Infamous Celebrity Bankruptcies

Infamous Celebrity Bankruptcies

From business investments gone wrong to obscene spending sprees (i.e. purchasing a fleet of European sports cars for their entire entourage), the following celebs all made the jump from rags to riches — and then back again. The economy has been tough on everyone, of course, including both the rich and famous. Continue below for our list of the most infamous celebrity bankruptcies.

Larry King

Larry King has interviewed over 30,000 people during his career, but his rise to fame for radio work in the ’60s derailed him financially. He had accrued a debt of $352,000, was charged with grand larceny and accused of stealing $5,000 from a business partner. The charges were dropped, but he still struggled to get back on his feet and in 1978 he was forced to claim bankruptcy. Fortunately for King, he hasn’t done too bad ever since.

Mike Tyson

As the youngest-ever winner of a heavyweight boxing title, Mike Tyson gained fame and fortune — amounting to an estimated $300 million. In August of 2003, however, after being convicted of rape, Tyson filed for bankruptcy due to wild spending and bad financial advisement. The former heavyweight champ had been knocked out, financially at least.

(image via dailymail)

Wayne Newton

By the late 1980s Wayne Newton had headlined over 30,000 solo shows in Las Vegas — raking in a mini-fortune along his way. Despite this Sin-City style success, however, Newton had to file for bankruptcy in 1992, with a debt nearing $20 million. The cause of the debt? An ill-advised libel case he had filed against NBC. It was not until 1999 that Newton would be able to build his fortunes once again.

(Image via vegasblog.latimes)

MC Hammer

In 1996 MC Hammer had to file for bankruptcy after accumulating a debt of $13 million. A bankruptcy brought on by both his extravagant lifestyle and his decreasing album sales. After his rapid fall from fame, and subsequent bankruptcy, Hammer spent most of the latter half of the 1990s as a punch line in the music business. Since declaring bankruptcy though, Hammer has released a number of albums and, in 2008, became host and CEO of a television show. While not back to his “Can’t Touch This” levels, Hammer is now doing much better.

(Image via freddyo)

Walt Disney

Disney's name is synonymous with Mickey Mouse and the "happiest place on earth." However, Disney's career wasn't always roses and sunshine. In 1921, he began a company called the Laugh-O-Gram Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri, but was forced to file for bankruptcy two years later because his financial backers pulled out. It must have been fate because Disney then headed to Hollywood and became one of the highest paid animators in history.

(Image via infosurhoy)

Donald Trump

Donald Trump found himself $900 million in debt in 1990 and soon after was forced to claim both professional and personal bankruptcy. However, banks and bond holders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid the risk of losing more money in court. Today Trump is back on top running a billion-dollar empire.

(Image via entmoney)

Thomas Jefferson

The third President of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was also one of the most influential Founding Fathers. Unfortunately, for him, he wasn’t smart about money. After his death, his Monticello estate and all his possessions, including 120 slaves, were auctioned off to help pay off $107,000 in debts (a fortune in 1826).

Cyndi Lauper

Before becoming successful, Lauper was in a band called Blue Angel, which released an album that didn't do too well — to say the least. The band soon after broke up and fired their manager, who then sued them for breach of contract. The $80,000 lawsuit then forced Lauper to declare bankruptcy in 1980. Fortunately, she later went on to success, fame and fun in the mid-1980s. Lauper has since released a total of 11 albums and more than 40 singles, with her total record sales amounting to over $25 million.

(Image via lastfm)

Stan Lee

In 2001 Stan Lee the creator of Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and other comic book classics found himself in the midst of the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s. He and a business partner had created Stan Lee Media, an internet-based comic book venture, however, the company quickly burned through its capital, Lee’s partner was accused of securities fraud, and Lee and the company soon after was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

(Image via provideocoalition)