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Infamous Celebrity Bankruptcies

Posted by Neil Shouse | Dec 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

It seems that celebrities in Hollywood have trouble holding onto their millions and millions of dollars. It's always curious to me how so many celebrities wind up declaring bankruptcy. Of course, bankruptcy does not discriminate and it can happen to anyone, but some of these celebrities just simply have poor money management skills.

There are some famous individuals who have made quite a stir when they declared bankruptcy. However, this is probably not the type of publicity these celebrities wanted. The following are some of the most infamous celebrity bankruptcy cases:

  1. Mike Tyson: In about 20 years, Mike Tyson was estimated to have made somewhere between $300 and $400 million. At one point, he could demand $30 million for a single fight. Unfortunately, the money didn't last long once Tyson began buying multiple mansions, cars, jewels, and exotic animals. When he eventually declared bankruptcy, it was reported that he was an impressive $23 million in debt. Currently, Tyson is pretty honest about his money situation and has stated that he is “totally broke.”
  2. Anna Nicole Smith: At 27 years old, Smith was expecting to get a large inheritance after her much older husband had passed away. Unfortunately for Smith, her deceased spouse left her nothing at all. Without that money, Smith was completely broke. She had begun legal proceedings against her deceased husband's estate, but was forced to declare bankruptcy before a decision had been made. Smith died in 2007, four years before her claim was subsequently rejected by the court in 2011.
  3. Larry King: King is probably best known for his personality that he displayed throughout the 25 seasons of his popular CNN talk show. During his early days in journalism, he made a traditionally meager income, but it supported his lifestyle at the time. However, in 1971 he was arrested and charged with grand larceny. While the charges were eventually dropped, his reputation had nonetheless been tarnished and was fired from his current job. For years, he had trouble keeping jobs and this lead to him being $352,000 in debt. He declared bankruptcy in 1978. Ironically, it was that same year that he was offered his now famous late-night talk show.
  4. Jerry Lee Lewis: Lewis began facing economic issues after the backlash that occurred when he married his 13-year-old second cousin. The issues came to a head in 1998 when he was reportedly $3 million in debt and declared bankruptcy. He cited medical, personal, and tax debts as the reasons behind the debt. He has experienced a recent surge in popularity and continues to tour throughout the country.
  5. Walt Disney: Before his enormous success with Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom, Disney was known as the builder of a large movie production company in Kansas City. His movies became popular and Disney was able to secure an investor to help grow the company. However, the production company eventually closed and was forced into bankruptcy. Of course, we all know that he bounced back after moving to Hollywood.

These celebrities faced tough economic circumstances and they likely had competent attorneys representing them. Bankruptcy is a burdensome and detailed process whether you are a celebrity or not. Therefore, it is best to consult with professionals who are able to review all of your options with you and provide you with the proper advice and representation.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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