Donald Trump’s Reported Attempt To Save A Television Legend’s Home Ended In Confusion And Controversy


  • Donald Trump pledged to save Ed McMahon’s home from bankruptcy, but ultimately did not follow through on his promise.
  • Trump’s offer to buy McMahon’s mansion was seen by some as a way for him to acquire valuable Los Angeles real estate for cheap.
  • Another buyer eventually purchased McMahon’s home.

From the moment that Donald Trump first became famous, it has always been clear that he knows how to garner attention. In some cases, Trump has inspired headlines in controversial ways including the time he threatened to steal a gossip columnist’s girlfriends. On the other hand, Trump has gotten positive attention too because of doing things like making movie cameos.

At one point many years ago, Trump got positive headlines when he promised to save a TV legend’s home. However, in the end, things didn’t work out the way that Trump originally promised they would.

Donald Trump Pledged To Save Ed McMahon’s Home From Bankruptcy

Between 1962 and 1992, Ed McMahon entertained the masses as Johny Carson’s loyal sidekick. No matter how long McMahon starred on The Tonight Show, that didn’t save him from financial calamity. However, at one point it appeared that Donald Trump was going to come to McMahon’s rescue.

Ed McMahon Primetime Emmys Nokia Theater 2008
Via: Deposit Photos

In 2008, it was revealed that McMahon was set to lose his home. According to a Boston Herald article from that time, McMahon had a $4 million mortgage on his mansion and he was $644,000 behind on his payments, so the bank filed a default notice.

That meant that if something dramatic didn’t happen, McMahon was going to lose his home. Since it had been years since the height of McMahon’s career at that time, it was very unlikely he could acquire a huge influx of cash for himself.

It was in that situation that Donald Trump surprisingly stepped into the situation and appeared to be McMahon’s knight in shining armor.


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According to what Trump told The Los Angeles Times in 2008, he was prepared to buy McMahon’s mansion, so the TV legend could continue living there. Furthermore, Trump stated that it “would be an honor” to help McMahon in his time of great need.

While speaking to The Los Angeles Times, Trump explained why he wanted to aid McMahon. Trump told the paper that his love for McMahon was his main motivation.

Donald Trump Has Thrown Some Notorious Parties At Mar-A-Lago Despite The Fact That He Doesn't Drink
Via: TheThings

“When I was at the Wharton School of Business I’d watch him every night. How could this happen?”

After Trump spoke to The Los Angeles Times, MTV published an article looking at his pledge to save McMahon’s home. According to that piece, at that time, it was believed that Trump’s offer to buy the TV legend’s mansion would go through quickly.


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MTV’s article also cast a shadow on how charitable Trump’s decision to help McMahon was in the first place. MTV’s article claimed that what Trump was really doing was buying valuable Los Angeles real estate at a bargain price while getting free publicity.

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No matter how anyone judges his intent, however, Trump definitely didn’t buy McMahon’s mansion quickly. In fact, Trump never bought McMahon’s house at all, despite all the headlines that claimed he was going to.

Who Actually Bought Ed McMahon’s Mansion?

Fortunately for Ed McMahon, someone did come along, they bought his mansion, and he continued to live there until he died. However, the identity of that person remained unknown.

Ed McMahon
Via: Deposit Photos 

In June 2009, The Wall Street Journal published an article about who bought McMahon’s home. While that article didn’t reveal the mystery buyer’s identity, it sought to expose their motivations.

How long did Ed McMahon live, according to Famous Birthdays?

When was Ed McMahon born?:

March 6, 1923

When did Ed McMahon die?:

June 23, 2009

How old was Ed McMahon when he died?:

86 years old

According to the buyer who spoke to the outlet on condition of anonymity, their banker approached them with the idea of buying McMahon’s home. The buyer told The Wall Street Journal that he believed he could help himself and McMahon with the deal.

“I saw it as a chance to help what we all know of as a cultural icon while at the same time making a solid real estate deal. To get to help someone along the way, you can’t put a price on the return of that.”


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As for why Donald Trump didn’t buy Ed McMahon’s home, at one point it was suggested that the TV legend didn’t want the business leader as a landlord. However, Trump’s spokesperson denied that controversy and spoke to the press about what happened.

These days, Michael Cohen is one of Trump’s most outspoken critics and enemies. When Cohen spoke to CNBC in 2008, however, he was there to explain that Trump was still open to making the deal if the other buyer fell through.

“Banks have standing offer from Mr. Trump who is ready, willing and able to consummate this transaction immediately — not subject to contingencies, inspection or due diligence. All he wants is to see that Mr. McMahon’s needs are met.”

Donald Trump at Civil Fraud trial
Via: Instar

During that same interview with CNBC, Cohen told the publication that as long as McMahon was happy with how things played out, Trump was too.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, it seems that Ed McMahon’s finances never recovered before his passing. As of February 2024,
McMahon’s estate is $2 million in debt
according to the publication.

“If Ed McMahon is satisfied with the terms, why shouldn’t Mr. Trump be? Mr. Trump never entered into this to create a bidding war. The only reason the other buyer emerged is because Mr. Trump expressed interest in the property. This isn’t a business deal for Mr. Trump.”

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