dD1vbnxwbj0wfHE9R2VvcmdlIEhhcnJpc29ufGh0bWw9MXxubT1vbg__;fc= 1;ft=20;fm=1) says that Harrison was the executive producer for Life of Brian and Monty Python Live at Hollywood Bowl. He owned Handmade Films and produced a number of films.

Robin

Walloon
01-18-2005, 05:10 PM
Gene Tunney earned $990,00 for his last fight, in addition to what he earned for the "Battle of the Long Count", in an era before income tax and a loaf of bread was a nickel.The federal income tax was reinstated in 1913. When Tunney was the heavyweight boxing champion in 1926-1928, the top income tax rate was 25 percent.

As I'm writing this, I'm sitting under an art print of the famous 1927 long count, autographed by both Dempsey and Tunney!

Shirley Ujest
01-18-2005, 06:09 PM
Wasn't it Betty Grable or some other huge Pin up / Movie star of A-list looks but I think B-list talent in the 40's lost everything, sunk into obscurity and eventually was living either through friends or cleaning church rectories for a living?

Who am I thinking of? Gah....its going to drive me nuts now.


Didn't Rosemary Clooney suffer horrendous losses financially from her manager?

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 06:16 PM
Most boxers, even champions, wind up broke like Joe Louis. There are some exceptions -

Jack Johnson (about whom there's a Ken Burns special tonight) wound up broke after earning more than $100,000 in purses in one year, but he had some serious help from the government of course. I think later he made some money from exhibitions and ended up at least comfortably middle class with his last wife.

George Foreman went broke several times; the reason he went back into the ring in hls late 40s was 100% because he needed the money. His BIG payday, though, was the grill: he was courted as a celebrity pitchman and asked for 25% of the profits instead of the multimillion dollar contract he was offered. That grill and its 144,000 spin-offs (GF roaster oven, GF rotisserie, GF juicer, GF crematorium, GF outdoor electric barbecue, GF amphibious diesel engine, etc.) succeeded beyond anybody's expectations and has earned him far more than his boxing career. Last year he sold his rights back to the company for something like $150 million (but agreed to remain on as spokesperson for a hefty salary).

I hope that Muhammad Ali has money left; I have no idea. I was astonished at how well O.J. had guarded his nut considering that NFL players in his heyday made nothing like today even when adjusted for inflation.



Speaking of paid spokespeople: another member of the "Nowhere near as rich as you'd think" club was Colonel Harlan Sanders. He sold the rights to KFC lock-stock-&-barrel for $2 million then stupidly TURNED DOWN 10% stock in the company (demanding cash instead). He was well paid to be the pitch person for the company but would become furious when they added something new to the menu (Extra Crispy, for example, almost gave him apoplexy). His secretary meanwhile cashed in all of her assets to buy a much smaller share of stock that Sanders turned down and wound up becoming a millionaire many times over. (Sanders was also one of the foulest mouthed old men in the business world and supposedly next to impossible to work for or with.)

Ray Kroc's secretary also made tens of millions from buying McDonald's stock early and cheap and thus she wound up incomparably richer than Richard & Maurice McDonald who accepted a cash buyout and very little stock. (Kroc was OCD, incidentally, which served him well in standardizing the McD's restaurant chain.)

jimmmy
01-18-2005, 06:20 PM
Sampiro thanks for the responses you are the man and I love your stuff. I am not just saying that I'm a fan. So I'm coming from fandom to say are you sure about Goldie Hawn?

Other rich from inheritance celebrities:

Goldie Hawn- a debutante from a very aristocratic and wealthy South Carolina family (though her own fortune has far outpassed theirs)



I am 100% positive that she was born in Washington D.C., grew up in Silver Spring MD, and attended the local public High School (Blair) there. It was not the wealthiest neighborhood -- definitely upper middle class Jewish people mainly, professionals & government workers, but in the minority Blue Collar folks almost certainly outnumbered "rich" people when she was in school there. She still remembers her home town and has been reasonably cool about doing TV spots for them and recalling them.

None of this, really, means what you wrote is wrong -- although describing her as "a debutant" I think would surprise the people who went to High School with her.

Thanks for the Cleese stuff too I was very glad to read it.
----------------------------
Another surprise to me is Michael Jackson is always rumored to be teetering on the brink of Bankruptcy -- that he has a song catalog (including the Beatles) worth circa 350-500 million dollars -- makes this surprising to me... but I am not sure of the accuracy of these reports

Gary "Whatschotalkingaboutwillis"Coleman star of TV's "Diff'rent Strokes" was, for a time, the best-paid child actor in America, earning $70,000 an episode and worth about according to CNNMoney $18million. By his 30's he was broke and working as a security guard

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 06:28 PM
Wasn't it Betty Grable or some other huge Pin up / Movie star of A-list looks but I think B-list talent in the 40's lost everything, sunk into obscurity and eventually was living either through friends or cleaning church rectories for a living? Who am I thinking of? Gah....its going to drive me nuts now.

Betty Hutton, maybe?

Veronica Lake ended up as a cocktail waitress.

Didn't Rosemary Clooney suffer horrendous losses financially from her manager?

Yep. She suffered a nervous breakdown during which time her manager royally screwed her over and she had an IRS deal she never did pay off. The charity of her ex-husband (Jose Ferrer) basically kept her afloat (and the financial strain it put on him explains a lot of his really bad TV and movie roles in the last few decades of his life).

I read an interview with George Clooney in which he mentioned how even as an old and obese and ill woman she had to go play nightclubs every weekend and every other week to pay money to the IRS. This begged the question "George, baby, you just paid $19 million for an Italian villa- her tax bill couldn't have been a fraction of that. Couldn't you have paid it off for her? I mean you owe her- you lived in her house rent free when you moved to Hollywood." Perhaps he offered and she refused- I hope that was the case anyway.

Martha Raye is another star from that era who wound up penniless, but the denture commercials she did made her rich again.

A sit-com second banana who left a very sizeable chunk of change was Vic Tayback. There is a library named for him in his home neighborhood because of his bequests.

Stephen Root (bka as either Milton the Swingline stapler guy or as Jimmy James from News Radio) has apparently done very well as he has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to scholarship funds at his alma mater, FSU.

Quite possibly the wealthiest author at the time of his death was James Michener, who through several bestsellers and good investments left an estate worth close to $100 million even though he had given millions to charity.

Anne Rice is sometimes estimated at having a worth of that or more, but "reliable sources" tell me that until she divested herself of most of her holdings recently she was a Michael Jackson like walking timebomb. She owned mansions in San Francisco, South Beach and Beverly Hills, had a penthouse in NYC, and owned numerous homes in New Orleans including the famous First St. (Witching Hour) mansion and the 40,000 square foot former Catholic girl's school and convent she made into a family home; her book sales plummeted after more and more people realized she sucked and this left her with a very serious cash flow problem and mortgaged to the hilt. She has since sold most of her houses (including the Witching Hour home) and moved to another home on the shores of Pontchartrain.

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 06:36 PM
I am 100% positive that [Goldie Hawn] was born in Washington D.C., grew up in Silver Spring MD, and attended the local public High School (Blair) there. It was not the wealthiest neighborhood -- definitely upper middle class Jewish people mainly, professionals & government workers, but in the minority Blue Collar folks almost certainly outnumbered "rich" people when she was in school there.

We're both right actually; her mother was Jewish, her father was Edward Rutledge Hawn (named for his ancestor, Edward Rutledge, signer of the Declaration of Independence). Hawn was a South Carolina aristocrat who later returned there. Goldie was raised Jewish.

Another surprise to me is Michael Jackson is always rumored to be teetering on the brink of Bankruptcy -- that he has a song catalog (including the Beatles) worth circa 350-500 million dollars -- makes this surprising to me... but I am not sure of the accuracy of these reports

Long story about the catalog: short version is that basically he can't sell it and derives very little income from it because Sony has a lien on half of it and along with other lenders has garnished most of the income from the other half Almost all of the considerable income it generates goes into debt repayment.[/QUOTE]

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 06:49 PM
Two other stars who were majorly rooked by managers:

Robert Mitchum- most of his savings were embezzled by a manager to whom he gave power of attorney, forcing him to keep working til the end of his days.

Doris Day- not only did she find out she was broke and in debt when her husband Martin Melcher, but she was committed to do a television series that she 1- didn't want to do and 2- had already been paid for even though the money was gone. After many years of rebuilding her life and bank account she finally won a verdict of $25 million against her former manager; he didn't have that much, but what she did get in the final accounting made her wealthy enough to retire. She owns a resort in Carmel now (Cypress Inn (http://cypress-inn.com/), which caters as much to the guest's pets as to the guests) though she recently lost her only child, Terry.

Bill Cosby wound up broke and deeply in debt to the IRS during the early 1970s and pretty much unable to get a job. He was given a contract in Tahoe strictly as a favor from an old friend with some authority there and finally managed to plead his way into the endorsement deal with Jell-O and that paid off his debts. The Cosby Show, of course, made him one of the richest men in entertainment, but to this day he continues to play the lounge in Tahoe in appreciation and he continued to endorse Jell-O long after he needed the money for the same reason.

Cosby's advice to all up-and-coming celebrities: NEVER GIVE ANYBODY ELSE THE AUTHORITY TO SIGN YOUR CHECKS.

Redd Foxx blew his fortune on divorce (one ex-wife walked away with his Sanford residuals), cocaine and generally extravagant living until he ended up selling his belongings in a Sanford and Son themed "junk shop" in Las Vegas.

Incredibly generous (too generous, really), before he struck it big in TV he had lost a small fortune when he sank his entire wad into a nightclub and allowed his friends from the Chitlin' Belt to run it- they ran it right into the ground and stole from him left right and center. Even so, he gave many of them guest appearances on Sanford & Son to give them some exposure and income. (I don't believe LaWanda Page was one of the people who stole from his nightclub, but she had been his friend since childhood before being a stripper/comedienne (http://findadeath.com/Deceased/p/lawanda/bronzegoddess.jpg) (disturbing pic). I don't believe she died rich, but commercials and guest shots certainly made her comfortable; this (http://findadeath.com/Deceased/p/lawanda/house.jpg) is her colorful house (http://findadeath.com/Deceased/p/lawanda/house2.jpg) in South Central L.A..

Sampiro
01-18-2005, 06:52 PM
Another "not as rich as I'd have thought" celebrity: Sonny Bono. His estate was worth only $1.66 million, not much considering he received the publishing rights in his divorce from Cher. In an eye rolling Hollywood fake sincerity move, Cher gave that majorly tearful farewell at his funeral, then filed a claim worth as much as the estate against the estate for back alimony. (She later withdrew it since it would have left his wife and young children almost destitute.)

Shodan
01-18-2005, 08:22 PM
The federal income tax was reinstated in 1913. When Tunney was the heavyweight boxing champion in 1926-1928, the top income tax rate was 25 percent.I did a bit of Googling. The top rate was 25% for income over $100,000, but you are closer to right than I was. Cite. (http://cato.org/research/articles/rugy-030319.html)

Regards,
Shodan

Little Nemo
01-18-2005, 09:51 PM
Another surprise to me is Michael Jackson is always rumored to be teetering on the brink of Bankruptcy -- that he has a song catalog (including the Beatles) worth circa 350-500 million dollars -- makes this surprising to me... but I am not sure of the accuracy of these reports
While the catalog might be worth that much in value, the actual annual income from it is much less. And Jackson is a notorious spendthrift - how much does it cost each year to run a personal amusement park?

Wendell Wagner
01-18-2005, 10:25 PM
Here's one of several biography pages I found by Googling for Goldie Hawn:

http://celebritywonder.com/cgi-bin/frame/frame.cgi?goldiehawn==http://biography.com/search/article.jsp?aid=9331873

While it may be true that she's descended from a signer of the Declaration of Independence, it doesn't look like she grew up rich. Her mother owned a dance studio and sold jewelry wholesale and her father was a musician. What's your source for saying that she was heir to a fortune?

Mississippienne
02-05-2005, 10:10 AM
The richest celebrity from inheritance is almost certainly Dina Merrill, daughter of E.F. Hutton and Marjorie Merriwether Post [of Post Cereal fame]. Trump's estate in Florida, Maralago, now a resort hotel, was her family's vacation home.


If I'm not mistaken, her stepfather was the "Merrill" in Merrill & Lynch, hence her stagename.

Anderson Cooper, host of "The Mole", is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt.

Actor Balthazar Getty is a scion of The Gettys.

Michael Nesmith of the Monkees is the son of Bette Nesmith, who invented Liquid Paper. He apparently inherited around $25 million dollars from her estate.

Zoe
02-05-2005, 10:47 AM
Regarding those empty Tiffany boxes: A friend of mine went to a party where Tiffany boxes were used somehow as decorations and thrown out afterwards. I was horrified. I have assumed that was in North Carolina, but it could have been elsewhere. Wouldn't that be weird if they were the same boxes?

Annie-Xmas
02-05-2005, 11:38 AM
While the catalog might be worth that much in value, the actual annual income from it is much less. And Jackson is a notorious spendthrift - how much does it cost each year to run a personal amusement park?

Not to mention his legal bills....

Sampiro
02-05-2005, 06:35 PM
Here's one of several biography pages I found by Googling for Goldie Hawn:

http://celebritywonder.com/cgi-bin/frame/frame.cgi?goldiehawn==http://biography.com/search/article.jsp?aid=9331873

While it may be true that she's descended from a signer of the Declaration of Independence, it doesn't look like she grew up rich. Her mother owned a dance studio and sold jewelry wholesale and her father was a musician. What's your source for saying that she was heir to a fortune?

Sorry for just now responding, but I just read the above.

I must be wrong on the subject. I heard this from a tour guide in Charleston, SC, who mentioned that she is on the city's social register. Whether that part is true or not I'm not certain (though she is definitely descended of SC Colonial aristocracy) but I can't find verification. Withdrawn with apologies.

She is, however, half Jewish and Paul Newman is too, and if you put them together what a fine lookin' Jew...

Walloon
02-06-2005, 09:34 AM
A friend of mine went to a party where Tiffany boxes were used somehow as decorations and thrown out afterwards. I was horrified.Can someone explain what a Tiffany box is? I am guessing it has to do with the jeweler Tiffany. What is horrifying about throwing out an empty box from Tiffany? :confused:

JRDelirious
02-06-2005, 10:16 AM
Can someone explain what a Tiffany box is? I am guessing it has to do with the jeweler Tiffany. What is horrifying about throwing out an empty box from Tiffany? :confused:

Apparently these are no ordinary boxes. They had better be something special, or else I have absolutely no instinct for fleecing the unaware. And if indeed they are so special, then as mentioned in the very first post alluding to it, an enterprising street capitalist can parlay the packaging into a value-added item in their distribution chain. So thanks to this thread, if I ever get anything in a Tiffany box, ya bet I'm getting on the horn to Tiffany to see if it really came from them.

ColonelDax
02-06-2005, 10:28 AM
Ty Cobb, in addition to having the highest career batting average in the history of major-league baseball, became a millionaire through investments that included real estate, an auto dealership and stocks, notably Coca-Cola Co. and United Motors, which became General Motors Corp.

Sampiro
02-06-2005, 10:44 AM
Ty Cobb, in addition to having the highest career batting average in the history of major-league baseball, became a millionaire through investments that included real estate, an auto dealership and stocks, notably Coca-Cola Co. and United Motors, which became General Motors Corp.

He built an entire wing of Emory University hospital (which is why the allowed him to keep his pistol with him when he was a patient there- in addition to being a great ballplayer and financial wizard, he was an all around nut-job).

I've read several times that the Three Stooges were majorly screwed financially and that they all died poor. This does not seem to be true at least in the case of Moe Howard, at least according to this guy (http://web2.airmail.net/willdogs/janin.htm) who met him the year before he died and describes his house as extremely comfortable, immaculately landscaped and decorated and "worth triple the price of the same house anywhere else in the country". Moe also drove a late model Mazda RX3 and owned a Cadillac at the time, so he had apparently taken very good care of his money (though the Three Stooges were also popular as an act in Vegas and in lucrative personal appearances long after their heyday, which may have replenished his accounts).

I just read an estimate of $12 million for Ray Charles's estate. (It's being sued by a mistress who claims he did not provide for her and their teenaged child [attorneys for Charles insist that [spoil]he never saw that woman before in his life.... sorry, had to[/I]).

One singer I was surprised to learn is as well fixed as he is is B.B. King. While I know he's a blues legend, he's never had the level of success of a rock star or even Ray Charles. However, years ago he started a $1 million trust fund to pay for the college tuition of any of his children and grandchildren who want to go. (He has 15 children by 13 women- some of his children are very successful professionals while others are drug addicted inmates or ex-cons- I'm guessing it largely depended on the mothers as I can't imagine a man with a very busy tour schedule and 14 other children would be the most hands on dad in the universe.)

I knew that Johnny Carson was very very rich but I didn't know he was that rich- I've read estimates of his estate ranging from $200 million to the half-billion mark. Amongst his other philanthropical gestures: $20 million to the University of Nebraska, a new library and school auditorium for the Norfolk NE high school he attended, medical bills and pensions for some of his former teachers (he went to Norfolk to see his favorite teacher on her 100th birthday) and numerous scholarship funds.

What's odd: in the 1980s his first wife, Jody, mother of his three sons, sued him for $160,000 in back alimony and money she said she was entitled to at the time of their divorce in the 1960s. Carson fought the case; you'd think he'd have just written a check and called it done since that amount was NOTHING to him and she was the mother of his children. There must be more to the story- either he was a veddy veddy bad man or their divorce was particularly bitter or... hmm.

ColonelDax
02-06-2005, 11:06 AM
A couple of others from the sports world:

The much-beloved Brooks Robinson was in serious and highly publicized financial trouble (in debt, being pursued by creditors) when he retired in 1977, mainly as a result of his excessively generous nature. He refused to declare bankruptcy and returned money that fans sent him in the mail. Within a few years, fortunately, the situation had changed completely as Robinson became a very successful local baseball telecaster and an executive at an oil company. He also joined a business-management firm that specializes in helping professional athletes avoid similar problems.

Max Schmeling, the German boxer who had two famous bouts with Joe Louis in the 1930s and died last week at 99, was almost broke after World War II (in which he served as a paratrooper). He participated in five boxing matches for the money and used the funds to buy the license for Coca-Cola's German franchise, which made him quite wealthy.

pesch
02-06-2005, 06:23 PM
Sting is also worth something like $300 million.

I remember a news story from his accountant's embezzlement trial that Sting didn't even realize he was being siphoned for millions until the guy was caught.

How about living your life so rich that you could lose millions and not even feel it?

pesch
02-06-2005, 07:01 PM
A few facts regarding John Cleese and the Pythoners:

* Graham Chapman appeared in Baltimore doing his one-man show, and commented that a British tab -- as part of their million-dollar lottery promotion -- asked him what he would do with the money if he won. Chapman said he would give it to Cleese "so he could take the day off."

* Another source of the Pythoner's wealth is the TV show. BBC originally owned the rights to "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and sold the U.S. rights to ABC, which -- in the tradition of American television networks -- hacked the episodes up and repackaged them into three 90-minute specials. Naughty words were snipped, scenes reshuffled, continuity errors abounded. A screening of the first show horrified the Pythoners and, fearing for their reputations, sued ABC and the BBC and tried to get an injunction preventing the second show from appearing. An American judge ruled in favor of the Pythoners, but wouldn't halt the showing (which I believe was immiment). They were allowed to post a statement at the beginning of the show disavowing any connection with the broadcast (an ABC exec's request to the group to make the announcement funny was not welcomed).

As a side effect, the BBC settled with the Pythoners by giving them the rights to their work. And thus fortunes were launched on the high seas of finance.

* Oh, and a Star Wars story which may or may not be true: Fantasy artist Phil Foglio has told the story that, at a science-fiction convention, he met Mark Hamill, who was showing a Star Wars promotional reel. Hamill said that Foglio could invest in the movie if he had five grand to spend. Foglio saw the reel, disliked what he saw, and declined the offer. The fact he still tells the story several decades later indicates to me that he harbors some small tinge of regret over that decision.

(Of course, this leads to the ultimate contract story. When George Lucas negotiated his "Star Wars" contract with the studio he was able to hold onto the merchandising rights because the movie executives didn't believe anyone could make any money off that silly little sci-fi movie.)

Sampiro
02-06-2005, 08:39 PM
Also on the subject of stupid business decisions: both Little Richard and Roy Orbison were offered hefty percentages of the Beatles publishing rights by Brian Epstein (perhaps the most notoriously incompetent business manager in the history of rock) if they would let the Beatles tour with them and help promote them; both declined. (In fairness, they received similar offers from a lot of other groups nobody anywhere has ever heard of and with reason.) Orbison died quite wealthy due to clean living and good investments but I'm not sure about Little Richard- he still performs but I don't know if it's from needing the money or because he likes the adulation.

I was amazed to learn that Anthony LaPaglia is pulling down $1 million per episode for Without a Trace- I had no idea it was that popular (and the Desperate Housewives, while grossly overpaid compared to most of us, are on a much bigger hit and make a small fraction of that).

Bob Denver evidently does okay as he has a comfortable looking house and owns a W. Virginia mountain, but the most he ever made for Gilligan's Island was under $5,000 per episode. That was almost 20 times what Garrett Morris made for the first season of Saturday Night Live.

Sampiro
02-06-2005, 08:48 PM
Also: I heard Don Knotts speak a few years ago and he mentioned that while he will always be remembered as Barney Fife, it is actually Three's Company that liberated him from the dinner-theater and county fair circuit (though he still does theater occasionally- for a while he was touring with Joanne 'Laugh-In' Worley in On Golden Pond). By the early 1970s his film career had largely dried up (he did the occasional Disney film, but that studio is notorious for underpaying), divorce had cost him much of his earnings to that point and none of his pilots were picked up. While he wasn't going through garbage cans when he got the call to be Ralph Furley, he was definitely not doing too well financially or professionally. The show however gave him not only a much bigger paycheck than TAGS but by then he knew from his frustration over paltry payments for Andy Griffith the value of negotiating a decent residual arrangement (and like Andy Griffith, Three's Company has rarely if ever been off the air).

I was very surprised (and glad) to learn that Tim Conway has earned millions from his Dorf videos. They seem so... silly and juvenile... but apparently they are far more popular than I ever realized.

Sampiro
02-06-2005, 09:04 PM
A rather odd "rich celebrity" story: Yul Brynner was so well known that few realize he was essentially unemployable in Hollywood for the last two decades of his life. (Westworld was his only standout hit in the 1970s and his sitcom version of The King & I tanked- ironically it was meant to be a lead-in hit to another sitcom from which little if nothing was expected- M*A*S*H). His dream of being a Bond villain was never realized. He basically had the option of doing TV episodic guest appearances and miniseries and arthouse films that would barely pay his alimony and child support or making a bloody fortune by travelling the world 50 weeks per year in the road show of King & I (he played the role of Mongkut more than 5,000 times, which I believe is a record for any actor). Consequently he was able to pay for a medieval French castle for his wife and younger children to enjoy, but he was only able to be there two weeks per year.

A happier story would seem to be that of Hal Holbrook, who has toured as Mark Twain now for a decade longer than Sam Clemens toured as Mark Twain. He does about two to three dozen shows per year, largely choosing venues because he wants to to to a particular city, receives first class transportation and accomodations, a flat fee of from $5,000 to $20,000 depending upon the venue and a large percentage of admission, and unlike Brynner he doesn't have to say exactly the same dialogue and sing the same songs every night. (He has memorized about 20 hours of Twain's material and he wings each performance depending on his mood, the audience's reaction, etc.: I've seen the show 3 times and only perhaps 5 minutes worth of the two hours was in each show.) He also still makes TV and movie appearances in worthwhile or at least lucrative roles. In short, a really great and satisfying career for an old actor.

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