Riches to Rags – 5 People Who Lost it All

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We’re all familiar with the so-called “Ezra Pound story,” wherein the protagonist goes from rags to riches thanks to luck, hard work and the occasional kindness of others. These stories happen in real life, too, and are the basis for the fabled American Dream. But there is a darker counterpart to such success stories: Sometimes people fall from grace, too. Assuming “grace” means “wealth and status,” that is. Today we discuss several downwardly mobile individuals – people who once stood on a variety of different pedestals, but all found themselves in the same place: the gutter.

5 A Cautionary Tale

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When actor Corey Haim died in 2010, he was addicted to drugs, forgotten and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. He was also not even 40 years old. This guy was a worldwide star before he was even old enough to vote and, despite the mockery that came with being a “Corey” in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, he actually had a lot of talent and potential. Unfortunately, he was also pitch-perfect at succumbing to the common Hollywood success-cum-tragedy story.

4 The King of the Apartment Complex

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Kigeli V Ndahindurwa was the last king of Rwanda. He served for less than a year before being deposed and chased from his native country under threat of death. That was back in the 1960s. Today, Kigeli lives in a modest apartment in suburban Virginia. He is in his late 70s, and is content if not overjoyed by the path his life took. The king has no plans to return to his former kingdom.

3 Crime Doesn’t Pay. Indefinitely, at Least.

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Perhaps the most famous gangster of the Prohibition Era, Al Capone was at one point both one of America’s most feared criminals and its most powerful political operatives. He held so much influence over Chicago’s political and legal systems that despite his all-but-overt criminal activity, ranging from smuggling to murder to financial crime, no one could touch Scarface. Capone’s reign as a criminal kingpin was finally stopped by tax evasion convictions, and he served a decade in prison. By the time of his parole, in 1939, Capone’s physical and mental health were all but wrecked. He lived another seven years in his Florida home during which he frequently babbled incoherently for hours on end. Capone died at the age of 48.

2 That Doesn’t Rock

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Sly Stone might be the only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee living in a van down by the river. From chart-topping hits and a million dollar mansion, this former Sly and the Family Stone front man allegedly wasted all of his money over the years due to drug problems, splurge purchases and a general lack of investment planning. He has made sporadic appearances over the past decade, usually seeming to be disturbed and confused, and does not seem to have any permanent residence.

1 Oh Baby, What Happened?

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When a guy has a different Ferrari for each day of the week, it’s a safe bet to assume he is rich as hell and is going to die that way. That is, unless you were betting on Vanilla Ice. Ice, at the tender (meaning stupid) age of 19 achieved superstar fame as a rapper, bad boy and general poster child of a blissfully brief cultural zeitgeist. He was, for a little while in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, rich and famous. And then he blew most of his money, developed a drug habit and even tried to kill himself. We’re glad he survived and managed to cobble his life back together and all, but man, what a far drop.

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