LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Television celebrity Ed McMahon has finally found a buyer for his multimillion-dollar Beverly Hills mansion, avoiding a foreclosure that would have made him among the most high-profile victims of the U.S. housing slump.
The buyer of the six-bedroom, five-bathroom home was not disclosed, but McMahon spokesman Howard Bragman said on Friday it was not billionaire Donald Trump. The New York developer had said last week he was in discussions to buy the house and lease it back to McMahon after widespread publicity about the celebrity’s default on his $4.8 million mortgage.
“It’s a confidential deal, and the buyer wants anonymity, but I can tell you it is not Mr. Trump — and it’s not John McCain,” Bragman said, joking about the Republican presidential hopeful’s admission this week that he did not know how many houses he and his wife own.
McMahon, 85, famous for his “Heeeeeeere’s Johnny” introduction to “The Tonight Show” star Johnny Carson for 30 years and for hosting the TV talent show “Star Search,” has been trying to sell the house, valued at $5.75 million in June, for about two years.
His mortgage lenders filed notice of default in February, when McMahon was about $644,000 in arrears. He has blamed his financial problems on having broken his neck about 18 months ago, preventing him from working.
McMahon’s foreclosure problems highlighted the extent of the U.S. housing downturn and credit squeeze that has seen hundreds of thousands of less affluent Americans lose their homes.
According to figures from property tracking company RealtyTrac, one on every 464 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in July — a 55 percent increase from July 2007.