Most celebrities are financially set for life after just a few movies or album releases, but sometimes a series of bad decisions can lead to a financial faux-pas or lawsuit, which can cost them more than they’d ever imagined.
The rich and famous aren’t immune to going broke, and some celebrities have even died without ever bouncing back from their misfortune.
Here are 10 of them:
1. Judy Garland
Best known for her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Garland was one of the biggest celebrities of her time. Unfortunately, at some point during her successful career she developed a drug addiction, and by the time she died in 1989, her house was repossessed and she accumulated around $4 million in debt.
2. Gary Coleman
At the height of his career, the Diff’rent Strokes star was one of NBC’s highest paid stars, but his family didn’t have his best interest at heart. Coleman’s parents decimated his wealth so he filed a lawsuit against them in 1989. The actor was awarded $1.3 million, but he ended up filing for bankruptcy later in life. He died at 42 without much to his name.
3. Joe Louis
The world heavyweight champion and World War II veteran amassed over $4 million during his boxing career, but sadly he wasn’t able to retain it all. Near the end of his life, the “Brown Bomber” owed $100,000 in taxes and never got around to paying it off before he died in 1981.
4. Corey Haim
The former child star found himself with a very expensive drug habit that put him in a hard place, both mentally and financially. After his death due to overdose in 2010, it was revealed that his only assets were a ten-year-old BMW, $100 in cash and royalties valued at $7,500. In order to cover his funeral expenses, his family had to auction off his memorabilia and crowd source for some extra money.
5. Edgar Allan Poe
The cause of the famous poet’s death remains disputed, but one thing that everyone agrees on is that Poe died penniless. For all of his work, Poe earned only about $6,200 ($191,000 today), and by the time he mysteriously died in 1849, the money was nowhere to be found.
Keep reading to find out which famous singer died with only $750 taped to their leg.
6. Marvin Gaye
The Prince of Soul’s life was full of woes, both personal and financial. Gaye battled a drug addiction, evaded taxes, and later filed for bankruptcy. At one point, the “What’s Going On” singer allegedly lived inside a van in Hawaii. When he died at the hands of his father in 1984, it was reported that he owed more than $9 million.
7. Mickey Rooney
The legendary star of the silver screen’s estate revealed that his $12 million fortune was reduced to just $18,000 at the time of his death in 2014.
8. Billie Holiday
The singer met a tragic end in 1959 after living a very troubled life. At her best, Holiday was paid a career high of $14 a day while on tour in Europe. Unfortunately, most of the money was wasted on alcohol and drugs. At the time of her death, she only had 70 cents in her bank account and $750 taped to her leg.
9. Bobby Driscoll
The child actor and the voice and visual inspiration for Peter Pan had a rough time finding work once puberty hit. When his contracts with Disney were dissolved, Driscoll turned to drugs as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, this led him down a rabbit hole he couldn’t crawl out of and when he died at the tender age of 31, he was penniless.
10. Sammy Davis Jr.
He was one of the millionaires in Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack, but then he developed a nasty drug addiction and an excessive spending habit. He ended up with a massive tax debt before dying in 1990. His family auctioned off some of his possessions to help pay off his debts.