Last updated: Feb. 13, 2020
<div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Clarissa Dickson Wright</h2>In the late ’70s, Clarissa Dickson Wright, now famous for her British television show “Two Fat Ladies,” received an inheritance of around 2.8 million British pounds upon her mother’s death. She already held a high-earning position as an attorney in London. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>How She Lost It All by the Early '80s</h2>Even though she was left with enough money to last her throughout her life, the death of her mother was a hard blow to her emotionally. She was not only close to her mother, but her father as well. His passing shortly after her mother’s led her into a deep depression that she sought to remedy with alcohol. It was not only the alcohol that ate away at her inheritance but also lavish spending. She embarked on a life of partying and gambling with expenses going to luxury yachts, jets and hotels. By 1982 her partying lifestyle prevented her from ever practicing law again, and after the money was gone she became homeless. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Tori Spelling</h2>Well-known actress and one of the heirs to father Aaron Spelling’s $600 million fortune, Tori Spelling’s spendthrift ways caused her father to limit her inheritance to a mere $800,000 for fear that she would bleed through the money in a matter of years. The larger portion of his fortune was left to his wife, Candy. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>How the Actress Ended Up in Debt</h2>Unfortunately, the snub on the inheritance did nothing to curb Spelling’s spending habits. Although she still inherited what is a sizable sum to most people, she had a penchant for designer clothes and jewelry, sometimes dropping up to $60,000 dollars in one day of shopping. With mounting debt from spending, she was then hit with a tax bill exceeding $1 million leading to court demands to repay debt. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Graham Roos</h2>Graham Roos was only 26 when he inherited $750,000 after the death of his great aunt, he told the Independent. Even though he knew he would receive an inheritance, the size of it came as a shock as it was more than he had ever anticipated. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>How He Ended Up in Debt in a Few Short Years</h2>The minute the check hit Roos’s bank account, he thought he was on easy street, immediately quitting his jobs and embarking on a decadent spending spree. The money went fast, but he paid little mind to his dwindling account. Expensive vacations and costly art pieces accounted for a large portion of his spending, but it was his addiction to partying and drugs that would lead him into a downward spiral. By the time he had burned through the funds in his bank account, he had amassed debt and had to return to the workforce to avoid being homeless.
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<div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Maureen O'Conner</h2>A well-known figure in her own right, Maureen O’Conner was respected in the political arena, vying for a spot on the San Diego City Council when she met and married Robert O. Peterson. Peterson was the founder of the Jack in the Box fast-food restaurants, and it was the event of his death that left his wife with an inheritance valued at over $50 million. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>How She Ended Up Destitute</h2>The diagnosis of a brain tumor and the grief over the loss of her husband and several of her close friends led her to develop a gambling addiction, which predominantly revolved around video poker. Though her self-described grief gambling led her to winnings of over $1 billion in less than a decade, her losses accounted for even more, leaving her with less than she started. To compound her woes, she was convicted of money laundering for using money from her husband’s nonprofit to cover gambling debts. Though she received a deferred prison sentence, the restitution and court costs left her destitute. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Barbara Hutton</h2>“Poor little rich girl,” as Barbara Hutton became dubbed, was heir to the Woolworth fortune. It was on her 21st birthday in the early 1930s when she came into her inheritance of $50 million, which, when adjusted for inflation, would be over $900 million today — a staggering sum at any time in history. Her inheritance came about as a result of her mother’s death, who died by suicide in 1933. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>How She Ended Up on the Edge of Bankruptcy</h2>Even though the young Hutton grew up wealthy, she grew to be a deeply insecure adult. Her father was largely absent throughout her life, and her mother struggled with depression. Hutton’s weakness was shopping, especially for her loved ones whom she lavished with expensive gifts such as jewelry, haute couture and even art pieces once owned by Marie Antoinette. Her spending wasn’t her only downfall. Through a series of seven husbands and numerous affairs, her fortune dwindled, leaving her with almost nothing at the time of her death in 1979 at age 66. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Alex Lasarev</h2>Alex Lasarev differs from traditional heirs and heiresses because she did not grow up in a wealthy household. After being abandoned by her father at the age of 3, she grew up in a modest suburban home in Toronto under the care of her mother. She grew to be self-reliant, purchasing her own clothes from money she earned through a local paper route. Her inheritance was not expected, nor was it a cause for celebration — she inherited over $1 million after her mother committed suicide. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>How She Quickly Went From Riches to Rags</h2>Alex’s mother was a professional violinist who earned well and spent nearly nothing. It was only after her death that the teenaged Alex found a number of bank accounts totaling over $1 million. Alex sought to quickly change her impoverished lifestyle and decided to start at the top, moving into a luxurious penthouse at an exorbitant cost. Though she spent a lot on clothes and limo rides, a large portion of the remainder of her inheritance went to friends or was invested in business ideas that never truly panned out. It wasn’t long before she had lost everything and ended up right back where she began. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>7th Marquess of Bristol, John Hervey</h2>A part of English royalty, John Hervey inherited his fortune on his 21st birthday in the late ’70s. The $6 million inheritance would equate to close to $65 million by today’s calculations. This fortune was also increased during his 20s through a series of savvy investments in real estate, oil and other endeavors. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>How He Died Penniless</h2>Hervey may have been smart at investing, but he chose to live a decadent lifestyle that quickly exceeded his vast fortune. His money fell to yachts, sports cars and escorts, but these expenses were nothing compared to the uncontrollable drug habit he developed. In 10 years, more than $9 million of his fortune went to cocaine and heroin. The expenses began to mount as his drug habit resulted in multiple drug offenses, one resulting in deportation. By the early ’90s, he was penniless and soon succumbed to organ failure related to his drug use. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>Huntington Hartford II</h2>Huntington Hartford II grew up the epitome of wealth. He was spoiled from a young age by servants paid to cater to him and was given presents every time his heart desired one. He inherited his fortune at the young age of 11, upon his father’s death. The $90 million was a result of being heir to the vast A&P empire that included grocery store chains across the country. </div> <div class="gallery-item"> <h2>How He Went From a Mansion to a Rundown Rental</h2>Hartford was extremely well-educated but was not very savvy when it came to managing his finances. He sunk his inheritance into a number of failed businesses and passion projects, including a modeling agency that turned into a money pit and a real estate deal in the Bahamas that resulted in a loss exceeding $30 million. But the hemorrhaging of money did not end with investments. He was married and divorced four times, each settlement costing him more than the last. By 1992, he had to file for bankruptcy and was residing in a rundown Brooklyn rental.
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