Celebrities flame out for lots of different reasons – bad money management, drugs, racist rants, the pressure of fame, some combination of all of the above – but some flameout just a bit more spectacularly than others. That’s what this list is all about. Now in order to make this list, your career has to be pretty much over. Sure, there are some on here whose career still has a faint heartbeat, but in terms of having any credibility at all, they are finished. That’s why you won’t see someone like Robert Downey, Jr., who had an epic drug fueled flameout once upon a time but managed to rebound to become one of the biggest movie stars in the world. That’s what talent will do for you. But aside from a dead career, you need to have had some credibility to piss away in the first place. That’s why you won’t see someone like Screech on this list. But what you will see are ten tales of horror that will chill you to your very bones. Or, if you’re an asshole like so many of us are, they will make you laugh like an idiot child. So, with all that said, let’s get on with it, shall we?
10. AMY WINEHOUSE
For a brief period, it seemed like Amy Winehouse had the world by the balls. She could sing, she had a unique style, and people around the world fell head over heels for her retro sound. Of course, what the world didn’t know, and what it would soon find out is that Amy, uh, well, she liked the drugs. And once that got out it seemed like her most famous song, Rehab, became an instant punchline. Since then, the name Amy Winehouse has been synonymous with cracked out disaster. Unlike her countryman and fellow drug fiend, Pete Doherty, who became famous because of his rampant drugging, Winehouse was embraced because of her talent. And while that talent may still be there, no one will ever really care again because every time they see her, every time they even hear her name, people will immediately see a picture in their head of her looking like she just spent a week doing meth with a gang of zombies.
9. COREY HAIM
Along with best friend and fellow Corey, the esteemed Mr. Corey Feldman, Haim is perhaps the quintessential ’80s teen star. The star of hits like The Lost Boys, Lucas and License to Drive, Haim was on a roll. And then his life became one gigantic cliche. Yes, along with Feldman, Haim is basically the poster boy for the child star gone bad meme. The poor dude’s life is basically just one huge stereotype. His flameout and failure is almost a brand name all by itself. It’s what he’s known for and what he’ll always be known for. It’s sad, but that’s just the way it is. While Feldman is almost a parody of the failed child star – just witness any of those bizarre pictures where he’s dressed exactly like his good buddy, Michael Jackson – Haim edges him out on this list because his flameout killed him. Indeed, Haim’s drug addiction – an unfortunate byproduct of the ridiculous totality of his flameout – finally ended any hope at all for some sort of miraculous comeback and at the same time cemented his image as the ultimate poster boy for failed child stars everywhere.
8. MC HAMMER
There was a time when someone could conceivably say that MC Hammer was the biggest music star in the world without getting laughed at and stuffed in a straight jacket. Riding the wave of momentum generated by his monster hit Can’t Touch This, Hammer danced his way into fame and glory, popularizing the ridiculous Hammer pants and even winning a handful of Grammy Awards. And then Gangsta Rap blew into town and suddenly, Hammer looked utterly ridiculous. He tried in vain to keep up with the new trends, but he could never live down the image of him dancing, those absurd pants billowing all around him. He became an icon of an embarrassing style, the rap version of hair metal in the ’80s and there was no way anyone could ever look beyond that. Still, Hammer was wildly successful and should have been set for life. But it wasn’t long before the IRS was taking his house and Hammer was flat broke thanks to some horrendous, world champion level bad money management. Today, MC Hammer is a punchline. For all most people know, he’s living in an alley in a tent made from his famous pants. That’s a hell of a flameout right there.