Famous People Who Have Filed for Bankruptcy Part 2

Milton Snavely Hershey 1857-1945

Mr. Hershey, the founder of Hershey’s chocolate had only a 4th grade education, but he was determined to create a good product that the public would want to purchase. Hershey started four candy companies that failed and he filed for bankruptcy. His fifth attempt was what is now the tremendously successful Hershey’s Foods Corporation.



Henry Ford 1863-1947

Henry Ford’s first two automobile manufacturing companies failed. The first company filed for bankruptcy and the second ended dues to a disagreement with his business partner. Then in 1903, at the age of 40, Ford created the Ford Motor Company with a cash investment of $28,000.00. By July of 1903, his bank balance had dwindled to $223.65. It was at that point that Ford sold its first car.


Mickey Rooney 1920-

The famous movie actor, suffered from financial problems in the early 1960’s. He owed the Internal Revenue Service $1.75 million and filed for bankruptcy in 1962. At 90 years old, Mickey continues to have a successful acting career.




Debbie Reynolds 1932-

The legendary actress purchased a hotel in Las Vegas in 1992 and named it the Debbie Reynolds Hotel and Casino. The hotel had a cash flow problem almost from the start. In July 1997, the hotel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Ms. Reynolds filed for personal bankruptcy. In 1998, the hotel was sold at auction to the World Wrestling Federation.




Johnny Unitas 1933-2002

The Hall of Fame football quarterback was a great athlete, but he was not a very skilled businessman. Every business venture Unitas was involved in was unsuccessful. In 1991, he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. When the NFL celebrated its first 50 years, Unitas was voted the league’s best player.




Jerry Lee Lewis 1935-

Due to huge tax debts the famous Rock n’ Roll star, filed for bankruptcy in 1988. The IRS seized his furniture, cars, and his baby grand piano. The IRS even showed up at his concerts to collect his ticket sales. Jerry recovered from his bankruptcy and still performs to this date.




Burt Reynolds 1936-

In 1996, after his much publicized divorce from actress Loni Anderson, movie actor Burt Reynolds filed for bankruptcy. Reynolds had more than $10 million in debt. His ranch was sold, and his dinner theater was foreclosed on by the mortgage lender. Reynolds continued with his acting career after his bankruptcy, and was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in the film Boogie Nights.




Sherman Hemsley 1938-

Sherman Hemsley is the television actor most famous for his role as George Jefferson in The Jefferesons. In June of 1999, Hemsley filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He owed to the IRS money from his taxes, and he did not have sufficient funds to repay a $1 million loan from a Las Vegas investment corporation.




Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky 1942-

From 1993 to 1995 Mezvinsky served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In February 2000, she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, Mezvinsky’s discharge was denied because she failed to adequately explain to the bankruptcy court what happened to all her assets.




Wayne Newton 1942-

The famous Las Vegas entertainer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992. Newton had more than $20 million in debt. A few years after his bankruptcy he signed a contract with Stardust Hotel paying him a reported $25 million per year to perform at the hotel 40 weeks a year for 10 years.




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