The odds of winning the average lottery are 1 in 100 million. That means you are more likely to be killed by a meteor than to win a Mega Millions jackpot. So you can only imagine how crazy the odds must be for someone to win a lottery twice in their lifetime. And to take it a step further, imagine just how astronomically insane the odds must be for someone to win the lottery twice, IN 24 HOURS! Incredibly, that’s exactly what just happened for a man named Cary Collings in Washington state. Not surprisingly, Collings is now being called the luckiest person in America…
Last Thursday Cary Collins bought a scratch off ticket at a River Road Food Mart in Puyallup, Washington while his truck was filling up with gas. Collins, who is a blue collar worker at the nearby Boeing factory, has played the scratch off lottery ever since it was introduced in Washington back in 2004. After leaving the gas station, Cary proceeded to scratch off the ticket while waiting at a red light. To his amazement, his “Red Hot 5s” ticket turned out to be worth $55,555!
After taking his friends out for a celebratory pizza party, Cary drove off to the state lottery department to claim his prize. On a whim he decided to make a pit stop on the way to collect his earnings and buy another ticket. This time he purchased three “Bring on the Bens” tickets for $30. You can only imagine the look on Cary Collins’ face when one of those scratchers turned out to be a $200,000winner. In less than 24 hours, Collins won two lottery tickets worth a grand total of $255,555. What are the odds? Honestly they are probably too high to calculate.
Cary’s lucky streak reminds us of the story of Australian lottery winer Bill Morgan. Bill Morgan is an Australian factory worker who was nearly crushed to death by a freak truck accident at work. After leaving the hospital with a heart condition, Morgan had severe heart attack that left him in a deep coma. The coma was so deep that his family was advised to remove life support not once, but TWICE. Bill’s luck eventually turned around in the most amazing way. Not only did he end up winning the lottery twice, but the second time was on live TV! You really need to read the full story and watch the incredible video to appreciate how it all went down:
f you ever meet a magic genie and are given the chance to switch lives with one other person on the planet, you probably won’t regret picking Mikhail Prokhorov. Mikhail Prokhorov is a self-made 48 year old Russian billionaire playboy who is perhaps most famous in the western world for being the new owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. Outside of the pro sports, Mikhail has used his massive bank account to build a dream life that includes super model girlfriends, mansions around the world, two mega-yachts, an ultra luxurious private jet and even a semi-successful political career. He is essentially, the ultimate billionaire playboy. And to think, none of it would have been possible without the help of a private jet full of prostitutes and a debaucherous New Years party that landed Prokhorov in a French jail back in 2007. Wait…what??!!
As of June 16th, 2013, Mikhail Prokhorov’s $13.5 billion net worth is enough to make him the 9th richest person in Russia and the 70th richest person in the world . However, unlike most billionaires, the majority of Mikhails’ net worth is made up of cash and other very liquid assets.
In January 2007, Mikhail Prokhorov and a group of close friends hopped aboard his private jet and flew to the upscale French resort town of Courchevel, high up in the Alps to celebrate the Russian Orthodox New Year. Also on board that flight: Eight 20 year old sexy Russian prostitutes. Technically the women were never proven to be anything more than “models” who were brought for “entertainment”, but any reasonable person would agree that this is a very grey area.
After a debaucherous three day party that has been described as a massive orgy, 50 French police officers swooped in and arrested Mikhail and all of the “models”. The women were immediately released, but Mikhail was held in a jail cell for four days on charges that he was importing prostitutes. He was eventually released and all charges were dropped, but the incident sent shock waves all across Russia. The scandal was parodied on dozens of television shows, commercials, magazines and radio stations.
With Norilsk Nickel’s stock price at an all time high, Vladimir Potanin saw the scandal as the perfect opportunity to push his old business partner out to pasture. Over the next 12 months, both parties fought bitterly over the future of Norilsk Nickel. In the end, the pressure was just too much for Prokhorov and he was forced to liquidate 100% of his holdings in the company. He ended up selling his stake to Oleg Deripaska, who at the time the richest person in Russia with a net worth of $28 billion. The final sale price for Mikhail’s stake was $7 billion in cash and $3 billion worth of stock in one of Oleg’s aluminum mining companies.
As it turns out, the timing of his sale could not have been any better. In October 2008, just a few months after Mikhail cashed out, the world economy collapsed. As stocks plummeted, the global commodities market was eviscerated. Oleg Deripaska’s net worth plunged 85% from $28 billion to an all time low of $4 billion (it has since risen back up to $9 billion). All of a sudden, Mikhail Prokhorov found himself sitting alone atop the list of the richest people in Russia and within a few years, as the economy recovered, his net worth grew to over $13.5 billion. Mikhail is no longer the richest person in Russia, but he may be the happiest! After all, if it weren’t for a plane full or high end Russian prostitutes, today he probably wouldn’t be sitting on a mountain of cash as the owner of Brooklyn Nets and Jay-Z’s best friend.
Sam Simon is a name you have probably seen on your television set hundreds, if not thousands of times, but you might not be able to pick his face out of a lineup. Between 1979 and 1993, Sam Simon was one of the most influential television writers/producers in the world. He left indelible marks on two of the most classic sitcoms of all time; Cheers and Taxi. Later in his career, Simon also helped produce and direct hits like The Drew Carey Show, Friends, House of Cards and Anger Management. Oh, he also co-developed and executive produced on a little show called The Simpsons. Impressively, Sam only worked on The Simpsons over four seasons, yet he still earns tens of millions of dollars every year off residuals, to this day. Perhaps even more impressively, after essentially retiring at the age of 38, Simon dedicated his life to philanthropy with a special focus on animal related causes. Sadly, in late 2012 Sam was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and given 3-6 months to live. It’s been six months and Sam is still going strong, actively fighting for animals and proceeding to give his entire fortune away to charity. This is his incredible and inspirational life story…
Sam Simon grew up in Beverly Hills, California on a street where his neighbors where Groucho Marx and Elvis Presley. He was recruited to play football at Stanford but quit the team after his first practice. Instead of playing football, Simon became the cartoonist for the Stanford student newspaper. While still an undergrad, he was hired by both the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner newspapers as a sports cartoonist. This early passion for cartoons landed him hist first job after college at a Los Angeles based animation studio called Filmation. At Filmation, Simon worked as a storyboard artist on the cartoon “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids”. At some point in 1981, a friend encouraged Sam to submit an unsolicited “spec” script to the creator of the hit show “Taxi”. Incredibly, the producers loved his script so much that they not only turned it into a full episode, but they also hired Sam as a full time writer. He was just 26 years old. By 1983, when he was 30 years old, Simon had risen to the level of showrunner (the most important day-to-day manager on a show). He was the youngest network television showrunner of all time until a 26 year old Josh Schwartz ran “The O.C.” in 2003. After Taxi ended, Sam was worked as a staff writer on the first three seasons of another little sitcom called “Cheers”.
Origins of The Simpsons
Taxi was created executive produced by the prolific writer/director/producer James L. Brooks. In 1987, while serving as executive producer on The Tracey Ullman Show, Brooks had an idea. He wanted to feature short animations when coming in and out of commercials. For one of the cartoons, Brooks reached out to animator Matt Groening, whose “Life in Hell” series was syndicated in newspapers around the country. The first obvious concept was to simply create an animated version of the Life in Hell strips. But after learning that he would be forced to rescind his life’s work’s publishing rights, Groening decided to pitch a brand new series at the very last minute. The short series Groening pitched revolved around a dysfunctional family called “The Simpsons”. Tracey Ullman cast-members Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner even volunteered to provide voices for cartoon parents Homer and Marge Simpson.
After running as short animated bumpers for two years on The Tracey Ullman Show, audiences were demanding to see more of The Simpson family. James L. Brooks paired Matt Groening with his old friend Sam Simon and set them out to develop The Simpsons into a full time half hour show. On December 17, 1989, The Simpsons premiered on Fox. Twenty four seasons later and The Simpsons has produced 528 episodes and is considered one of the greatest television shows of all time. Tracey Ullman, whose show was cancelled in 1990, tried unsuccessfully to sue for a piece of The Simpsons after it became a worldwide phenomenon.
Sam Simon was the creative driving force of the early days of The Simpsons. He served as creative supervisor and hired the entire first writing staff. Simon also helped design the fictional world of Springfield and created the characters of Mr. Burns, Chief Wiggum, Bleeding Gums Murphy and Dr. Hibbert, to name a few. Simon never believed the show would last, so his goal for the first season was simply to create 13 episodes that his friends would find funny. With that mindset, he gave the writing staff the freedom to do whatever they wanted on those early episodes. That attitude is arguably the reason the show was such a huge hit among both old and young audiences. Unfortunately, Matt Groening was insulted by that attitude and interpreted it as Simon being uncommitted to the show. As the show became a sensation, Simon resented Groening’s new-found fame and glory, which he thought should have been his own. Tensions reached a boiling point in 1993, when after four seasons of contention and bitterness, Simon offered to leave the show.
When Sam offered to leave the show, he didn’t exactly walk away empty handed. He shrewdly negotiated a deal that would allow him to retain his backend points on the show’s syndication and home video sales as well as his executive producer credit. Keep in mind that in 1993, home video was basically a non-existent market, so Sam would have been forgiven had he relinquished that seemingly worthless deal point. Fast forward twenty years and we all know that The Simpsons is one of the most popular and successful syndication, DVD and VHS properties in the history of Hollywood. As of May 2013, The Simpsons has sold over 25 million DVDs, generating over a billion dollars in revenue. Syndication of The Simpsons has brought in another billion dollars, with another billionanticipated in the future. The Simpsons generated $5.5 billion worth of advertising revenue for the Fox Broadcasting Company alone.
To this day, twenty years after leaving the show, Sam Simon is still credited on every episode of The Simpsons as executive producer. So how does that impact Mr. Simon’s bank account? When you combine back end syndication, home video/DVD sales and his executive producer credit, Sam earns an estimated $20-30 million every year off The Simpsons. That’s $20-30 million per year off a show he hasn’t worked on since 1993. In total, Sam Simon has earned hundreds of millions of dollars off The Simpsons royalties. And ironically, he admitted in a recent interview with Marc Maron that he hasn’t even watched the show in years.
Retirement And Philanthropy
After retiring in 1993 at the ripe old age of 38, no one would have blamed Sam if he spent the next twenty years banging Playboy Playmates and partying all over the world. Actually, he did end up banging and marrying a Playmate named Jami Ferrell, but their union lasted a scant three weeks. His other marriage was to the lovely actress Jennifer Tilly from 1984-1991. Sam and Jennifer are still close friends. Sam is currently engaged to a chef named Jenna Stewart.
Sam did actually end up traveling the all over the world, but it wasn’t just to party. Over the last 20 years, Sam has become one of the most altruistic and generous supporters of many philanthropic causes, especially ones relating to animals. He has donated so much money to PETA that they named their world headquarters after him. He has donated so much money to the anti-whaling organization Sea Shepherds, that they named their flagship boat the “SS Sam Simon”:
Through his personal charity, The Sam Simon Foundation, he feeds over 200 hungry families in Los Angeles, two vegan meals a day, every single day, 365 days a year! The foundation also runs a six acre luxury dog rescue in Malibu. As if all that wasn’t enough, after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer late in 2012, Simon heroically has spent the last six months donating his entire net worth to charity. When asked about what will happen to his fortune after his passing on a recent Marc Maron podcast, Simon, who has no children, explained:
“I’ve given most of it away… I wont be rich until we get [my next] quarterly installment from The Simpsons!”
At another point in the podcast, Sam encourages everyone to do their part to help the environment and animals. Even if that just means doing a “meatless Monday”, every little bit helps. We truly admire Sam for all of his accomplishments and wish him the absolute best with his fight against cancer. We’ll be pulling for you to make a full recovery, because obviously the world is a much better place with you in it!
Thuan Le (who is not the woman in the photo above because we couldn’t find a picture of her and had to make do with a stock photo) is a hardworking single mother who immigrated from Vietnam. Thuan supports four sons all by herself in the Southern California city of Mission Viejo. Every week, Thuan visits her local CVS pharmacy to make a very specific purchase. Without fail, every week she buys $4 worth of Powerball tickets and a $1 SuperLotto Plus ticket. In case you are horrendously bad at math, that’s $5 worth of tickets. Most of the time she just uses a five dollar bill to make her purchase, but on this occasion she only had singles. So she proceeded to feed her cash into the lottery machine and make her selections, four Powerballs plus one Super Lotto Plus.
There was just one problem. After she made her standard selections, Thuan noticed that she had inadvertently put six dollar bills into the machine leaving her with a $1 credit. Now, at this point she very easily could have pressed a refund button to retrieve her errant dollar, but instead she chose a different direction. On a whim, Thuan decided to break from her weekly $5 routine and purchase one more Super Lotto Plus ticket. Instead of picking her numbers as she normally would, Thuan allowed the computer to pick her numbers.
The numbers the machine ended up picking were 5, 33, 25, 46 and 32 with a Mega number of 26. That decision to let her accidental $1 balance ride, would turn out to be one of the luckiest accidents of all time. Up until that point, the Super Lotto Plus hadn’t had a jackpot in month. As fate would have it, when Thuan returned to the store to check her numbers the next day, she was absolutely shocked to discover that the accidental ticket was worth $14 million! She was so shocked in fact, that she ran out of the store screaming which terrified everyone around. Thuan’s own children didn’t believe her when she told them they were now multi-millionaires. When she claimed her prize, Thuan told the lottery officials that she plans to use the money to quit her job, buy a house, pay off all of her debt, set up college trust funds for her kids and take a first class vacation back home to Vietnam where her parents still live. The CVS store that sold the ticket will get $70,000. And it all happened completely by accident. Thuan’s odds of picking all six numbers plus the Mega were 1 in 42 million. So next time you buy a lottery ticket, maybe do yourself a favor and buy one extra!
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