Seven Celebrities Who Went from Hot Shot to Homeless
1. Houston McTear, the World's Fastest Human
In his case, it was rags to riches to rags. As a high school junior in 1975, he ran the 100-yard dash in 9.0 seconds to tie the world record. He soon sprinted from the poverty of his Florida Panhandle shack that he shared with seven brothers and sisters to enjoy newfound fame in Los Angeles. He trained under the auspices of Muhammad Ali and Harold Smith, a shady character the boxing champ assigned to run his track club. The club went under, Smith was convicted of embezzling $21 million from a Beverly Hills Wells Fargo, and McTear lost all his support. He couldn't outrun drugs and slept for three years on Santa Monica Beach. The two-time Olympics qualifier eventually was rescued by an older woman named Arlene Francis, but in 1993 married former Swedish sprinter Linda Haglund. At last report, he was a grandfather living in Sweden.
2. Bobby Driscoll, Actor
One of the original child-star sad cases. The Disney-contracted star of So Dear To My Heart,The Window and Treasure Island won an Academy Award for "juvenile performers" in 1950. He voiced the original animated Peter Pan (1953) and received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Then acne ruined his face for the big screen, and drugs claimed the rest of him. He briefly hung out with Andy Warhol's Factory crowd, but died penniless from drug-hardened arteries at age 31 in 1968. Kids found his corpse while playing in an East Village tenement.
3. Margot Kidder, Actress
As Lois Lane she shared the screen with Christopher Reeve in four Superman movies. Offscreen she dated bigs like Richard Pryor and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. A 1990 auto accident left her bankrupt, but bipolar disorder turned out to be her kryptonite. Plagued by paranoia, she 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." The actress, 63, now lives in Montana and reportedly has been free of manic episodes for years.
4. Willie Aames, Actor
Eight is Enough was apparently not enough to fill his life with love, despite the show's theme song. Aames was making $1 million a year at the peak of the 1979-1984 ABC family dramedy, playing a teenager, Tommy Bradford, who never felt good enough. Low self-esteem was the least of the actor's problems after his second big series, Charles in Charge (1984-1990) ended. He filed for bankruptcy, saw his car repossessed, and could no longer pay medical bills for his seriously ill wife. They divorced. Then he joined the ranks of the homeless, sleeping in parking garages and parks while trying to secure odd jobs. "I remember laying underneath the bushes thinking, 'Is this how it turns out? Is this how my life really turns out?'" he told VH1 Aames, 51, reportedly got his act together and was training to be -- get this -- a financial adviser.
5. Danny Bonaduce, Actor
What is it about actors from 1970s family shows? There was no "c'mon get happy" for the precocious redhead from The Partridge Family (1970-1974). Nosediving on alcohol and drugs, said he lived in his car behind Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. And how's this for humiliating? He said on a radio show he would greet autograph seekers there. Bonaduce, 52, recently remarried for a third time, and was working as a drive-time DJ on WYSP in Philadelphia until the station changed formats in August.
6. Leon Spinks, Heavyweight Boxing Champion
The gap-toothed Olympic gold medalist defeated Muhammad Ali for the world heavyweight championship on Feb. 15, 1978. It was just his eighth professional fight. Over the next 10 years, cocaine and bad business moves dealt a knockout blow to his finances, and he landed at an East St. Louis, Ill., homeless shelter. A woman named Brenda, with whom he later shared his life, rescued him. Reportedly showing signs of dementia pugilistica, the 58-year-old was last known to be working at a McDonald's in Columbus, Neb. Stories like Spinks' abound in boxing. Even Mike Tyson, he of the wasted $400 million, claimed he'd been homeless for a spell, but TPOF doesn't fully buy it because there's no legitimate corroboration out there. Tyson seems to have recovered somewhat. All Spinks has are his two front teeth -- oh, wait, never mind.
7. Natasha Lyonne, Actress
The offbeat charms she displayed in the first two American Pie films and Slums of Beverly Hills were forgotten when she went missing in the summer of 2005. She had shown increasingly erratic behavior, stiffing actor pal and landlord Michael Rapaport on her rent while threatening his neighbors. She wound up homeless, according to the New York Post, which found her under a fake name in a New York City hospital battling hepatitis C, a heart infection, a collapsed lung and an addiction to heroin. "It's a terrible tragedy," her father, Aaron Braunstein, said at the time on Access Hollywood. Lyonne, 32, has since rebounded, had a few stage roles, and IMDB shows that she is getting some film work these days.