This is a guest post. Andy H writes for Bankling, a personal finance site, which contains both a weblog, and a tools section that contains resources like the highest online CD rates, the highest online savings account rates, a free mortgage payment calculator, and more.
How would you handle money if you were young, talented, good looking and the cash was flowing like Niagara Falls? You might forget that you will get old and that you may lose some skills and some looks. Will the money still come in, will you be proud about your savings, or will you end up without two nickels to rub together?
The following list of ten celebrities may actually have less money than you do. In some cases, you may not ever wish to stand in their shoes. The names below are not listed in Forbes’ Celebrity 100, nor are they seen in any other Forbes’ recent lists including Celebrity Billionaires nor the 20 Richest Women in Entertainment. The news about the celebrities listed below mainly came from news stories and celebrity gossip, an article by Legalzoom and a list of bankrupt celebrities at NNDB.
The list below is categorized alphabetically by surname. This methodology assures that we do not want to knock one celebrity over another.
- Willie Aames: You know, the guy who played Tommy on the highly-successful sitcom, Eight is Enough? After that bit of stardom, Aames went on to try to retain some semblance of richness through Charles in Charge (1984 – 1990) and the Celebrity Fit Club (2005). He has had two wives, one child by each marriage and a string of semi-successes. He also had troubles with alcohol and drugs, so much so that they affected his personal life and career. After a short fling with Christianity and sobriety, he tried to commit suicide over Thanksgiving 2008. He now is at rock bottom after he funded a $150,000 investment that fell through last year. Rock bottom. Even the sales of his book, Grace is Enough, isn’t enough to lift him up.
- Kim Basinger: This actress once was rich, but a judge ordered her to pay Main Line Pictures $8.1 million because she backed out of a verbal commitment to star in Boxing Helena in 1993. About the same time, she felt wealthy enough to purchase the entire town of Braselton, Georgia for $20 million dollars. She had to sell Braselton and file for bankruptcy. Despite her raving good looks, Basinger is in her 50s, and few remember that she won an Oscar for her part as a Hollywood call girl in LA Confidential in 1997. Instead, people remember her ex-husband, Alec Baldwin, the guy who sent a voice-mail rant against their daughter two years ago and who now stars on 30 Rock. That said, Basinger never suffered from her spending sprees as much as some celebs listed here.
- Anita Bryant: Bryant was an American singer, but she was most well known for her campaigns against homosexuality during the 1970s. She became one of the first persons to be publicly “pied” as a political act (shown here). Although Bryant had some success over the next two decades in her anti-gay measures, many of her successes since been overturned for unconstitutionality or for irrational grounds. She did gain notoriety, but she lost money in the process, as her contract with the Florida Citrus Commission was allowed to lapse after her controversial stance was established. Additionally, many Christians snubbed her after her divorce in 1980, and the gay community still regards her name as synonymous with bigotry. Her bid to regain a singing career in the early 21st century failed. She filed for bankruptcy in 1997 and in 2001, and is worth very little today.
- Gary Coleman: Coleman’s life seems to consist of a series of wrongs, and hopefully he’ll have great karma down the road. Best known for his role as Arnold Jackson in the American sitcom Diff’rent Strokes (1978-1986), Coleman now works as the Secretary Controller for Simmons Media Group in Salt Lake City, Utah. His height was the result of a congenital kidney disease, and he’s undergone two kidney transplants. In 1989, Coleman sued his parents and former manager over misappropriation of his $3.8 million trust fund. He won a $1,280,000 ruling on February 23, 1993, but he filed for bankruptcy in 1999; he attributed his financial problems to mismanagement of his trust. Coleman also has had problems with his marriage and assault problems with fans and strangers alike. Even after suicide attempts, though, Coleman seems to be determined to keep on going.
- Corey Haim: Probably best known for his role as Sam in the 1987 vampire movie, The Lost Boys, Haim became a teen idol and was paid well. Besides gaining Haim more renown, the film began his famous partnership with fellow teen actor Corey Feldman. But, despite his productivity, Haim became addicted to at least 85 Valium per day, and that wasn’t talking about “the other pills I went through.” By 1991 his drug problems were well known, co-workers complained about his spaced out behavior, his performances lost whatever luster they once had, and his audience found better entertainment. In 1996 he was sued by Lloyd’s of London after being fired from a film for drug addictions he had failed to disclose to the insurance company, and in 1997 he filed for bankruptcy. His only assets were his 10-year-old BMW, $100 in cash, and royalties and residuals valued at $7,500. In 2001, he slipped into a coma after suffering a drug-induced stroke and, once recovered, he tried to auction a molar on eBay to pay the hospital bills. Will he make a comeback, though? He’s reportedly working with Feldman again, and he’s “clean and sober.”
- MC Hammer: When MC Hammer sang “Can’t Touch This,” in the 1990s, he wasn’t singing about his money. This famous big-panted rapper maintained a forty-member entourage that cost Hammer $500,000 per month. Plus, he purchased a $30 million mansion. Despite a former $33 million income, this star ended up with $13.7 in debt and $9.6 in assets. Hammer filed for bankruptcy in 1996. He hasn’t regained his grip on the hammer since then, although he’s been seen in a few commercials and he wants to produce a reality show – on someone else’s dime.
- Don Johnson: Miami Vice built Don Johnson’s value, but he basically lost it when City National Bank filed a lawsuit and asked that Don Johnson’s ranch in Aspen, called Woody Creek, be auctioned off so the bank could collect the $930,000 that Don owed. In reaction, Johnson’s Timber Doodle Glade Equity Venture LLC, which held the title of the ranch, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004. Again, in 2008, Johnson was required to mysteriously come up with over $14 million to take care of debts. If he wasn’t married to Getty oil heiress Kelley Phleger, we’d wonder where Johnson would be today. Instead, he keeps hanging in there – by a thread.
- O.J. Simpson: O.J., also known as “The Juice,” is a retired American football player, actor, spokesman, and convicted felon. That last label might help to understand why Simpson went from rich and famous to merely infamous. After he was found liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Ronald Goldman in 1994, Simpson was ordered to pay $33,500,000 in damages in 1997. However, California law protects pensions from being used to satisfy judgments, so Simpson was able to continue much of his lifestyle based on his NFL pension. He also moved to Florida, where a person’s residence cannot be seized to collect a debt. But, on December 5, 2008, Simpson was sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison for multiple felonies, including criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault and robbery. He is allowed parole after nine years. Not much has been heard from Simpson since his incarceration. He definitely is not living a lifestyle to which he was accustomed.
- Mike Tyson: After a lifetime of fame, boxer “Iron Mike” Tyson now lives in a modest rental house in Phoenix, Arizona. He filed bankruptcy (Chapter 11) in 2003 with a debt of $27 million, thanks to a $400,000-per-month lifestyle and $9 million in legal fees in his divorce from his second wife. But, Mike had a particularly long list of creditors, including Uncle Sam, who presented him with a tax bill of $13.3 million. Tyson still has earning potential, though, so he may be one of the few on this list who might make a comeback.
- Michael Vick: This talented Atlanta Falcons quarterback was sacked upon discovery of the elaborate dog fighting complex he owned in Surry County, Virginia. He’s been under suspension from play by the NFL since August 2007 and been in federal prison since December of that year. His finances have been warped by lost income and legal expenses and worsened by mismanagement and possibly fraudulent actions. He’s earning $1 per day from prison work, yet he has been spending $30,000 per month to support his family and in maintaining several luxury homes and vehicles. Current bankruptcy attempts (as recent as February 2009) have been rejected by the judge over financial flow charts. Yet, Vick feels that he can make a comeback with the NFL and “resume his career and be able to earn a substantial living.” However, Vick also has past problems with drugs and he has become a symbol of failure, rather than a role model, among many fans.
image source: Alan Light via Wikimedia Commons