National Treasure: Nicholas Cage's most eccentric purchases
Famous for appearing in a wide range of diverse movie, Nicolas Cage starred in 91 films spanning his 37 year career, which included hits such as Con Air and Ghost Rider. His extravagent purchases have, however, equally put him in the spotlight with a haunted mansion, castle, private island and a pyramid in a cemetary amongst his list of acquisitions.
Born Nicolas Kim Coppola, nephew of The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, Cage adopted his stage name to avoid nepotism on the job and claims to have gotten inspiration from Marvel superhero Luke Cage. Shooting to global fame with his stellar performance in 1995 Leaving Las Vegas, Cage has claimed his place as one of Hollywood’s greatest with the subsequent string of action and movie blockbusters.
Perhaps the most peculiar item amongst Cage's assets is an actual pyramid built for the actor at the St Louis cemetary in New Orleans. There, amongst crumbling century-old graves stands a modern pyramid, set to become the future tomb of Nicolas Cage after his passing. The white pyramid stands nine feet tall and is inscribed with the words ‘omnia ab uno’, meaning “Everything from One.”
The tomb puzzles everyone, even people who give tours of the graveyard for a living. Since its installation, the tomb has even become the subject of tourists’ attention, with women leaving red lipstick marks on its white surface. Cage purchased the nine-foot-tall, pyramid-shaped tomb in 2010. The pyramid sits among figures throughout New Orleans’ history, including its first mayor, Étienne de Boré, and the famed queen of Voodoo, Marie Laveau. Laveau has had an immense impact on the culture of New Orleans, and her influence is still apparent to this day.
Six years later, New Orleans was the site of yet another, bizarre Cage acquisition as the actor bought what was then dubbed as the "most haunted house in America”. This Louisiana mansion was previously known for housing the Creole socialite Madame LaLaurie in the early 19th century with a liking to torturing and murdering her slaves. A massive estate in the French Quarter, LaLaurie's slaves were eventually freed when a fire engulfed the property leading to firefighters breaking down the doors and confirming some of the city's gruesomest rumours.
New Orleans' haunted mansion is only one out of a string of lavish homes that Cage had acquired and owned until his cash flow issues in 2010. One of these properties was the 1928 Los Feliz Gothic castle, which had been rebuilt following Cage's directions after being damaged by a fire. Featuring four bedrooms, the property was last seen on the market in 2010 asking $1.249 million, sold off by the bank that now owned it.
Another one of Cage's acquisitions became the medieval Schloss Neidstein castle in the German, Oberpfalz region in 2006. Sold three years later by the actor for $2.5 million, the castle had 28 rooms in total and in need of renovation when the actor first purchased it. Sitting on top of a hill, the property overlooked 395 acres of forest.
His castle portfolio also included a large property in Sommerset, UK where stood his Mildford Castle, a 18th-century home sitting in 35 acres of parkland and 12 acres of woodland. Ultimately Cage was forced to sell his castle, that was still under renovation, in 2009 for a price understood to be near £3.5 million. The country home was located near Glastonburry.
In total, Cage used to own a total of 15 residences at the prime of his career including a $25 million waterfront home in Newport Beach, California according to CNBC, a $15.7 million countryside estate in Rhode Island as well as an $8.5 million home in Las Vegas styled in his favorite, mystical style.
His other purchases have included a deserted island in the Bahamas as well as the Lamborghini of the late Shah of Iran on which the actor spent $450,000. Reportedly, his purchases had also included a private jet that he used to visit his many properties around the US and Europe.
When it comes to owning pets, Cage is no less eccentric and prefers either albino cobras – he had two, a shark, a crocodile and an octopus. Sources speculate that Cage allegedly had the anti-venom handy just in case things got hairy.
Perhaps his choice of pets can explain a statement Cage once made to a newspaper, saying, “I love all animals. I have a fascination with fish, birds, whales - sentient life - insects, reptiles. I actually choose the way I eat according to the way animals have sex. I think fish are very dignified with sex. So are birds. But pigs, not so much. So I don't eat pig meat or things like that. I eat fish and fowl”.
In 2007 Nicholas Cage, as self-styled “commercial paleontologist”, outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for the purchase of a Tyrannosaurus Bataar Skull at an estimated price of $270,000. The 67-million-old fossil, relative to the T-Rex, was at the time the largest dinosaur skull ever on auction. And it was later found out that the skull’s roots trace back to the black market, Cage had to return it to the Mongolian government.
According to guests who have visited the actor’s pleasure dome, Nicolas Cage has a collection of pygmy shrunken heads, for unknown purposes. This is further completed by his comic book collection valued at $1.6 million, which included Action Comics #1 that marked the very first appearance of Superman, and Detective Comics 38, which introduced Batman’s BFF Robin
Through his 15 properties, cars and yachts, Cage found himself in financial trouble in 2009 according to a CNN interview with his former manager. One of Hollywood's highest paid actors, commanding $20 million per film for Gone in Sixty Seconds and National Treasure, to maintain his lifestyle he needed $30 million per year according to CNN.
In 2007 alone, Cage's "shopping spree entailed the purchase of three additional residences at a total cost of more than $33 million; the purchase of 22 automobiles (including 9 Rolls Royces); 12 purchases of expensive jewelry; and 47 purchases of artwork and exotic items," said his former business manager's filling during a law suit between the two.
Inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame back in 1998, Cage remains one of the most prized modern actors, having received a Golden Globe award as well as a Screen Actors Guild award. Though his financial difficulties have reportedly led him to take on many, diverse acting gigs, these are now believed by media to be resolved with Cage back on track for more movies to come.