Skip to Content
Flexer Law Flexer Law
Call Us Today! 615-805-6374

Famous Bankruptcies


Bankruptcy does not equal failure. Some people view bankruptcy as the ultimate humiliation, but this view is narrow and misguided. In fact, bankruptcy is a chance for a new beginning. A clean slate. Many wildly successful Americans – including presidents, inventors, authors, and musicians – either started or re-started their careers by filing for bankruptcy.

Famous People Who Have Filed Bankruptcy

Henry Ford

After two failed attempts at starting automobile companies, Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy twice before founding Ford Motor Company in 1903.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney filed for bankruptcy in 1923 after his first film company failed. Five years later, he debuted Mickey Mouse, and the rest is history.

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln faced many failures in his life, from 8 election losses to a nervous breakdown, but he did not give up. He was forced into bankruptcy in the 1830s after his business partner ran their business into the ground and then passed away. Lincoln was required to repay his debt of over $1,000, which took him several years. Of course, he went on to be one of our most famous and beloved presidents, elected in 1860 and again in 1864.

William McKinley

The 25th President of the United States went bankrupt after his business investment in a tin plate company went sour in the depression in 1893. His friends raised money to help him repay approximately $130,000 in debt. He won the presidency 3 years later and was responsible for leading the United States through a period of rapid economic growth.

Milton Hershey

Hershey apprenticed for four years at a candy shop, then started his own candy business in New York City. However, that business never got off the ground, so he filed bankruptcy and returned home to Pennsylvania to make caramels from fresh milk. He sold his caramel company for $1 million in 1900, then went on to focus on making milk chocolate. The Hershey Company now employs close to 15,000 people and brought in over $7 billion in revenue in 2013.

Henry John Heinz

H.J. Heinz got his start by making horseradish sauce from his mother’s recipe. However, his company went bankrupt after a few years. He started a new business with his cousin making ketchup, which quickly took off.

Mark Twain

The author of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” liked to invest in new technology and inventions.  After investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a typesetting machine that was unsuccessful, he lost most of his book profits and his wife’s inheritance and was forced into bankruptcy. He arranged for a worldwide speaking tour to raise money to repay his debts.

Famous Musicians Who Filed Bankruptcy

Since Flexer Law is located in Music City USA, it is only fitting that we have an honorable mentions section for successful musicians who have filed bankruptcy. Despite hardships, they all managed to continue their successful careers.

  • Willie Nelson
  • Tammy Wynette
  • Toni Braxton
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Isaac Hayes
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Tom Petty
  • Ted Nugent
  • Vince Neil
  • Dee Snider

Experienced Bankruptcy Lawyers

Financial hardship can happen to anyone, and it doesn’t mean you will never be successful again. Bankruptcy laws exist to provide debt relief to Americans and help them get a new beginning. Contact Flexer Law for a FREE CONSULTATION with an expert bankruptcy attorney. We can help you explore your options to see if bankruptcy is the right path for you to get a fresh start.

Flexer Law Office Locations

  • Nashville
  • Murfreesboro
  • Columbia
Share To: