George Harrison lived in monetary consolation after rising to fame as an adolescent. He was a profitable musician for almost all of his life, however he additionally dabbled in different industries. Within the late Seventies, he and his enterprise associate, Denis O’Brien, dove into the movie business with their firm, HandMade movies. Whereas they produced some profitable movies, the corporate started to battle. Harrison didn’t notice that the corporate’s struggling funds meant he was additionally in bother.
The previous Beatle used his home as collateral to finance ‘Lifetime of Brian’
In 1978, the primary backer of Monty Python’s Lifetime of Brian pulled out after studying the script. Determined, actor Eric Idle got here to Harrison for assist. He knew Harrison was a fan of Monty Python and in addition that he had extra money than most individuals he knew.
“Eric mentioned George had at all times been an enormous Python fan, and Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam had grow to be pleasant with him,” producer John Goldstone instructed the LA Instances. “So Eric mentioned, ‘Why don’t we see whether or not George may assist?’ We went to his home within the Hollywood Hills, and I can’t bear in mind if we had despatched him the script or if he had learn it, however he mentioned, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it.’ And that was it.”
To finance the film, Harrison used his dwelling as collateral.
“I solely learnt years later from George that to lift the cash he’d put his home on the road, and Denis had put up the premises of his home as collateral,” director Terry Jones mentioned, per the e-book Very Naughty Boys by Robert Sellers. “So if I’d recognized that, I’d have been much more nervous concerning the end result of the factor, however on the time I simply thought, Oh, they’ve all bought tons of cash and it’s all proper. I’m glad I didn’t know.”
George Harrison was in a decent monetary place due to his enterprise associate
Fortunately for Harrison, the film was a industrial success. HandMade movies grew to become an vital participant in British cinema, releasing 23 movies in 10 years. Not all of those motion pictures had been as profitable as Lifetime of Brian, nevertheless. By the late Nineteen Eighties, HandMade was struggling to remain afloat. O’Brien employed an accountant, John Reiss, to look into their affairs. He found that Harrison was in a troublesome place.
Whereas Harrison believed that he and O’Brien had been equal monetary companions, he was primarily paying for every little thing himself. He trusted O’Brien, so he didn’t look into something as deeply as he ought to.
“Each time Denis wanted extra money for movies, he would mainly use George’s private assure to ensure the mortgage and George had no thought and, after all, the financial institution assumed he was mega-rich they usually by no means checked and he had private ensures that had been far larger than his web value,” HandMade movie’s Wendy Palmer mentioned.
Reiss and Harrison’s buddy Ray Cooper went to Harrison’s dwelling to speak to him about it.
“I instructed him that almost all of his belongings had been within the movies and properties, he hadn’t bought any liquid capital,” Reiss defined. “His portfolio was completely out of skew within the sense that he hadn’t bought sources to satisfy his day-to-day wants, it was all in celluloid and properties. He additionally had no pension provision for previous age. After which there was the contingent liabilities, the financial institution ensures not shared with Denis. And he’d additionally personally given completion ensures on movies.”
George Harrison didn’t wish to consider that he was having monetary issues
The information from Reiss was so troubling that Harrison didn’t wish to settle for it.
“He actually didn’t wish to know and he just about threw us out … even his previous mate Ray,” Reiss mentioned. “And that saddened me. I believe he half-knew, he simply didn’t wish to hear the horrible information.”
Palmer defined that Harrison at all times needed to consider that every little thing was going nicely.
“George was the sort of one that’d shoot the messenger as a result of he didn’t wish to know,” she mentioned. “He needed to consider that every little thing was hunky-dory and high-quality.”
Ultimately, Harrison accepted the unhealthy information. He filed a lawsuit in opposition to O’Brien, and a courtroom awarded him $11 million.
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