Popular Culture

Bankrupt! 65 Famous People Who Lost It All: 34-49


34. Margot KidderMargot Kidder
Margot Kidder’s fame is mainly thanks to her role of Lois Lane in the Superman films opposite Christopher Reeve but unfortunately her career went downhill after that. She was badly injured in an accident in the late 80’s and was also diagnosed at manic-depressive. She refused treatment for either predicament until two years after the accident, when she decided to go through with the surgery needed. Kidder’s insurance didn’t cover the surgery and she sold her house and her jewelry and declared bankruptcy in 1992.

35. Larry KingLarry King
Larry King has interviewed over 30,000 people during his career but his rise to fame for radio work in the 60’s derailed him financially. He was in debt $352,000, charged with grand larceny and accused of stealing $5,000 from a business partner. The charges were dropped but he struggled to get back on his feet and ended up claiming bankruptcy in 1978.

36. Suge KnightSuge Knight
Suge Knight filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and had $11 dollars in his bank account at the time. Lydia Harris was suing him for $107 million because she claimed to have been cheated out of a 50% stake in Death Row Records even though Knight claims they settled the matter for $1 million. Neilson is operating Death Row Records during the bankruptcy proceedings so Knight can focus on getting back on his feet financially.

37. Cyndi LauperCyndi Lauper
Before her hit song “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” came out, Cyndi Lauper was in a group called Blue Angel with John Turi. The band broke up after a record flopped and their manager at the time sued them for $80,000. Lauper was forced into bankruptcy in 1980 but recovered quickly and became an 80’s icon.

38. Jerry Lee LewisJerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis is the only musician to have two songs go to number one on the charts in all fields of music: Pop, Country and R&B. Unfortunately his career took a nosedive after that and in 1988 he filed for bankruptcy with $3 million of debt and no assets.

39. Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln
The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, declared bankruptcy in 1833 and spent 17 years of his paying off the money that he borrowed from friends to start his business. It took Lincoln 30 years to achieve his goal of becoming President of the United States.

40. Meat LoafMeat Loaf
Meat Loaf’s 1977 album Bat Out of Hell still sells around 200,000 copies a year and you may also recognize him from roles in Fight Club and The Rocky Horror Picture Show but in 1983 he wasn’t doing so well and had to declare bankruptcy. He was $1.6 million in debt at the time.

41. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopeslisa left eye lopes
Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, one-third of the 90’s group TLC and soared to success when their CD “CrazySexyCool” sold over 15 million records worldwide. In 1994, she hit headlines by herself for torching her boyfriend, Andre Rison’s house after a fight. In 1995, she declared bankruptcy due to poor royalties and a debt owed for breach of contract.

42. William McKinleyWilliam McKinley
William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, found himself $130,000 in debt after he co-signed on a loan for a friend and the friend went bankrupt.

43. Willie NelsonWillie Nelson
Willie Nelson declared bankruptcy in 1990 and claimed to owe the IRS $16.7 million. The IRS seized his bank accounts and real estate that he had in six states and in turn Nelson released an album titled “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?” to pay them what he owed.

44. Wayne NewtonWayne Newton
The Las Vegas crooner, Wayne Newton, found himself in more than $20 million in debt in 1992 and was forced to file for bankruptcy. Luckily, he found his way out of debt in Vegas: performing at the Stardust hotel not at the craps table

45. Ted NugentTed Nugent
Guitar player Ted Nugent found himself bankrupt in 1980 because of several failed business ventures and poor management but continued to tour and crank out albums well into the 21st century. He’s now on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and sells his own beef jerky called Gonzo Meat Biltong.

46. Thomas PaineThomas Paine
Thomas Paine, known for the pamphlet Common Sense, greatly benefited from his move to America in 1774. He was broke and facing bankruptcy and to top it off, his second marriage had just ended, so moving across the ocean was a logical next move.

47. Tom PettyTom Petty
Tom Petty filed for bankruptcy in May of 1979 after a legal dispute when ABC Records was sold to MCA Records. Petty refused to be transferred to another record label without his consent and ended up signed with Backstreet Records which was a new MCA subsidiary.

48. Bud PostBud Post
Bud Post is the 66-year-old who won the lottery in 1988 for $16.2 million and was bankrupt eight years later. Apparently quite a few people came out of the woodwork to ask their old pal Bud to give them money since he was now stinking rich. He spent everything he had buying homes, three cars, a truck, two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, two 62-inch Sony TVs, a camper, computers and a boat among other things. He died in 2006, miserable and broke. I guess money doesn’t always buy happiness.

49. Tammy WynetteTammy Wynette
Country music singer, Tammy Wynette, was forced into bankruptcy as a result of an investment in two Florida malls going sour.

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