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  #1  
Old 07-11-2012, 04:04 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is online now
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Jobs taken by big name celebrities that make you wonder "Why?"

A prime example are the law firm ads done by William Shatner. These are the commercials where they give a spiel about the excellency of a certain firm, then say the firm's name in a cutaway- and they air locally wherever the law firm is situated. Shatner's ad for a local law firm air here everyday.

I've seen similar ones by Robert Vaughn and Robert Conrad and William Schallert (the dad on the Patty Duke Show) and other actors, and those I understand: none of those actors have had regular series in a while and they're old and it's probably good money for not much work in their semi-retirement years. Shatner, however, has had several hit series, several hit movies, has earned tens of millions of dollars over the years, is 80 and by all accounts very rich, and while I'm sure these ads are lucrative they probably don't pay a fraction of what he earned for Priceline and other ads, and the convention circuit earns him a fortune plus ad that he's treated like a god. In other words, he can't need the money he gets from the law firm ads, and they certainly aren't a challenge or adding any prestige to his career he can't get elsewhere, and in fact they are so cheesy and smarmy seeming that they tarnish his career. Even if he gives the money he makes from them to charity I still wonder why, because he could make more for doing any number of endorsements.

Another example: Years ago a marketing firm sent me some pilots to watch on VHS. One was for a sitcom in which a middle class single mom goes to an antique shop and buys an old rug that contains a (male) genie. It was as awful as it sounds. What amazed me was that the antique store owner was played by John Rhys Davies- i.e. he wasn't even the star of this abomination- and he has never lacked for work. The only memorable thing about the pilot was "Why the hell is Sallah doing this?"


Any other actors who've taken "curious" choices when they didn't seem to lack for work or money? Or insight into the above?
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  #2  
Old 07-11-2012, 04:17 PM
Enderw24 Enderw24 is offline
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Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
A prime example are the law firm ads done by William Shatner. These are the commercials where they give a spiel about the excellency of a certain firm, then say the firm's name in a cutaway- and they air locally wherever the law firm is situated. Shatner's ad for a local law firm air here everyday.
I imagine it's the same reason Shatner charges $80 an autograph at trade shows. Because he'll get people lined up around the block yelling "shut up and take my money!"
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:20 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Michael Caine, on his role in Jaws: The Revenge
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I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:21 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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Shatner capitalizing on lawyer ads was just pure funny because that was his best acting.
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:41 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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My father-in-law was a cabinetmaker. He specialized in all sorts of precision, detailed carpentry. He also had no qualms about knocking 2x4's together when times were slow. Why should an actor be different?
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:57 PM
xizor xizor is offline
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I imagined retired and semi-retired actors and actresses who still have the energy and mobility do it just to stay busy. Sure, they are set with money but are bored sitting around all day like any other person at that stage in life.
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:04 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
Another example: Years ago a marketing firm sent me some pilots to watch on VHS. One was for a sitcom in which a middle class single mom goes to an antique shop and buys an old rug that contains a (male) genie. It was as awful as it sounds. What amazed me was that the antique store owner was played by John Rhys Davies- i.e. he wasn't even the star of this abomination- and he has never lacked for work. The only memorable thing about the pilot was "Why the hell is Sallah doing this?"
For something like this I'd assume it's because Rhys-Davies either owed someone a favor or was friends with someone involved in this show (the IMDb tells me it was called "You Wish"). Unless the show was outrageously offensive then showing up for a couple of guest star appearances was unlikely to hurt Rhys-Davies's reputation, and he'd get a little money and presumably make someone else happy.

Looking at that IMDb entry more closely I see that "You Wish" was produced by Touchstone Television, which is part of the Disney empire. Rhys-Davies was doing voice work on several Disney projects (like the Gargoyles series) around the same time, so someone he knew through those jobs probably got him to do "You Wish".
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:19 PM
Morbo Morbo is offline
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I wondered about the actors DirecTV got for those commercials where they'd recreated scenes from their movies, altered to add lines about DirecTV. Several of them seemed still way too current for that, and above such things - Sigourney Weaver doing Alien, Naomi Watts doing King Kong, Kathy Bates doing Misery, etc.
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:22 PM
Max the Immortal Max the Immortal is offline
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Many actors just plain like working on set. Shatner may have just figured that shooting the law firm ads would be a fun way to spend the day.
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  #10  
Old 07-11-2012, 07:01 PM
tomcar tomcar is offline
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I'm not sure who said it but "A plumber doesn't go to a job and think 'these pipes are beneath me.'"
I wonder how many ex wives and kids Shatner has. He has some bills to pay and probably received some perks to. Many American actors do commercials in foreign countries but won't do them here. They don't want to ruin their brand in the US.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:08 PM
DataZak DataZak is offline
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Originally Posted by tomcar View Post
Many American actors do commercials in foreign countries but won't do them here. They don't want to ruin their brand in the US.
Here are some made by good ol' Arnie Schwarzenegger: Arnold Schwarzenegger Complete Japanese Commercial Filmography
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:31 PM
Kamino Neko Kamino Neko is offline
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I wonder how many ex wives and kids Shatner has.
Two exes, 3 kids. (He's been married 4 times, but his third marriage ended in her death, not a divorce.) Not a whole lot of alimony, and all the kids are grown (from his first marriage), so no child support.
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  #13  
Old 07-11-2012, 08:01 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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EGO
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  #14  
Old 07-11-2012, 08:29 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
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Christopher Walken has said in interviews that he pretty much says yes to everything because acting is his hobby.

He's in a couple DVD video games and all three Prophey movies(I think). Hey, they paid him.
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  #15  
Old 07-11-2012, 08:33 PM
ioioio ioioio is offline
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Why is Steven Tyler doing Burger King ads? Free Whoppers for life?

As Neil Young said, "Ain't singin' for Pepsi, Ain't singin' for Coke. I don't sing for nobody, Makes me look like a joke".

Well, actually, ST isn't singing for BK, he's just working the window.
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  #16  
Old 07-11-2012, 08:52 PM
emcee2k emcee2k is offline
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
My father-in-law was a cabinetmaker. He specialized in all sorts of precision, detailed carpentry. He also had no qualms about knocking 2x4's together when times were slow. Why should an actor be different?
I think the OP is looking for examples of actors knocking 2x4's together when times aren't slow.
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  #17  
Old 07-11-2012, 08:56 PM
Jim's Son Jim's Son is online now
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If the estate of Martin Luther king Jr can use his "I Have a Dream" speech for a commercial, then no actor can ever demean himself by any work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ5I_oM2HWY
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  #18  
Old 07-11-2012, 09:15 PM
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I think the point that actors work for a living is well taken. Shatner might be loaded, but many actors, even those who are critically acclaimed, aren't that rich. Additionally, it strikes me that if actors only take A-list roles they will in fact have a lot of spare time on their hands. I imagine agents sell these projects quite well - like the lawyer commercial. Shatner says a few lines and probably gets paid on the magnitude of a feature film. Who wouldn't do that?
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:25 PM
notfrommensa notfrommensa is offline
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I always wondered why Alex Trebek pimped himself to sell Colonial Life Insurance.

As did Ed McMahan and Art Linkletter for similar companies.
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  #20  
Old 07-11-2012, 10:37 PM
enomaj enomaj is offline
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EGO
Big ego. I love rebi!
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  #21  
Old 07-11-2012, 10:46 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is online now
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Originally Posted by notfrommensa
As did Ed McMahan and Art Linkletter for similar companies.
Art Linkletter was one of the richest men in show business (his mini-warehouse interests alone would have made him very very comfortable), but I will never understand how Ed managed to go broke. There's no way he didn't earn at least $100 million his his lifetime: The Tonight Show, Star Search, Bloopers and Practical Jokes, Og knows how many lesser forgotten well paying vehicles, commercials for absolutely everything, all of them featuring trucks filled with money. He got $50,000+ for emceeing appearance and was one of the most in-demand emcees in Hollywood. Plus just the his military retirement/Social Security in later years would have been more than most Americans earn and add in his SAG pension it would probably have been in the low six figures. Incredible that he was facing foreclosure in his late 80s.
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  #22  
Old 07-12-2012, 02:29 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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With such a slim chance at success, people don't choose to become actors for the money. Once you've got the acting bug, you'll always have the need to act . . . even if you don't need the money, and even if it's just a commercial.
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  #23  
Old 07-12-2012, 02:59 AM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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I don't think there's anything that can top the strange story of Ric Flair Finance, the lending company that banked on its founder's image and referred to its business model as the "figure-four process".

Tragically, 2007 turned out to be a bad time to go into investment banking.
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  #24  
Old 07-12-2012, 03:22 AM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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I'm always surprised to see Michael Jordan, who has more money than God, still doing what seem to be otherwise pretty low-rent underwear commercials.
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  #25  
Old 07-12-2012, 09:28 AM
postcards postcards is offline
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Alec Baldwin does TV ads for the Wegman's supermarket chain in New York State because his mother likes the stores so much.

I have no cite, but recall reading somewhere that he also donates everything he makes from TV ads (all of them, not just Wegman's) to charity.

So bully for him.
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  #26  
Old 07-12-2012, 09:29 AM
ioioio ioioio is offline
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I'm always surprised to see Michael Jordan, who has more money than God, still doing what seem to be otherwise pretty low-rent underwear commercials.
It's a gift to the women of the world.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:52 AM
Jim's Son Jim's Son is online now
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Fred Astaire appeared on an episode of the original "Battlestar Galactica" because one of his grandchildren was a fan of a show.

And even though you have money, you may want more. In the late 1970s Laurence Olivier was upfront about appearing in as many films, trashy or not ("The Betsy") so he could leave a large estate to his heirs.

James Cagney appeared in a couple films in the early 1980s after a 20 year retirement to a farm in upstate New York because he felt he needed to "get the blood moving again". There were also stories about a domineering housekeeper also a factor.
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  #28  
Old 07-12-2012, 10:59 AM
GrandWino GrandWino is offline
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James Franco joining the cast of "General Hospital" has got to be up there.
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  #29  
Old 07-12-2012, 11:01 AM
Nunzio Tavulari Nunzio Tavulari is offline
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I'm always surprised to see Michael Jordan, who has more money than God, still doing what seem to be otherwise pretty low-rent underwear commercials.
Jordan played basketball at University of North Carolina, and Hanes is a big deal in the state. They gave him and the university bucketloads of cash and prizes. He's majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats basketball team and they're probably still stuffing dollars into his pockets.

The way I see it, he's a celebrity and people are going to offer him huge money to do their commercials. he used to do:
MCI - went down in flames while executives stuffed money in their pockets
Nike - has made a business of getting ghetto kids to pay hundreds for a pair of shoes
McDonalds - not the most healthy food out there
Coca-Cola - ditto
Gatorade - the original exorbitantly-priced water

Everybody needs underwear. If you're going to make forty million a year (reportedly) on endorsements, you may as well have some integrity.
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  #30  
Old 07-12-2012, 12:25 PM
Haunted Pasta Haunted Pasta is offline
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Anyone heard about how Roger Daltrey's finances are? Or were? Because about the biggest "Why?" I've ever felt about this sort of thing was a late-night infomercial he appeared in several years ago, hawking yet another collection of classic rock tunes to aging Baby Boomers. The main spokesperson was some photogenic woman blathering on about all these great songs from such a special time in history, blah blah blah. Roger occasionally looked into the camera and recited his couple of lines, but it seemed they mostly just wanted him to sit there in heavy studio makeup with the fakest smile you've ever seen plastered on his face, just looking at the spokeschick as she talked.

It was really sad. Not that he was doing advertisements at all- I remember he was in print ads for some expensive wristwatch once and wasn't bothered- more that he was doing something so completely cheesy. Maybe it was a Michael Caine-Jaws 4 situation or something.
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:56 PM
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Why did Sir Laurence Olivier play Zeus in Clash of the Titans? He was one of the better actors EVER, and he took this stupid role.

God, I loved him in Spartacus, as Marcus Licinius Crassus. Plus, of course, whole lot of other roles as well. You know, Henry V, Hamlet etc, etc, and so forth.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:00 PM
LurkerInNJ LurkerInNJ is offline
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EGO
I always though it was for continued eligibility in the union health plans. The senior premium used to be around $25 bucks a month.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:47 PM
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Maybe Ed McMahon had some secret vices like gambling. Michael Jordan is an infamous gambler. Maybe a little extra money allows him some gambling funds.
I don't mean to disparage any of these famous people but drugs, women, gambling, etc add up real quick.
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  #34  
Old 07-12-2012, 01:58 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Considering all the the godawful Sci-Fi channel horror movies he's been in, John Rhys-Davies probably looks at any cheesy commercial he's offered and thinks, "The money's good, and God knows, it's less embarrassing than Attack of the Giant Mutant Iguanas."

Last edited by astorian; 07-12-2012 at 01:59 PM..
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  #35  
Old 07-12-2012, 02:11 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is online now
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Anyone heard about how Roger Daltrey's finances are? Or were? Because about the biggest "Why?" I've ever felt about this sort of thing was a late-night infomercial he appeared in several years ago, hawking yet another collection of classic rock tunes to aging Baby Boomers.
One of the biggest "wtf?" infomercial hosts was Cher's hair care product infomercials for Lori Davis (I think that's right) back in the 1990s. Per Cher, and I think she was probably telling the truth, she did it as a favor for a friend and had no idea it would be on all the damned time for the next two years.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:17 PM
GrandWino GrandWino is offline
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I always though it was for continued eligibility in the union health plans. The senior premium used to be around $25 bucks a month.
I've heard this as well.
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  #37  
Old 07-12-2012, 02:25 PM
Death of Rats Death of Rats is offline
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And even though you have money, you may want more. In the late 1970s Laurence Olivier was upfront about appearing in as many films, trashy or not ("The Betsy") so he could leave a large estate to his heirs.
This was how Raul Julia ended up with his last movie being Street Fighter. He knew he was dying and took a few last big paychecks for his kids. His last would have been Desparado, but he got sick and had to be replaced.
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  #38  
Old 07-12-2012, 04:05 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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[Montgomery Burns] I would give everything I own for just a little more! [/Montgomery Burns]
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  #39  
Old 07-12-2012, 06:50 PM
Jim's Son Jim's Son is online now
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Originally Posted by Haunted Pasta View Post
Anyone heard about how Roger Daltrey's finances are? Or were? Because about the biggest "Why?" I've ever felt about this sort of thing was a late-night infomercial he appeared in several years ago, hawking yet another collection of classic rock tunes to aging Baby Boomers. The main spokesperson was some photogenic woman blathering on about all these great songs from such a special time in history, blah blah blah. Roger occasionally looked into the camera and recited his couple of lines, but it seemed they mostly just wanted him to sit there in heavy studio makeup with the fakest smile you've ever seen plastered on his face, just looking at the spokeschick as she talked.

It was really sad. Not that he was doing advertisements at all- I remember he was in print ads for some expensive wristwatch once and wasn't bothered- more that he was doing something so completely cheesy. Maybe it was a Michael Caine-Jaws 4 situation or something.
I was always under the impression that he was pretty level headed. Townshend could get into financial trouble by doing things like building a Meher Baba center that got overpriced as more and more expenses got added in the construction. Entwhistle liked to buy collections of things like knight's armor and cars (he couldn't drive). Daltrey, who was a jerk as a youth (I remember him saying he probably would have been a criminal if he didn't get involved in music), really straightened out when the others threatened to kick him out in the mid 1960s (as singer, he did not like like the guitar player getting a lot of publicity).

Howard Stern once commented in the 1980s that some rich people, like Daltrey, do not give a lot of money to their children. Apparently Daltrey told his son that he would have to make his own way into life and his kid was an ordinary working stiff.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:02 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is online now
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This was how Raul Julia ended up with his last movie being Street Fighter. He knew he was dying and took a few last big paychecks for his kids. His last would have been Desparado, but he got sick and had to be replaced.
He was also the first choice by a mile to play Juan Peron in Evita, but his health declined and he died before the movie was even really in pre-production.

Last edited by Sampiro; 07-12-2012 at 07:03 PM..
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  #41  
Old 07-12-2012, 07:12 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is online now
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Originally Posted by Jim's Son
Howard Stern once commented in the 1980s that some rich people, like Daltrey, do not give a lot of money to their children. Apparently Daltrey told his son that he would have to make his own way into life and his kid was an ordinary working stiff.
Michael Douglas and Rob Reiner are both sons of rich-and-famous fathers who had the usual struggling actor/4th floor walk-up dump with roommate in NYC experience for a while. I think Douglas got more of a helping hand than Reiner since his dad handed him the rights to Cuckoo's Nest, but I respected their dads for not just renting them an apartment and paying for lessons.

I remember during Jim Carrey's fairly bitter divorce battles with his first wife she wanted a ridiculous amount of child support for their daughter (Carrey's only child IIRC) because, per the mother, the girl wanted to be an actress and this required acting lessons, headshots, lots of grooming and a fancy wardrobe and 'networking' at expensive places. Carrey, who grew up broke and lived in a van (not sure whether it was down by the river) and did the other starving entertainer path, responded with what I remember as a well worded argument to the effect of "I love my daughter but I'm not going to make it easy for her because talent and hard work are what get you a career in show business". I'm not sure how the court ruled (though his daughter's not a famous actress and made him a fairly young grandfather).
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  #42  
Old 07-12-2012, 08:00 PM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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Burt Reynolds did ads for some auto detailing chain a few years back. Whatever money he made off it can't be worth announcing to the world how indiscriminate he'd become.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:30 PM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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I was always under the impression that he was pretty level headed. Townshend could get into financial trouble by doing things like building a Meher Baba center that got overpriced as more and more expenses got added in the construction. Entwhistle liked to buy collections of things like knight's armor and cars (he couldn't drive). Daltrey, who was a jerk as a youth (I remember him saying he probably would have been a criminal if he didn't get involved in music), really straightened out when the others threatened to kick him out in the mid 1960s (as singer, he did not like like the guitar player getting a lot of publicity).

Howard Stern once commented in the 1980s that some rich people, like Daltrey, do not give a lot of money to their children. Apparently Daltrey told his son that he would have to make his own way into life and his kid was an ordinary working stiff.
Daltrey has always been pretty straight-edge as well, so he's never had a monkey on his back spending his money. On the other hand, he never made as much money as Townshend did since he rarely wrote any songs of his own, and he probably needs a steady income as opposed to just living off royalties, which would explain some of his B-list acting roles and his continuing to tour as a solo act now that Pete is pretty much deaf.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:34 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Originally Posted by Death of Rats View Post
This was how Raul Julia ended up with his last movie being Street Fighter. He knew he was dying and took a few last big paychecks for his kids.
To be fair, Raul Julia should have won an Oscar for what he did with Street Fighter.

"For you, the day Bison graced your village was a day you'll always remember. For me, it was Tuesday."
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:36 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is online now
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Burt Reynolds did ads for some auto detailing chain a few years back. Whatever money he made off it can't be worth announcing to the world how indiscriminate he'd become.
He doesn't have a lot of choice. He needs every cent he can get; at one point even the "little people" creditors like his pool cleaner and a company that did fence repair were suing him. More fans would probably turn against him for owing his cleaning lady $400 than for owing his credit card company $400,000.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:52 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Daltrey has always been pretty straight-edge as well, so he's never had a monkey on his back spending his money. On the other hand, he never made as much money as Townshend did since he rarely wrote any songs of his own, and he probably needs a steady income as opposed to just living off royalties, which would explain some of his B-list acting roles and his continuing to tour as a solo act now that Pete is pretty much deaf.
This was what I was about to post. Daltrey wrote about two Who songs in their entire career, neither of which was a hit, so he's never been getting the songwriting royalties. He probably also was not as wealthy from The Who's heyday as one might guess, partially because the band was deeply in debt (all those smashed instruments cost money to repair/replace) before the massive success of Tommy and partially because in later years they were having to cover some of Keith Moon's excesses with the band's profits.
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