Famous People Who Were Total Nobodies While They Were Alive

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Famous people, for all their creativity and ingenuity, are often rewarded with fortune, the limelight, and probably toilet paper made out of $100 bills. Unless you're anyone on this list, that is.

Because it turns out that when fortune smiles upon you, there's no designated time in which she does. And sadly, some of the most famous people on the planet only became so after they kicked the bucket.

Entry by Giovenna

H. P. Lovecraft was mostly unknown during his lifetime. The creator of Cthulhu only ever wrote for pulp magazines, earning barely enough to cover his

Entry by jofride

James Dean's stardom lasted just one year. Other than bit parts, Dean was in only three movies. Two of those were released after his death, including


Vincent van Gogh died as he was starting to get attention. Some of van Gogh's most famous paintings were completed not too long before his death, when

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Very little is known about Robert Johnson. Johnson is considered one of the best guitar players in history, and an inspiration for Bob Dylan, Keith Ri

Entry by Kevin King

Herman Melville died unappreciated. RACTOO Herman Melville MOBY DICK Melville made very little as an author. His novel Moby Dick, now taught in school

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John Kennedy Toole died thinking he was a failure. A Cnfederacy of Dunces Toole's novel ANovel by John Kennedy toole Foreword bv Walker Parcy A Confed

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Confucius wasn't always popular. While Kong Qiu had some loyal students, he was relatively unknown in China during his lifetime. Only centuries later

Entry by djHanDon

Paul Gauguin died poor and alone. Despite painting several masterpieces, Gauguin failed to make much of an impression on turn- of-the-century critics

Entry by djHanDon

El Greco was snubbed for dissing Michelangelo. Domenikos Theotokopoulos (E1 Greco) had the chutzpah to dismiss the great masters. Because of his con


THE DEADI Ed Wood wasn't a cult director while he lived. Shortly after LMSPEAKAPO HocRe FRc Wood's death, OLITER SPAe PARALYZE THE LIING AND RESURRET

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Jack Kirby never profited from Marvel's success. Not only was he overshadowed by the more media- friendly Stan Lee, but Kirby's contributions were wo

Entry by Comunacho

prueel ati Jane Austen was all but unread for decades. he it Popular interest in ter affam Austen's work was only sparked when her nephew published he

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Camille Claudel was overshadowed by Rodin and isolated by her family. Claudel apprenticed with renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin, and they had a long an

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CRACKED.COM Stieg Larsson became a bestselling author after his death. Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, all published after


Otis Redding had his greatest hit after his death. Redding's song (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay reached the #1 spot in the Billboard charts in 19

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Gregor Mendel's work was overlooked in his time. Mendel's experiments with peas were taken to be applicable only to peas, even by himself. Today he's


CRACKED.COM Philip K. Dick died in poverty. Blade Runner, Total Recall, and other movies are based on Dick's work. He never enjoyed that cult status,

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CRACKED COM Modigliani's art wasn't understood during his lifetime. Amedeo Modigliani's art was too unconventional to be appreciated in the early 20th

Entry by squawkmookie

Emily Dickinson published only ten poems while alive. Dickinson was very reclusive and ambivalent about publication. After she died, her sister Lavini

Entry by Michael Voll

CRACKED COM Jonathan Larson never got to see Rent on stage. Larson wrote and composed the musical Rent, which went on to win pretty much all the award

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Eva Cassidy was known only in Washington, D.C. when she died. A couple years after her death from cancer in 1996, Cassidy became a sensation in the U.

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Edgar Allan Poe became a legend thanks to a spiteful rival. Poe never made much money from his writing while living. But sales of his books skyrockete

Entry by Kevin King

Nick Drake was mostly ignored. Drake recorded only three albums, none of which sold more than 5,000 copies during his lifetime. His popularity has gro

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Franz Kafka wanted his work destroved. Kafka burned many of his writings, and asked his friend Max Brod to burn the rest after his death. Brod ignored

Entry by NinjaBill

Bruce Lee wasn't too well-known in the U.S. Lee was already a big star in Asia, but it took 1973's Enter the Dragon to make him a true household name