Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Success stories: From Rags to Riches

Here is an article from Neatorama, From Rags to Riches:


JIM CARREY

From Rags ... He had to drop out of high school and take a job as a janitor in a factory. In fact, his entire family worked in that factory, living in a small cottage on the grounds. At his lowest low, Carrey wrote a $10 million check to himself ... to be redeemed when he made the big time.

... to Riches: After working the comedy circuit for years, Carrey landed a role on In Living Color, which led to a movie deal. In 1996 he became the highest paid actor ever when he received $20 million to star in Cable Guy. When his father died, Carrey placed the check he had written to himself in his dad's burial suit.

J.K. ROWLING

From Rags ... As a single mother living on public assistance, Rowling started writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in a café while her baby daughter napped. Why the café? Because it was warmer than the tiny flat she lived in. When Bloomsbury Books bought her manuscript in 1996, she was thrilled. The £1,500 (about $2,400) she was advanced was more money than she'd ever received at one time in her life.

... to Riches: Four years and three more books later, Rowling was worth more than $400 million ... and she's not done yet. [ed note: this article was written in 2003, now Rowling is worth more than $1.1 billion]

This is such a beautiful success story :)

OPRAH WINFREY

From Rags ... Born in Mississippi to unwed teenage parents, Winfrey grew up in poverty. While living in Milwaukee, she was molested by relatives. Not knowing what else to do, her mother sent her to live in a detention home.

... to Riches: Fortunately the detention home was full and Winfrey went to live with her father. He nurtured her abilities and helped her get to college. Now, as the queen of the talk show, Winfrey is worth an estimated $1 billion. [ed note: by 2007, Winfrey is worth $2.5 billion]

She really deserves it :)

From Riches to Rags ...
WILLIE NELSON

From Riches ... By 1988 Willie Nelson had been a country music star for nearly 20 years and had two multiplatinum albums under his belt.

... to Rags: Due to years of "creative" accounting, in 1990 Nelson owed the IRS $16.7 million. To pay it, he had to auction off just about everything he owned.

[ed note: Nelson's debts were settled in 1993, and he continued to write music and perform.]

M.C. HAMMER

From Riches
... "U Can't Touch This," released in 1990, became a pop phenomenon, making Hammer an overnight superstar. A world tour and endorsement deals with Pepsi and KFC followed.

... to Rags: Hammer went on a $30 million spending spree that included mansions and $500,000-a-month payroll. After two mediocre follow-up albums and some poor investments, Hammer declared bankruptcy in 1996, more than $13 million in debt.

[ed note: Hammer is now a blogger and a preacher]

NIKOLA TESLA

From Riches ... In his heyday in the 1890s, Tesla was a rich and famous inventor and held more than 700 patents. He is best known for developing alternating current (AC) electricity.

... to Rags: He was also naive. Thomas edison, who saw Tesla as competition, did all he could to undermine Tesla's work. It worked. A series of patent lawsuits left Tesla with no money or credit, despite his many inventions. He died broke in 1943.

MIKE TYSON

From Riches ... The youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history had earned $300 million.

... to Rags: By 2003 it was all gone. Tyson blames his former promoter, Don King, for mismanaging his earnings. King claims that Tyson blew the money himself. The two will duke it out in court.


The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John's Unstoppable Bathroom Reader.

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