Jim Fox Interview

Jim Fox is a highly successful businessman in southern California. A former child actor, Jim parlayed his money into vast real estate holdings. Robin Leach has profiled Jim as his popular syndicated TV show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." What makes Jim Fox tick? How did he acquire his fortune? That's what we set out to discover.

Q. Why did "Lifestyles" single you out for a profile on the show?
A. They were looking for someone who was younger for one thing, that was doing. T do as you noticed, a lot of charity work. They didn't want it to be an egotistical type of situation. They asked me a couple of times to do it, and I sort of denied doing it. I lead a very quiet, reserved type of life, and I really didn't want to get too much publicity. But then, because I am putting in a restaurant on the second floor of my building, I thought it can't hurt to get that
kind of advertising, and I thought as long as you'll do something nice on the restaurant piece. I'll do it for them.

Q. After the show aired, did more people hit yon up for money?
A. Oh, yeah. It did its good and bad. As far as the bad was concerned, there was very little that did happen. I had somebody call up, supposedly with the same last name and needed money and gave the hard story. A lot of proposals for marriage. It was funny, some of the letters that would come in - T live in East Los Angeles, but my heart has always been in Beverly Hills and Malibu.' (Laughs.) It's also helped as far as business. It makes you seem a little more solid to the banks when they see you on television.

Q. How did you acquire your financial expertise?
A. My father, my mother and stepfather always owned and bought a lot of property so it was something that was sort of pounded into me. You buy things, you don't rent, whenever possible to get your equities. 1 was fortunate to graduate from high school at an early age. I was just shy of being 16. I did have monies from that. I went away to college for a year. Some friends of mine told me about a piece of property that was part of a probate, and I bought the property and fixed it up; a little paint, and things like that. Nine months later, I turned around and sold if for a very big profit. I thought, this “isn’t too bad of a business here. A lot of people don't take the chances. All you can do is fail and you just go on again. I work 7 days a week. I enjoy what I do. You do have to take the chances.

Q. Is it true you can buy property with no money down and no credit history?
A. It's true. What I do a lot of is look for destitute situations where the banks have either come in and taken over the properties, and the banks want to get them off their books, so they'll do very creative financing, just because they'd rather it become an asset rather than a liability. I don't think it's a necessity to go through a class to learn that.

Q. Do you still think it's possible for someone to start off with absolutely nothing and become financially well-off?
A. Yeah. I do. I can really see that happening.

Q. You have a film company. What exactly is your role there?
A. I'm still dealing with bankers and financing. We raise the funds for different projects that are being put together for films.

Q. You own several properties in Malibu. Are you worried at all about the great earthquake that's coming.
A. Not a bit. If it happens, I'm not the only one going down the tubes, with real estate or whatever. We all can't sit there and sort of dwell on the negative side. If it happens, it happens. We go from that particular point.

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