Celebrity Tax Cheats: Five Pieces of Crap Produced to Pay the IRS
Tax time is looming, and even though you get a weekend reprieve this year -- the deadline is April 18, not the 15th, because of an obscure Washington, D.C. holiday -- you'd no doubt like to skip the whole thing altogether.
Some famous people have taken that same route. Unfortunately for them, they got caught by the IRS and hit with massive tax bills. Unfortunately for us, they usually decided to pay those bills by putting out a piece of crap or two in hopes fans would snap it up and generate some instant cash.
Five of the worst examples:
5. Artist: Willie Nelson
Piece of Crap: The Healing Hands of Time
Willie Nelson's most well-known response to his massive tax bill was, of course, the often sublime The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?, a stark collection of demos and stripped-down versions of songs. All the proceeds went to the IRS. But his assets were still being auctioned and money was tight when he came up with The Healing Hands of Time, which featured him singing standards (good), smothered by overwhelming faux-Nelson Riddle strings (very much not good).
4. Artist: Abbott & Costello
Pieces of Crap: The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, Abbott & Candido
The legendary comedy duo of Abbott & Costello split up after the IRS presented them with a whopping bill for back taxes in 1956, leaving them both near bankruptcy. Lou Costello went on to star in the only film anyone would ever allow him to star in solo, The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, about how his wife turns into a giantess (fetish warning!). Despite being "Wonder Filmed in Amazoscope" and proclaimed to be the "Funniest Film in the History of Roar-Fare!", it stunk.
Bud Abbott was the straight man of the pair, leaving him with fewer comedy options. He chose the worst: He teamed up with some guy named Candy Candido, and they went to nightclubs as Abbott & Candido (Motto: "Please Don't Look Closely at the Marquee") and performed Abbott & Costello routines, just about verbatim. It didn't last long.
3. Artist: Nicolas Cage
Piece of Crap: Virtually every movie he's done since 2009
Sometimes it can be difficult to remember: Nicolas Cage won an Academy Award. That's because he's been reduced to taking any paycheck offered him to get out of tax trouble that began in 2009. When National Treasure VII: The Lost Xbox comes out a few years from now, blame the federal government.
2. Artist: Wesley Snipes
Piece of Crap: A growing catalogue of direct-to-DVD movies
"He's back...and he wants a paycheck!!" No, make that he needs a paycheck. Forget about Willie Mays Hayes from Major League or Sid Deane from White Men Can't Jump -- forget even about Passenger 57 -- Wesley Snipes's career has tumbled down a yawning IRS abyss. He's currently in prison for his tax troubles, so the viewing public is safe for now. Fair warning: He's up for release in 2013.
1. Artist: Dionne Warwick
Piece of Crap: The Psychic Friends Network