Not all success stories have happy endings. Sometimes the rich and famous have inspiring rags-to-riches stories. Other times, these fallen stars lose their way and end up lost, desperate, or homeless. Blame it on drug abuse, chronic illness, poor financial planning, or just bad luck.
Here are the heartbreaking stories of stars who had nowhere else to turn but shelters and the streets.
Once Lois Lane in the Superman movies, Margot Kidder was found wandering the streets after a long battle with mental illness.
Kidder, the actress who played Superman’s love interest Lois Lane in the Christopher Reeve-era films, was once a Hollywood star who dated “bigs like Richard Pryorand Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.”
According to Daily Finance, Kidder battled schizophrenia and manic depression and even refused treatment at one time. “[P]lagued by paranoia, [Kidder] slept in cardboard boxes and backyards around Los Angeles in 1996. With her front teeth missing and her hair hacked off, a disheveled Kidder announced to the Glendale, Calif., woman whose yard she occupied, ‘I may not look like it, but I’m Margot Kidder.'” Today, the actress lives in Montana and is a grandmother.
“Sugar Ray” Williams, once an NBA superstar, was found sleeping out of his Buick in 2010.
In the late-1970s through the mid-1980s, Williams was captain of the New York Knicks and played for the Boston Celtics’ 1985 NBA Finals team.
But in 2010, The Boston Globe reported that he was sleeping in the backseat of his 1992 Buick in Pompano Beach, Florida. In an interview with Bob Hohler at the Globe, Williams said that the NBA should take better care of their retired players, as he is only one of many former stars in need of assistance.
“When I played the game, they always talked about loyalty to the team,’’Williams said. “Well, where’s the loyalty and compassion for ex-players who are hurting? We opened the door for these guys whose salaries are through the roof.’’
Academy Award winner Bobby Driscoll was famous as a child, but died penniless at 31 in an abandoned building.
Robert Cletus “Bobby” Driscoll became famous as a child through movies such as “So Dear To My Heart,” “The Window” and “Treasure Island.”
In 1950, he won an Academy Award for his role in “The Window,” but by 1956, he was arrested for marijuana and was reportedly using harder drugs. In 1968, his body was found by two children in an abandoned building in downtown New York.
He “died penniless from drug-hardened arteries at age 31.”
Iran “The Blade” Barkley amassed $5 million from his boxing career before ending up homeless.
In 2010, the New York Post reported that the former boxing champion was sleeping in a Howard Johnson Express in the Bronx.
In the ’80s and ’90s, Barkley made around $5 million, but eventually lost those earnings. Barkley was then forced to move in with his niece living in the Patterson Houses, a public housing development in the Bronx. When she evicted him, the former boxing star slept in subway cars before ending up at Howard Johnson.
After a couple of arrests followed by a hospitalization, actress Natasha Lyonne found herself living on the streets.
In the ’90s, Lyonne was all over the screen in “But I’m a Cheerleader,” “Slums of Beverly Hills,” and “American Pie.”
But her promising career was”derailed” after a series of encounters with the law. Sara Vilkomerson at Inside Movies reports:
“In 2001, [Lyonne] was arrested for a DUI [and] in 2004, she was charged with mischief, trespass, and harassment of a neighbor (and the neighbor’s dog).” These incidents were followed by a 2005 hospitalization “for a variety of ailments, including a collapsed lung and hepatitis C.”
She was eventually evicted from a friend’s townhouse, and ended up living on the streets.
Since then, Lyonne has tried to revitalized her acting career. She currently plays inmate Nicky Nichols on Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black.” Shortly before that, Lyonne played an alleged rape victim in an episode of “Law and Order: SVU,” and appeared in the off-Broadway play “Tigers Be Still.”
Houston McTear, a two-time Olympic qualifier, slept on Santa Monica Beach for three years.
At one time, McTear was dubbed “the world’s fastest human” and tied the world record, running a 100-yard dash in 9.0 seconds while still in high school.
He was able to escape poverty in Florida and moved to Los Angeles where he tried his hand in boxing under the coaching of Muhammad Ali and Harold Smith.
According to Ron Dicker at Daily Finance, when the club went under McTear lost his support and was also suffering from drug abuse. He ended up sleeping on Santa Monica Beach for years before being rescued by an older woman.
In 1993, he married former Swedish sprinter Linda Haglund.
Child star Danny Bonaduce suffered from alcohol and drug addictions before becoming homeless as an adult.
The ’70s smash hit “The Partridge Family” made Bonaduce a household name. But the actor later became known for his stints in rehab, which eventually led to his experience with homelessness as an adult.
According to Daily Finance, “Bonaduce lived in his car behind Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood … [and] said on a radio show he would greet autograph seekers there.”
He is now a drive-time DJ on WSYP in Philadelphia and has recently remarried, reports AOL TV.
Golden-Globe nominated actress Brett Butler battled drug addiction and ended up in a homeless shelter.
Butler found her rise to stardom in the ABC sitcom “Grace Under Fire,” but during the show, she battled a recurring drug addiction and spent time in rehab.
After Grace was cancelled in 1998, Butler moved out of L.A. and onto a farm in Georgia where she lived with 15 pets. When the money ran out, she turned to a homeless shelter for cover.
A 2011 Hollywood Reporter article said that Butler was attempting to make a career comeback, and is working on “developing a reality TV show about her self-professed psychic abilities and performing at the Downtown Comedy Club in Los Angeles.”
Actor Willie Aames was making more than a $1m annually, but lost it all and ended up sleeping under bushes and in parking garages.
When the star of “Charles In Charge” and “Eight Is Enough” faced bankruptcy and foreclosure, he resorted to sleeping under bushes and in parking garages.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Aames says:
“At the very peak [of “Eight Is Enough”] I was making a little over a million dollars a year. Then suddenly there was no job, no bank account, no wife, no child. I never dreamt it could happen that fast. I found myself virtually homeless. I stayed with friends when I could, slept in parking garages or slept in the park. It was shameful. I remember laying underneath the bushes thinking, ‘Is this how it turns out? Is this how my life really turns out?'”
According to Accounting Today, Aames might be planning a second career as a financial adviser. Currently, he’s passed three requisite licensing exams and a training program that will position him to work in the field.
Two-time world boxing champion Rocky Lockridge has been living on the streets for a decade.
In the 1970s and ’80s, Lockridge was a world boxing champion, but lost it all when he started losing his winning stride.
According to an interview withparty for “two weekends,” snorting cocaine and drinking “whatever was around.”
He’s been living on the streets of Camden, N.J. for 10 years. Schmerler writes:
“Lockridge has no money. His body tilts to one side when he walks, the result of a stroke he says he suffered three years ago. His scraggly, graying beard makes him seem far older than 50.”
Child star Erin Moran was reportedly kicked out of the trailer she was living in last year.
Moran became a household name at the age of 14 through her role as Joanie Cunningham on ABC’s “Happy Days.”
In 2012, Virginia Skeels at the Daily Mail reported that the 52-year-old was “reportedly being kicked out of the trailer she shared with her husband Steve Fleischmann