Nicolas Cage once ate a cockroach on camera. Nicolas Cage was once set to play a mullet-ted Superman in a unmade Tim Burton film that, unfairly, never happened. Nicolas Cage was once married to Elvis' daughter—putting him one creepy degree of separation from Michael Jackson's marital bed.
Nicolas Cage is kind of weird, and awesome, a meme that would have been invented by the Internet if he didn't already exist.
Nicolas Cage also was once a real estate tycoon, of sorts. ("Tycoon" in the sense that he's picked up a lot of properties, not at all in the sense that they've been a particularly profitable enterprise.) He's bought—and lost—enough residential real estate to give an capricious celebrity a run for their money, purchasing tens of millions of dollars worth of homes, from California to the Bahamas, and, ultimately handing most of them right back to the banks. Between 2007 and 2009, financial mismanagement, tax debts, and a crashing housing market cost him nearly every home and almost his entire fortune. Here's a look back at some of the weirdest (and worst) homes he bought in that period, before the $40M Hollywood paydays dried up in the wake of box-office bombs (hello, Wicker Man!)
↑ Widely considered the "Most Haunted House in America" for its history as the lair of the 19th century's Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a Louisiana socialite known to torture and and murder slaves, this French District manse got a bizarre footnote to its checkered history when it was picked up by Cage in 2007, two years before the taxman brought the actor's heady halcyon days of real estate binge-purchasing to an abrupt end. Since being sold in a foreclosure auction in 2009, things have been looking up for the home, with a new owner, a radical redecoration effort, and a star turn in the third season of American Horror Story.
↑ Maybe there are people who would stay in their $25M waterfront mansions after waking up to find a disturbed fan "wearing nothing but one of Cage's leather jackets and eating a Fudgesicle next to the actor's bed," but Cage is not one of them. The actor walked away from this 8,000-square-foot Newport Beach manse (and the yacht-ready dock he had just installed) in the wake of the surreal nocturnal visitation, pocketing a record $35M, which he then proceeded to blow on cars and houses.
↑ Messr. Cage seems to have had one simple criterion when deciding to add a property to his portfolio: be an expensive house. That he was a man with an idée fixe is all too apparent; what else would explain the eclectic breadth of styles he's purchased? In Newport, R.I., in the oughts, Cage snagged this English country mansion for $15.7M, and sold it four years later at an absolutely brutal $9.5M loss.
↑ Two short years after buying this Vegas mega-manse for $8.5M, Cage put it back on the market with an ask just shy of $10M. Then came the financial troubles. Then came the frenzied PriceChops. Alas, the cuts were all in vain, as in 2010 the bank called in the deed and promptly flipped the place for somewhere in the neighborhood of $5M. In fairness, when he bought the home in 2006, Cage was far from the over-leveraged homeowner who sat unknowingly on the precipice of disaster, but oh! That interior!
↑ Some of Cage's homes were relatively modest, though no less offbeat, as in this 1928 castle in the hills of the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles, which according to Curbed LA had "purple velvet fabric" wall coverings and "Egyptian-inspired stenciling" on the ceiling at the time the bank took possession of the home from its next owner. The suits, who were presumably less inclined than Cage towards such oddball décor choices, were reportedly left to remove the unique finishes themselves.
· All Nic Cage Day posts [Curbed National]