Celeb Drug Addictions

Charlie Sheen is heading back to rehab and Two and a Half Men is halting production. From Belushi to Monroe, see other celebrities who held up their TV and film projects because of addiction.

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AP Photo

John Belushi


Belushi’s deranged brand of comic genius was fuel for Saturday Night Live’s early fire, but his dependence on drugs and alcohol made him an unreliable cast member, showing up late or not at all. In 1982, Belushi died of a drug overdose. He was 33.

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Richard Burton


Burton, a heavy drinker, suffered from chronic back pain. It turns out that his entire spine was coated in crystallized alcohol, requiring risky spinal surgery that caused him to drop out of the stage version of Camelot in 1981.

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Montgomery Clift



Clift, who often mixed painkillers with alcohol, fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a telephone poll during the filming of the 1957 film Raintree County. His costar and friend, Liz Taylor, pulled him out of the wreckage and helped nurse him back to health, but production on the film was delayed for weeks. Clift’s face was never the same, and his drinking turned into full-fledged alcoholism. He died nine years later of a coronary event.

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Robert Downey, Jr.


Despite spending nearly a year in jail for drug possession – a sentence that came only after multiple run-ins with the law – Downy Jr. was hired to star in Ally McBeal a week after his release. He was arrested for possession again in November of that year, and then once more in April of 2001, at which point showrunner David E. Kelley drew the line. Kelley fired the troubled actor, choosing instead to reshoot and rewrite the rest of the season around his absence. Downey Jr. was also forced to drop out of the Julia Roberts film America’s Sweethearts (John Cusack got the part) and the starring role in a stage production of Hamlet , forcing the production – directed by Mel Gibson – to shutter.

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Chris Farley



The larger-than-life funnyman followed in the footsteps of his hero John Belushi, both as an SNL superstar and a troubled addict. He died in 1997 of an opiate and cocaine overdose, soon after the filming of Almost Heroes, a buddy comedy with Matthew Perry. As a result, the studio shelved the film for more than a year, and it performed poorly at the box office.

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Judy Garland



The troubled icon allegedly was given amphetamines as a child star to help maintain her energy during long days, which led to a lifetime of addiction. Garland was rumored to be the basis for one of the three main characters in the pill-popping potboiler Valley of the Dolls, and when the book was made into a movie in 1967, an older Garland was cast in the supporting role of a legendary but ruthless stage star. But Garland was too damaged by her addiction to continue, and had to be replaced by Susan Hayward three days into production.

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Lindsay Lohan


Lohan’s current trip to rehab forced her to give up the role of Linda Lovelace in Inferno, the upcoming Deep Throat biopic, since producers could no longer hold up production (the part, much prized by Lohan, went to Anna Faris instead). At least in this instance, she had a good excuse. During the filming of 2007’s Georgia Rule, the studio president sent her a letter (cc’d to the media) threatening a lawsuit if her unprofessional behavior – which coincided with stories of Lohan’s rampant partying – further held up production.

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Demi Lovato



Disney star Lovato was only 18 when she checked into rehab for “physical and emotional issues” last year. But the move had a ripple effect on her burgeoning career: it halted production of Sonny with a Chance, a Disney channel sketch comedy show in which she played the title character. She also had to stop performing as part of the Jonas Brothers Camp Rock 2 tour. Lovato finished her three-month stint in rehab this month, but has not decided if she’ll return to Sonny, which has restructured the plot and resumed filming in her absence.

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Marilyn Monroe


The set of the 1961 western The Misfits was an overall dysfunctional place. Director John Huston drank to the point of passing out on set, but it was Monroe’s deepening alcohol and drug dependency that led to the greatest delays. Huston shut down production for six weeks so Monroe could attend rehab, but when she returned to set, her performance and attendance still suffered. The film would be her last: She died in 1962.

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Mackenzie Phillips



The daughter of Mamas and the Papas icon John Phillips has had a tremendously tumultuous life, and the first signs of trouble appeared on the set of her 1977 sitcom, One Day at a Time. During the third season, Phillips, the star of the show, began appearing late, forgetting her lines, and acting incoherently. Thanks to her haggard appearance, she needed to be shot with specific lighting, extra makeup, and creative camera angles. Producers gave her a six-week hiatus to get her act together, to no avail (she said she went to the dentist and got a haircut instead of going to rehab). She resigned from the show under pressure from the producers in 1980, was invited back in 1981, and written off for good in 1982.

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Oliver Reed



The burly British actor was once provided excessive booze by talk shows looking to make entertainment out of his serious drinking problem, which turned this esteemed actor into a lecherous, combative drunk. Still, he continued to be a revered dramatic presence, and was cast in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator as Proximo, the freed slave who turns Russell Crowe into a noble fighter. After a night of excessive drinking while on location, Reed suffered a fatal heart attack. Scott had to digitally manipulate parts of the film to compensate for the legendary star’s absence.

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Martin Sheen


From all reports, the set of Apocalypse Now was a disaster, plagued in part by the hard-partying habits of the cast and crew and creative changes by the director, Francis Ford Coppola. Things were already running behind schedule in 1977 when star Martin Sheen, who had been drinking heavily, suffered a heart attack. Coppola had to use Sheen’s brother, Joe Estevez, in some shots and for voiceover work, but filming was severely delayed for about six weeks while the cast and crew tried to shoot around their missing star. After he recovered, Sheen cut down on his drinking and drug use and developed a deep commitment to politics and spirituality.

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Lauren Tewes


Sunny, sweet Julie McCoy was a much beloved character on TV’s The Love Boat. The actress who played her, Lauren Tewes, however, had a less wholesome reputation. After landing the role in 1977, she developed a severe cocaine problem. Tewes constantly showed up late to work, costing the production team so much money in lost time that she was asked to take a pay cut by the 1984 season. Tewes agreed, but in the end producers decided not to renew her contract. She was replaced by actress Pat Klous, who played Julie’s sister.