The spectrum of how we define homelessness has grown immensely, it doesn’t just cover people that are living on the streets under cardboard boxes. There are homeless Americans living in their cars and moving in and out of shelters. This epidemic can be caused by so many variables in society or a person’s life. When there is a lack of affordable housing, lack of accessible healthcare, and/or a job epidemic in a city or country homelessness can rise rapidly.
These factors build up societies based on poverty, but how do celebrities who are making millions go from living in mansions of Beverly Hills to under bushes? A lot of these sad stories are based around addiction, an epidemic in Hollywood and the world. Some of these stories of celebrities who rose to fame only to fall hard from grace are sad tales of mental illness and in some cases, psychotic break.
Luckily some of these celebrities have built themselves back up to success and are starring in popular shows or movies. But unfortunately not all of these are happy stories, some of these celebrities have not gotten help for their addictions or even passed away before rising up from homelessness.
15. Sly Stone
At the height of his career, Sly Stone was living in a Bel Air home that had belonged to singing group the Mamas and the Papas. In 2011 it was found that he is living in a small camper van that he parks and plugs in on the streets of Los Angeles. The star said that he was happy in his camper, that he always had to stay “on the move”. The reason that his fortune is gone is a combination of substance abuse, poor financial management, and pure excess. He parks in a residential Crenshaw neighborhood outside of the house of an older couple. The pair feeds him and allows him to shower in their home. Their son also works as Stone’s assistant. Flamboyant to this day, the side of his van is labeled “Pleasure Way”. Sly Stone continues to make music on a laptop and he continues to be inspired by the musical acts of today.
14. Debbie Clark aka Storm from American Gladiators
There was a point in television that American Gladiators was one of the most popular shows, so popular that the show was even rebooted for a period of time. One of the most popular gladiators was Storm, a woman who dominated for three years before an injury ended her career. Now she resides on the streets with her son in San Diego, California. While a group of volunteers were serving the local homeless Clark walked up to them and simply said, “Hi, I’m Storm the American Gladiator, this is my son Crayton – we’re homeless.”
Clark was taken in by a CEO who she had met while he was volunteering. The reason that she became homeless was due to domestic violence, and the community around her continues to provide her support in hopes that she can eventually get on her feet.
13. Margot Kidder
This actress is most well known for playing Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve in the original 1978 Superman movie. Kidder suffers from mental illness which culminated in her being found in the backyard bushes of a Los Angeles couple in 1996. The actress was reported missing the previous Saturday and when she was found claimed that she had been assaulted and was hiding from someone. Police couldn’t find any signs of assault but did cite that she was “in obvious mental distress”, she had even used a razor blade to chop off her hair in hopes of disguising herself. She was taken to the hospital but only had minor scratches that were related to living in the bushes for several days. Kidder suffered from health issues after being injured on the set of Superman in the ‘90s which may have played a role in her downfall.
12. Iran Barkley
Bronx Boxing champ Iran Barkley once held a title belt after his 1988 bout with Thomas Hearns, but by 2010 he had become homeless and lost his Bronx apartment. After two title wins and one loss Barkley was sitting on a cool $5 million which he spent on custom Mercedes Benzes, shiny jewelry, and fur coats. He put a down payment on a home and bought an apartment, it seemed that he was living large. But that all changed and Barkley was eventually kicked out of his childhood home by his niece in the form of coming home to changed locks.
Barkley slept on the train his first night on the street and in that destitute moment even signed an autograph for a fan. While he was famous Barkley didn’t just spend on himself, he threw block parties for the kids in the Bronx as a way of giving back. To this day he continues to pick himself back up and is no longer living on the streets.
11. Houston McTear
Houston McTear was once the fastest man in the world, like thunder and lightning, but eventually, his bad choice in friends and issues with substance abuse caused him to fall from grace with a heavy thud. He was still a high school athlete when he qualified for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal but an injury forced him to withdraw from the games. As a 20-year-old he joined famous boxer Muhammad Ali’s track club and set the second fastest 100m PR in history and was set to make records in the 1980 Olympic games until they were boycotted by US athletes.
After another failed attempt at being an Olympian McTear fell on hard times, eventually finding himself living under a pier in Los Angeles. Eventually, his track dreams morphed into a cocaine habit and the star reportedly spend $200-300 weekly on cocaine. The bottom of this was his jail stint in 1988 for drug dealing. It was after he was released that he moved underneath the Santa Monica pier for a period of three years.
10. Danny Bonaduce
This child star was well known for his role on The Partridge Family, but his childhood fame soon spiraled into a history of drug abuse that eventually turned into homelessness. He was living in his car behind a dumpster but was still being recognized for being famous which was a strange juxtaposition. Bonaduce would take photos and sign autographs and then once fans were out of sight he would crawl back into his car. It was a conversation with his mother when she let him know that she was sure he was going to die soon that inspired him to try and get sober.
Although this was a big part of his future sobriety Bonaduce continued using and faced multiple arrests for drugs and one for beating and robbing a transvestite prostitute. Bonaduce claims that he battled his addiction with alcohol for 25 years, but has since cleaned himself up and is currently hosting a radio show in Seattle.
9. Brett Butler
Actress Brett Butler rose to fame with her Southern charm while starring in Grace Under Fire and it appears she had hit it big until a 2011 interview shocked the world. While starring on the show the 2-time Golden Globe nominee dealt with substance abuse and attended rehab a couple of times during filming. The 5-year stint of the show was canceled in 1998 after Butler was asked to leave the set due to drug abuse. Butler looks back stating that she did all drugs aside from needles and crack, but that lots of the drugs that she abused were doctor prescribed. The actress moved from Los Angeles to Georgia where she lived on a large piece of land with her 15 pets.
Butler looks back stating that she did all drugs aside from needles and crack, but that lots of the drugs that she abused were doctor prescribed. The actress moved from Los Angeles to Georgia where she lived on a large piece of land with her 15 pets. The money from Grace Under Fire eventually ran out and Butler ended up moving into a homeless shelter. She did pick herself back up enough to attempt a comeback in 2011 but it seems it never really panned out.
8. Rocky Lockridge
This knockout artist and famous boxer spent a decade living on the streets in Camden, New Jersey where it was eventually revealed he suffered from drug and alcohol abuse. He has also suffered a stroke since his time in the ring and has lost use of his left leg and now has to walk with a cane. He first got involved in cocaine when he was 22 and years later he began to experiment with crack. His twin sons reported that when he used he would get violent and eventually the mother of his twins scooped them up and escaped to live in Tacoma, Washington.
The boxer actually has his very own episode of A&E’s Intervention where his best friend and two twin sons spoke to him about how his addiction has hurt them. To make matters tougher, the video of Lockridge crying ended up going viral! Lockridge agreed to go to rehab and spend 90 days in treatment in Louisiana. He has since returned to New Jersey where he trains boxers and works on rebuilding the relationships with his sons.
7. Natasha Lyonne
When American Pie first came out Natasha Lyonne was positioned to be one of the next ‘It-Girls’ of movies, this rang especially true after Lyonne starred in major motion picture But I’m a Cheerleader… and Slums of Beverly Hills. After these successes, Lyonne began partying with the Hollywood elite, and on that journey picked up a taste for black tar heroin. The downturn for Lyonne started in 2001 when she hit a stop sign in her rental car and attempted to escape the scene.
Though she refused the breathalyzer test Lyonne was arrested and pled guilty to driving under the influence. She continued behaving erratically and eventually, fellow tenants in her building started complaining about her behavior. After years of this excessive craziness, Lyonne was evicted and eventually spent time living in a hospital under a pseudonym. Lyonne has since picked herself up and now stars in the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black.
6. Bobby Driscoll
This generation might not remember Bobby Driscoll but he was one of the very first Disney child stars and was actually the basis for the drawing of Peter Pan. Driscoll was originally cast in Lost Angel with Margaret O’Brien and went on to be signed by Walt Disney himself. He also starred in the live action series of Treasure Island and Song of the South before acting as the voice of Disney’s animated Peter Pan. Once the 1950’s came Driscoll began going through puberty and getting acne, so the Walt Disney company dropped him from their label. It was 1956 when he was first busted by the police and faced a felony narcotic charge.
His mother knew something was going on, his teeth were disgusting and his brain chemistry was less than active, but it wasn’t until he was 19-years-old that his parents became aware of what was really happening. He spiraled out to Andy Warhol’s factory before slumming as a homeless man in New York’s lower east side in the ‘60s. His body was found in 1968 in an abandoned tenement by children playing.
5. Alex Lambert
As a 20-year-old semi-finalist in American Idol Alex Lambert was sure that he’d found his big break in the music industry. After shooting Hulu series If I Can Dream Lambert broke down in a series of tweets where he admitted that he was living behind buildings and was basically homeless. A rep from 19 Entertainment who is known for managing former Idol contestants claimed shortly after the Twitter storm that Lambert is certainly not homeless and he wasn’t even the person that wrote those tweets. Despite these claims from 19 Entertainment Lambert took back to Twitter saying that he had places to stay but didn’t want to burden anyone.
Although like other homeless celebrities he didn’t succumb to a drug or alcohol addiction, he simply needed to save money so that he could make it big. Since this news story hit the press Lambert hasn’t done anything stellar with his career, but we hope he’s found his place by now.
4. Ted Hawkins
Legendary singer-songwriter Ted Hawkins led a life of struggle and hard work. His work ranges from folk to rock to soul and back again, his songs cannot be compared to any other songwriter in the world. He was born in Mississippi in 1936 and was abused for most of his childhood. By the age of 15, he was thrown in jail for stealing a leather jacket. This theft sent him to adult prison for three years, a bit steep for the crime. He was discovered by many agents and labels but his drug addiction and prison stints would cause him to disappear for long stints, losing his notoriety. He moved to England in 1986 where he actually found some success in both Europe and Asia but he was deported in 1990 for drugs.
This is when Hawkins returned to Venice to busk while sitting atop his signature crate. Geffen Records finally got Hawkins to cut a studio album, and although he was super unhappy about having studio musicians on the record it was a modest success. He passed away just months after the record dropped.
3. “Sugar Ray” Williams
“Sugar Ray” Williams clocked 10 seasons in the NBA as both captain and point guard for the New York Knicks before moving to the New Jersey Nets where he set a one-game franchise record for scoring 52 points in one game. After his decade with the National Basketball Association, “Sugar Ray” began a slow slide downwards through a series of bad advice and bad decisions.
He didn’t have any plan post-fame nor a steady job or income and eventually would fish off of the pier for his dinner when he was living in Florida. At this point, he was also living in his 1992 Buick and was completely isolated by his still loving fans. Eventually, Williams was found by the mayor of his hometown and brought back to New York where everyone still remembers him. “Sugar Ray” died in 2013 at the age of 58 of colon cancer. The tumor was discovered after an NBA Retired Players Association free screening.
2. Willie Aames
Starring on 8 Is Enough in the ‘70s made Willie Aames a household name and also a mainstay alongside Shaun Cassidy and Scott Baio on the covers of teen heartthrob magazines. After the show ended Aames didn’t have quite the same career any longer and it did him in mentally. The former star turned to alcohol and drugs to quell his thirst for fame, which led him to ultimately filing for bankruptcy.
He attempted to have a garage sale to raise money but Aames didn’t make the cut. His house was eventually foreclosed upon and his wife left him, in this period he slept under bushes. He also crashed with friends and slept in parking garages, he looks back and feels ashamed of this period. Aames event attempted suicide after his wife left, but his story has since become a good one. The born-again Christian has done some reality television on VH1 and now works as a cruise director for Oceania Cruises where he often gets recognized.
1. Randy Quaid
We all know and love Randy Quaid as hilarious addition to the classic Chevy Chase National Lampoon’s Vacation film series. He was also prominent in Independence Day and Major League before his strange descent from celebrity to squatter. The actor met it-girl Evi in Hollywood and the pair had an instant connection. Quaid often spent lavishly on hotel rooms and at Beverly Hills boutiques which led to their eventual financial ruin. Randy Quaid and his wife Evi were arrested in Texas for leaving a $10,000 bill at a resort in Montecito. Just one year later the pair were discovered squatting in their former home which had two new owners since the time that they resided there legally. Both Randy and Evi missed their court appearances multiple times before warrants were issued for their arrest. This is when they showed up in Canada. The pair were eventually brought back into the United States and were arrested while trying to cross into Vermont.
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