thanks for watching "strange inheritance." and remember, you can't take it with you. >> a tv hitmaker loves animals. >> he turned that creativity on animal rights, and it was unbelievable. >> one dog he rescues is off-the-charts dangerous. >> if it's a scale from 1 to 10, columbo's a 12. >> when the hollywood owner dies, columbo becomes their strange -- and expensive -- inheritance. >> acupuncture for a dog? i know we're in los angeles, but really? [ dog growls ] >> is it all worth it? >> your kids could get hurt. you're willing to take the risk. >> we made a commitment to healing dogs and showing other families how to do it. >> welcome to the weird world of pet inheritance. >> so, are you leaving your home to the birds? [ bird squawks ]
i'm jamie colby, and, today, i'm in encino, california. will rogers once said, "if there are no dogs in heaven, then when i die, i want to go where they go." but when the owners go first, especially the rich or eccentric ones, it can make for one strange inheritance. >> my name is tyson kilmer. i'm an animal trainer. when one of my clients, sam simon, passed away in march of 2015, i inherited his dog, who is not exactly lassie, marmaduke, or any other lovably harmless pet you've seen on tv. >> hi, kilmers. i'm jamie. >> i'm tyson kilmer. this is my wife, alison. aliyah and tyler. >> how are you? >> i'm great! >> i heard your family has a living, breathing inheritance? >> indeed, we do. we have a cane corso that used to belong to the late, great sam simon. >> sam simon -- even if you
don't recognize the name, you surely know his work as co-developer, with matt groening, of that iconic and long-running tv show, "the simpsons." sam was born in 1955 and grew up in beverly hills, just down the street from groucho marx. after graduating from stanford university, sam catapults his way up in the tv business, becoming a showrunner in 1978 for the hit series "taxi," at the age of 23. >> sam was the youngest showrunner in the history of television, when he was a showrunner on "taxi." >> mark thompson is an l.a. radio host and a long-time friend of simon's. >> to describe him as highly intelligent would be to understate it in the extreme. >> sam works on "barney miller" and "cheers," before teaming up with matt groening on "the simpsons," which premieres on the fox network in 1989. >> matt groening created these characters and this family, but
the universe that the simpsons exist in -- the town, the nuclear power plant, mr. burns, all of these different characters... sam simon was the driving force behind that. >> but in 1993, after four trailblazing seasons, sam decides he wants a life outside of television. before quitting, he negotiates a deal giving him continuous credit as an executive producer and a share of the show's annual profit, to the tune of $30 million a year. sam, now twice divorced with no children, turns his energy to what becomes his calling in life -- saving animals, especially dogs. in 2002, at the cost of several million dollars, he creates this lavish, sprawling dog shelter in malibu. one of the neglected pooches that end up at sam's shelter is a 6-month old cane corso, also known as an italian mastiff, a
breed some people refer to as "a pit bull on steroids." the big canine is quickly deemed too aggressive to stay at the shelter. so sam takes him home and names him columbo, after the rumpled, trench-coat-wearing detective played by peter falk. >> he adored columbo, clearly. i think he was like an offspring almost. he was like a son. >> a son with a nasty disposition. within months, columbo attacks staff members on the simon estate. there are as many as eight biting incidents. he even goes after sam's buddy, howard stern. >> ok, guys, go play! [ dogs barking ] >> so, in 2011, sam contacts tyson kilmer, who has a reputation for working with dangerous breeds. his hollywood clientele includes rob lowe and mike tyson, but none impresses him like sam simon. >> the first meeting he had with sam, tyson came back and went, "i met my hero.
i met a guy that's doing way more than i am with animals." it was a bromance. >> alison kilmer is tyson's wife. >> was it more than just about the dog? >> oh, yeah. tyson knew right away that sam was someone that was gonna mentor him. >> still, tyson hesitates taking the columbo case. why? >> i had stopped working with that breed a few years prior, just because of the volatility and the liability issues around them. >> i'm sure that training aggressive dogs is dangerous. where is columbo on the scale? >> if it's a scale from 1 to 10, columbo's a 12. >> tyson says he makes an exception for columbo, when simon convinces him that health issues, like painful hip dysplasia, explain why he's such a bad dog. so, it's not just behavioral. it's also medicine? >> that's correct. >> simon's already paying for the best veterinary medicine money can buy.
among other things, columbo gets electromagnetic therapy and acupuncture. acupuncture for a dog? i know we're in los angeles, but really? >> this dog has endured so much pain in his legs that this is not some frivolous treatment. >> and the price tag for columbo's first-class care? >> columbo costs approximately $138,000 a year. >> that's a four-year college education. >> the reality is -- i didn't hire these folks. i was just asked to be present while these folks were working. and this work changed my perspective on this dog entirely. ready to go. >> tyson takes over the actual training, hooking up columbo with a partner to keep him in line. >> hey, jamie. i brought my friends. >> i see that, tyson. i hope they'll be my friends. >> they will be your friends. so, kasha's been the one to teach him how he should be responding and reacting in these encounters. >> she's a pit bull. >> she's a pit bull, yes, but she's very fabulously trained. you want to give it a try? >> i'm willing to try.
>> perfect. okay, so, let's start off by showing her a stay. point to the ground. tell her, "okay, down." >> okay, down, kasha. good girl, kasha. >> and now, this is how she smiles. so, it looks like kind of scary. >> oh! you get a rub on the belly! stay. tyson says his hard work and sam's money transform columbo into a loving and much-less-aggressive pet. so, the bottom line is -- you have rehabilitated this dog. >> i would say that this dog is living, at this point, within very acceptable margins for behavior and safety, as long as we continue to put the work in with him daily. >> it's late 2012, when, at 57, sam simon is diagnosed with colorectal cancer. the prognosis -- it's terminal. >> how did sam tell you he was sick? >> [ voice breaking ] he was just sick. >> what happened?
>> you know, he said, you know, "tyson, i'm dying." >> will sam's death sentence also be the end for columbo? >> i was asked to make sure that columbo was taken off the property immediately. >> immediately? >> yes. >> that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. was it roy rogers' trigger... mr. ed... or seabiscuit? mr. ed... or seabiscuit? the answer when we return. welcome to the world 2116, mr. ed... or syou can fly across the answtown in minutesrn. or across the globe in under an hour. whole communities are living on mars and solar satellites provide earth with unlimited clean power. in less than a century, boeing took the world from seaplanes to space planes, across the universe and beyond.
>> so, what stuffed horse fetched $266,000 at auction? it's "a," trigger, who belonged to roy rogers. >> with the help of his new friend and dog trainer tyson kilmer -- and a year and a half of intense training -- sam simon's rescued 140-pound cane corso is under control. so, you've given columbo a stay of execution. >> nobody else has been bitten, so the first part is amazing. secondly, he's a happier soul. >> but, in 2012, sam's diagnosis of stage-four cancer changes everything. after being told he has only months to live, "the simpsons"
co-developer launches a campaign to save as many animals as he can before he's gone. he brings tyson along for the ride. >> as his body began to fail him, he would be jumping on a learjet and flying off, so somebody had to watch out for him. >> here was sam simon ready to do all of these things that seem unthinkable. he rescued all of these bears from roadside circuses. he shut down a mink farm. >> so, the money is kind of gone. >> you gave it all to peta. >> no, no, no, no, no, no, no. i put in a trust that will be distributed, in perpetuity, to save the children and peta and other organizations. >> fantastic. >> for two years, sam beats the clock, but his disease never relents. >> i got a call that he was in the hospital, and he had summoned for me to come to his bedside. he just said, "i'm sorry to burden you with this, but will you please take my dog?" of course, i said "yes." >> tyson looked at me and said,
"i got to do this for him. if we don't, they're gonna put columbo down." >> tyson also makes sure columbo can stay by sam till the end. >> i was asked to train columbo to climb a set of steps beside sam's bed so that columbo could get up there and sleep with him. columbo was with sam right up until he passed. i was asked to be on the property when he passed to make sure that columbo was taken off the property immediately. >> why immediately? >> well, columbo couldn't be on the property with an influx of people coming in, just because it just wasn't safe. >> arguably even less safe -- bringing this strange inheritance home to your wife and kids. i have to ask you about that. i met him. he's fierce. you let them hang out with columbo? >> supervised. columbo cannot be unsupervised around my children or around anybody. when he's uncomfortable, he's grumpy. you don't want to be anywhere around him. and i don't want my kids to be
anywhere around him. and stay. >> your kids could get hurt. you're willing to take the risk. >> we make all the precautions. we make sure they're never alone with columbo. we make sure that they train him every day. and us, as a family -- we made a commitment to healing dogs and showing other families how to do it. >> a noble commitment, but who's going to pay for columbo's ongoing $138,000-a-year medical care? was there some sort of verbal agreement between you and sam? >> sam just basically said, "listen, don't worry about this. everything's taken care of." >> ruh-roh! is it possible that sam made a promise to tyson he didn't intend to keep? that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. santa's little helper, the simpsons' family dog, is what breed? the answer in a moment.
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simply by using your voice. the billboard music awards, live sunday may 22nd, 8/5 pacific, only on abc. >> so, santa's little helper, the simpsons' family dog, is what breed? the answer is "b," a greyhound homer rescues from the dog track in "the simpsons'" first episode. [ dog growls ] >> the cane corso, or italian mastiff, is an aggressive breed, sometimes called a "pit bull on steroids." columbo, a 140-pounder who belonged to "simpsons" co-developer sam simon, was actually deemed too vicious for simon's dog-rescue shelter. hollywood dog trainer tyson kilmer says one of simon's last requests was that he take columbo when simon died.
>> one thing that sam said is that, "every animal's life has value." >> tyson assumes simon's multi-billion-dollar trust will pay for columbo's costly medical treatments, including acupuncture and electromagnetic therapy. >> was there some sort of verbal agreement between you and sam? >> sam took care of everything while he was alive. when sam said, "will you take columbo?", i didn't say, "hey, how much, buddy?" i just said, "of course. i'll take care of it." >> then, in june 2015, three months after sam's death, tyson learns that those vets and therapists will no longer be paid and all those hollywood-style treatments will be discontinued. tyson reaches out to the executor of the simon trust. now, i'm a dog lover -- don't get me wrong -- but tell me how much you were asking, money-wise, to take care of columbo in the style sam had -- >> i didn't ask for money. i was asking for them to send the vets over. i wasn't asking for money.
>> come on, columbo. >> either way, tyson says he's told there's no money earmarked for columbo. >> i first thought, "it has to be a misunderstanding," but, at some point, you'd think, even if that were the case, they would have an allegiance to what sam would have wanted." >> radio host mark thompson was a longtime friend of simon's. is it possible that sam made a promise to tyson he didn't intend to keep? >> i think the answer is -- of course not, of course not. sam would have wanted money to go for the continued care of columbo. >> the executor of simon's trust doesn't return our phone calls but has ripped tyson in the media. the trustee issued a statement that we got our hands on, and it starts with, "it's truly sad that someone would try to take advantage of sam's generosity to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of other causes." >> and i'm just an outsider, but the same money that sam was paying for columbo, when sam was
alive, is all tyson is asking for. and it's about his therapy, not a dollar more. i think that's a reasonable request. >> how much is it costing you a month, besides your daily time, to take care of columbo? >> it costs me approximately $9,000, $9,500 a month to take care of him. tyson has custody of a dog that is considered very dangerous. and we have a trustee unwilling to disperse money for the dog's care. end of case? >> if they're willing to go to court, tyson might be able to assert rights on columbo's behalf and get the court to construe the trust. >> underscore "might," says ken kossoff, an l.a. lawyer specializing in pet inheritances. he says it's telling simon apparently did not set up a trust fund to pay for columbo's care, which is allowed under california law. >> you want your trust or any other document to be very clear that who was ever in charge of
the money needs to support the pet. >> case in point -- ken's client in palmdale, california, a widow who wanted to provide for her faithful companions when she was gone. hi, yvonne. i'm jamie. >> jamie, hi. how are you? >> nice to meet you. i heard you're the bird lady. >> i am that. would you like to meet my kids? >> i would like to meet your kids. >> come on. >> oh, thank you. look at all these guys. oh, hello there. who's that? >> he says, "i'm bogie bird." and he says, "i'm the senior bird here." >> bogie is a 34 year-old double yellow-head amazon parrot. while he's older than yvonne's two cockatiels, he's still a youngin' among the parrot breed, who can easily live for 60 years. when yvonne first adopts bogie from a bird sanctuary, in 2013, she worries about making a commitment to a pet that could very well outlive her. >> at my age, i thought, "how am
i gonna make this work out? these guys can live to be 60 years old. i'm not rich." >> so, will bogie become a strange inheritance? yvonne is worried that her cherished parrot will get discarded, like columbo. and what about columbo? >> it must be costing you a fortune. >> columbo's not cheap, and we never, ever, ever, in a million years, thought we'd be here. >> and? >> how can the kilmers get the funds they say they need for his care? >> good boy! you know, i agreed to take sam simon's dog. i didn't agree to take on a billion-dollar estate. >> that's next. what's your strange inheritance story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. my school reunion's coming fast. ♪ could be bad. could be a blast. can't find a single thing to wear.
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outlive her. will bogie get the special care he needs when she's gone? she turns to ken kossoff, who's been creating trusts in los angeles for over 30 years. >> a lot of pet owners do not know that they could plan their estate to include their pets. >> yvonne doesn't just want to make sure her pets always have a caring home. she wants to make sure they have her home. >> the trust provides, immediately, for a caregiver to come in, and this is someone who is familiar with my birds. they will live here in the house, basically rent-free, and they'd take care of the birds. i will take care of the utilities and all on the house. >> that could theoretically last for decades.e will watch this and they'll say, "okay, you're 'the bird lady.'" >> yeah. >> "and you've left this beautiful home to birds." >> yes. i don't care how whacky they think i am. i just want to protect these guys. >> apparently, sam simon wasn't so clear or emphatic about
columbo, and so the executors of "simpsons" co-developer sam simon's billion-dollar trust reportedly have no intention of providing a penny for his care. where does that leave animal trainer tyson kilmer, to whom sam bequeathed the 140-pound mastiff? >> i've never had much interest in anything outside of just seeing columbo cared for. i really don't want to be in court over the next five, six years. i'd far rather raise funds for him and just move on with my life. >> sam was his mentor and hero. and, sometimes, you don't write the script on how it's gonna come out, but we're doing the best we can and we're gonna handle it. >> i wanted to put a call into you to see if i could rely on some support from you guys. >> today, tyson hopes to raise enough funds through a network of friends and supporters to finance columbo's care.
you made a promise. >> absolutely. yeah. >> that's a big promise. >> i'm gonna keep that promise. you know, sam was one of -- he was a mentor to me. he was one of my best friends. i'm gonna honor my word to my friend. >> bogie or columbo can only dream of the fortune of the so-called world's richest pet, a german shepherd who's really rolling in the dough. turns out that when a german countess named carlotta liebenstein died, in 1992, she left a $124 million trust for her trusty pooch, gunther iii. well, when gunther iii met an untimely death, carlotta's riches passed to gunther's son, gunther iv, and by then, the trust was worth $372 million and included a villa in the bahamas and a mansion once owned by madonna. and, at that rate, gunther v could be the first canine billionaire. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance."
thanks so much for watching. and remember, you can't take it with you. >> a letter arrives in the mail with news of a strange and lucrative inheritance. >> the letter goes on to say, "if i got a letter like this, i would think it to be a scam." >> and i was like, "why are we named? somebody's scamming us." >> so, is it a scam? >> i said, "you know, ray, there's a fine between genius and idiot." he'd say, "yeah," and he said, "i cross that two or three times a day." >> who is this mysterious benefactor? >> he was a hidden man. >> he didn't have the family life. he didn't have a friend to talk to. >> he really, truly was a fan. >> but an inheritance? >> that's a strange inheritance and a stranger story still. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ]
♪ >> i'm jamie colby, and today i'm on old route 66 in central illinois. i'm heading to the small farming town of lincoln, where the strangest of inheritance stories unfolded. on a monday morning in july 2012, farmer bob pharis heads out to mow hay on some land he leases from an old friend named ray fulk. >> and it was very uncommon for ray not to come out and talk to me. and then i smelled something. i happened to look over and the bin door was open and that was not a good sign. i just went over there, and then i found him. and then i called 911 and... >> the county coroner, acting on info from a neighbor, contacts attorney don behle to inform him his 71-year old client has died of heart failure.
behle cannot even remember fulk. >> i hadn't seen him in 15 years, and so i had no idea who they're talking about. >> how strange is it that we're here right now talking to you about this guy you barely remember? >> [ laughs ] it's very strange. >> don checks his files and realizes he indeed worked with someone named ray fulk back in 1997. >> he wanted me to change his will and he brought it in to me and i was named as the executor. but all i had was a copy. it was 15 years later. he could have changed his will. >> don drives out to ray's farmhouse to find the original will. there he discovers an unsettling scene. >> it was absolutely covered with cobwebs and would remind you of a show where you'd have dracula involved. >> i mean, my house might sometimes be untidy. are we talking about more than that? >> we're talking about a hoarder show. the whole place reeked. >> somehow, the lawyer locates
ray fulk's will. it directs $5,000 dollars to a chicago animal shelter, but the next part is a puzzle. >> "i give and bequeath all my tangible personal property to my friends, kevin m. brophy of san fernando, california, and peter barton of valley stream, long island, new york. >> who are these guys? and how does don find them? that will take more digging -- digging through the debris. >> in ray's room, he had pictures of wolves torn out of magazines and put on the wall. i had no idea how it all fit together at that point in time. >> he'll start to fit it all together soon. among ray's many diaries written in neat cursive, don finds a scrapbook with a big clue. >> it said "lucan." i opened it up, and it had kevin's picture in there. >> "lucan" was a tv series starring kevin brophy as a boy raised by wolves. it was cancelled after just 12
episodes in 1978, when ray fulk was 37 years old. >> it was pretty clear to me that show meant something to ray and he identified with it. >> don digs further and discovers the other man in the will -- peter barton -- also an actor. why fulk named him, however, is a bigger riddle. from to 1988 to '92, barton played dr. scott grainger in the soap opera "the young and the restless. >> how am i ever gonna be able to thank you? >> before that, he starred in a short-lived tv series called "the powers of matthew star." two basically unknown actors that ray had a fondness for. did you have any idea how much they were going to inherit? >> the inheritance consisted of approximately 165 acres, some c.d.s that were at the bank, and the cash that i found around the house. >> how much is it all worth? don's not exactly sure, but
figures hundreds of thousands of dollars easy, maybe even $1 million or more. so, the dutiful attorney writes letters to the two retired actors, informing them of their very strange inheritance. >> "he has named you, as his friends, beneficiaries of his estate." i was stunned. i was shocked. >> i took the other side of it completely, going, "kevin, if it's too good to be true, it probably is." >> that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. which strange personality willed that a séance be held for him every year? was it master of the macabre edgar allan poe, escape artist harry houdini, or horror-film icon vincent price? the answer in a moment. ♪ i built my business with passion. but i keep it growing by making every dollar count.
>> so, which strange personality willed an annual séance be held for him? it's "b," harry houdini, who died in 1926. he wanted to reveal himself to his wife once a year. >> let's reset. in august 2012, two former actors -- kevin brophy and peter barton -- each receive a letter informing them they are the co-inheritors of the estate of someone named ray fulk. ray had never met either of them. leaving a huge amount of money
to someone you've never met sounds more than eccentric, which leads me to a question for ray's attorney -- don behle. it says, as every will does, "ray fulk, of lincoln, illinois, being of sound and disposing mind and memory." was he? >> yes. he knew what he owned. he may have been odd, but he was of sound mind. >> my next stop is southern california to meet kevin brophy. >> my name is kevin brophy, and in 2012, i received a letter that was really about to change my life. >> it's here in the land of sun, surf, and palm trees kevin started his career more than 30 years ago. >> this is an episode of "lucan." he was a boy raised by wolves. that was the premise of the pilot, and the pilot went to 12 episodes over a two-year period. >> as so many actors will say, it was a good ride while it
lasted. it didn't last for you. >> my window was in my 20s, and i had my program and a great career. then the phone stops ringing. >> when the phone stops ringing, kevin finds a new line of work. he takes a job as a doorman in 1983 at the posh hotel bel-air and keeps it for the next 27 years. >> then the hotel closed and they went for remodeling and i was praying for a job and then the letter [chuckles] -- i refer to it as "the letter" -- comes. this is the original letter from the attorney saying, "you don't know me, but i represent ray e. fulk. he was a hermit and a hoarder and a farmer here in illinois." and don behle, who wrote the letter, goes on to say, "if i got a letter like this, i would think it to be a scam." >> turns out kevin once worked with the second beneficiary in ray fulk's will -- fellow actor peter barton. >> i did a movie in 1980 called "hell night," kind of a campy
horror story, but became friends with most of the cast members, including peter. >> peter now lives in upstate new york. so, you really don't hear much about kevin until you find out somebody died and you're the only two "friends" he names in his will. >> from the moment i opened that up and i saw kevin's name, i was like, "somebody's scamming us." >> the two men discuss what to do next. >> i said, "peter, i believe it. i believe it, and i'm going with it for gusto." >> i took the other side of it completely, going, "kevin, if it's too good to be true, it probably is." >> but peter agrees to make the 900-mile trip to lincoln, illinois, to find out for both of them. peter's home video begins to unravel the mystery. >> behind the silos, ray had a grave site with all his dogs. look at this, all the pet cemetery. queenie, 3-21-77.
10-15-87. '82, '80, '94. buddy, fred, fad. wow. a lot of dogs. >> the pet cemetery abuts 167 acres of prime soil, tillable for corn and soybean... >> wow. that's a lot of farmland out there. >> ...all this a gift from a man they never met. so, who was this guy? and why would he do this? >> dennis and nitsie gleason live a stone's throw away from ray fulk. how would you describe, in a word, ray? >> weird. >> i'd say weird, goofy. >> eccentric. "whoa." >> eccentric maybe for good reason. the neighbors explain that ray eugene fulk, born in 1941, was an only child and an outcast at school, bullied by classmates
and often by his own mother. >> his mother was real mean. i think he got along with his father more, but ray would tell me these different things that his mother would do to him. >> for example? >> well, she'd leave him out of the house. he couldn't come in the house for a while. he'd have to stay outside. he said he'd go sleep with the puppies. >> mm-hmm. never really had a friend. >> the only persons he trusted was, you know, his dogs and me and bob pharis. >> bob had known ray since they were teenagers. >> he probably had some type of a learning disability. and in today's education, they would have caught that, but they just didn't have that type of thing back there in the '50s. so, i think ray fell through the cracks. >> when ray graduates from high school in 1958, he joins the army. he loves it, bob says, but his
mother lobbies to get him an early release to help on the farm. >> it's too bad 'cause i think ray would have been better off if he would have remained in the army and away from mom and probably his life would have turned out a whole lot differently. >> in the diaries he kept for decades, ray compares himself to a wolf, "the most maligned, least understood animal," he writes, "that shares my same distrust of humanity. >> you know, he was very intelligent, and he and i would even joke about it. i said, "you know, ray, there's a fine line between genius and idiot." he'd say, "yeah," and he said, "i cross that two or three times a day." >> in 1981, ray's mother dies. for the next 15 years, ray shares the farmhouse with his dad. in the late 1990s, his father is in poor health and doesn't have much time left. ray confides in his friend bob that he suspects some of his
cousins are after the farm and his dad's investments. ray fears they're trying to have him declared mentally incompetent to take control of his father's estate. >> he was telling me about it, and i said, "ray, you need an attorney." >> ray's been using his father's attorney, but he now suspects that lawyer is in cahoots with his cousins and scheming against him. >> and that's when i mentioned don behle. >> and he told me about his dad and the problems he was having with cousins wanting to take over the control and care of his father. >> did ray say why he wanted his family to not benefit from the estate? what did they do to him? >> i think the fact that any relative went to an attorney to take away his father was the act that he thought was treacherous. >> don assures ray he'll help. then in 1997, ray's father dies. so ray makes one more trip to lincoln to amend his will and
name don behle as his executor. >> he no longer wanted the executor that he had previously named because those were the attorneys that had irritated him by talking to his other family members. >> were you surprised? >> it seemed to me that, even though ray was odd, he knew his relatives, didn't like them. >> but don knows full well that's not always the end of it, especially in situations like this, where a hermit, described as weird, eccentric, and goofy, bequeaths a family fortune to a couple of complete strangers. but you have to give relatives a chance to come forward, right? >> well, yeah. i mean, the relatives have the opportunity to contest a will. they have six months to do that. >> how'd that go? that's next -- and more. do you ever feel guilty taking an inheritance from a stranger? >> here's another quiz question for you. which of these pampered pets was willed the largest inheritance? fashion designer
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>> so, which pampered pet received the largest inheritance? it's "c." leona helmsley left her beloved maltese -- trouble -- a $12-million trust in 2007. [ dog barks ] >> two former actors get the surprise of a lifetime in 2012 when ray fulk, a man they've never met, leaves them a large inheritance. >> but it's no done deal yet. ray's relatives have six months to challenge the will, and ray long suspected that some of them
pegged him as mentally incompetent. you don't think of it as taking it away from other relatives of his? >> absolutely not because ray's story is a heartbreaking story caused by pain and loneliness. so, for ray to have looked on myself and peter with this incredible gift, this is doing exactly what ray wanted. ♪ >> exhibit "a," kevin brophy says -- ray's scrapbook, dedicated to his starring role in "lucan." >> "these are the chronicles that follow the young wolf man in the world of man in his quest to find his roots." and it's all hand-put-together. and the picture that i sent him -- there's the photograph. >> and he wrote, "this scrapbook would not be complete without a corresponding section devoted to kevin brophy." >> he really, truly was a fan. >> maybe, but kevin admits this is the stuff restraining orders are made of. >> you know, it could have come back as a stalking, horrible nightmare, but ray was just very, very introverted and loved
television. and thank goodness for "lucan." >> but an inheritance? >> that's a strange inheritance and a stranger story still. >> okay, with the scrapbooks, the wolf pictures, the dog cemetery, you get ray fulk's affinity for "lucan." but what's up with the soap-opera doc? peter barton finds the answer in ray's letters. >> i started reading these letters, and i'm like, "wow. this guy is talking about astral projecting. he's talking about things that my character did." >> not barton's "young and the restless" character, but in his role in "the powers of matthew star," a 1982 series about an alien with supernatural abilities. >> it's like he was searching and he saw matthew star and he went, "oh, my god," you know? >> a little crazy? >> i think he was a really smart guy who kind of built a cage around himself and then couldn't get out. that's what i wanted when i was doing "matthew star." i wanted to affect people like ray. >> did you ask don, the lawyer,
if ray had any other family that he might have given it to? >> for myself, it never really crossed my mind. >> you can leave anything to anyone, but you have to give relatives a chance to come forward, right? >> well, yeah. i mean, the relatives have the opportunity to contest a will. they have six months to do that. >> how'd that go? >> nobody contested it. >> so kevin brophy and peter barton are now the proud owners of 167 acres of corn and soybean fields. but is that the end of this strange inheritance story? not by a country mile. >> two hollywood characters come to town that ray never mentioned, and they're here to leave with cash. >> we were just a little leery about who they were that was getting the money. >> and exactly how much money? that's coming up, plus this. did ray save your life? >> ray indeed saved my life.
>> now back to "strange inheritance." >> a fan leaves two former actors -- kevin brophy of l.a. and peter barton of new york -- a surprise inheritance that includes 167 acres of farmland in central illinois. what do you say to yourself? "what the heck am i gonna do with this? can i sell it?" could you sell it? >> peter had kind of thought of being a farmer there in illinois. but, no, i can't do winters, and i can't do farming. >> so the heirs ask ray's attorney, don behle, to sell it and see what they get. plenty of locals want ray's fertile land. the highest bid -- $800,000. add in another $500,000 in cash and stocks, and the entire estate is worth $1.3 million. in lincoln after the sale, peter and kevin headline a fundraiser in ray's name for a local humane society. >> ray had a very strange
upbringing and an odd life, but he loved his dogs. he loved his dogs probably more than himself. >> two hollywood characters come to town that ray never mentioned, and they're here to leave with cash. >> we were just a little leery about who they were that was getting the money, but after meeting them, they were two down-to-earth, good people that nitsie and i -- we just loved them to pieces. >> how did the money change your life? >> that's been a godsend because when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door. one year later, i was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. this was a devastating diagnostic for me in this world of healthcare where a doctor visit could be $200. it has certainly helped alleviate any concern i have for myself and my other extended family. >> did ray save your life? >> ray indeed saved my life. ♪ >> today kevin is still working as a doorman. his new door has another swanky
address. >> i am on rodeo drive. i have an incredible suit i get to wear. >> thank you. >> i have met so many people, i'm thinking of running for the mayor of beverly hills. >> so, the acting didn't make you rich. did the inheritance make you rich? >> the inheritance gave me confidence that i'm safe. maybe i want to say to ray, "thank you, ray. you made me safe." >> peter is currently working on a screenplay about this entire strange inheritance story. and who knows? it may get these two retired actors back into pictures, two lives touched forever by a man they'd never met. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." thanks so much for watching. and remember -- you can't take it with you. do you have a "strange inheritance" story you'd like to share with us?
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