Eddie Money, the star of the AXS TV reality series Real Money and the classic rock mainstay behind 1970s and 1980s hits like “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Think I’m In Love,” “Walk on Water,” “Shakin'” and “Baby Hold On,” died Friday, less than a month after announcing his esophageal cancer diagnosis. He was 70.
Money, born Eddie Mahoney, died at his home in Los Angeles. A statement provided by his family: “The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father. We cannot imagine our world without him. We are grateful that he will live on forever through his music.”
'Real Money' Star And Rocker Eddie Money Has Esophageal Cancer
Real Money premiered in April 2018 and followed the singer’s life both at home and on the road and featured his wife, Laurie, and their five children. The rock star’s assorted health challenges have been a staple aspect of the show, but those travails took an especially grim turn last month when Money, a longtime smoker, revealed he learned last fall that he had stage 4 esophageal cancer.
The midseason premiere of Season 2 of Real Money aired Thursday. An all-day tribute to Money will air Sunday and the show will continue through the final five episodes on Thursday nights.
The official synopsis of Season 2 of Real Money: “Real Money captures the daily lives of the Money family—which includes Eddie; Laurie, his wife of over 30 years; their five kids, Zach, Joe, Jesse, Dez, and Julian; and ten pets—as they live, laugh, bicker, and rock under one roof. Season 2 finds the clan attending a Money family reunion with Eddie’s brothers and sisters in New York; on stage at their annual sold out concert in Detroit; hitting the lanes for a day of bowling; taking a family trip to South Dakota; and welcoming great dane puppy Bette to their growing pack.”
A native of Long Island, N.Y., the singer briefly tried to follow a different career path: law enforcement. Money’s grandfather, father, and brother all wore the badge of the NYPD and the future rock star was a trainee with the department as well.
Three of Money’s four siblings ended up as civil servants but Money was clearly not cut out for that life. He was the long-haired rebel of his strict Irish Catholic family and with his first band, Grapes of Wrath, he longed for an escape from the smothering neighborhood scene that cast him as an outsider. “Everything was coming down on me,” Money recalled in a 1980 interview with People magazine. “I didn’t want to grow old like my father and grandfather, walking a beat, calling to see whether the old lady wants you to bring home a loaf of bread.”
Escape arrived in the tumultuous year of 1968 when Money went west to Berkeley, CA, to pursue rebellion and music. The revolution didn’t begin so well. “I thought we were going to change the world,” Money told People. “I was known as Freddie Food-stamps because I didn’t have a dime. I changed my name to Money as a joke.”
His talents as a songwriter and stage performer eventually gave that joke name some major marquee stature. A Columbia Records deal and the guidance of famed rock impresario Bill Graham led Money to stardom in 1977 when Money’s self-titled debut album yielded two of his signature hits, “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On.”
The rocker’s career was in sharp decline in the first half of the 1980s but he turned it around with a major comeback success in 1986 when Columbia released his sixth album, Can’t Hold Back, which featured his biggest chart hit, “Take Me Home Tonight,” a duet that featured (and lyrically name-checked) Ronnie Spector, the onetime lead singer of the Ronettes. The Grammy-nominated song reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Known for his candor and humor, the genial Money was a natural for reality television. In addition to music videos that emphasized his personality, Money’s playful disposition led him to other television work through the years including a memorable 2002 episode of The King of Queens and a 2012 commercial for GEICO insurance that used “Two Tickets to Paradise” and presented the rock star as an eager-to-please travel agent.
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