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Nicolas Cage Reportedly Blew Through $150 Million on 15 Homes & More

The star admitted to taking "crummy" acting jobs to pay off his debts.

At the peak of his career, actor Nicolas Cage was reportedly being paid up to $20 million per film. While you might assume that paychecks that large would leave you set for life, the actor's extravagant (and quirky) spending habits led him to blow through his wealth. The now-60-year-old reportedly blew most of his $150 million fortune on a shopping spree that included obtaining bizarre treasures ranging from shrunken heads to a giant dinosaur skull, as well as a run of extraordinary real estate purchases he likened to a "grail quest." Read on for more details on the wildest items and residences Cage bought during the free-for-all that drained his finances and soon had him taking back-to-back roles to pay the bills.

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Cage's eccentric splurges included some offbeat items.

Nicolas Cage in 2023
Steve Jennings/Getty Images

Known for an offbeat persona that has launched a thousand memes, Cage lived up to his enigmatic reputation as he blew through his millions. A Superman superfan who named his second son Kal-El in honor of the Man of Steel's birth name, the actor once spent $150,000 on the first Superman comic, according to CNBC. Other notable purchases included a nine-foot-tall burial tomb, some shrunken pygmy heads, and a $450,000 Lamborghini that once belonged to the Shah of Iran. And who can forget the time he he allegedly outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for a $276,000 dinosaur skull? Unbeknownst to Cage, that artifact turned to be stolen, requiring him to return it to the government of Mongolia.

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He also owned some unusual pets.

King Cobra
Jiri Herout/Shutterstock

Cage has also reportedly owned a veritable zoo of strange and expensive creatures over the course of his career, including a talking crow; a two-headed snake "purchased for $80,000 after he dreamed about a two-headed eagle," according to the New York Post; and two king cobras kept behind a computer-locked door and bulletproof glass.

"I like to go in there in my red leather chair and drink wine and watch them as they watch me," he commented during an appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman, according to the Post, adding that he kept the venom antidote nearby just in case.

He counted a deserted island, a haunted mansion, and two castles among his homes.

LaLaurie House
Steven Wagner/Getty Images

Despite these extravagant purchases, the biggest kicker for Cage's finances was ultimately some badly timed real estate investments. When waking up in his $25 million Newport Beach, CA waterfront mansion apparently wasn't enough, the National Treasure star went on to purchase a total of 15 homes during a period he likened to the hunting for Holy Grail in a 2019 interview with The New York Times Magazine. "That was the time when I almost went on—you might call it a grail quest. I started following mythology, and I was finding properties that aligned with that. It was almost like National Treasure," he explained.

According to CNBC, his real estate purchases included a $3 million deserted island in the Bahamas and two European castles, purchased for $2.3 million and $10 million, respectively. Cage was also briefly the owner of the New Orleans home often cited as "The Most Haunted House in America" (pictured above) for its history under Madame Delphine LaLaurie, the socialite known for torturing and murdering those enslaved under her (and memorialized in American Horror Story), before he lost it in a foreclosure auction, according to Curbed.

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Cage took "crummy" roles to pay his debts.

Nicolas Cage in Season of the Witch
Relativity Media Rogue

Unsurprisingly the real estate crash of the late '00s hit Cage's finances hard. "I was over-invested in real estate," he told 60 Minutes in 2023, per Deadline. "The real estate market crashed, and I couldn't get out in time." When this landed him close to bankruptcy, the actor got back on his feet by playing some "crummy" roles back-to-back in the years that followed.

"I've got all these creditors and the IRS, and I'm spending $20,000 a month trying to keep my mother out of a mental institution, and I can't," he lamented of the period in a GQ interview in 2022 "It was just all happening at once." Through the marathon of roles, the actor insists he still gave it his all.

"I never phoned it in," Cage said. "If there was a misconception, it was that. That I was just doing it and not caring. I was caring."

UPDATE: This story has been edited to remove mentions of an exotic pet Cage was alleged to have. Legal representatives for Cage denied that he ever had the pet.

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Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a pop culture writer living in New York. Read more
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