One of the reasons people fight and clamor to get on reality television is the dream that it will lead to fame and fortune. For many of us, appearing on television and in movies is synonymous with financial well-being. How many of us dream of waking up in the morning and no longer having to worry about paying the bills or rent? Reality TV is just one short-cut that some people try to use in order to escape the financial realities associated with being “normal.”
But not everyone you see on TV is rolling in dough. For a variety of reasons, there are many beloved and talented actors who are not even worth 1 million dollars! While for some, it’s simply a matter of time, their careers are just starting up and even by the end of the year they will cross the threshold into being a bona fide millionaire. For others however, poor life choices, unfortunate tragedies, and bad investments have more or less destroyed their fortunes. While some are hanging on with a few hundred thousand in the bank, others are so deep in debt that it seems difficult to imagine they will ever recover. As some of these are favourite actors, we really hope the best for all involved. And maybe, take some heed from their mistakes and be careful with the way we spend and invest in money. One thing’s for sure, we’re always going to pay our taxes on time from now on!
14 Margot Kidder, Net Worth 300K
If you were a fan of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, you probably had a crush on Margot Kidder at some point in your life. She played Lois Lane in the original franchise, winning our hearts. Horror fans will also know her from her pivotal role in the original Black Christmas film, she has also starred in movies like Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, Brian De Palma’s Sisters and appeared in several episodes of Smallville. While most people would be set for life based on that resume alone (and Kidder has over 100 acting credits to her name), Kidder’s mental health problems have unfortunately squandered much of her fortune. Her bipolar disorder has derailed her career on a number of occasions, and in the mid-90s was homeless due to her growing paranoia that her former husband was trying to kill her. She has since brought her life together and has become a mental health advocate, but her net worth unfortunately never quite recovered.
13 Sinbad, Net Worth -11 Million
So, Sinbad might not be a great actor like some of these other entries, but any kid who grew up in the 90s has a soft spot for his performances in movies like Jingle All The Way, Sinbad First Kid and appearances in cult classic Good Burger. He’s just so gosh darn lovable. So we were surprised when we found out he is not only worth less than 1 million but actually has a negative net worth! He has declared bankruptcy twice since 2009, largely due to mismanagement and climbing interest payments. Sinbad claimed to continue spending money hoping to get a new movie role that just never came. Unfortunately, the interest just kept climbing and it became increasingly difficult for him to pay up! We still love Sinbad, but he's really gotta sort out his finances!
12 Eric Balfour, Net Worth 500K
Eric Balfour is one of those actors who has been in just about everything. He was a prominent character in the first two seasons of Six Feet Under, the pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and he had a significant role on 24. He has appeared in movies like What Women Want, The Spirit, and Skyline. It’s hard to say why Balfour’s net worth isn’t higher, but it’s likely due to the fact he often plays supporting rather than leading roles. Balfour also works as a singer and it’s not unreasonable to believe he invest some of his money in making his side career a reality. While some of the actors on this list squandered their money and talent, we have no reason to believe that is the case for Eric!
11 Debby Ryan, Net Worth 925K
This child star who bears an uncanny resemblance to Selena Gomez is best known for her roles on Disney Channel shows Jessie and The Suite Life on Deck. She also has a band called The Never Ending. Unfortunately, since 2012, Debby Ryan’s career has been a bit on the rocks. The early promise of her career has suffered like many other child actors. She has become an anti-domestic abuse advocate after being involved in an abusive relationship, and in April 2016 was arrested for drunk driving. Let’s hope Ryan doesn’t fall from grace and is able to find a healthy support structure to help her escape the fate of becoming another doomed former child actor.
10 Rory McCann, Net Worth 750K
This Scottish giant is best known for his role on Game of Thrones where he played The Hound, a beloved early season character. Rory McCann's film career might not be extraordinary, but aside from GoT, he has appeared in a number of high-profile films including Alexander and Hot Fuzz, while regularly appearing on a number of British TV programs. Based on his personal life, we have to believe that Rory’s modest net worth has more to do with personal preference than it does anything else. He prefers to not have a permanent home, instead choosing to live on his beloved boat or on the road. For him, acting allows him to sustain his preferred outdoor lifestyle - and he takes roles in order to fund his epic outdoor adventures. This guy might even be cooler than The Hound, something we didn’t even think would be possible!
9 Tom Guiry, Net Worth 100K
Tom Guiry’s career began in the early 90's, as a child actor as he took up roles in films like The Sandlot. He has since never really matched that early success, with his last big shot at fame coming in 2007 as he starred in the NBC drama The Black Donnellys which was unfortunately canceled after just one season. Since then Guiry has barely worked and due to some substance abuse problems and likely bad investments, has spent all but 100K of his money. Guiry most recently made it into the news in 2013 after head-butting a police officer in Texas. That’s one way of guaranteeing no one wants to be hiring you anytime soon.
8 Emmanuel Lewis, Net Worth 500K
Emmanuel Lewis was once one of the most beloved actors on television, starring on Webster and was the spokesperson for Burger King throughout the 1980's. Nominated for a number of Emmys, he was once one of the most beloved actors in America. His career never really was able to recover once he grew up, and in spite of some cameo roles in some 90's shows, he has barely acted since the 80's. While he has kept busy with a pop career in Japan, appearances on The Surreal Life, Lewis - now 45 - has hit some hard times. In late 2014 his house was foreclosed and apparently owes money in back-taxes.
7 Hailee Steinfeld, Net Worth 500K
With her star on the rise, we don’t think Hailee Steinfeld will be worth only 500K for long! Her career began in a beloved remake of western True Grit, starring opposite Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin. While she has yet to match that success, she has had notable roles in films like Pitch Perfect 2 and Ender’s Game. Steinfeld has a lot of grace for such a young actress, and with a lot of roles lined up for 2016, she will likely make her breakthrough this year. Aside from acting, she has also started modeling, no doubt due to her unique beauty and incredible sartorial talents.
6 Lindsay Lohan, Net Worth 500K
With her well-documented fall from grace, it should be no real surprise that Lindsay Lohan has squandered her hard-earned Disney money. As she is a punch-line now, it is easy to forget that she was once among the most promising actors of her generation and a number of us are still hoping she pulls through. In films like Mean Girls, The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday she won over our heart and demonstrated a unique comedic talent. Let’s not forget her infamous SNL performance as well, where we also learned the true potential of her hotness. Unfortunately due a very difficult home life wrought with abuse, drugs and partying, she is virtually uninsurable making it nearly impossible for her to find work. Maybe she’ll pull a Robert Downey Jr. and turn everything around, it’s not too late!
5 Edward Furlong, Net Worth 100K
Edward Furlong not only starred in one of the most beloved films of all-time, also one of the most successful. As the adorable John Carter in Terminator 2, he not only won over the heart of a futuristic Terminator but also that of the audience. From there Furlong’s career never fully took off. He starred in a number of cult classics like Pecker and American History X, but unfortunately like so many child stars once he grew out of his cuteness his career really fell apart. Since the late 1990s, he has also battled drug addiction and run-ins with the law. While it might not be a surprise that these personal struggles have worn away at his fortune, his net worth rests at just 100K!
4 Randy Quaid, Net Worth -1 Million
Randy Quaid’s fall has been well documented - not only by the tabloids but by himself, as he regularly posts Youtube videos of himself and his wife Evi. Not only is Quaid brothers with Dennis, but he has starred in some of the highest grossing and most respected films of the past 20 years. He has won Golden Globes and been nominated for Emmys. His roles in movies like Independence Day, Brokeback Mountain and The National Lampoon franchise have secured his legacy. However, mental illness, paranoia, and drugs have not only squandered the future of his cinematic career but squandered his money. He has been sued for not paying numerous hotel bills, been chased out of the country and fallen deeper and deeper into debt. It’s hard to believe that the man who played Pilot Russell Casse has become such a trainwreck.
3 Emily Ratajkowski, Net Worth 500K
Emily Ratajkowski might not be a household name, but chances are you’re VERY familiar with her work. Emily’s career took off in 2013 when she appeared in Robin Thicke’s 'Blurred Lines' music video. She caught the attention of both audiences and producers since then appearing in movies like Gone Girl and Entourage. Who’s to say why her net worth has yet to reflect these opportunities - but maybe her recent support of Bernie Sanders hints at the fact she is keener on sharing her wealth than spending it. Regardless, Emily’s physical talents likely mean we will be seeing a lot more of her in the future.
2 Gary Busey, Net Worth 500K
Gary Busey has been in the spotlight ever since we can remember - honestly, even before many of us were born. Did you know he is an Oscar winner? That he was once heralded as the greatest actor of his generation? It’s really hard to believe now that he spends most his days on various second rate reality programs. Busey’s story is more tragic than most while he has starred in some of the greatest films ever made, his career was seriously derailed by a nearly fatal accident that left him severely brain damaged in 1988. Busey has never been quite the same and has struggled to remain sober and healthy, as he battles with memory, cognitive and motor problems. In the late 90's, he also underwent cancer treatment, to treat a golf sized tumor in his sinuses. Busey may be the butt-end of jokes now but his real story is tragic - let’s hope the universe throws him a good turn sooner rather than later.
1 Chris Tucker, Net Worth -11.5 million
At one point, it felt like Chris Tucker was the most famous person in the world. Building a very successful film career out of his comedy, Tucker starred alongside Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour films - which he earned over 50 million for all three. He had huge deals with New Line Cinema which guaranteed him at least 40 extra million dollars. And honestly, at the time Chris Tucker deserved it - he was the funniest guy in the world. So what happened? Well, depends on who you ask. Not unlike Wesley Snipes, Tucker ran into trouble with the IRS after not properly declaring income and in 2014 was forced to pay over 14 million in unpaid taxes. But long before then, Tucker had more or less fallen out of the spotlight after making just 3 movies in 16 years. Tucker went from being one of the highest-paid actors in the world to owing more money than most of us will ever get our hands on.