Most celebrities live glam lives. They’re afforded fame and attention (the degree varying for how popular each celebrity is), and they are often associated with wealth (how much depending on what the celebrity does). Successful individuals in sports and entertainment are often afforded celebrity status. While being a celebrity provides advantages such as financial wealth and easier access to certain things that are much more difficult or downright impossible for non-famous people to attain, it’s not something to be taken for granted.
Just because someone hits it big, doesn’t mean that he or she is automatically “set for life.” Sometimes things can happen. Disastrous things that can negatively impact someone’s career and pretty much end their chances of being a top star ever again, unless they manage to make a comeback. We’ve all heard “rags to riches” stories, but you probably haven’t heard a lot of “riches to rags” stories if any at all.
Some stars achieve successful careers but manage to lose it all one way or the other. Some can effectively make a comeback to the entertainment industry, although they may not win back the same fame and acclaim they had before. Others aren’t quite so lucky.
If you want to see some of the celebrities who amassed considerable wealth but ended up losing it all, then check out this list of 15 celebrities who went from being famous to being homeless.
15. Ray Williams
Ray Williams was an NBA superstar from the late 1970’s through the mid-1980’s. He was captain of the New York Knicks during his fourth season (1980-81) with the team and reached the NBA Finals with the 1985 Boston Celtics team. Following his retirement after the 1986-87 NBA season, Williams faced financial woes and was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1994. He applied early to receive his $200,000 NBA pension but lost it all in a real estate scam. Williams had to work various jobs, such as a groundskeeper at a golf course and a bakery worker.
In 2010, the Boston Globe reported that the athlete was unemployed and sleeping in the backseat of his Buick in Pompano Beach, Florida. He did find a job as a “Recreation Specialist” in Mount Vernon, New York sometime later. Williams died in 2013 from colon cancer at the age of 58.
14. Danny Bonaduce
Danny Bonaduce reached fame early in life as a child actor playing Danny Partridge on the 1970’s musical sitcom, The Partridge Family. During the 1980’s, he became an on-air radio personality, working the overnight shift at Philadelphia’s WEGX-FM, and would go on to work other radio shows in other cities well into the ’90s. However, Bonaduce’s late teens and twenties were marked by drug abuse, as well as a period of homelessness.
The actor admitted on his own radio show in 1997 that he was homeless before, living in his car behind Grauman’s Chinese Theatre while being greeted by fans and autograph seekers. Bonaduce was able to make a comeback to the television industry, but not without a few stints in rehab. He is currently a drive-by DJ on WSYP in Philadelphia.
13. Rocky Lockridge
Delivering Roger Mayweather his first defeat—a first-round knockout in just 98 seconds—is probably the highlight of Rocky Lockridge’s boxing career, a definitive win that won Lockridge the WBA and lineal super featherweight titles. Later in his career, he won the IBF super featherweight title. Lockridge was a two-time world boxing champion, but his successful boxing career would come to an end, thanks to an unfortunate end to his winning streak.
In an interview with The Star-Ledger, it was revealed that Lockridge had been battling drug addiction for the past 20 years. He was living on the streets of Camden, New Jersey for ten years. In addition to that, he suffered a stroke that forced him to use a cane when he walked. Lockridge said the aid of his sons saved his life.
12. Brett Butler
Brett Butler is an actress and stand-up comedian best known for playing the titular role in Grace Under Fire, a role that earned her a Golden Globe nomination. During the show’s run, however, Butler struggled with a drug addiction that landed her in rehab. Early in 1998, she was dismissed from the show due to unstable behavior caused by substance abuse, and ABC subsequently canceled the show. Butler moved from L.A. to Georgia, where she lived on a farm with 15 pets.
Once she ran out of money, the actress had no other option but to turn to a homeless shelter for help. By 2011, Butler was in the process of reviving her career, developing a reality TV show and performing at a comedy club in L.A. Within the next several years, she scored recurring roles on shows like The Young and the Restless and How To Get Away With Murder.
11. Leon Spinks
Leon Spinks took the world heavyweight title from Muhammad Ali in his eighth professional match, becoming the only man to ever defeat Ali for a title in the ring. It was the peak of Spinks’ boxing career. But, Spinks also made headlines outside the ring. Cocaine and bad business deals pretty much exhausted his finances and forced the boxer into a homeless shelter in Illinois until he was eventually saved by a woman named Brenda.
He lives with Brenda in Columbus, Nebraska where he maintains a low profile, keeping a “comfortable” lifestyle and working at a McDonald’s. The 64-year-old allegedly shows signs of dementia pugilistica, a condition that affects amateur and professional boxers which is caused by repeated concussive and sub-concussive blows to the head.
10. Margot Kidder
Back when Superman was played by Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder played his primary love interest, Lois Lane. Kidder’s status as a top Hollywood star allowed her to date prominent leading men such as actor/comedian Richard Pryor and former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau. After she got into a car crash in 1990, Kidder was unable to work for two years, causing major financial problems for herself. In 1996, Kidder experienced a highly publicized manic episode which led to her being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
She was afflicted with paranoia and slept in cardboard boxes and backyards around the Los Angeles area. Eventually, she was found in the backyard of a homeowner in Glendale, California, appearing bedraggled with her front teeth missing and her hair hacked off. She was subsequently placed in psychiatric care. Kidder is now a political activist and hasn’t had a manic episode in years.
9. Randy Quaid
While Randy Quaid didn’t quite reach the same fame and acclaim as his brother, Dennis Quaid, Randy is still a celebrated actor in his own right, known for his capability to take on roles in serious dramas or light comedies. However, Quaid spent several years tangled up in legal issues and run-ins with the law. In 2009, he and his wife were arrested for defrauding a Santa Barbara innkeeper by trying to pay a $10,000 bill with an invalid credit card.
The following year, the couple was charged with burglary after they had spent five days in the guest house of the empty home they used to own in Santa Barbara. The actor claimed that ownership of the home was wrongfully transferred to a third party through a forged signature.
8. Debbie Clark
During the late ’80s and early ’90s, there was a popular TV show known as American Gladiators, which consisted of teams competing in games of physical strength against the Gladiators for the chance to win cash and other prizes. One of these Gladiators was Debbie Clark, known as Storm on the show. Clark was a very famous Gladiator on the show, who performed for three years until she suffered a career-ending injury.
After that, she had to go from job to job, working as a personal trainer, chef, and even a country singer. None of the jobs lasted in the long-term for Debbie. To make matters worse, she didn’t receive royalty checks from American Gladiators and was a victim of domestic violence. She lives on the streets of San Diego with her 10-year-old son.
7. John Blyth Barrymore
John Blyth Barrymore hails from the famous Barrymore family and is the half-brother of actress Drew Barrymore. Much like his father, Barrymore had a spotty career in film and television, mainly appearing in shock horror films and comedies. He used to have a home in Pacific Grove, California but found himself homeless in 2012. He was put on welfare and had to use a government benefit card so he could get free food from his local grocery store.
The former actor said losing all of his life savings was nothing compared to losing the relationship he had with his half-sister, Drew. The last photo the two took together was in 2004 when they went to the desert in Joshua Tree National Park to spread their father’s ashes. Now, Barrymore has largely given up on reconnecting with his sister.
6. Natasha Lyonne
During the ’90s, Natasha Lyonne was a film star, starring in films such as But I’m A Cheerleader, American Pie, Slums of Beverly Hill, and Blade: Trinity. However, the start of the next decade would find the starlet at the center of legal troubles. She was arrested and charged with a DUI in 2001 and three years later, was arrested for mischief, trespass, and the harassment of a neighbor and the neighbor’s dog.
The following year, she was evicted from her apartment by her landlord, actor Michael Rapaport, in response to complaints from other tenants, causing her to end up on the streets. Luckily, Lyonne was able to salvage her acting career after that. She now stars as inmate Nicky Nichols on Orange Is The New Black.
5. Sly Stone
During the 1960’s and ’70s, Sly Stone was one of the biggest names in music. He was the head of the renowned funk band Sly & The Family Stone, which was instrumental in the development of soul, funk, rock, and psychedelic at the time. Stone used to own multiple houses throughout the country, including one in Napa Valley, California. But Stone lost his great fortune due to poor spending decisions during his life, along with a long history of drug abuse.
He was forced out of his home and onto the streets of Los Angeles, where he started living out of his van. But, Stone isn’t bitter about anything that happened to him and says he’s comfortable with his lifestyle since he can still write music. He even went as far as to say that he doesn’t want a stationary home again, preferring to live in his small camper.
4. Houston McTear
Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world now. But at one point in time, it was Houston McTear who ran the 100-yard dash in just nine seconds while he was still in high school. He rose from poverty to become an international track star during the mid-1970’s. McTear graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1978 and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in 1980. But the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics pretty much put an end to his ascent to the top.
McTear promptly fell into obscurity and drug abuse. He also became homeless and took to sleeping on Santa Monica Beach for years until he was saved by an older woman. He tried making a comeback in the early 1990’s and managed to win the 60 meters at the Swedish Indoor Championships. He died in 2015 from lung cancer at the age of 58.
3. Iran Barkley
Known as “The Blade,” Iran Barkley became a three-weight world heavyweight champion during his boxing career which ran from 1982 to 1999. He retired in 1999 after he lost to Kevin McKnight by sixth-round stoppage but returned in 2006 to win an unsanctioned bout by second-round stoppage. Even thought Barkley won $5 million over the course of his boxing career, he has fallen on difficult times ever since he stepped out of the boxing ring permanently.
He was penniless and unemployed when he was kicked out of his Bronx apartment in late 2010. Thanks to support from Bronx nonprofits Bronx Works and the Ring 10 boxing charity, the boxer was able to get back on his feet and receive housing and assistance so he could support himself.
2. Willie Aames
Willie Aames‘ first taste of show business came when he was a child actor during the 1960’s, appearing in shows such as Gunsmoke, Adam-12, and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. His biggest break, however, came in 1977 when he scored the role of Tommy Bradford in the comedy-drama Eight Is Enough. He was also known for playing Buddy Lembeck in the 1980’s sitcom Charles in Charge. For years, Aames battled an alcohol addiction and ongoing drug abuse.
He faced private bankruptcy in 2008 after investing in a failed TV show, which forced him to work construction jobs. Homeless, he had to find shelter sleeping under bushes and in parking garages. Eventually, he was able to sober up and find work as a director, screenwriter, and cruise ship director.
1. Bobby Driscoll
Bobby Driscoll was a child actor who became famous for starring in Disney’s most popular live-action films during the 1950’s and ’60s such as Treasure Island, Song of the South, and So Dear to My Heart. He performed in a large amount of work from 1943 to 1960, but his career started waning during the mid-1950’s. In 1953, Disney Studios terminated his contract after Driscoll became afflicted with a severe case of acne due to puberty, which had forced him to wear heavy makeup for his onscreen performances.
It didn’t take long for Driscoll to fall into drug abuse (specifically narcotics), and he was sent to prison for illicit drug use in 1961. Unable to find work after he was released early in 1962, he turned to the avant-garde art scene. On March 30, 1968, kids playing in an East Village tenement in Manhattan discovered Driscoll’s corpse on a cot. His official cause of death was heart failure from drug-hardened arteries.
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!