Weird History

14 Actors, Authors, Athletes, And Artists (And One Scientist) Who Died Broke

History is full of riches-to-rags stories about fallen stars and tragic historical figures who died dead broke - or close to it. Some were starving artists, some made terrible decisions, and some were unjustly persecuted. But everyone on this list made huge, lasting contributions to our culture and still somehow croaked dirt poor. As you'll see, death by poverty is not fun. 

Some of these famous broke people from history were simply ahead of their time, like composer and songwriter Stephen Foster, who would have made millions if he had something resembling a music industry to support him, or Oscar Wilde, who was persecuted and thrown in jail for being gay, sending him on a downward spiral of drinking and debt. Others, like Joe Louis and Sammy Davis Jr., didn't pay their taxes and died in massive debt, despite earning tens of millions in their lifetimes. Onward, intrepid reader, for more stories about historical figures who died broke.