No matter how famous or talented a celebrity is, at some point the public moves on to a new attractive moving toy. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a movie with Julia Roberts? Do you have any idea what Paris Hilton has been up to for the past five years? But once we stop paying attention, their lives still go on. Some of them take their money and have a boring retirement with little action. And then there are these guys -- the ones whose lives turned into pure insanity when we all stopped looking.
#5. Surf Rock Legend Dick Dale Is Almost 80 And Still Touring ... To Pay His Medical Bills
In 1962, legendary surf rock guitarist Dick Dale released his biggest hit, "Misirlou." You probably know it as the song Tarantino used in the opening titles of Pulp Fiction:
At nearly 80 years old, Dale is still touring, still playing "Misirlou" as quickly as ever. He says if he stops touring, he'll die. And that's not the hyperbolic refusal of a star to let old age keep him from rocking. You see, Dale is suffering from a variety of ailments, and they're all battling to be the one that kills him first. He needs the money earned from touring to help pay his medical bills. These are the health problems he's had to deal with:
Rectal cancer, again
Blinding pain caused by severe spinal damage
Having part of his stomach and intestines removed because of the rectal cancer
Hearing of his financial plight, you'd think he's scrambling for some late-in-life cash to make up for the time he bought Bengal tigers for everyone in his entourage. Not so. Dale wears a colostomy bag beneath his clothes. His doctors recommend that he clean and redress his entry hole once a week, to which Dale calls bullshit. Following their directions made him unnecessarily suffer from the kind of infections that tend to occur when you poop from a hole in your stomach. So he'd rather re-patch twice a day and stay infection-free, but his insurance refuses to cover those costs. The only surefire way to get the out-of-pocket $3,000 a month he needs to cover the cost of the additional medical supplies is to tour.
IS THIS ROCK 'N' ROLL ENOUGH FOR YOU VULTURES?!
But touring has turned out to be a double-edged sword, kind of like the metaphorical one Dale uses to describe the pain in his spine every time he stands up. It pays the bills, sure, but he's in agony the whole time he's on stage. And there's always the chance that his medical equipment will fail him during a show. For example, just before taking the stage at a show in Las Vegas, his colostomy bag tore and liquid shit ran down his legs. His wife quickly washed all his clothes in a backstage sink. He put the clothes back on and proceeded to give the 90-minute performance fans had paid to see. Though you can't really put a price on getting to watch a sopping wet old man who smells vaguely like diarrhea play that song The Black Eyed Peas sampled for "Pump It."
Facing his own mortality every day for decades has given Dick Dale time to think about the perfect way to go: "On stage in an explosion of body parts." There is no more appropriate death for a guy who's barely being held together than to explode like a crash-test dummy toy while playing a guitar really fast.
#4. One Of The Greatest Pitchers Of All Time Became A Career Criminal In Retirement
As a Major League pitcher, Denny McLain won the American League Cy Young Award twice. He was 1968's AL MVP. He won 30 games that season. That hadn't been done since the 1930s, and no pitcher since has won more than 25 games in a season. He was also named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, an honor he shares with every sports legend you can imagine.
Denny was also kind of dumb. During the peak of his baseball career, he was named the starting pitcher for the 1969 All-Star Game in Washington, D.C., but he didn't show up to the game until more than halfway through because he was at a routine dentist appointment back in Detroit that he refused to reschedule.
A smile worth sabotaging a promising baseball career over.
When he retired, he used that same logic and applied it to business. He began his retirement by hustling golfers out of tons of cash. Denny was a pilot, too, and even owned his own small airline -- which he used to fly a wanted felon out of the U.S. for $160,000. He later became close friends and business partners with John Gotti Jr., the famous mobster. That friendship resulted in cocaine trafficking, embezzlement, and racketeering charges, and a 12-year prison sentence.
It seemed like Denny had finally hit rock bottom. He was released after five years and cleaned up his life. He even had his own sports radio show in Detroit for a while. It took a prison stint to break him, but he did it. He had gone clean. And then he went right back to prison for 6 years after he raided $2.5 million from the pension fund of a 100-year-old meat-packing company he helped run into the ground. With a little bit more effort, one day Denny's criminal career will be just as awe-inspiring as his baseball career.
#3. Gary Glitter Has Put A Lot Of Effort Into Being A Pedophile
There was a time when nearly every goal, touchdown, or run scored by a professional sports team playing at home was followed immediately by Gary Glitter's lyrically idiotic mega hit "Rock And Roll (Parts 1 And 2)."
With three words and a good guitar riff, Gary Glitter rocketed to stardom and made a ton of money, which he wisely invested in hairspray and shiny metal studs. His career looked good on the surface, but all that Gary Glittered was not Gary Gold.
"That joke up there? That joke is excellent."
He was arrested in 1997 after he took his laptop to be repaired and -- D'OH! -- he forgot to delete his vast collection of child porn. The offense got him a measly four-month prison sentence. But what must have really stung was when The Spice Girls cut his cameo from their movie Spice Word.
The child porn was bad enough, but the public opinion of his fellow Britons became unbearable after he was accused of having had sex with a teenage girl. So he hopped on his yacht and set sail on a globetrotting trip of pedophilia. He spent time in Cambodia, at least until they expelled him from the country, calling him "a threat to the security ... and to the national image of Cambodia." For perspective, for a while Cambodia was mostly known for their roving gangs of death squads.
He fled to Vietnam, where he had sex with two underage girls and was arrested as he was trying to flee for Thailand. The case was eventually dropped due to a lack of evidence.
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Gary Glitter on trial in 2006 looking like if Colonel Sanders was a kung-fu master.
A year after that, he was tried on charges of having sex with another two underage Vietnamese girls. He was found guilty within 24 hours and was sentenced to three years in prison and would be deported from the country upon release.
Then a 2012 documentary alleged that Glitter had sex with a 14-year-old girl in the dressing room of an English TV presenter, who also had a long, secret history of pedophilia. He was subsequently tried (again!) and sentenced to 16 years in prison.
This entry was a real bummer. So let's lighten the mood by moving on to a story about a beloved American icon possibly being held hostage!