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Viv Nicholson
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Gambler
    (April 3, 1936-April 11, 2015)
    Born in Castleford, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
    Won £152,319 (equivalent to over £3 million today) in a football pools win (1961)
    Wrote the autobiography 'Spend, Spend, Spend' (1976)
    The Guardian called her 'an instant white trash icon.'
    After her win, she told the press she was going to 'spend, spend, spend,' which she did until she was broke.
    Her attempts at staying in the public eye and earning more money included singing 'Hey Big Spender' at a strip club.
    She was deported from Malta for assaulting a cop.
    She was married five times and said she has trouble remembering the names of some of the later husbands.
    Nearly five decades after her win, when she was making £87 a week as a pensioner, she was still buying the latest designer dresses, producing repeated bank overdrafts.
    She said, 'People still stop me in the street and ask, 'Are you Spend, spend, spend?' And I usually reply, 'Yes, what's left of her.''
    Neither of her parents could work regularly due to chronic illnesses, so 'I was working to make ends meet by the time I was 12.'
    Keith Nicholson, who she said was the only one of her husbands she truly loved, died in a car crash (1965).
    A hefty tax assessment on Keith's estate was an additional blow to her precarious financial situation.
    She had to check herself into a mental home to escape her third husband, who brutally abused her during the four days they lived together.
    A musical based on her life (inevitably titled 'Spend, Spend, Spend') debuted successfully in London's West End (1998).
    Her picture was featured on the cover of the Smiths' single 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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