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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • Rags to Riches: Celebrities who went from poor to posh

    Shatner and his wife Elizabeth pose with a member of the RCMP during the 41st Juno Awards in Ottawa in 2012.

    With so many feeling the sting of the economic downturn of the past years, it’s sometimes hard to see Hollywood’s elite living the high life, decade in and decade out.

    But not everyone in Tinseltown has lived the luxurious life since birth.

    In fact, some of our favorite tabloid stars and residents of Malibu and Bel Air came from the most humble beginnings, calling shelters, trailer parks, and even the back of their car home before breaking into the big time.

    Our friends at tracked down several of the stars who went from rags and wretched to rich and famous.

    (Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library, Taylor Hill/Getty Image)

    William Shatner in High School, 1948, Would Live In His Truck

    The Canadian actor and producer is perhaps best known as Captain Kirk of the wildly successful “Star Trek” franchise, which began first as a TV series in 1966. But before “Star Trek” became the phenomenon it is today, the original Captain Kirk boldly went where many impoverished actors had gone before. After his divorce and the cancellation of “Star Trek” in 1969, Shatner even lived in his truck for a while.

    William Shatner is Worth $300 Million Today
    After the “Star Trek” series ended, Shatner went on to star in “T.J. Hooker” from 1982 to 1986 and in the six successful film follow-ups to the “Star Trek” TV show. Today, he is worth a whopping $300 million.

    The former Priceline Negotiator was said to have made a $600 million deal to be the company’s spokesperson, but Shatner denied it on Twitter, tweeting “Someone stupid said a stupid thing about me making $600M. It ain’t so. Relatives are coming out of the woodwork. Too bad it never happened.”

    See all 12 stars who went from rags to riches at

    (Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library, Jason Merritt/Getty Image)

    Tom Cruise in High School, 1980, Was Going To Be A Priest

    Tom Cruise experienced a difficult childhood, with parents who were constantly on the move in search of employment. He attended 15 different schools in both the United States and Canada. By the time he settled in New Jersey with his mother and stepfather, Cruise had dreams of becoming a Catholic priest and taking a vow of poverty, until he decided to go to New York City at age 18 to pursue acting.

    Tom Cruise is Worth $250 Million Today
    It didn’t take long for the actor with the million-dollar grin to make his mark on Hollywood. Cruise debuted in the film “Endless Love” in 1981. Leads in highly successful films followed, such as “Top Gun” (1986), “Rain Man” (1988), and “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989).

    He also appeared in hits such as the “Mission Impossible” franchises, “Minority Report” (2002), “War of the Worlds” (2005), and “Jerry Maguire” (1996), for which he received an Oscar nomination. He’ll next be seen in 2012’s “Rock of Ages.” Today, Cruise is thought to be worth $250 million.

    See all 12 stars who went from rags to riches at

    (Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library, Simon Russell/Getty Image)

    Sarah Jessica Parker in 7th Grade, 1978, Was Raised In Poverty

    Before Sarah Jessica Parker was the epitome of New York style as “Sex and the City’s” Carrie Bradshaw, she was one of eight siblings growing up in relative poverty in Nelsonville, Ohio. Her mother was a teacher and her stepfather, who raised her, was often out of work. She began singing and dancing at a young age to help support the family.

    In 1976, she won her first role on Broadway in “The Innocents.” Because of her humble beginning, Parker is pragmatic about wealth. “I don’t want my children to feel they have a sense of entitlement. I want them to work hard and be challenged,” the actress has said. “That’s hard to do when you have everything you need and want, so I am working on those values all the time.”

    Sarah Jessica Parker is Worth $90 Million Today
    After her 1982 breakout role as the lead in TV’s “Square Pegs”, Parker worked steadily in both TV and film. She appeared in hits such as “L.A. Story” (1991) and “Honeymoon in Vegas” (1992). In 1998, she landed her seminal role as Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City” TV series and even produced the successful movies of the same name. Today, the actress is said to be worth $90 million.

    Click here to see entire gallery of stars who went from rags to riches

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