Top 10 Celebrity Bankruptcies of the Decade

It's been a rough decade economically, and not even celebrities were immune from financial turmoil. Some of the names on this list were no longer in the spotlight, while others encountered difficulty at the peak of their fame.

This list includes those who filed on personal debts as well as celebrity business owners who filed bankruptcy to protect their brand.

  1. Randy Quaid (2000): The actor, famous for his role as Cousin Eddie in the National Lampoon's Vacation movies, had a rough decade. He ran into money problems and filed bankruptcy in 2000, ironically over a film called "The Debtors", which starred Quaid, was directed by his wife Evi, and was produced by the couple. The decade ended with Randy Quaid banned from stage acting, and the Quaids arrested for allegedly defrauding an innkeeper.
  2. Stan Lee (2001): Creator of Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk and The X-Men, Stan Lee got caught up in the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s. He and a business partner 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 filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  3. Mike Tyson (2003): After retiring from boxing and going through a divorce (plus getting a facial tattoo), the former Heavyweight champ found his finances in disarray. Tyson blamed lavish spending on cars, mansions and Bengals tigers, plus poor financial advice, for the state of his affairs, leading to his 2003 bankruptcy.
  4. Lorenzo Lamas (2004): The former Renegade and soap opera star filed bankruptcy for debts that included $200,000 for a private jet. He also owed on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a H2 Hummer, and alimony for his four ex-wives.
  5. Donald Trump (2004, 2009): Trump's Atlantic City hotel & resort company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy twice this decade in order to reorganize debts related to construction. In the first bankruptcy in 2004, Donald Trump gave up his majority stake in his Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts company to creditors, which reemerged as Trump Entertainment Resorts. The second time around in 2009, Trump stepped down from the board. Trump has since reached a deal to reacquire the company.
  6. Michael Vick (2008): Vick's financial problems were directly tied to his legal ones. After being convicted on federal dog-fighting charges, Vick was left was heavy fines and no income to pay his obligations (or entourage). Vick, once of the highest-paid athletes in the country, filed bankruptcy from behind bars in 2008.
  7. Bill Buckner (2008): Sports fans will know that Bill Buckner is no stranger to bad luck. Despite a productive career in Major League Baseball, his error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series became his legacy. After retiring, Buckner moved to Idaho and founded a car dealership. It was another error, and Buckner was forced to file bankruptcy in 2008 to recoup his losses.
  8. Lenny Dykstra (2009): Another baseball star, Dykstra became an entrepreneur after retiring from the Major League, and founded The Players Club, a glossy magazine for athletes, in 2008. The venture tanked, and led to at least 20 lawsuits. As a result, Dykstra filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  9. Stephen Baldwin (2009): The youngest brother of the acting family, Stephen Baldwin had a resurgence this decadeā€”as a professional reality show cast member. However, his appearance fees were not enough for the actor to keep up on his mortgage and other debts. Baldwin and his wife filed bankruptcy in New York in early 2009 as their home was in foreclosure.
  10. Sinbad (2009): The mononymous comedian may have made a career as a family-friendly entertainer, but allegedly failed to pay taxes on his income from Jingle All The Way and his other hits. The state of California filed a lien for more than $2.5 million in unpaid taxes in 2008. Sinbad filed bankruptcy in December, 2009.

And an honorable mention goes to...

  • Jose Canseco (2008): The baseball star and New York Time best-selling author didn't file bankruptcy, but he did walk away from his Encino, Calif., mansion, which went into foreclosure after he stopped paying the $2.5 million mortgage. Canseco was one of the first celebrities to admit being caught up in the foreclosure crisis.
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 at 3:57 pm and is filed under The Truth about Bankruptcy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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