In honour of the Toronto International Film Festival’s debut tomorrow (Sept. 10, 2015), I thought it appropriate to highlight a real estate story that involves film celebrities. And nothing fascinates us more than stars with cash problems. While cash-flow crunches happen to the best of us, it’s always shocking to discover that people who make millions each year also face financial problems.
Here are 5 film celebrities who faced either a foreclosure, a fire sale or a property price cut in the last decade.
1) Mel Gibson
Amidst his ongoing legal battles, Mr. Gibson’s real estate portfolio has taken quite a hit. The first property to run into issues was his 75-acre estate in Greenwich, CT. The ranch first hit the market in 2007, for US$39.5-million. Despite price cuts, the property wouldn’t sell until finally in 2010, Gibson agreed to let it go at US$24-million, almost half the original price. But his property woes didn’t stop there. That same year (in March 2010), Gibson listed his Lavender Hill Farm for US$14.5-million. He dropped the price in 2011 to US$12.75-million, but it finally settled on a US$9.2-million sale price for the three-acre estate in 2012.
2) Nicolas Cage
The Oscar award-winning actor Nicolas Cage is known both for his talent and his eccentricities—as well as his big troubles with the IRS. In April 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported that Cage’s US$35-million Bel Air, CA, mansion was foreclosed on because of unpaid taxes. But even with an opening bid of US$10.4-million there were no buyers. Realtor Bret Parsons remarked at the time that the cut-rate price couldn’t induce a deal because the home’s “frat-house bordello” decor was too off-putting.
3) Timothy Busfield
Cult-classic fans will know Timothy Busfield as Poindexter in “Revenge of the Nerds” (and “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise”). Busfield is also an accomplished television actor with roles in “Thirtysomething” and “The West Wing.” Sadly, however, Busfield ran into financial problems five years ago when he defaulted on his mortgage. According to Forbes magazine, it was a costly 2007 divorce that prompted the problems and resulted in his home being repossessed in 2011.
4) Burt Reynolds
Active in show business since 1959, this iconic actor apparently didn’t run into problems until 2011, when Merrill Lynch Credit Corporation claimed that Reynolds was behind on mortgage payments for his 12,500 square foot home in Florida. By 2013, when the home was foreclosed, Reynolds owed just over US$1.2-million in back payments.
5) Chris Tucker
Known for his roles in “The Rush Hour, “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “The Fifth Element,” Tucker’s career collided with the IRS a few years ago after it was reported that he owed US$11.5-million in back taxes. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the star also owed US$4.4-million in mortgage payments to SunTrust Bank before his 10,000 square foot Lake County, Florida estate was foreclosed on and sold.