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Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny Law

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted June 4, 2008



The housing bubble has claimed another famous face. This time it is the renowned pitchman/comedian/side kick Ed McMahon.

The grandfatherly McMahon is now 644K behind in the mortgage payments on his Beverly Hills mansion and it has gone into foreclosure.

Here’s the story in L.A.

From the Wall Street Journal by James R. Hagerty and Glenn R. Simpson entitled: Ed McMahon May Lose Beverly Hills Home

“Ed McMahon, the longtime sidekick to television star Johnny Carson, faces the possible loss of his Beverly Hills home to a foreclosure action initiated by a unit of Countrywide Financial Corp.

Mr. McMahon, a jovial fixture of American television for decades, is one of the most prominent people caught up in a wave of mortgage defaults that has devastated low-income areas, suburbia and even a few posh gated communities, such as the one where the McMahons live. U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson, a California Democrat, recently lost a home in Sacramento to a foreclosure. Rep. Richardson didn’t respond to requests for comment.

ReconTrust, a unit of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, on Feb. 28 filed a notice of default on a $4.8 million Countrywide loan backed by Mr. McMahon’s home. The notice was filed with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office but hasn’t previously come to light. According to the filing, Mr. McMahon was then about $644,000 in arrears on the loan. It isn’t clear whether Countrywide still owns the loan or is acting on behalf of investors who acquired it. Public records also show that Mr. McMahon had a separate home-equity line of credit from Countrywide of up to $300,000 secured by the same house.

Mr. McMahon’s home has been on the market for about two years, his real-estate agent Alex Davis said. Mr. Davis said the price had been reduced, but he couldn’t immediately provide details. The Christie’s Great Estates Web site, which includes homes listed by Mr. Davis, lists the asking price at $5.75 million and says it has a canyon view and a master-bedroom suite with his and her bathrooms.

Mr. McMahon broke his neck in a fall about 18 months ago and hasn’t been able to work, Mr. Bragman said. That health problem, along with the weak housing market and economy, has forced Mr. McMahon into foreclosure proceedings, Mr. Bragman said.

The McMahons “understand that they are in the same situation as hundreds of thousands of other hard-working Americans, and their hearts go out to them,” Mr. Bragman said.”


That’s a sad footnote to what otherwise has been a remarkable lifetime of achievements.

McMahon began his career as bingo caller and later retired as a Marine Colonel after flying 85 air missions in Korea. It was only later that he reached the height of his famed working with Johnny Carson.

Let’s face it…..they just don’t make them like that anymore. Kind of sad.

By the way, the McMahon’s were hardly alone. There were nearly 650,000 foreclosure issued during the first quarter of 2008. That’s up 23% from the last quarter of 2007, and up a staggering 112% from the same period a year ago.

So how bad has the housing market gotten in McMahon’s home state of California? Well judge for yourself…

It’s buy one, get one free out there these days, which is absolutely mind boggling—even for a guy that has been talking about the housing bubble since 2003. 

See for yourself: