One of the downsides of finding instant fame and fortune is the lack of prudence in how to handle it all. Many celebrities who have gotten too famous too fast have fallen victim to mismanaging their newly and quickly acquired riches. There are those who attempted to put their funds to good use by investing, but things went awry and the deals didn’t pay off. Others were just plain careless and aimlessly threw their money away on useless personal indulgences.c
Some have had to declare bankruptcy, some lost their assets. And there have been those who were forced to live on the streets. Here’s a list of those who were cheated out of a home at one point during their careers.
He rose from poverty and became one of the world’s best athletes, only to fall back into the hard life after a few years. Houston McTear became an international track star in the 1970s and was once dubbed the fastest man in the world. But after the U.S. decided to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics, which McTear was to participate in, he fell into drug abuse and lost his home. For three years, he lived on Santa Monica beach. He was eventually rescued by an older woman, but was never able to make a major comeback.
He was once one of Disney’s child stars, having been the voice and animation model of Peter Pan in the Disney classic film and he even picked up a Juvenile Academy Award in 1950. But in his teens, he fell into trouble when his career took a downturn and he turned to drugs to ease the painful reality that he was no longer the star that he once was. He wandered the streets of New York and at 31, died penniless in a deserted East Village apartment block.
At the peak of his career as a mainstay on the hit TV show, Eight is Enough, actor Willie Aames was earning as much as $1 million a year. He moved on to join another hit show, Charles in Charge, but when that show ended as well, he was out of a job and had a ton of debt, but no money to pay for it. He filed for bankruptcy and eventually lost his home, sleeping in parks and garages. Luckily, Aames was able to turn his life around and did bit roles here and there.
He didn’t escape the “curse” of child actors who fell from grace. Danny Bonaduce became famous for his role as Danny Partridge in the 1970s sitcom, The Partridge Family. But when he hit his late teens, his life took a downward spiral, wherein he got involved in drugs and became homeless. Bonaduce said that he lived in his car behind Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. He eventually became a wrestler and a DJ in his later adult life, making a few cameos on TV every once in a while.
She had us laughing in her role as Tara Reid’s character’s best friend in the first two American Pie movies. But Natasha Lyonne went through a dark phase in the early 2000s when she was arrested for DUI and eventually evicted from her apartment due to missed rent payments and disturbing the peace. The New York Post reported that she wound up homeless and was eventually found using a fake name in a hospital and infected with Hepatitis C. She has since turned her life around and is now part of the cast of the Netflix hit show, Orange is the New Black, for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
He was the frontman for Sly and the Family Stone, a band which paved the way for the birth of the soul and funk music genre in the 60s and 70s. Sly Stone shot to fame and amassed many houses at the height of his popularity, perhaps too many houses for him to maintain. Because of poor spending habits and drug addiction, the band’s popularity declined and Stone lost all his assets. As of 2011, it was reported that he was living out of a van on the streets of Los Angeles. But he says he doesn’t mind the simple life so his current living arrangement suits him well.
John Drew Barrymore
It’s surprising that a member of Hollywood royalty actually wound up without a home at one point in his life. John Drew Barrymore, son of the iconic actor John Barrymore and father of Drew Barrymore, desperately wanted to carve his own niche in the acting world, away from the shadow of his famous relatives. But after years of trying, he only managed to land mediocre, forgettable roles, prompting him to give up on acting and become a nomad. He’d wander around the world and occasionally turn up, only to be thrown in jail for being intoxicated and high on drugs. He passed away from cancer in 2004.
He and his brother Dennis Quaid have been fixtures in Hollywood for the last three decades and rightly so. Randy Quaid has had several memorable roles and has won awards for them. But he’s had run-ins with the law in the last few years, including bailing on a hotel without settling his $10,000 bill and arrest for burglary for living in a guest house without the owner’s knowledge. He and his wife then sought Canadian refugee status to avoid being arrested in the United States. As of January 2013, Quaid’s request for Canadian permanent resident status was denied.
Hoping to get their 30 seconds of fame, many ordinary folk join reality shows like American Idol, even if they don’t have the vocal chops for it. And with the exception of Jennifer Hudson, those who actually make it into the elite circle of finalists but don’t win, eventually fade away into obscurity. Such was the case for Alex Lambert, who, shortly after being eliminated, became a homeless, struggling musician. He’s still not giving up on his dream to make it in the music industry and says he’d rather live in his car in Los Angeles than run back home and quit.
The late 70s and 80s saw the rise of basketball star Ray Williams, who became captain of the New York Knicks. But after he retired, he had to file for bankruptcy which led to losing not just his home, but also his family. He took on menial jobs, like groundskeeper at a golf course, maintenance man in an apartment complex, and bakery worker. In 2010, he was unemployed and homeless, living in his car in Florida. Luckily, he was able to bounce back for a few brief years before he succumbed to colon cancer in 2013.
During his career, retired boxer Iran Barkley held world titles for middleweight, super-middleweight, and light-heavyweight champion. At the height of it all, he was riding high with a net worth of $5 million, but he lost it all during his retirement. Bankrupt and unemployed, he was unable to pay rent at his Bronx apartment and was promptly evicted. With the help of boxing charity foundations, Barkley received financial and housing assistance to help him get back on his feet.
The star of Grace Under Fire, Brett Butler, had anything but. At the peak of the show’s popularity, Butler started demonstrating erratic behavior and mood swings, apparently due to drug abuse. She was released from her contract and the show was promptly cancelled. It was reported that she left Los Angeles and moved to a farm in Georgia. But when she ran out of cash, she left the farm and ended up in a homeless shelter. As of 2012, she has been getting it back together and has had bit roles in TV shows and movies.
He was known for handing boxer Roger Mayweather his first ever defeat. Boxer Rocky Lockridge was awarded the WBA super featherweight title after that historic match. However, due to an unending battle with drugs, Lockridge lost his home and suffered a stroke, the result of which he now walks with a cane. He claims that if not for his sons’ intervention, his life would have continued its downward spiral.
She shot to fame as Lois Lane in the Superman series of movies, starring opposite Christopher Reeve. Margot Kidder had a steady stream of mediocre roles post-Superman, but she was faring alright—until a car accident in 1990 left her unable to work and bankrupt. Kidder apparently also had bipolar disorder, which manifested during the time after her accident and she was under much stress. Homeless, she slept in cardboard boxes and random backyards, until she was found by a resident of Glendale, California, barely recognizable with hair chopped off and missing teeth. Kidder eventually turned her life around and now lives in Montana.
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