Famous People Who Filed for Bankruptcy

by Brett Weiss, Esq.

January 27, 2007

If you’re feeling alone or depressed because of financial problems, cheer up! You’re in good company. Below is a list of some of the famous people who have filed for bankruptcy or had severe financial problems before the modern bankruptcy code was adopted. Please note that most of these folks had their great success and fame after their bankruptcies.

Donald Trump, financier
Michael Jackson, singer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer
Kim Bassinger, actress
Mike Tyson, boxer
Mark Twain, humorist
Burt Reynolds, actor
Thomas Jefferson, patriot and president
Gary Coleman, child actor
MC Hammer, rap singer
Willie Nelson, country singer
Lorraine Bracco, “The Soprano’s” actress
Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanized rubber
PT Barnum, circus promoter
L. Frank Baum, author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
Mathew Brady, Civil War photographer
Oscar Wilde, playwright
Jerry Lee Lewis, rock singer
Rembrandt, painter
Henry Heinz, ketchup magnate
Milton Hershey, chocolate magnate
Henry Ford, auto magnate
Johnny Unitas, football player
Wayne Newton, entertainer
Mickey Rooney, actor
Debbie Reynolds, actress
John Connally, former Texas governor
Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse
Mick Fleetwood, rock singer
Merle Haggard, country singer
Ulysses S. Grant, president and Civil War general
Dorothy Hamill, figure skater
Larry King, talk show host
Bowie Kuhn, former baseball commissioner
Stan Lee, comic book creator of “Spider Man”

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Brett Weiss, a senior partner at Chung & Press, LLC, represents people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization. Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues. Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, and has written Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. With his law partner, he recorded a 13-hour basic bankruptcy training series, and leads intensive three-day Chapter 11 training boot camps. Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others. Brett Weiss is the Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, and the Civil Justice Network. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2007 for Maryland and the District of Columbia, and in 2011 received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country. Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC, Fourth and Eighth Circuits, The United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.

Last modified: November 11, 2013