Celebrities Who’ve Lost Millions

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 1:16 am

We’ve got a special guest post this week from the fine people over at Pop Crunch, and the topic is Celebrities Who’ve Lost Millions. This is a huge list, packed with everyone from current superstars to prominent figures in the days of the American Revolution. So not only will you be able to get your celebrity gossip fix, but you might even learn something along the way.

And just remember: Nobody ever went broke with a Netflix membership, especially since plans are available for as low as $7.99 per month.

Mike Tyson – Between going to prison, biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear, and threatening to eat Lennox Lewis’s children, Mike Tyson was a busy man. Yet, somehow he still found the time to burn through the reported $300 million he earned during his boxing career. Sound impossible? Well it’s true. Tyson’s lavish lifestyle cost him $400,000 a month. His divorce trial cost him $9 million in legal fees by itself. By the time all was said and done, Iron Mike was looking in the face of a $27 million debt. At last check, Tyson was doing a tour around the country sparring with no name hacks for a few bucks a night. How long will it be until we see Tyson on Celebrity Circus trying to dig himself out of this hole?

M.C. Hammer – If only Hammer had set some money aside and told himself “Can’t touch this,” he wouldn’t be here on our list of celebrities who’ve lost millions. Rolling with his 40-person entourage took its toll on Hammer’s wallet. With a $500,000 monthly payroll and lavish lifestyle, it didn’t take long for the rap star to burn through well over $30 million. Where’s a financial adviser when you need him?

Wacko Jacko – One expert described Michael Jackson as someone with “a billionaire spending habit for only a millionaire’s spending budget.” In other words, Jacko did what most Americans do daily–he spent more money than he had. He just did it on a much grander scale than any of us ever could imagine.

Ed McMahon – Who said blowing money was a young man’s game? Don’t tell Ed McMahon that. Johnny Carson’s longtime sidekick defaulted on his $4.8 million home loan prior to his 2009 death. Before that, he was past due on nearly $700,000. For someone who made millions during his career, you’d think that debt could’ve been paid off in no time. But that’s what happens when you spend money like a drunken sailor. McMahon didn’t keep track of how much money was going out, and, next thing he knew, he was broke. Then again, I’m sure he would rather be broke and alive.

Evander Holyfield – Holyfield is the second boxer to make this list. Maybe when Mike Tyson bit his ear off, Holyfield lost all his knowledge about managing finances. According to the Associated Press, the boxer who made over $200 million during his illustrious career can no longer afford to pay child support for one of his 10 children. As a result, his ridiculously huge house was placed up for auction. Take one look at this thing, and you’ll start to understand Holyfield’s spending habits. The 54,000 square foot home had 107 rooms and 17 bathrooms. This thing is bigger than most Holiday Inn’s. Maybe, if Holyfield is lucky, he can talk the new owner into renting out one of those 107 rooms to him.

Benedict Arnold – Benedict Arnold fought on the American side of the Revolutionary War but didn’t get the attention he felt he deserved, so he switched to the British side. He went bankrupt after the war when a failed financial venture caused him to lose everything.

P.T. Barnum – P.T. Barnum is best known for being half of the “Barnum & Bailey Circus” but he actually didn’t get into that until he was 61-years-old. He first opened a museum in New York City showcasing nature’s oddities like Tom Thumb who was only 2 feet 9 inches tall. He also put a bunch of dough into the development of East Bridgeport, Connecticut and went bankrupt when that didn’t work out. He bounced back in four years and got into the circus business.

Kim Basinger – Kim Basinger had to file for bankruptcy in 1993 when a judge ordered the actress to pay Main Line Pictures $8.1 million because she backed out of a verbal commitment to star in the film Boxing Helena. She had to sell her $20 million investment in the town of Braselton–in her native Georgia–and only received $1 million for it. She later appealed the ruling, reached an out-of-court settlement and went on to her well-known role in L.A. Confidential a few years later.

George Best – George Best had a prolific career playing soccer starting when he was 17-years-old with the 1963 Manchester United team. He played soccer until 1984 and unfortunately fell into a life of alcoholism, which eventually caused liver problems and his eventual death. He declared bankruptcy in 1982 after he tried to get treatment for alcoholism and was discharged from bankruptcy in 1992.

John Wayne Bobbitt – John Wayne Bobbitt is best known for having his penis sliced off by his angry wife in 1993. Luckily, after a 12-hour surgery, his penis was sewn back on, but Bobbitt couldn’t handle the mounting doctors bills and had to declare bankruptcy. He made a comeback by getting into porn, but he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. (He’s been arrested more than seven times for offenses ranging from assault to grand larceny.)

Lorraine Bracco – Lorraine Bracco played the mob-psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi in the HBO hit The Sopranos. The popularity of the show helped her dig herself out of debt after she filed for bankruptcy in 1999. Bracco found herself in a five-year legal battle with ex Harvey Keitel over custody of their daughter, Stella. The legal fees and taxes were substantial and the cause for her bankruptcy.

Toni Braxton – Toni Braxton sold over 15 million albums in the years leading up to her 1998 filing for bankruptcy, and some believe she filed so she could get out of her recording contract with record label LaFace. When she filed, Braxton was $3.9 million in debt and all of her household possessions, including the two Grammys she was awarded in 1997 were priced to sell so she could pay off her creditors. Despite her conflict with her label, she signed a new contract in 1999 worth $25 million with them.

Lenny Bruce – Lenny Bruce loved to shock audiences as a comedian and was constantly in trouble on obscenity charges. He was blacklisted from nearly every comedy club in the United States near the end of his life, but it was the trial in 1961, in which he was in trouble for saying “cocksucker,” that caused him to go bankrupt. He ended up dying at age 40 from a morphine overdose, and, in 2007, was granted a posthumous pardon for his obscenity conviction by New York Governor George Pataki. Bruce would be blown away by what people can get away with today.

Buffalo Bill – Buffalo Bill organized his “Wild West Show” in the late 1800’s and went on to become quite wealthy. Even though he made millions touring the country, he was also very generous and gave away so much money that he had to file for bankruptcy in 1914. He died bankrupt in 1917 and was buried on Lookout Mountain.

George Clinton – George Clinton has been called one of the most important innovators of funk music and was prevented from profiting from the songs he wrote between 1976 and 1983. This is because when he filed for bankruptcy in 1984, he didn’t disclose them as a source of possible future income. It’s estimated that he’s losing out on royalties in the ballpark of $100 million!

Gary Coleman – Gary Coleman filed for bankruptcy in 1999 and cited long-term medical problems and mismanagement of his funds as the reason. Coleman stayed out of the limelight after his bankruptcy until a secret marriage and subsequent appearance on TV’s Divorce Court. He most recently made news by dying.

Francis Ford Coppola – Responsible for directing the Godfather trilogy and winner of five Academy Awards before he was 40, Francis Ford Coppola was $300,000 in debt before the first Godfather movie came out. He then was able to rebound but began bankruptcy proceedings after his 1982 musical One From the Heart tanked. Luckily, he borrowed the money from his mother to get into the wine business and again turned his financial future around.

David Crosby – David Crosby, a member of the group Crosby, Stills & Nash, filed for bankruptcy in 1985 after his solo career cooled down. He is still recording music and his third solo album was released in 2006.

Tia Carrere -Tia Carrere, best known for her role in Wayne’s World, filed for bankruptcy in 1986 in an attempt to escape her contract with General Hospital so she could join the cast of The A-Team. Apparently the soap was no longer giving Carrere enough work and was forcing her to go into bankruptcy. She lost the suit and the respect of her fellow castmates on the show. Carrere blames her young age for the reason that she was so irresponsible with her money.

Walt Disney – Walt Disney’s name is synonymous with Mickey Mouse and the “happiest place on earth,” Disneyland. However, Disney’s career wasn’t always a moneymaking venture. In 1921, he began a company called the Laugh-O-Gram Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri but was forced to file for bankruptcy two years later because financial backers pulled out. It must have been fate, because Disney then headed to Hollywood.

Jim Dooley – Jim Dooley played for the NFL’s Chicago Bears from 1952 until he retired in 1962 and switched to coaching. Dooley sat out of the 1973 NFL season and landed a job one week after filing for bankruptcy. At that point, he was nearly half a million dollars in debt, but he rebounded by taking a job as a sales manager and ended up back with the Bears in 1981 as an offensive consultant.

William C. Durant – William C. Durant founded General Motors, Chevrolet and Durant Motors. Durant Motors was established in 1921, but it failed in 1933 after the Great Depression. Durant filed for bankruptcy in 1936 being $914,231 in debt and lived out the rest of his life managing a bowling alley in Flint, Michigan.

Mick Fleetwood – Mick Fleetwood, an original member of the band Fleetwood Mac, filed for bankruptcy in 1984 and it was rumored that it was due to an addiction to cocaine. Fleetwood claims the real reason is because he purchased too much real estate and ran out of money.

Heidi Fleiss – The “Hollywood Madam”, Heidi Fleiss, filed for bankruptcy in 1999 after being released from jail. She served 21 months for her connection with her prostitution ring, which included charges of pandering and tax evasion. But don’t worry, she’s doing great now. She runs a 24-hour Laundromat called Dirty Laundry in Pahrump, Nevada and is working on opening a legal brothel for women.

Zsa Zsa Gabor – Zsa Zsa Gabor had to file for bankruptcy after a catfight ended in a libel suit against her. Supposedly, it began when actress Elke Sommer said that Gabor had a big butt and Gabor responded by telling the press that Sommer’s career was washed up. The suit came because Gabor’s husband at the time said that Sommer had said, “All German men are pigs.” Who knew that courts listened to ridiculous cases like this, but the joke was on Gabor because she had to file for bankruptcy.

Leif Garrett – Leif Garrett’s career dried up after he hit puberty, and he was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2001. At the time, he said that his only steady source of income was the $1,000 per month allowance from his mother.

Marvin Gaye – Marvin Gaye had to file for bankruptcy in 1976 after a court ruling promised the $600,000 in royalties from his next album to his ex-wife to make up for overdue alimony payments. The album was titled Here, My Dear and detailed the personal details of his rocky marriage. He moved to Europe in 1981 and lived out a tumultuous remaining three years until his father shot him to death in 1984.

Ulysses S. Grant – Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, became a partner in a financial firm that went bankrupt. Dying from throat cancer, Grant wrote a memoir to pay off his debts.

Archie Griffin – Archie Griffin is college football’s only two-time Heisman trophy winner and played for Ohio State University from 1972-1975. Unfortunately, he had to file for bankruptcy in 1981 after an investment in six athletic shoe stores failed and caused him to have debts of $519,568.

Corey Haim – Corey Haim was one of the “two Coreys” that climbed to heartthrob status after appearing in a number of films in the 1980s. In 1997, years of drug problems took their toll and caused Haim to file for bankruptcy. He listed his only assets as his 10-year-old BMW, $100 in cash and royalties, and residuals valued at $7,500. Just when he appeared to be getting his life in order, he passed away.

Dorothy Hamill – Dorothy Hamill was the 1976 National, World and Olympic champion and moved on after that to the Ice Capades. She purchased the struggling company and tried to get it going again, but she had to sell in 1995 and filed for bankruptcy herself in 1996.

Isaac Hayes – Isaac Hayes was known by many as the voice of “Chef” on South Park and made a stink when he left the show because of how they chose to make fun of Scientology. (Apparently all the other topics and people the show made fun of were OK, but they crossed the line with Scientology.) Hayes also wrote and performed music back in the 60’s and 70’s and had to file for bankruptcy in 1976. His record label went broke and since they owed over $6 million, so did he. He lost his house, most of his personal property, and the rights to future royalties from all his music.

Milton Snavely Hershey – Milton Snavely Hershey founded Hershey’s Foods corporation in 1903 but didn’t find success immediately in life. Hershey dropped out of school after 4th grade, because his family moved around a lot, and got an apprenticeship as a printer. He wasn’t keen on the business and tried his hand at candy. His first four attempts failed and forced him to file for bankruptcy, but his fifth resulted in a major corporation that’s doing pretty darn good to this day.

Perez Hilton – Perez Hilton, not to be confused with heiress Paris Hilton, is an Internet blogger who loves to shake up the world of celeb gossip. Hilton, real name Mario Lavandeira, ran up a world of debt while in college. He was more than $50,000 in debt when he filed for bankruptcy in 2005. He’s bounced back pretty nicely.

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Ronald Isley – The lead singer of the Isley Brothers, Ronald Isley, declared bankruptcy in 1997 after the IRS seized his yacht, cars and other property. He was discharged four years later but didn’t file tax returns for five years. He was then sentenced to 37 months in an Indiana jail for five counts of tax evasion and one count of failing to file a tax return.

LaToya Jackson – La Toya Jackson is supposedly the “crazy” member of the Jackson clan, but I’m sure many would argue otherwise. She tried the whole singing thing in the form of a solo career but didn’t find much success and had to file for bankruptcy in 1995. She was on TV for the reality show Armed and Famous in 2007 and went through an emotional therapeutic attempt to relieve her of her phobia of cats.

Don Johnson – Don Johnson, of Miami Vice fame, filed for bankruptcy in 2004 to save his $20 million Pitkin County ranch in Colorado from being sold at auction. He was able to save his ranch and later paid off his debts including $930,000 to City National Bank and $7,345 to Aspen Valley Hospital.

Margot Kidder – Margot Kidder’s fame is mainly thanks to her role of Lois Lane in the Superman films opposite Christopher Reeve, but, unfortunately, her career went downhill after that. She was badly injured in an accident in the late 80’s and was also diagnosed at manic-depressive. She refused treatment for either predicament until two years after the accident, when she decided to go through with the surgery needed. Kidder’s insurance didn’t cover the surgery and she sold her house and her jewelry and declared bankruptcy in 1992.

Larry King – Larry King has interviewed over 30,000 people during his career, but his rise to fame for radio work in the 60’s derailed him financially. He was in debt $352,000, charged with grand larceny and accused of stealing $5,000 from a business partner. The charges were dropped, but he struggled to get back on his feet and ended up claiming bankruptcy in 1978.

Suge Knight – Suge Knight filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and had $11 dollars in his bank account at the time. Lydia Harris was suing him for $107 million because she claimed to have been cheated out of a 50% stake in Death Row Records even though Knight claims they settled the matter for $1 million.

Cyndi Lauper – Before her hit song “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” came out, Cyndi Lauper was in a group called Blue Angel with John Turi. The band broke up after a record flopped, and their manager at the time sued them for $80,000. Lauper was forced into bankruptcy in 1980 but recovered quickly and became an 80’s icon.

Jerry Lee Lewis – Jerry Lee Lewis is the only musician to have two songs go to number one on the charts in all fields of music: Pop, Country and R&B. Unfortunately, his career took a nosedive after that, and in 1988 he filed for bankruptcy with $3 million in debt and no assets.

Abraham Lincoln – The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, declared bankruptcy in 1833 and spent 17 years of his life paying off the money that he borrowed from friends to start his business. It took Lincoln 30 years to achieve his goal of becoming President of the United States. Then John Wilkes Booth went and screwed everything up.

Meat Loaf – Meat Loaf’s 1977 album Bat Out of Hell still sells around 200,000 copies a year, and you may also recognize him from roles in Fight Club and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but in 1983 he wasn’t doing so well and had to declare bankruptcy. He was $1.6 million in debt at the time.

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes – The late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was one-third of the 90’s group TLC, who soared to success when their album CrazySexyCool sold over 15 million records worldwide. In 1994, she hit headlines by herself for torching the home of then-boyfriend Andre Rison’s following a fight. In 1995, she declared bankruptcy due to poor royalties and a debt owed for breach of contract.

William McKinley – William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, found himself $130,000 in debt after he co-signed on a loan for a friend and the friend went bankrupt.

Willie Nelson – Willie Nelson declared bankruptcy in 1990 and claimed to owe the IRS $16.7 million. The IRS seized his bank accounts and real estate that he had in six states and, in turn, Nelson released an album titled The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories? to pay them what he owed.

Wayne Newton – The Las Vegas crooner, Wayne Newton, found himself more than $20 million in debt in 1992 and was forced to file for bankruptcy. Luckily, he found his way out of debt in Vegas: performing at the Stardust hotel instead of at the craps table.

Ted Nugent – Guitarist and singer Ted Nugent found himself bankrupt in 1980 because of several failed business ventures and poor management, but he continued to tour and crank out albums well into the 21st century. He’s since served on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and sells his own beef jerky called Gonzo Meat Biltong.

Thomas Paine – Thomas Paine, known for the pamphlet Common Sense, greatly benefited from his move to America in 1774. He was broke and facing bankruptcy, and, to top it off, his second marriage had just ended. Moving across the ocean was a logical next move.

Tom Petty – Tom Petty filed for bankruptcy in May of 1979 after a legal dispute when ABC Records was sold to MCA Records. Petty refused to be transferred to another record label without his consent and ended up signing with Backstreet Records, which was a new MCA subsidiary.

Bud Post – Bud Post is the 66-year-old who won the lottery in 1988 for $16.2 million and was bankrupt eight years later. Apparently, quite a few people came out of the woodwork to ask their old pal Bud to give them money since he was now stinking rich. He spent everything he had buying homes, three cars, a truck, two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, two 62-inch Sony TVs, a camper, computers and a boat (among other things). He died in 2006, miserable and broke. I guess money doesn’t always buy happiness.

Tammy Wynette – Country music singer Tammy Wynette was forced into bankruptcy as a result of an investment in two Florida malls going sour.

Susan Powter – Susan Powter wrote three best-selling books in the 1990s that made her the diet and exercise go-to girl.(Stop the Insanity!) The crew-cut, bleach blonde Powter filed for bankruptcy in 1995 because, according to her, legal fees “have wiped me out.”

Randy Quaid – Randy Quaid is known for his role as Cousin Eddie in the Vacation film series and is Dennis Quaid’s big brother. His wife directed him in the 1999 movie The Debtors, but unfortunately it was never released and the couple had to file for bankruptcy because they were $1 million in debt.

Rembrandt – Rembrandt went bankrupt in 1656 and his house and collections were auctioned. Unfortunately, the money raised wasn’t enough to cover his debt, so he set up an art-dealing business to keep his creditors at bay.

Tommy Rettig – Tommy Rettig portrayed the character Jeff Miller in the popular Lassie TV series from 1954 to 1957 and went down the same path of many child actors. He got into drugs and went bankrupt as a result of being unable to find work as an adult performer.

Burt Reynolds – Burt Reynolds was $10 million in debt when he filed for bankruptcy after his 1996 divorce. He went on to win a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in the movie Boogie Nights.

Mickey Rooney – Mickey Rooney filed for bankruptcy in 1996 because he owed over $1.75 million to the IRS. He was once the #1 movie star in the United States.

Anna Nicole Smith – Anna Nicole Smith was ordered to pay $850,000 to an employee for a judgment against her for sexual harassment in 1996, and, since she had yet to be given any of her late husband’s billions, she had to file for bankruptcy.

Dee Snider – Dee Snider, lead singer of Twisted Sister, went bankrupt in the late 90’s after he was unable to follow the success of his 80’s career.

Lynn Spears – Lynn Spears and her husband filed for bankruptcy in 1998 right before her daughter, Britney, became a superstar.

Sheryl Swoopes – Sheryl Swoopes, a three-time Olympic gold medallist and three-time MVP of the WNBA, filed for bankruptcy in 2004 reportedly owing $711,050. She blamed mismanagement of her money as the cause. Really? Well, that’s a surprise.

Lawrence Taylor – Lawrence Taylor played for the New York Giants from 1981 to 1993 and then substance abuse took over his life. He was arrested in 1998 for failing to pay child support and had to file for bankruptcy because of the high amount that he owed. He was still voted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1999 despite his personal problems.

Donald Trump – Donald Trump found himself $900 million in debt in 1990 and lost a lot of his business ventures but somehow restructured his debt to be back on top running a billion-dollar empire.

Mark Twain – Mark Twain went bankrupt in 1894 thanks to bad investments (especially in new inventions) and his publishing house going under. Twain went on an around-the-world lecture tour to pay of his creditors and did so in full in 1898.

Oscar Wilde – Oscar Wilde, in trouble for “gross indecencies,” was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1895 and lost some of his prized possessions including first editions of his own books. After serving his prison term, his friends helped him to bring his estate out of bankruptcy.

Ray Winstone – Ray Winstone started his acting career with a riveting performance in the 1979 movie Scum. Unfortunately, he had trouble after that getting work and was forced into bankruptcy at the end of the 80’s. He was most recently seen in Beowulf and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post about celebrities who’ve lost millions. If you have, be sure to show your appreciation by visiting the Pop Crunch website. You can also enjoy other OGM posts by clicking on the following links:

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