Robert Downey, Jr’s performance in The Soloist, which opens next week, is already inspiring talk of another Oscar nomination—not bad for a guy who was wearing prison orange a few years ago. Here’s a look at his return and eight other classic second acts.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr.’s fall and rise has been the hot Hollywood story since he came back in a super-heroic way in 2008 with Iron Man and an Oscar nomination for Tropic Thunder. What more can we possibly say about an actor who fell down the rabbit hole – drug addiction, jail - and somehow climbed his way back out?
Paul Reubens was famous for playing the beloved children’s television character Pee-wee Herman, until 1991, when he became infamous for getting arrested for indecent exposure at an adult movie theatre. Though the incident probably scarred most of the kids who had grown up watching Pee-wee, it proved a good opportunity for Reubens to divorce himself from the character and pursue new, preferably clothed, territory.
You have to be amazed when a singer manages to escape unscathed from the allegation that he had sex with – and urinated on – an underage girl. It’s something of a miracle that R. Kelly’s career recovered, and even flourished, after the scandal. His 22-chapter, low-art masterpiece, Trapped in the Closet, led the way to much of the forgiveness.
Britney’s descent has been well documented by TMZ and other tabloid machines, every moment of head shaving and drunken driving captured for your viewing pleasure. It was uncomfortable to watch the teen queen pop star fall so far, culminating in her disastrous performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, where she stumbled glassy-eyed through robotic choreography on national television. But a stint in rehab and some serious counseling helped put her back on top. Her current single, “Womanizer,” has Britney back in top form.
Yes, you’ve heard the story a million times, but to truly appreciate how far Mickey Rourke has come, check out the two clips below: the first, from the 1991 bomb Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man; the second, from the already-classic beachfront scene in The Wrestler.
In the 1980s, “Baldwin” was a synonym for “hot guy.” More recently it’s been “never leave a voicemail that can destroy your career and/or your child’s sense of self-worth.” Even more recently than that, Alec Baldwin has come to mean award-winning funny. We offer you a snippet of the message that almost put him under, and a clip from 30 Rock, the show that’s made his star shine brightly once more.
Okay, so Paris Hilton didn’t have far to fall. The celebutante was one of the beautiful people famous for being famous. But she could have become a permanent joke thanks to a leaked sex tape, a flop of a singing career, and a stint in a minimum-security prison for drunk driving. But the bombshell heiress has managed to carve out a respectable niche for herself thanks to this clever 2008-election parody for Funny or Die.
Drew’s been on the straight and narrow for so long that it’s hard to remember she’s the same wild child who flashed David Letterman in a raucous 1995 appearance on The Late Show. After her turn in E.T. at the age of 7, she got caught up in the high-flying Hollywood lifestyle and landed in rehab at the tender age of 13. A suicide attempt a year later landed her in rehab again. Though she stayed sober after that, she still went through a rebellious phase, including posing for Playboy and the aforementioned Letterman flashing. But lately the actress has proven to be a top box office draw in hits like Never Been Kissed and 50 First Dates, and she co-starred with Jessica Lange in the film adaptation of Broadway’s Grey Gardens.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell has never met a phone she didn’t want to hurl at an assistant or maid. But that hasn’t kept her from booking jobs. After doing community service and completing an anger management course after one of her cellular attacks, Campbell went on to grace the cover of Vogue Italia. Just don’t let her borrow your iPhone.
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