Star Magazine, November 6, 2001

Ed McMahon & Wife Flee $4 Million Mansion

by Richard Mineards

EX-TONIGHT SHOW sidekick Ed McMahon was forced to flee his Hollywood Hills home after deadly mold growing inside the walls made him seriously ill and landed his housekeeper in the hospital.

Environmental Protection Agency officials ordered McMahon, 78, and his wife Pam out of their $4 million mansion immediately.

Since then, investigators have torn the house apart trying to get rid of all the toxic fungus.

Most mold is not dangerous, but experts say the rare black type that grew inside McMahon's house can be fatal.

"People die from this," close friend Linda Brown tells Star. "Ed and Pam are both very lucky to have come out of this alive. They literally left the house with just the clothes on their backs."

Now, McMahon, host of the new PAX TV series The Next Big Star, and his wife are holed up with their six dogs in a $6,000-a-night suite at the swank Beverlv Hills Hotel.

Because of the extensive work needed at their home, they expect to be there until at least Christmas - and the huge bill will be picked up by his insurance.

The ordeal began in June, when McMahon started suffering sinus and throat problems that wouldn't clear up. Doctors were baffled.

It was a complete mystery. Pam also had cold problems, but not as badly," Brown tells Star exclusively.

"But when the housekeeper was rushed to the hospital with acute respiratory problems, we knew it was something serious.

"Finally, a pipe burst and when workers looked inside the walls, they were infested with toxic mold, which is absolutely deadly if inhaled for long periods."

The EPA was immediately called to the scene, and inspectors, using special gauges to measure the mold in the air, found the measurements "thousands of points above normal."

"Ed and Pam were ordered to I evacuate the house immediately, and they weren't allowed to take anything, not even clothing," says Brown.

"It was just them and the dogs. They were hustled out of their home with the clothes on their backs.

"It was an enormous shock.

"Since then the house has been taken apart with all the drywall ripped out and the furniture put into EPA storage, along with the clothes.

"It has to be tested and treated piece by piece. It is a very painstaking and laborious task.

"The workmen have been using great suction machines to suck the air out of the house and get rid of the mold. They're going through every inch."

The former Star Search host bought the six bedroom, five bath home off Mulholland Drive new in 1990, shortly after filing for divorce from his second wife, Victoria.

He married Pam, now 48, in 1992. McMahon is slowly recovering from the lethal mold and preparing for a nationwide bus tour kicking off his talent show,The Next Big Star Oct. 24 in Branson, Mo.

But whatever happens, McMahon and his wife are determined to be back home by Christmas in time for their famous annual party.

"It's Pam's favorite time of the year and she wants to be back in her house with her husband,"says Brown.