Nicolas Cage’s insane spending: luxury car a month, 2 islands, exotic pets

The Daily Beast has a pretty fascinating profile of Nicolas Cage’s mind-boggling lifestyle. Action star Cage, 45, owes over $6.5 million in back taxes and is currently suing his former business manager for fraud, alleging that the manager “placed Cage in numerous highly speculative and risky real estate investments” and essentially is responsible for Cage’s debt problem.

Those who knew Cage say that’s not true, though, and that Cage bought frivolous high-ticket items nearly constantly, including a luxury car a month, various exotic animals, and more mansions, castles and even islands than he could ever use. It all sounds eerily close to Michael Jackson’s lifestyle, including bizarre purchases like shrunken heads and a dinosaur skull. When the economy was flush it didn’t matter as much because Cage’s properties were worth something, but when the real estate market tanked Cage was in deep trouble, and had to sell everything and cut way back.

Here’s a segment from the Daily Beast’s article, which is well worth reading if you get a chance:

Until fairly recently, Cage’s primary residence was the 1940 Bel Air mansion, with eight bedrooms, a theater, wine cellar, and a library. The house’s previous owners included Dean Martin and Tom Jones. “A Gothic mausoleum” is how one sometime guest describes its décor in recent years. When Cage first put it on the market a few years back, the asking price was more than $30 million. He later dropped the price in half, and finally put it up this September in a sealed bid sale, where only offers above $9.95 million were considered. A source close to the sale says it went for less than $15 million. Some argue that the economy may not be the only reason the house went for so much less than Cage had desired. “It was not what I would call good taste,” says the visitor.

Down South, Cage’s two mansions in New Orleans have been foreclosed upon and will be auctioned off later this month. The first, a 13,000-square-foot, six-bedroom house in the Garden District, was originally put on the market for a reported $3.45 million. The second, on Royal Street in the French Quarter, went on sale for $3.5 million and has been described as one of the most beautiful houses in the city, though there are rumors it’s inhabited by ghosts. (Seriously.)

They are among more than a dozen other homes Cage has bought in the last decade or so, in places like Newport Beach; Venice Beach; Malibu; San Francisco; Middletown, Rhode Island; New York; and Las Vegas. There was a castle near Bath, in England, an 11th-century estate in Etzelwang, Germany, and not one but two Bahamian islands, which Cage bought in their entirety. (Movie stars, after all, like privacy, so long as you’re paying attention to them onscreen.)

The bulk of those properties have been sold or are in the process of being sold.

Cage also had a serious car and motorcycle habit. In June 2004, he owned 18 motorcycles and 30 cars, a member of his entourage says. And that was on the low end: At another point, two sources say, the car total was around 50.

In 1997, Cage spent nearly half a million dollars on a Lamborghini Miura SVJ that had been owned by the shah of Iran and was confiscated from the Imperial Garage during the 1979 revolution. Never mind that at the time he bought it, the car was trading for an estimated $250,000 to $300,000. “He didn’t care,” says a close source. “Nic at an auction is dangerous. There’s just no limit to what he’d spend.” He kept the cars in a hangar at the Santa Monica Airport, where neighbors with their own hangars included Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Cruise, and Charlie Sheen.

The most bizarre display of Cage’s conspicuous car consumption? A 1955 Jaguar D-Type that he decided to put on exhibit in his billiard room at the Bel Air house, where it was lit from above, like something out of a car dealership. (There was also at least one expensive motorcycle sitting in the foyer, according to three people who visited the house. “It was an eclectic way of decorating,” one shrugs.)

Nor did Cage limit himself to vintage cars, which are typically better investments than new ones. “He had one of every thing that was new and fantastic,” says one source. “Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, Bentleys. If Aston Martin was coming out with a new model, chances are, he would have it.” At one point, the source says, Cage was snapping up cars at a rate of about “one per month.” For a time, the actor also employed a full-time car mechanic, whose job was solely to service his cars, two sources say.

Cage’s penchant for acquisition was aided by the fact that for years, many of the things he spent money on appeared to be good investments. The vintage cars he bought frequently doubled in value, so Cage made a lot of money buying and selling them. (In his case, most sales were followed by more purchases). Real estate was seen as an even safer bet. According to a source from his inner circle, when the first few houses he bought began to accrue in value, Cage began to borrow heavily against them to buy more properties. Unlike the cars, though, he didn’t do nearly enough selling, which placed him in a particularly precarious position when the market began to collapse over the last two and a half years.

And then there were two yachts, at least, and the Gulfstream jet…

Three people who visited his house also report seeing shrunken heads. None is sure whether they were actual people’s heads (which are illegal to import) or simply those of animals (which generally are not). Still, one thing was for certain. “They were pretty weird,” says a source.

So was Cage’s pet collection, which in addition to a handful of purebred dogs, included rare birds and a host of lizards, snakes, and other creepy crawlies. “Basically, a zoo,” is how a person who’s known Cage for many years describes it. He also had two albino King Cobras, this person says, as well as “an antidote serum on the wall, so that if you got bit by a snake you could save yourself.”

There also was a dinosaur skull that Cage purchased in 2007 for $276,000 in a heated auction with Leonardo DiCaprio.

It was a fabulous life while it lasted, but it helps explain why so many people in Hollywood aren’t entirely convinced his ex-money manager is solely to blame for the actor’s financial troubles. Says one person who has known Cage for many years: “I remember a bunch of us saying, ‘How many more magic tricks can Sam do to keep Nic afloat?’ It was a house of cards… I think Nic thought he was invincible.”

[From The Daily Beast]

So poor Nicolas Cage is probably still living in luxury with just a few staff members and a radically reduced set of toys. I can’t say I feel sorry for him. He wasn’t entirely selfish in his spending, though. The article notes that he gave a million to the Red Cross to aid Katrina victims in 2005 and that he donated $2 million to Amnesty International in 2006. Many people have addictions and it sounds like Cage’s is spending. It took a real crisis for him to start to get a handle on it too.

Nicolas Cage is shown on 9/14 and 9/15/09. Credit:

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21 Responses to “Nicolas Cage’s insane spending: luxury car a month, 2 islands, exotic pets”

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  1. Firestarter says:

    I was kind of on his side when the story first broke, but after reading so many reports of his excessive spending, I can’t say I am still as sympathetic.

    Have fun with your wealth, but also show some responsibility.

    I read where his lawyer denies many of the “exaggerated” claims of things he has, but won’t go into detail of what is true vs false.

    Cage has also beend extremely generous with many charities, so I guess I can’t condemn him too much. He just should have known better and had a little bit of sense.

  2. lucy2 says:

    That’s nice that he gave those 2 donations, but he’s probably spent hundreds of millions on nonsense over the years.
    I can’t feel sorry for this guy – he’s made more from a few crappy movies than most people would make in 10 lifetimes, had a money manager, and was lucky enough to actually make some money off of some of his purchases. If even a fraction of this report is true, it’s clear that he has a serious spending problem and lives ridiculously. And then has the nerve to sue his money manager for fraud? The guy should counter-sue him for being a spoiled moron.

  3. UrbanRube says:

    Does he work enough to have that kind of money? I know his uncle is Francis Ford Coppola, but I thought his dad was an out-of-work actor and I can’t see the “National Treasure” franchise earning him billions.

  4. Shelly Shellz says:

    It definately sounds like an addiction. Im working through an addiction to shopping/spending. I spend thousands of dollars a month of things I absolutely do not need just b/c I gotta have it. Thats what it sounds like w him. If I had the millions he did, Id buy all that and so much more just cuz I can…& need to. Its a serious problem.

  5. lucy2 says:

    It can be a very serious problem. I think the difference, Shelley, is that you recognize your problem and are working to fix it. They always say that admitting you have the problem is half the battle, and good for you for doing so and knowing that YOU are the one who has to change to fix it.

    Nic doesn’t seem to be doing that. Rather than step back and say hmm, maybe I don’t need 50 luxury cars and 10 estates, he’s blaming his business manager and suing him for fraud. Unless he can prove that the guy brought all these ideas to him and suggested he make all the purchases, I can’t see how the manager is to blame.
    The more likely scenario is that the guy probably advised him to slow down and think his purchases through a bit, but Nic did whatever he wanted anyway, and the guy probably put up with it because he didn’t want to lose his job. Speculation of course, but likely, I think.

  6. Trillion says:

    I’m a capitalist, but this is just gross. Plus his movies are about as good as his hair plugs.
    (Raising Arizona is an exception and maybe there are a few others in there)

  7. Gina says:

    I love Nick Cage, I am sure he was advised to buy, buy, buy, which is not always a good idea. Why did he have so many properties ?, islands are always good investment Johnny Depp and Mel Gibson have them. The heated auction with Leonardo DiCaprio over a dino skull sounds hilarious.
    I wish him the best.

  8. Lantana says:

    OK PEOPLE! Does no one see the obvious conspiracy we are to infer? CB says that Nicholas Cage “sounds eerily close to Michael Jackson’s lifestyle” What’s the link there? Duh. Lisa Marie Presley. I think she’s out to ruin the wealthiest men in America. Bill Gates, look out. This needs to be investigated further.

  9. gg says:

    HA! great comments here. I don’t like him, but he does have an addiction he needs to learn to curb. I think he was great in Face Off, but everywhere else I’ve seen him his characters are huge turnoffs for me.

    Seems like maybe he is more like his roles than I originally thought. And naming your kid El Kazar or whatever, not really cute – just stupidly weird.

  10. Maritza says:

    If I were his wife I would secretly set aside some money in a bank deposit box just in case things get really bad.

  11. nanster says:

    @Lantana What a great conspiracy theory…I never saw that one coming! 🙂

  12. Karin says:

    Seriously hope he is nothing like his film characters… didn’t end too well in Leaving Las Vegas! Would on the other hand be quite interesting to see a male version of ‘Shopaholic’, as this is what it seems like he has become.

    It’s also crazy how many people still believe buying property with the thought of re-sale later is an ‘investment’ instead of what it really is, namely pure speculation.

  13. Aprill says:

    Lol! time for a major yard sale and financial counseling.

  14. sergey says:

    Yeah, its easy spend such money if you has it…Cage great actor, so go on…

  15. paul says:

    He’s a mediocre movie star and out of his league ever since he decided to stop being a true character actor and start being a “movie star.” Few people can pull off “movie star.” Clark Gable, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, and Sean Connery are but a few in that select club. Nicolas was at his best when he was a hang-dog character actor we loved to watch and feel sorry for. He’s Adam Sandler in a better light… neither charming or dangerous… two key elements to becoming a lasting movie star.

  16. You surely have a good way to come up with your opnion.

  17. Hubert says:

    Cage, like many other Celebs, found themselves in way over their heads when the real estate market crashed. Cage has made a lot of money, but you can’t spend like crazy and expect it not to catch up with you.

  18. SaveIt says:

    His spending is classic behavior for someone who grew up poor and suddenly has all the wealth they can imagine. His father was not a wealthy man and considered poor. Summer visits to his uncle’s estate made him want more – which is one reason he went into acting. Biography Channel has great stories on these actors if people would bother to watch. He also legally changed his name when he went into acting in order to not use the Coppola family name. He definitely has a problem with spending, but his behavior is not uncommon considering his background.

  19. Maybe it is a insane spending but for as long as you are satisfied with what you get that’s the more important.I guess cage is doing his best for his career just to fulfill the things he wanted to have and spend his million for his gratitude for his work.

  20. Fabianny says:

    These are the beneficts of being rich and famous!

  21. Luxury says:

    Maybe it is an insane spending, may be not, Who cares? If he have enough money for doing it its enough for him.