Celebrities 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.

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Birthday: 10 July 1856
Born In: Smiljan, Croatia
Sun Sign: Cancer
Died On: 07 January 1943
Famous As: Inventor, Engineer & Futurist, Who Obtained Over 300 Patents
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.

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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.

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Also Known As: Frances Ethel Gumm, Frances Gumm
Birthday: 10 June 1922
Born In: Grand Rapids, Minnesota, United States
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died On: 22 June 1969
Famous As: Actress
Despite earning almost $55,000 a week at the peak of her career, Judy Garland lost thousands of dollars due to a lack of business sense and wrong investments. Her lavish lifestyle and drug addiction left her broke and she ended up owing money to many people. At the time of her demise, Garland owed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) thousands of dollars and her total debt was estimated to be around $4 million.

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Birthday: 19 January 1809
Born In: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died On: 07 October 1849
Famous As: Inventor of the 'Detective Fiction' Genre
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.

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Also Known As: Samuel George Davis Jr.
Birthday: 08 December 1925
Born In: Harlem, 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.