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McMahon talks about house woes

June 06, 2008|Peter Y. Hong | Times Staff Writer

Ed McMahon, the jocular sidekick to Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show," returned to television Thursday to discuss a somber personal matter -- the looming foreclosure of his Beverly Hills house.

Appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live," McMahon, 85, began his interview with the throaty chuckle that had been his trademark on Carson's show. Asked what happened, he quipped, "How much time do you have?"

McMahon, in a neck brace, said he had been unable to work since he broke his neck 18 months ago, but he declined to say how the injury occurred.

"If you spend more money than you make, you know what happens," he said. "A couple of divorces thrown in, a few things like that."

McMahon's lender, Calabasas-based Countrywide Financial Corp., filed a notice of default in March on $4.8 million in mortgage loans, public records show. If McMahon does not make some arrangement, the six-bedroom, five-bath house in a gated hilltop community will be sold at auction.

McMahon said his house had been on the market for two years with no offers, but since news of the foreclosure broke Tuesday, "now there's tons of interest." His real estate agent has said the estate is listed at $6.25 million.

Asked why a multimillionaire could not make his house payments, McMahon's wife, Pamela, said, "Over the years, it's a combination of maybe Ed working so hard and not looking at proper management. We didn't keep our eye on the ball. We made mistakes."

She added: "It's scary. I never owned a home before in my life before I met Ed."

King replied: "I don't think you'll own one again."

McMahon isn't the only celebrity to default on loans in the plunging real estate market. On Thursday, a legal notice disclosed that former boxing champ Evander Holyfield's Fairburn, Ga., estate will be auctioned July 1 to pay off the mortgage.

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peter.hong@latimes.com

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