Broke stars have become just another part of Hollywood’s long history of being a very cruel town. Plenty of major entertainers have been caught in scandals while scrambling to keep up their glamorous lives! Some hardworking actors — like “Cosby Show” star Geoffrey Owens — aren’t afraid to take on other jobs to pay their bills. Other celebs, however, have managed to go from the heights of showbiz to hitting rock bottom…
RICHARD DREYFUSS starred in over a dozen hit flicks — including “Jaws,” “The Goodbye Girl,” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” — only to lose his fortune by blowing big bucks on drugs and partying! “I can’t retire,” complained the “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” star in 2016. “I’m broke. I’ve worked for money a great deal recently, because I’ve had to!”
LISA MARIE PRESLEY is making $150,000 a year off the Elvis Presley estate, according to court records, but she’s still insisting that she’s broke. Lisa Marie got into a court battle with her former financial management company. with each side is accusing the other of being responsible for bad investments and frivolous spending. An earlier court document shows Lisa Marie claiming she has no real home — saying in Feb. 2017: “I lived briefly with my mother, in treatment, then with friends rent-free.”
SAMMY DAVIS JR. had a 60-year career, but the legendary entertainer was bankrupt when he died in 1990. In fact, he owed at least $6 million to the IRS. One insider said Sammy had wasted way too much money on “copious amounts of cocaine, amyl nitrate and curvy women” like porn star Linda Lovelace — much to the disgust of Frank Sinatra, who reportedly “didn’t speak to him for years” over the drug use. But, added sources, Frank later often slipped cash to Sammy’s struggling widow.
JUDY GARLAND spent her final years struggling through a drug stupor to perform to disappointed audiences. She wouldn’t quit spending like a movie star, though, and owed an estimated $4 million dollars when she died at age 47 in 1969. Hollywood insiders reported that Frank Sinatra once again came to the rescue, with Judy’s longtime secret love covering her funeral expenses.
MICHAEL JACKSON was The King of Pop, but was left seriously struggling after going from the heights of “Thriller” to a series of shocking sex scandals. By the time of his death in 2009, he had built up debts estimated to be between $400 million and $500 million. Things worked out for daughter Paris and her siblings, though. Michael’s estate has brought in an estimated $2 billion since his passing!
LA TOYA JACKSON never had the success of her brother Michael, and even spent years estranged from her famous family. She filed for bankruptcy after taking a gig with the Psychic Friends Network, and her abusive manager husband Jack Gordon — who’d put h er in Playboy— signed her to make an adult film with porn star Ron “The Hedgehog” Jeremy. She walked off the set, called her brother Randy, and began rebuilding her life in 1996 while divorcing Gordon.
LESLEY GORE performed legendary pop tunes, but died virtually broke! Despite hits including “It’s My Party” and “You Don’t Own Me,” the singer/songwriter left a meager $50,000 estate to her lesbian life partner of 33 years when she died in 2015 from lung cancer. “She was a star in the 1960s,” said her longtime love Lois Sasson, “and they didn’t give you royalties. She didn’t understand money. She didn’t understand the business, but she was a magnificent human being.”
HUGH HEFNER saw his Playboy empire decline over the years — and grew too frail to even attend the legendary Playboy mansion parties that were once attended by pals like Bill Cosby. The notorious media figure was once worth nearly $150 million, but died broke. He basically lived in free housing as part of a $100 million deal where he sold his decaying home in return for being allowed to stay until death. “Hef was very bitter towards the end,” said a source, “but he really had run out of options.”
JOEY LAWRENCE didn’t save his money while cashing in as a teen idol alongside thrifty Mayim Bialik on “Blossom” in the early ’90s — and then burned through his paycheck while starring on the Disney Channel’s “Melissa & Joey” sitcom from 2010 to 2015. He filed for bankruptcy along with his wife in 2017, with debts including $132,000 in credit card bills and $88,000 in back taxes.
OMAR SHARIF was a legendary lover onscreen, but he loved gambling more! The “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Funny Girl” star spent decades as an international sex symbol before dying at age 83 in Cairo, Egypt, in 2015. But the star also struggled over a gambling addiction that once cost him $1.5 million in a single night. Omar lived in hotels toward the end of his life, and said: “I don’t own anything at all, apart from a few clothes!”
WESLEY SNIPES helped to launch Marvel Studios with three films as Blade, the Vampire Hunter — but ended up behind bars after the IRS prosecuted him for dodging $17.5 million in taxes. The star had hired activist acountants who insisted that Wesley, born in Florida, was a “nonresident alien” who was actually owed back the taxes he’d paid earlier in his career. Wesley still beat tax fraud charges, but had his career derailed with a three-year prison sentence.
COREY HAIM was an ’80s teen idol turned burned-out druggie when he passed away in 2010. Sadly, the young actor had also spent his years as a child star being abused by brutal Hollywood predators. That would also lead to a lifelong drug habit. Corey had declared bankruptcy in 1997, and his family had to ask for donations so his body could be transported to Canada for burial after he was found dead in his mother’s L.A. apartment.
KIM BASINGER took a big risk signing on to play a woman turned into an amputee by an obsessive lover in 1993’s “Boxing Helena” — and took a bigger risk changing her mind about making the movie. The producers successfully sued her for $8 million in 1993, just as she was taking a big loss selling the town of Braselton, Ga., that she’d bought for $20 million with a group of investors. She filed for bankruptcy, settled over “Helena” for $3.8 million, and made an Oscar-winning comeback in 1997’s “L.A. Confidential.”
TORI SPELLING insists that her and reality-show husband Dean McDermott are “not bankrupt” and “not struggling” — but she has a long history of getting blasted over owing money. The poor little rich girl only got a meager inheritance from her TV mogul father Aaron Spelling, and she’s been with claims by American Express over $125,000 in debt, and a lawsuit from City National Bank for skipping out on a $400,000 loan.
DON JOHNSON made headlines in 2003 after getting caught with $8 billion worth of financial documents while heading into Germany through Switzerland in a Mercedes Benz. The “Miami Vice” star would beat charges of money laundering, but couldn’t keep his own finances tidy. He filed for bankruptcy in 2004 in a bid to save his Aspen, Colo., ranch from foreclosure. Thing looked brighter after he successfully settled a lawsuit with a production company for $19 million in unpaid royalties.
WILLIE NELSON went public with his troubled after the IRS raided his assets in 1990 over $32 million in back taxes. He recorded a fund-raising album called “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?” and signed on to make commercials. That started a career comeback, but insiders worry that Willie’s old problems have him determined to keep working to the grave!
MEAT LOAF was a megastar after the success of “Bat Out of Hell” in 1977, but then his voice gave out and his career stalled. He blames bad management for putting him in debt, and the struggling star filed for bankruptcy in 1983 — with seized assets including a finished film called “Dead Ringer” that he made with Cher! Meat Loaf’s since came back big, but, as with Willie Nelson, insiders have worried that the ailing star’s refusing to retire after once going broke!
MC HAMMER didn’t plan for fleeting fame after the success of “Can’t Touch This” — and had to file for bankruptcy in 1996 with $13.7 million in debt, while down to $9.6 million in assets. The rapper still kept his entrepreneurial spirit, however, and became a televangelist who worked his way back to a net worth of at least $1.5 million in 2017.
SINBAD was set for stardom after four seasons as a regular on “A Different World,” but the comic wasn’t ready when his career went downhill. The aspiring movie star bombed alongside the doomed Phil Hartman in 1995’s “Houseguest,” followed by the failures of 1996’s “First Kid” and “Jingle All the Way.” He filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and again in 2011 over debts of $11 million. “I kept thinking, ‘I get one more movie and I’ll wipe these bills out,'” he later said, “but that movie never came.”