3. Ringo Starr: Crippling illness to $225 million
Ringo Starr is a Beatle; therefore, Ringo Starr is immortal. While that logic is infallible, Richard Starkey’s early life, more than anyone on this list, provides a strong counterpoint to the idea. The fact that his father abandoned the family when he was 3, leaving them poor and struggling, wasn’t the worst of Ringo’s early experiences, because he spent most of his childhood in hospitals battling life-threatening illnesses like appendicitis, peritonitis (which left him in a coma), and severe tuberculosis. His afflictions kept him committed to hospitals and sanatoriums for at least three years of his childhood, and his education never recovered. A blessing in disguise perhaps, because while battling tuberculosis Starkey received a make-shift mallet from the hospital staff to bang his motor skills into practice, and his obsession with drumming began. Working low-end jobs on the side as a young adult, he rose to prominence as Ringo Starr in a band called the Hurricanes before joining the biggest band of all time at John Lennon’s request. Today, he can count his lucky stars in one of the longest and most influential careers in drumming history, with studio albums as recent as 2010 and a net worth of $225 million.
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