Once known for her confidence and charisma as Suzanne Sugarbaker on Designing Women, Delta Burke made headlines last year after opening up about her battle with compulsive hoarding syndrome.
How does someone who was once voted “most likely to succeed” in high school become a compulsive hoarder? Well, as Burke mentioned, oftentimes the ailment is hereditary. Eighty-five percent of people who hoard can identify another family member who has the problem, according to the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA, San Diego. Other times, hoarding can be a result of neuropsychiatric disorders like eating disorders and is frequently linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Burke has a history of both disorders.
Adding to the list of celebrity hoarders, Andy Warhol collected over 400,000 objects in the last 15 years of his life, according to Matt Wrbican, an archivist at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Among the many items Warhol accumulated were newspaper clippings, unpaid invoices, pornographic pulp novels, airline tickets, supermarket flyers, and postage stamps.
Wrbican spends his days sorting through the 610 cardboard boxes, known as “time capsules,” that Warhol left behind.
“It would be easy to label the stuff ‘junk,’ but they’re really archives,” said Wrbican during an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.
Wrbican added that when Warhol went on trips he would not only bring home typical souvenirs but also, the porcelain, cutlery and menus he used on Air France Concorde.
As for Warhol’s four-story townhouse on the Upper East Side, his kitchen and bedroom were the only rooms he could walk through. Anything that couldn’t fit in his home was transfered to a nearby storage unit.
Hoarders have also graced the pages of classic novels like Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls. One of the characters, Plyushkin, collects and saves everything he comes across – including a cake that is several years old, which he consumes after asking his servants to scrape off the mold.
In Russia, the name “Plyushkin” has become synonymous with people who accumulate useless objects. Those people are said to have “Plyushkin syndrome” or “Plyushkin symptom.”