9 Top Entertainers Who Were Homeless
It’s Spring, and it’s award show season. The biggest of the bunch is the Oscars taking place at the Dolby Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Expect actors and famous television personalities to show up wearing big smiles and glamorous attire for this international affair.
At the same time, remember that all was not rosy – not all glitz and glamour – for some of these stars. Some of the biggest names in entertainment faced the biggest struggles including poverty and homelessness; experiences that provided important life lessons that contributed to the kind of person they are today.
There are plenty of inspirational stories of actors who experienced poverty, social rejection, and homelessness before becoming movie or television superstars – true rags to riches stories. We share some of their stories here as a reminder that homelessness can happen to anyone.
9. MARTIN SHEEN
Martin Sheen has developed a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most respected actors during a career that includes more than 60 film appearances. Sheen also is known for being an advocate for people in homeless situations, particularly after meeting activist, Mitch Snyder. Snyder became a national figure in cooperation with the Committee for Creative Non-Violence, giving the movement supporting homeless people a public voice and face throughout the 1980s.
Sheen portrayed Snyder in Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story, a TV movie in 1986.
According to the New York Times, Snyder died by suicide four years later after suffering setbacks in the homeless movement and being despondent over a failed relationship with his companion of 15 years, Carol Fennelly.
According to award-winning broadcaster, Eileen Prose, after that tragedy, Martin Sheen slept on a steam grate in Washington to feel the pain of the nation’s street people. Sheen said, “It will teach me something I lost touch with – what these people physically feel on the street.”
Sheen added, “I think you can identify with someone much easier if you can feel their pain – physical, emotional, spiritual – but you have to try and put yourself in their shoes.”
8. SYLVESTER STALLONE - Bout With Homelessness (CLICK HERE)
7. CHRIS PRATT
Christ Pratt is currently one of the most popular actors in Hollywood, having starred in some of the hottest properties in the world, from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the Jurassic World franchise. Before becoming a superstar, Pratt lived in a van after moving to Hawaii.
Pratt was “discovered” while waiting tables at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant in Maui.
Contrary to how badly most people might remember that stage of their life, he has fond memories of that time being homeless. “It was a pretty awesome place to be homeless,” Pratt said in an interview with The Independent. “It would be different if I lived on the streets of Chicago,” he added.
Although Pratt paints this stage of his life as an idyllic picture, the truth is it wasn’t always easy.
“We told friends we had a beach house,” he told Complex. “We were homeless, but at the same time, we were able to transcend the difficulty of homeownership. But there were fleas and mice that also lived in our van. And we didn’t have anywhere to go to the bathroom.”
Pratt did not know that he wanted to be an actor during his teenage years though deep inside him, he later said, he knew he was destined to succeed.
In an interview for Entertainment Weekly he elaborated, “My high school wrestling coach reminds me about this time I came into his office and he said, ‘Chris, what do you want to do with yourself?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know, but I know I’ll be famous, and I know I’ll make tons of money.’”
At age 19, while working as a waiter in Maui, Pratt met actress Rae Dawn Chong. He promoted himself, trying to convince her to put him in a movie.
“I was like, ‘You’re in the movies, right? I always wanted to be in the movies,’” said Pratt. “She said, ‘You’re cute. Do you act? I was like, I act! Put me in a movie!’”
Chong saw something in him and cast him in his first movie, Cursed Part III, which was also her directorial debut. Although the film was never released, it helped Pratt realize that he wanted to be an actor and it allowed him to get his foot in the door of the cinema industry. It lead to several small roles in movies, like Wanted and Take Me Home Tonight, and then to more substantial roles in shows like The O.C. and Parks and Recreation, and then onto genuine stardom.
6. JIM CARREY - Laughing In The Face Of Adversity (CLICK HERE)
5. WILLIAM SHATNER
Did you know that Canadian actor, William Shatner, best known for his portrayal of Captain James Tiberius Kirk on TV’s Star Trek – and his portrayal of Mark Twain on Murdoch Mysteries – was so cash-strapped at one point that he ended up living out of the back of his car?
After the cancellation of Star Trek in 1969, Shatner was broke. Then homeless. ‘I lived in a truck,’ Shatner told Metro. His family, meanwhile, was living in Beverly Hills.
He added, “It was the early 1970s, and I was recently divorced. I had three kids and was totally broke. I managed to find some jobs back on the east coast on the straw-hat circuit – summer stock – but couldn’t afford hotels, so I lived out of the back of my truck, under a hard shell. It had a little stove and a toilet, and I’d drive from theatre to theatre. The only comfort came from my dog, who sat in the passenger seat and gave me perspective on everything. Otherwise, it would have just been me counting my losses.”
Despite Shatner’s life’s circumstances, he doggedly kept going with his acting career.
More recently, at the age of 90, he made history when he became the oldest civilian to travel to space. Thanks to the friendship between Shatner and Blue Origin Founder Jeff Bezos, whose dreams of space travel were inspired by the original Star Trek series, this amazing event could become true.
4. DREW CAREY