Ed "Big Check" McMahon raps on avoiding bad credit

Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:10pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Give him credit for this: Ed McMahon has a good sense of humor.

The 85-year-old celebrity who recently faced foreclosure on his Beverly Hills mansion and is a high-profile victim of the current U.S. housing slump, has found a new job -- portraying a rapper in a video advertisement about how to avoid bad credit.

A company that sells credit rating data to consumers said on Thursday it had hired McMahon, well-known as Johnny Carson's long-time sidekick on "The Tonight Show" and as the host of TV talent contest "Star Search," to portray himself -- as a rap singer -- in two videos it plans to launch on the Web in early October.

McMahon told Reuters that he thought the idea of him as a rap star was funny and the concept for the ads "brilliant," but added that they have an important message, as well -- that if he can run into trouble, anyone can.

"That's the appeal, that you're not alone, so why not spread that good word around?" McMahon said. "There is hope. There is help. There are situations that can be improved.

In photos taken from the video, McMahon is dressed in baggy clothes and wears flashy gold jewelry.

In the first video, titled "Big Check," McMahon and his bodyguard cruise through a neighborhood looking for past winners of a million-dollar sweepstakes McMahon once promoted to see if they will give some money back to McMahon.

Part two is "Ed McGangsta," and it finds McMahon having undergone a financial rebirth because the company has helped him put his financial house in order.   Continued...

<p>Television personality Ed McMahon appears in viral video promotion for FreeCreditReport.com in this publicity photo released to Reuters September 25, 2008. The two part video will be released in October and showcases McMahon looking for a solution for his credit problems that have been reported in the media. REUTERS/Susan Goldman/FreeCreditReport.com/Handout</p>