"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 22 June 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
My Life as a Has-Been


Shortly after being arrested in

the nude for pummeling a

transvestite, former child actor

Danny Bonaduce was able to

launch a second career. The

Partridge Family alumnus hosted

a short-lived talk show,

reportedly boxed Donny Osmond,

and penned an article for

Esquire magazine in 1991: "My

Life as a Has-Been." The

touching memoir ("Isn't being

well-adjusted just so '80s?")

consisted mostly of bitchy

remarks about people like Kitten

from Father Knows Best, who

Bonaduce described as a junkie

prostitute. But it was certainly

a step up from Bonaduce's job

six years earlier as a security

guard in Marina Del Rey,



Flashback to the morning One Day

at a Time's MacKenzie Phillips

checked into rehab with her

heroin addict Papa John

Phillips. The revolution may not

have been televised, but it did

spawn a wave of mediocre

television actors being picked

up for various forms of

substance abuse. In addition to

Phillips, the book TV Babylon

cites Anissa Jones - Family

Affair's Buffy - who overdosed

on quaaludes and liquor. TV

Guide's "Book of Lists" adds

Lassie's Tommy Rettig, who was

arrested on pot-growing and

cocaine-smuggling charges, and

Eight is Enough's Adam Rich for

three arrests in 1991 alone on

charges that included trying to

steal a syringe full of demerol.

One biographer noted that in

1971 the Monkees' Peter Tork

served three months after an

arrest for hashish possession,

and according to his Esquire

article, both Bonaduce and

Diff'rent Strokes's Todd Bridges

really, really enjoyed the way

cocaine smells up close. Despite

warnings about alcoholism on an

especially hard-hitting episode

of the Brady Brides in 1981, its

message was apparently lost on

Mike "Bobby Brady" Lookinland,

who earlier this month was

charged for rolling his Bronco

while driving with an alcohol

blood level three times the

legal limit.


These stars are rewriting the

rules of Hollywood - getting

themselves arrested is all they

can do - but some bitter

non-celebrities are secretly

applauding the break in the

sterile domesticity that

Lookinland portrayed. The

notoriously cheery sitcom's

cramped, stifling domesticity

has long since been replaced by

a kind of backlash, with '90s

viewers now preferring to watch

children advised by Isaac Hayes

on matters of interspecies sex.

Of course, there's also an

inherent hypocrisy in

Hollywood's depiction of

childhood fantasies. The actor

behind Peter Pan died a

penniless drug addict. Judy

Garland's notorious pill-popping

supposedly got its start on the

set of The Wizard of Oz. But

jaded Hollywood scandal fans

recognize a clear line between

responsible recreational drug

use and use to excess. For them,

Oz-based hallucinations are

almost a tradition, and minor

celebrities scandals are about as

troublesome as the fact that

David Cassidy just released a techno

version of "I Think I Love You."


Drinking games are just the

first step. Fan fiction sites

adopt celebrities like so many

stick puppets, but only to

depict them in their own

drug-crazed stupors, savoring

unlikely sexual situations and

fevered testicle-centric

obsessions. Wayward celebrities

are just giving their fans what

they want: humiliation,

orgiastic debasement, total

moral and physical collapse.


"Life on the talk-show circuit

is filled with many

indignities," Bonaduce wrote,

citing a surprise urine test on

The Joan Rivers Show as just one

of countless examples. But

there's a kind of naked

opportunism in scandal-flogging,

and it's prone to backfire. When

Patty Hearst pleads she's being

framed for receiving marijuana

in the mail, all sympathy rolls

to Bob Denver (aka Gilligan),

who's charged with doing the

same thing deliberately. The

63-year-old actor now faces six

months in prison for possession.

Unfortunately, loyal fans of the

sitcom will have to tune in next

week to see how the Little Buddy

gets out of this jam. Sure,

Denver's incarceration could

conceivably wake up TVLand to

the dangers of overcrowding

prison with small-time drug

offenders. But its far more

likely to simply remind them of

the episode where Gilligan goes

to jail for "as long as the

Skipper says."

courtesy of Destiny