|The following is reprinted from Uncle John's Unstoppable Bathroom Reader book.
Here are 7 stories of people who made their
fortunes and those who lost it all ...
From Rags to Riches ...
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.
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]
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]
From Riches to Rags ...
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.]
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
... 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]
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.
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