Needs an accountant: How Nicolas Cage blew his millions

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In 2010, a nine-feet-tall pyramid appeared on a particularly large burial plot in St Louis Cemetery, New Orleans, bearing the motto ‘omnia ab uno’ (‘everything from one’).

It was soon revealed as the intended final resting place of Oscar winning actor Nicolas Cage – and a colossal monument to Cage’s eccentricity and uncontrollable urge to spend. One of Hollywood’s most highly paid actors, Cage earned $150m between 1996 and 2011. In 2009, however, he went bankrupt, following an epic spending spree. Here are just a few of his most extravagant purchases.

A shark, an octopus and 2 albino king cobras

In the immortal words of Cage himself: “Every great story seems to begin with a snake.” Throughout his career, Cage amassed a menagerie of dangerous and exotic animals, including two extremely rare albino king cobras named Moby and Sheba, an octopus, a shark, a monitor lizard and a crocodile. According to an ex-employee, Cage kept vials of antidote racked up on the walls of one of his properties, so, if guests were bitten, “they could save themselves”. He has now given most of the creatures away, mainly due to pressure from animal rights groups and Cage’s terrified neighbours.

But Cage remains an animal lover: “If I could have been a marine biologist, I would have,” he said, “but I didn’t have that kind of intelligence. Numbers were never my strong point.” Two castles and a murder mansion In 2009, Cage filed a $20m lawsuit against his business manager, Samue Levin, who quickly filed a countersuit detailing his client’s more outlandish buys, including a whopping 15 personal residences, most of which were allegedly snapped up against Levin’s advice.

Those properties proved to be a huge drain on Cage’s finances. They included an $8m castle in Bath, which the actor never stayed in. He also had a more modest, $2.3m castle in Germany. According to Levin, both piles were “decrepit and needed huge expenditures.” In New Orleans, he purchase the Madam LaLaurie ‘murder house’, where around 100 slaves were tortured and killed in the early 19th century. Throw in two private islands, and the total value of his portfolio exceeded $83m. Almost all of it was sold at a loss.

Two superyachts and a Gulfstream jet

At one time, Cage owned around 50 cars and motorcycles, including his rare Ferrari Enzo ($1m), a 1950s Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina ($3.6m), nine Rolls-Royce Phantoms ($2.6m) and the last Shah of Iran’s confiscated Lamborghini ($500,000). His two superyachts had a combined value of $11m.

Both were sold at a loss. He also had at least two non-superyachts. One of Cage’s single biggest purchases, however, was his Gulfstream private jet, with a price tag of $30m. Cage earned £150m between 1996 and 2011. In 2009, however, he went bankrupt, following an epic spending spree Cage’s more niche interests put a dent in his bank account too.

He once outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for a Tarbosaurus skull, snapping it up for $276,000. He also had an extensive collection of shrunken heads, and a comic book collection that he eventually sold for $1.6m. As Cage once put it: “It may come as a surprise to people, but I’m actually quite boring and normal.”

Mark Rowland is a journalist and former editor of Accounting Technician and 20 magazine.

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