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10 Famous People Who Died Broke

 Famous People Who Died Broke


Celebrities are often portrayed as living the high life. While it is true to some extent, there have been celebrities that were not as fortunate as others. From Oscar Wilde to Judy Garland, many celebrities died broke for various reasons. Bela Lugosi, for instance, died broke due to alcoholism.

1. Vincent van Gogh


Also Known As: Vincent Willem van Gogh
Birthday: 30 March 1853
Born In: Zundert, Netherlands
Sun Sign: Aries
Died On: 29 July 1890
Famous As: Painter
Vincent van Gogh was considered a madman during his lifetime. He was also commercially unsuccessful as his works sold for millions of dollars only after his death. Throughout his life, Vincent sought financial help from his brother Theodorus van Gogh. He also spent money on alcohol, tobacco, and brothel which left him broke at the time of his death on 29 July 1890, at the age of 37.

2. Joe Louis


Also Known As: Joseph Louis Barrow, Brown Bomber
Birthday: 13 May 1914
Born In: Chambers County, Alabama, United States
Sun Sign: Taurus
Died On: 12 April 1981
Famous As: Professional Boxer
Although Joe Louis earned more than $4.6 million during his illustrious boxing career, he received only about $800,000 as most of the money went to his handlers. Nevertheless, he was generous to his family and invested in many businesses, a decision which he would go on to regret later. At the time of his death, Louis owed the IRS $1.25 million, which was never paid.

3. Bela Lugosi


Also Known As: Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó
Birthday: 20 October 1882
Born In: Lugoj, Romania
Sun Sign: Libra
Died On: 16 August 1956
Famous As: Actor
Bela Lugosi was addicted to alcohol, morphine, and methadone. He drank a bottle of Scotch daily and depended on his fifth wife Hope Lininger, who was 37 years his junior, for his financial needs. At the time of his death, the actor had only $1900 in the bank.

4. Franz Peter Schubert


Also Known As: Franz Schubert
Birthday: 31 January 1797
Born In: Alsergrund, Vienna, Austria
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Died On: 19 November 1828
Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Although Franz Peter Schubert was popular, he was never rich and managed to make both ends meet by giving music lessons. At the time of his death, Schubert was living in his brother Ferdinand’s apartment. It is said that he left about $12 when he died on 19 November 1828, at the age of 31.

5. Sammy Davis Jr.

Also Known As: Samuel George Davis Jr.
Birthday: 08 December 1925
Born In: New York, New York, United States
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Died On: 16 May 1990
Famous As: Singer
Although Sammy Davis Jr. made over $50 million during his illustrious career, he owed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) $5.2 million which had increased to more than $7 million over the years. At the time of his death in 1990, his wife Altovise Davis inherited a bulk of his estate, which was valued at $4 million. However, she was liable for his debt and had to auction his real estate and personal possessions before reaching a settlement with the IRS in 1997.

6. Herman Melville



Birthday: 01 August 1819
Born In: New York City
Sun Sign: Leo
Died On: 28 September 1891
Herman Melville is best remembered for his novel Moby-Dick, which was unappreciated and sold only 3,000 copies during his lifetime. Many of his other works were largely disregarded and he worked as a customs inspector for 21 years, earning $4 per day. After his retirement, Herman Melville, and his wife, Elizabeth Knapp Shaw, sought financial help from the latter’s relatives.

7. Oscar Wilde


Also Known As: Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde
Birthday: 16 October 1854
Born In: Westland Row, Dublin, Ireland
Sun Sign: Libra
Died On: 30 November 1900
Famous As: Poet, Playwright
Oscar Wilde was imprisoned from 1895 to 1897 for gross indecency and homosexual activities, a punishable offense in 19th-century England. At the time of his release, Wilde was broke and moved to Paris where he lived on the generosity of his well-wishers and friends. He died of meningitis in a low-grade Paris hotel and was initially buried in a potter’s field.

8. Nikola Tesla


Birthday: 10 July 1856
Born In: Smiljan, Croatia
Sun Sign: Cancer
Died On: 07 January 1943
Famous As: Inventor
Nikola Tesla made millions of dollars for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation but decided to take only $216,600 as a one-time payment from the company. He lost most of his money in 1901 when he dreamed of supplying free electricity by means of the Wardenclyffe Tower Project. The project failed and drained Tesla’s wealth, leaving him broke, at the time of his death, in 1943.

9. William Blake

Birthday: 28 November 1757
Born In: London, England
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Died On: 12 August 1827
Famous As: Painter, Poet
Although William Blake is now regarded as a pioneering figure in the history of Romantic Poetry, he was largely unrecognized during his lifetime. He even struggled to make both ends meet. After his death on 12 August 1827, his wife Catherine Boucher borrowed money from Blake’s contemporary, John Linnell, in order to arrange for his funeral.

10. Edgar Allan Poe


Birthday: 19 January 1809
Born In: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died On: 07 October 1849
Famous As: Writer
Although Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most read poets of all time, he did not make much money during his lifetime. He was mostly broke throughout his life and made only $6,200 in his lifetime. Four days before his death, Poe was found deranged in Baltimore and was not even wearing his own clothes. He died on October 7, 1849, at the Washington Medical College and the cause of his demise remains a mystery.

Written by PH

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