WHEN RICHARD NIXON resigned from the White House, he was sick (phlebitis), broke (legal bills and back taxes), despondent and reviled. To generate cash, he was forced to sell his two homes in Key Biscayne, Fla., at a bargain. Hoping to make more, he tried to persuade the television networks to buy his recollections. They weren't interested. In San Clemente, Nixon stewed in lonely exile.
But his finances began to turn, and then his fortunes. He received an advance of more than $2 million for his memoirs. Rushing in where the networks feared to tread, British talk show host David Frost paid Nixon $600,000 and a share of the profits for a series of televised interviews.
In 1979, his health and his finances on the mend, Nixon sold his house in San Clemente, reportedly for more than $2 million, and moved to New York. A couple of years later, he sold his Manhattan town house and moved to Saddle River, N. J. He took up a career as an author, churned out four big-picture meditations on foreign affairs and is currently working on a book called "1999."
Along the way, Nixon has steered clear of entanglements. He hasn't affiliated with any charities nor undertaken any business activities, says his administrative assistant, John H. Taylor. He has ignored requests to sit on corporate boards and he does not accept honorariums for his infrequent public speeches. From his real estate and book sales, he's become quite wealthy anyway.