The rich and the famous live lives that we will truly never understand unless we win the lottery. These people make insane amounts of money in their respective fields, and their wild spending and lavish lifestyles are well-documented by the media. You see these people owning multiple mansions, buying yachts, and partying like something you see in a movie. They drive the nicest cars, wear the most expensive clothes, and have vacationed in countries that most of us will never get to go to. The media makes them seem like figures that are otherworldly, but let’s be honest, money doesn’t buy happiness, and it can create a world of problems for those who aren’t prepared to spend it wisely. Coming up on millions of dollars sounds like a dream come true for most, but just when you taste success, there will be someone there looking to get a piece for themselves.
In order to keep their wealth stacking up, many rich people soundly invest their money in order to obtain true wealth. Unfortunately, the people giving you advice could be trying to hustle you, and the 15 celebrities on this list fell victim to such people. Let’s put it this way, the smallest loss that you will see on this list is $1 million, and the highest number on the list will truly make you sick to your stomach. These people thought that they were going to be set for life, and instead found themselves scrambling to get it all back.
15. Uma Thurman – $1 Million
Uma Thurman has long been a prominent figure in Hollywood, and she boasts a resume that is full of hit films and classics. Pulp Fiction, one of the greatest movies of all-time, is no doubt her crowning achievement, but her role in the Kill Bill series was brilliant as well. Thurman’s stellar career has seen her land roles in films in four separate decades, and it is safe to say that she has made a pretty penny in her time. Unfortunately, Thurman is on our list for a reason, and when she lost money, she lost a huge chunk.
Thurman was the victim of dealing with felon and former celebrity Kenneth Starr, who lost the actress a considerable amount of money. She would take the disgraced star to court for a whopping $2.4 million, and a number of other high-profile performers would attack him as well. Starr was eventually sentenced to serve time in prison after costing celebrities millions of dollars.
14. Larry King – $1 Million
At 83 years old, Larry King is a legendary name in the entertainment industry who has been doing this longer than most celebrities have been alive. His show Larry King Live ran for an incredible 6,120 episodes over the course of 25 years, and the success of the show made King a very wealthy man. In 2012, the legendary King would launch the series Larry King Now, which has since aired 549 episodes. With such a long and successful career, you would suspect that King would be an easy target for someone trying to make a quick buck off of him.
In 2008, notorious hustler Bernie Madoff ran a ponzi scheme that caused celebrities to lose millions of dollars, and rest assured that you will see his name pop up several times on this list. Madoff had made off with billions of dollars, and he was eventually sentenced to 150 years in prison. Yes, you read that correctly. Fortunately, King stated that he was able to get his money back.
13. Elton John – $29 Million
As one of the biggest musicians of all-time, Elton John hardly needs an introduction, but we can’t help ourselves. The talented singer and pianist broke out in the 1970s, and he would go on to have one of the most illustrious careers in music history. His songwriting abilities have given way to Elton winning almost every major award on the planet, including an Academy Award back in the 1990s. Sting may have sold 100 million records, but John has doubled that over the course of his career, selling over 200 million. He remains one of the biggest live draws in music today, and he sells out arenas everywhere he goes.
In a case of money mismanagement, John sued his financial advisers for losing him $29 million during his tour funds. Elton would lose the case, and he would lose another $10 million in legal fees, bringing the grand total to $39 million.
12. Robert De Niro – $88 Million
Oh, how talented he is. Robert de Niro has put together one of the most impressive careers in cinema history, and he is largely considered one of the best to ever do it. He started his film career in 1965, and he continues working to this very day. Over the course of his career, de Niro was nominated for a total of seven Academy Awards, ultimately taking home two for his performances in The Godfather Part II and Raging Bull. He was nominated for Academy Awards in four different decades, giving you an idea of how long de Niro has been brilliant on the big screen.
De Niro was caught up in an art scam in which he sold millions of dollars worth of paintings, but never got his entire amount back. Instead, the middleman on the deals kept millions. This was the same man who conned John McEnroe, but more on him later.
11. Billy Joel – $90 Million
Resting in between the 100 million records sold by Sting and the 200 million records sold by Elton John is the 150 million that were sold by Billy Joel during his amazing career. After releasing his first album in 1971, Billy Joel would spend the next 22 years conquering the music industry before he stopped releasing new material. He continues to tour to this very day, but hasn’t released new material since the early 1990s. Joel would go on to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, and he would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Suffice to say that Joel has racked in the bucks over the years.
Joel would end up losing $90 million to his one-time brother-in-law and now ex-manager Frank Weber. Weber was able to siphon the money without Joel noticing, and Joel would take legal action to try and regain his money back.
10. Ira Rennert – $200 Million
Ira Rennert, for those of you who don’t know, is rich beyond your wildest dreams. Now, sure, celebrities do acquire millions of dollars over their career, but an investor like Rennert scoffs at millions. This man has generated billions of dollars, and he has been wealthy for quite some time now. Because of his investing ways, Rennert will seize an opportunity to make a substantial amount of cash, but this also comes with the risk of losing plenty of money as well. As far as losses go, this is by far the highest disclosed amount on our list, coming in at $200 million.
Yes, this man lost $200 million due to investing in Bernie Madoff. Don’t get us wrong, having billions of dollars brings an incredible amount of financial comfort, but losing $200 million still has to sting. Don’t worry, Rennert still lives in a $200 million mansion that is over 110,000 square feet of pure luxury near the Atlantic Ocean.
9. John McEnroe – $2.5 Million
Known for both his fiery temper and his incredible talents on the tennis court, John McEnroe is easily one of the most recognizable people to ever play tennis professionally. He racked up seven Majors titles as a solo performer, and he won nine as a doubles competitor. Watching highlights of him on the court is truly remarkable, and his fiery temper and penchant for lashing out made him a loose cannon that was a true spectacle. Needless to say, McEnroe made himself a boatload of cash during his prime, his career as a commentator and the occasional movie appearance has kept the revenue rolling in.
While McEnroe wasn’t involved with Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme, her found himself dealing with an art dealing scheme, and he lost plenty of cash. People would buy a share of a painting that was to be resold for profit, but the man in charge of the operation, Lawrence Salander, didn’t actually own the paintings, and that, my friends, is grand larceny.
8. John Malkovich – $2.9 Million
As a two-time Academy Award nominated actor, few people on the planet are as talented as John Malkovich. The 63-year-old actor has had a remarkable career that has seen him take part in massively successful projects. Films like Burn After Reading, Rounders, and In the Line of Fire have helped Malkovich maintain an immense amount of success throughout his storied career. He has hosted several episodes of the series Saturday Night Live, and his acting range is truly astounding. Outside of his work in film, Malkovich is also a fashion designer, which has helped him find another area to succeed in.
Unfortunately, he is another celebrity who fell victim to Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme, and it is estimated that her lost nearly $3 million because of his involvement with Madoff. While we are sure that his film and fashion career have no doubt replenished his bank account, we’re willing to bet that Malkovich won’t be visiting him in prison any time soon.
7. Louis Van Gaal – €6 Million
For those of you who truly love soccer, then this man should be a familiar face to you. For everyone else (mainly our readers in the United States), let us fill you in on who this man is. Louis van Gaal is widely considered one of the most successful soccer managers of all-time, and his career accolades speak for themselves. He had a relatively modest career as a player, but when he turned his attention to managing, everything seemed to fall in place for him, and he has had quite an illustrious career. In 1995, van Gaal was awarded the prestigious World Soccer Manager of the Year, and he has had a remarkable career.
Though the other victims to Madoff’s scams have been predominantly American, the Dutch soccer manager was another individual that was duped by Madoff. With a loss of €6 million, van Gaal lost more than McEnroe and Larry King combined.
6. Sting – $9.8 Million
After breaking out with legendary rock band The Police, Sting quickly became recognized as a marquee songwriter and musician. The band had a truly incredible career that saw them sell millions of records, tour the world, and win six Grammy Awards. The group wrote some of the most recognizable songs in rock history, and Sting’s venture into solo music yielded great results as well. Over the course of his career, it is estimated that he has sold over 100 million records, which is no easy feat. Sting has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His outstanding career led him to make unfathomable amounts of money, and he lost a pretty penny a while back.
As opposed to falling victim to Bernie Madoff, Sting was taken by his very own financial adviser. His adviser, Keith Moore, had secretly stolen nearly $10 million without Sting even noticing. Moore was eventually caught, and sentenced to prison.
5. Zsa Zsa Gabor – $10 Million
Many modern celebrities may live lavish lifestyles, but Zsa Zsa Gabor beat them to the punch years ago. The talented and beautiful Gabor was no stranger to making and spending a huge amount of money in her lifetime, and her 99 years on this planet were a wild ride for the actress. In total, Gabor had nine husbands, though she only had one child. Because she had acquired so much wealth over the course of her life, Gabor was no stranger to spending insane amounts of cash, and she also had the unfortunate situation of losing a ton of cash as well.
Gabor was one of the many victims who were tricked into believing in Bernie Madoff, and her losses are said to be around $10 million. A decade earlier, Gabor lost $3 million in a lawsuit that was filed against her. She could lose money as fast as she made it, but nothing ever stopped her from living lavishly.
4. John Elway – $15 Million
Even though his career in the NFL started off on the wrong foot after refusing to play for the Colts, John Elway would make his way to Denver, and his professional career was one that landed him in the Hall of Fame. Elway was a 9-time Pro Bowl selectee, a 3-time All-Pro, and he was a 2-time Super Bowl winner. Throw in a league MVP in 1987 and a Super Bowl MVP at Super Bowl XXXIII, and you have yourself one of the most talented men to ever play on the gridiron. Elway currently serves as the GM of the Denver Broncos, and his guidance led them to a Super Bowl victory at Super Bowl 50. With his contract being renewed recently, the NFL can expect Elway to continue dominating as he has his entire career.
But, being good at football doesn’t make you a good investor, and Elway fell victim to a ponzi scheme seven years ago. Elway lost $15 million, and duped people out of $71 million in total. With his career in the NFL being extended, we have a feeling that Elway will be just fine financially.
3. Elie Wiesel – $15.2 Million
As a Holocaust survivor and renowned author, Elie Wiesel has had a massive impact in our world. The former professor was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize back in 1986, and his hand in establishing the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum cannot be understated. During his lifetime, Wiesel was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Legion of Honour, and Congressional Gold Medal. Wiesel was also a founding member of the New York Human Rights Foundation, and after suffering through a what can only be described as a living nightmare, he spent the rest of his days leaving the world a better place than he found it.
Despite the great things that he accomplished, Wiesel was also a victim of the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme. In total, Wiesel lost over $15 million, and publicly stated that he could never forgive Madoff for what he had done. That coming from a guy who survived the Holocaust.
2. Jeffrey Katzenberg – Several Million
If you have never heard the name Jeffrey Katzenberg, then you need to recognize some true greatness. This man was the chairman of Walt Disney Studios when it produced The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Basically, he helped launch the Disney Renaissance, and is a huge reason why the company reached new heights in the 1990s. If that wasn’t incredible enough, he co-founded DreamWorks Animation, and helped oversee Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda. Needless to say, Katzenberg had a huge hand in making your childhood exponentially better than it could have been.
Katzenberg also had a hand in losing millions of dollars by getting caught up with Bernie Madoff. He never specified how much he actually lost, but you can rest assured that it wasn’t a small amount. It is alleged that Katzenberg lost around $20 million to the devious Madoff, which is an insane amount of money to have disappear.
1. Kevin Bacon – Several Million
Kevin Bacon could not have started off his career any hotter after making his film debut in the classic National Lampoon’s Animal House. Despite appearing in the film, his true breakout role wouldn’t come for another six years. In 1984, Bacon starred in the film Footloose, which would go on to be one of the seminal films of the 1980s. This film would launch Bacon’s career, and he maintained a successful acting career for several decades. The 1990s were kind to Bacon, and he found tremendous success in films like JFK, A Few Good Men, and Apollo 13. Even after the start of the new millennium, Bacon continued his string of success, and his film career has received plenty of praise.
Unfortunately, Bacon got caught up with felon Bernie Madoff, and he and his wife lost an undisclosed amount of money. While they didn’t specify how much, they both hard to work hard to earn that money back to be secure financially.
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