Thursday, April 18, 2024

Thursday Film Picks: Tax Evasion


I got this idea from John Holton over at The Sound of One Hand Typing ( a great blog, you should check it out) who created a music post on musicians who owed/owe big on income tax and, I thought, there are many film actors who also ran into tax trouble so I am picking 3 films with stars who ran into tax trouble. Here are my 3…


This film stars Cary Grant as a widower with 3 precocious kids who run into the beautiful Sophia Loren who is running away from her very wealthy dad. They believe she needs a job and the kids want her as their new nanny and she is happy to oblige if that takes her away from being a contessa. It’s quite a fun film with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren having real chemistry. They should since Cary fell madly in love with Sophia and asked her to marry him but she opted for short, fat, bald Carlo Ponti, an Italian film producer…go figure but, it seemed to be a happy union. Sophia Loren went to jail in 1982 for a whole 17 days for fudging her taxes which she stated she was innocent. Many years later, the government stated she was right and apologized for the boo boo.

2. OCEAN’S 11-1960

This film stars the infamous Rat Pack- Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop as friends who decide to pull the biggest heist in Las Vegas history. You see how they all connive to steal millions from the 5 top casinos. Sammy Davis drives the van from casino to casino. Sammy Davis was someone who could act, sing, dance, you name it and had fun with his cohorts in the Vegas strip when he wasn’t allowed to stay in the hotels due to his colour. Frank Sinatra told the casino that if they want him and the others around Sammy must stay at the hotel and be able to walk through the front door and , they capitulated. Sammy also made the sin of marrying a white woman( May Britt) and received death threats. Poor Sammy was always running out of money and, when he died, in 1990( died of throat cancer, he was a 4 pack a day smoker),  he owed a ton to the IRS. Sadly, because his widow signed on his income tax forms, they came after her for the money.


I would love to see this film again. It stars Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo as drag queens driving to LA for. Drag Queen competition but run into a nasty cop and then their car goes on the blink leaving them in this small town with people wondering what the hell they are. You know that they and the townsfolk will become richer for knowing each other but it’s how they all work together. I love the cameo of Robin Williams at the beginning of the film and love that Julie Newmar( Catwoman in the Batman tv show) also made an appearance near the end of the film. I also love seeing tough guy and Blade star Wesley Snipes dressed as a woman, not a good looking one, but a woman nonetheless. Wesley Snipes went to jail for 3 years for tax evasion and, I believe, still has issues with the tax man. 

Who can you think of who ran afoul of the Tax man?


  1. This is not something I keep up with much since I don't follow celebrities that much. I do recall the tax problems Wesley Snipes ran into so I'll add his film Blade which for some odd reason I remember going to see in the theater. Doesn't seem like the type of film that I'd like, but I guess back then I wanted to see it.


  2. Interesting and timely rabbit hole to go down Birgit!

    I love Houseboat!! Such a sweet film and leagues better than the absolutely ghastly movie Cary & Sophia met on-"The Pride and the Passion" which Cary always referred to with outright scorn. I remember poor Sophia doing her time and later being exonerated. Haven't heard much about her since she took that fall, hope she is doing well.

    While I much prefer the Clooney/Pitt remake this version of Oceans 11 is a fascinating artifact of its time. The boys are too busy amusing each other for the film to really land its premise but it did provide a good launch pad for the later film.

    I like but don't love To Wong Foo. Its message of acceptance is a great one and the cast superior but it falters somewhat in execution. His tax troubles sure did torpedo Wesley's career.

    Hmm most of the people who came to mind right away with the more egregious tax problems (Martha Stewart, Shakira, Al Sharpton etc.) aren't actors but I did finally come up with three. I'm going with somewhat more obscure films for the trio.

    Presenting Lily Mars (1943)-Judy Garland plays a small town girl gone to the big city to become a star! When Judy sings, its great. When she doesn't its average. Designed to move her forward towards adulthood and away from teen roles every effort was made to glamorize her and she looks truly lovely in the film. An added advantage is a couple of great character actresses, Fay Bainter and Spring Byington, in support. There is one special scene where Judy and the terrific Connie Gilchrist perform Every Little Movement on a bare stage. Excepting that scene this is nothing special overall but Judy makes it worth checking out. Poor Judy was almost always broke and in trouble with the taxman, initially due to her mother's mismanagement and later by trusting the wrong men.

    Red Rock West (1993)-Nicolas Cage stars as a schlub who stumbles into a case of mistaken identity in a sunbaked isolate Western town. Unfortunately for him the identity is a hitman. Dennis Hopper and Lara Flynn Boyle costar. Cage ran into big tax trouble back in the latter part of the aughts.

    Red Headed Stranger (1986)-Willie Nelson walks into a bar in the Old West and guns down his unfaithful wife (Morgan Fairchild) and her lover beginning his transformation from man of God to outlaw. Willie got hit with a huge tax lien in the 80's which took years and most of his assets to settle.

  3. I have seen Houseboat. I haven't seen the others. (I've seen the remake of Ocean's 11, but not the original.)

  4. Don't mess with the IRS is the message here.

  5. OMG. They put Sophia in jail AND she was innocent????? I loved Houseboat:) Hope you are feeling much, much better.

  6. BIRGIT ~

    Last week I watched for the first (and last) time the movie 'INDISCREET' starring Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman. Unquestionably the MOST BORING movie I've ever seen in nearly 65 years of life. Not the worst, but definitely the *most boring*. In fact, after 58 minutes, when literally nothing had happened, I quit and walked away from the movie. My Brother watched the rest of it and was sorry he did, telling me that *nothing* happened on the screen after I left the room. Terrible & inexcusable waste of film & money!!

    Although it doesn't seem like my kind of movie, I really *should* see Oceans 11, just for the views of old school Las Vegas (where, according to my Ma, I was conceived in 1958).

    Willie Nelson is the first celebrity I thought of when tax problems was mentioned. And although I did not much like his Western movie 'The Red-Headed Stranger', I definitely recommend his Western 'BARBAROSA', also starring Gary Busey. I gave it an A-.

    ~ D-FensDogG

  7. Sammy Davis Jr. and Kim Novak were very much in love, apparently, and Harry Cohn, who ran Columbia Pictures, hired the Mob to make him break it off. Just thought I'd mention it.

  8. I've seen all of these and have to admit, I never liked "Houseboat". Somehow, Sophia Loren seemed annoying to me. I remember reading that Cary Grant was in love with her. Funny that she chose Carlo Ponti instead. Loved Ocean's 11 and the Rat Pack! I'm glad they stood up for Sammy Davis Jr. To Wong Foo was a hoot! ☺ Another Wesley Snipes movie that comes to mind is Demolition Man, starring Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock. Wesley was the bad guy. Futuristic fun!

  9. I really liked Ocean's 11. Not that I condone crime, mind you.

  10. Al Capone, of course... The Untouchables.