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Top Ten Famous People Who Were Homeless Once

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Post Top Ten Famous People Who Were Homeless Once   Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:45 pm

According to William James, "Need and struggle are what excite and inspire us". One of the worst combinations of struggle and need is homelessness. Few, have nerves to go through such crisis, and yet come out as successful individuals. Here is a list of ten famous people who successfully faced homelessness at some point during their lives.

1) Halle Berry

Halle Berry might be one of the most highly paid actresses in Hollywood, but she wasn't always like this. At the age of 21, her mom refused to support her, forcing her to take refuge in a homeless shelter. In an interview she said, "When I moved to Chicago, she (mom) drove me there, but I don't think she ever thought it would pan out. After a month or two, I ran out of money and called her. I said, "Mom, I hate to ask you this, but could you send me some money? I just have rent money; I can't eat this week." And she said, "No, I'm not going to start this calling home, asking mom for money thing. No, figure it out or come home." I was so mad; I didn't speak to her for a year and a half."

Halle did not remain homeless for long. Soon, she started getting roles in movies and rented an apartment. Halle has now made peace with her mom, she thinks that her mom's refusal to support her made her tough and gave her the ability to deal with harsh circumstances.

2) Chris Gardener

Chris Gardener, a millionaire entrepreneur, became famous when his book of memoirs was made into a super-hit movie, "The Pursuit of Happyness". Although, Gardener currently owns a successful stock brokerage firm, but in early 1980's, he had to face homelessness with his son. He came to this stage of poverty, because he invested all his life savings to buy portable X-ray machines which he thought he would be able to sell on high profits but he failed, even to reach breakeven. Consequently, he was unable to pay his rent and was kicked out by the owner. Before they could move into a homeless shelter Chris and his son had to sleep in a public toilet for few days. Chris, later on found a Job in a stock brokerage firm, and moved to an apartment with his son.

3) Hilary Swank

There are only 38 people, in the history of Hollywood, who have won Academy award for Best Acting, more than once. One of them is Hilary Swank. With her sizzling performances in "Boys Don't Cry" and "Million Dollar Baby", she proved her mettle. And yes, she was homeless once. Reader's digest quoted her story saying, "In 1989, when she was 15, Swank and her mom packed up their Oldsmobile Delta 88 and, with just $75, headed to Los Angeles. They lived in the car, until a friend gave them a place to stay". In an interview with CBS news she said, "We had a friend, who was selling their house. And so they said, "You know, there's no furniture, but you can stay there at night. And then, during the day, you have to leave so we can try and sell it out. So we got air mattresses, blew them up, slept at night and left in the morning." Hilary and her mother remained homeless for couple of months, after that she started landing roles. However, her hard time was not over until she got the leading role in "Boys don't cry".

4) Shania Twain

Five times Grammy awards winner, Shania twain was also homeless at one point in time. She spent her childhood in extremely miserable conditions and often starved for days. At the age of thirteen she convinced her mother to move to Toronto where there were many homeless shelters. In an interview with Reader's digest she said, "My mother was very depressed at the time -- she wasn't getting out of bed. I decided that I had to convince her to take us to Toronto, where they have a lot of good programs for desperate families. We were living in this small town which didn't have anything. I was 13 then and told my mother to get in the car, the next day, when my dad was gone. I said, "All you've got to do is, drive." I don't know why she listened to me. I think she was numb. We drove to Toronto and went to a shelter. We finally got fed every day."

She started her professional singing career in Toronto and later on she became one of the most popular female singers of her time. Her album Come On Over sold 39 million copies worldwide.

5) Colonel Sanders

Seeing, Colonel Sander's pictures and statues on every KFC outlet, one assumes that he must've had invested millions of dollars to make such a large network of fast food restaurants. However, it's not true. Colonel Sanders, who started Kentucky fried chicken (KFC) in 1952, had to experience homelessness for a long period during his childhood. His father died, when he was five and his mother quickly remarried. At the age of ten, he decided to leave his home because his step-father used to beat him. After that, he remained homeless for a long period of time and did many jobs, during that time. It was not until the age of forty, that Colonel found a proper home and a Job as a cook in a restaurant and started working on his own Secret recipe, which would later on become the main item on KFC menu.

6) Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin was not just an Oscar-winning actor, director and author. He was also one of those famous people who faced homelessness. According to his autobiography Charlie's parents separated before he was three. Throughout his childhood he lived with his mother, except for a small period of time when he and his brother moved with their father and his mistress. At the age of 12, Charlie's father died of Cirrhosis and soon after that his mother became mentally ill and had to be admitted to a hospital. This left Charlie homeless and he had to go to a workhouse in London. He spent the rest of his childhood moving from one charity home to another. Charlie continued his struggle until he reached United States in 1912, where he started getting roles and acted in major silent films.

7) Adolf Hitler

In his book Mien Kampf Hitler said, "I owe it to that period, that I grew hard and am still capable of being hard." Here Hitler is referring to his period in Vienna where he had to face four years of homelessness from 1909 to 1914. After the death of his parents, he came to Vienna to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. However, he failed in the entrance exam of Vienna school of Fine arts. Eventually, he ran out of money and was forced to live on streets. Afterwards, he found a homeless shelter and spent his nights there until the beginning of World War 1 in 1914.

During his homelessness period Hitler used to sell his own paintings to get enough money to eat. It was during this time that he developed anti-semantic sentiments, which would later on become the fundamental principles of Nationalist socialist movement.

Cool Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the most powerful nation in the world (USA) and one of author of American declaration of Independence, also went through a rough patch when he had no home to live in. In his birthplace Boston, Benjamin worked as an apprentice to his brother who published a Newspaper named "New England Courant". Benjamin wrote certain materials in that paper which were not liked by the authorities of his time so they banned the "New England Courant". However, Benjamin continued to publish against the government without the consent of his brother. This raised a quarrel between the brothers and Benjamin ran away to New York. It was in New York that he had to face homelessness because he had very little money and he knew nobody in the city. However, Benjamin remained homeless for a short period of time and found a Job after moving to Philadelphia.

9) Buddha

Buddha was among those who voluntarily adopted homelessness for a purpose. He was the heir to the throne of his father. After seeing the suffering of ordinary people he decided to give away the luxurious life and adopted ascetic way of living. During his ascetic time he lived in streets and begged for food. His purpose was to achieve enlightenment, and he achieved it in form of the 'four truths'. During his struggle for enlightenment and even after that, Buddha never had a shelter to live under.

10) Jesus Christ

Although Jesus spent most of his childhood in Nazareth and he had a home there, but after being baptized at the age of 30, Jesus started a campaign to spread his teachings. For that purpose he had to move from one place to another and during that period he did not have any proper home. In New Testament, Matthew and Luke narrated incidences which prove Jesus' homelessness. Following, is one such incidence;
"Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." (Matthew 8:19-20)

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