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Willie Aames Sells Everything at Garage Sale

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Kansas City Star: Was it the stuff that lured so many garage-sale shoppers to a home in south Olathe, Kansas?

WIllie Aames

Or was it hard-luck actor Willie Aames, the former "Eight is Enough" star who later adopted the persona of the costumed hero, "Bibleman?"

It had to be Aames, who filed for bankruptcy last year and sold off his belongings on Thursday.

Early on, a throng waited outside for Aames to appear while workers put the markers of the actor's life in his driveway.

There was a plush leather couch and chair and a giant television. Also, a lion head mounted on an oak pedestal, along with stuffed wild boars and other wildlife he hunted. Some other items included crystal and posters of him when he was young. He had the blond curls that helped launch his acting career at age nine. Now he is 48 and the curls are gray.

Mikki Wehrli of Olathe said, "I'm looking at the stuffed lion."

It was not to be, but she would later leave lucky. As a waitress at Winstead's on the Plaza in the 1990s, she said, she used to serve Aames often and he tipped well, she said.

Many there felt they knew him.

He became a teen star with "Eight is Enough," which ran from 1977 to 1981 and toured the world as lead singer and guitarist with his own rock band. There were problems with drugs and he and his second wife beat them together and became Christians.

As "Bibleman," Aames taught Christianity to kids for years.

Shortly after noon Thursday, he walked out smiling with a stuffed deer head under his arm.

"I think you're all nuts," he said. "I want to party with you."

One in the crowd shouted, "We're sorry, Willie."

Another said, "We're your friends."

People cheered and clapped.

Soon Aames was in the middle of the crowd trying to dicker on prices after he told handlers, "I have no idea what the prices are."

The big cameras that focused in and fur-covered mikes that dangled from poles were not just from television networks. People are making a television documentary of his life, hard times and how he gets through them, said Sarano Kelley, a California life coach for athletes and celebrities.

"We're filming what Willie is going through like what the country is going through," he said.

He is getting rid of his possessions as part of leaving his old life behind, the coach said.

Meanwhile Willie negotiated while his buyers and others jostled to take his picture. "I got him," one woman yelled to another. "E-mail it to me," she shouted back.

He signed $5 posters of himself as a young man in a bathing suit. "It's been a long time since I looked like that," he said.

"How much for the lion's head?" a man yelled. "He wants $3,500," another buyer responded.

Michele Price of De Soto left with one of the signed posters. "I had posters of him as a teenager _ that's why I wanted it" she said. "I've never seen a garage sale like this."

On some things, Aames would not bend. Someone offered him $200 for a giant chopping block.

It is over two centuries old and comes off a meat butchering ship, he said. "If you could find one today you'd pay $2,000 for sure."

Besides, he said, "all of my kids have been changed on that so you probably don't want to eat on it."

Wehrli, the former waitress who eyed the lion, backed off on that but purchased three crystal decanters for $5 each from one of Aames' helpers.

She went up to Aames to show him one and found he remembered her from Winstead's, she said. He also told her in a kind of wonder, "That's a $500 decanter."

Members of his rock band bought it for him when they were on tour, he said. So the Olathe woman left without the lion, but with her decanter by Orrefors of Sweden.

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