Hollywood—According To Those "In The Know"


Wayne Lela

(Author's note: This is the original, unedited version of the article, though I continually update it with relevant material.)

Actors and actresses and comedians and comediennes have exerted enormous influence over this society via TV and cinema. Assuming we should know more about the kind of people exerting that influence, the following. As will be shown, drug use, prostitution (i.e., trading sexual favors for movie roles), and mental illness are very common in Hollywood.

Various entertainment writers have drawn attention to the widespread use of illegal drugs in Hollywood. For example:

1) Roger Ebert: "Half the people in Hollywood seem to have gone through recovery from drugs and alcohol by now [1990]."1

2) Jorge Casuso: "During the freewheeling '70s, Hollywood seemed to be riding a coke-induced high. On screen, recreational drugs were the props of the glamorous...[or] they were psychedelic aids in the search for Truth....Off-screen, drugs were part of the Hollywood mystique, seemingly taken as casually as a cocktail. Business deals were cut over vials of cocaine."2

3) Michael Kilian: "Hollywood was notorious [this said in 1984] for its nonchalantly open use of the drug [cocaine] by celebrities."3

4) Clarence Petersen wrote in 1992: Hollywood is "a mean town, run by weird men (mostly) addicted to power, money, deals, drugs, and bimbos."4

5) Walter Scott: "A knowledgeable studio executive tells Parade [magazine in 1996] that drug use is as big---or bigger---than ever in the movie capitol [Hollywood]."5

6) Hilary de Vries, in 1998, noted "Hollywood's renewed use of drugs."6

7) And film critic Michael Wilmington, in 1998, similarly observed that "a sort of heroin/cocaine chic exists in today's Hollywood."7

(Drug use in Hollywood is so "normal" one has to wonder just how corrupt the police force and judicial system have become. And don't Hollywood's drug users care that they are supporting murderous drug kingpins and gangs and armies in Columbia and Mexico and elsewhere?)

Wherever you find rampant drug use you will usually find prostitution. It's no big secret that there are a lot of prostitutes in Hollywood. What you may not know, though, is how many actors/actresses prostitute themselves in order to get acting work.

Actor Woody Harrelson admitted: "Every [acting] business I ever entered into in New York seemed to have a casting couch....I've seen so many people sleep with people they loathe in order to further their ambition."8

Actress Jenny McCarthy similarly acknowledged: "L.A. [Los Angeles] is the worst place in the world to try to feel secure. The girls that moved out there at the same time as me, I watched them fizzle and turn into walking on the streets at night. You see that in the movies and hear about casting couches---which I thought were just big fluffy couches---but you don't know till you experience it how corrupt it is. I was the only girl in my clique who wasn't sleeping with someone to get a job."9

Chris Hanley, producer of over 20 movies ("American Psycho," "The Virgin Suicides," etc.), "told his class reunion at Amherst College in Massachusetts about the Hollywood casting process: 'Almost every leading actress in all of my 24 films has slept with a director or producer or a leading actor to get the part that launched her career.'"10

Entertainment writer Peter Keough describes Hollywood as "a town where everyone is selling body and soul for fame and fortune, and all---especially women---are considered commodities."11

Entertainment writer Jon Anderson: "Insecure, seeking love, terrified of abandonment, needing public acclaim to quell their private demons, [such are] the creatures who rise to rule over the West Coast entertainment industry....[Former show-business writer Paul] Rosenfield offers evidence [in his book The Club Rules] that this is a world of shallow friendships, blocked emotions, [and] upwardly mobile sex."12

Entertainment writer Bill Zwecker: "Hollywood---a town known for rampant infidelity, sleazy affairs, marital woes and serial romances."13

A couple of business writers, Carol S. Pearson and Sharon Sievert, have noted that in an "organization where it has become normal to sacrifice one's personal life and one's ethical standards to career success...people with deep-seated psychological problems or serious addictions often rise to the top because pathology actually is a pre-condition for making the extraordinary personal sacrifices and ethical compromises required for success."14

An article in the Nov./Dec. 2019 Psychology Today noted something similar: "people with mental disorders so easily rise to positions of power" (Steve Taylor, "In the Seat of Pathocracy," p. 28).

And once psychologically troubled people become successful, wealthy and powerful, they can do a lot of damage to society. As Lord Acton famously said: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Journalist Paul Krugman has similarly noted: "Wealth can be bad for your soul. That's not just a hoary piece of folk wisdom; it's a conclusion from serious social science, confirmed by statistical analysis and experiment. The affluent are, on average, less likely to exhibit empathy, less likely to respect norms and even laws, more likely to cheat, than those occupying lower rungs on the economic ladder" ("Privilege, Pathology and Power," New York Times, Jan. 1, 2016, p. A19).

Greedy Hollywood liberals offer much support for the observation that many of those who are successful and wealthy are also psychologically troubled.

For example, actress and comedienne Janeane Garofalo admitted: "My self-esteem is always in the toilet....Show business attracts the people with the lowest self-esteem."15

Actor Simon Pegg: "Part of the reason you're an actor is because you're deeply insecure."16

Actor Joe Manganiello was once a "scrawny teen [who] was bullied by his peers, breeding a deep insecurity that stayed with him for years."17

Actress Meryl Streep: "Anybody who picks acting as a profession is bathed in insecurity....I've had those feelings."18

Actress Ali Larter was another bathed in insecurity. "[D]espite her early [acting] success, Larter says she never felt good enough....'[I'd come] home at the end of the day crying because I wasn't good enough.'"19

Actress Emma Stone was once a "little girl with crippling anxiety."20

"Even after winning an Oscar, an Emmy and a Grammy, Kate Winslet [also] has moments of self-doubt. 'When I get to the set on day one, I still feel like I've never made a film before and I'm a complete s--- [sic].'"21

In his youth, Leonardo DiCaprio "was a small boy, lonely, with few friends. He got beat up a lot. 'I never belonged,' he says."22 DiCaprio, who, like so many Hollywood celebs, came from a broken home, answered thusly a question about why he became an actor: "We're all after love, aren't we? Love is what people are hungry for. That's absolutely why I became an actor."23 (So many celebs are in therapy because they look for love in all the wrong places, as a song put it, going unfulfilled forever. DiCaprio is sadly mistaken when he essentially equates or confuses the shallow adoration of fans with love. Others sadly and misguidedly confuse sex with love.)

Actor Shia LaBeouf: "Actors live dependent on being validated by other people's opinions....The good actors are all screwed up. They're all in pain. It's a profession of bottom feeders and heartbroken people."24

"Actor Ryan Phillippe...has struggled with depression his whole life. 'You know, depression has been a huge obstacle for me ever since I was a child.'"25

Actress Anne Heche says she was "sexually abused by her father" when she was a child, and later as an adult suffered a psychological breakdown.26

Actor Marlon Brando had "an alcoholic mother and abusive father,...[and he] lacked self-esteem [and] battled lonliness."27

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman "spoke of the tortures of the damned he endured, regularly, when rehearsing or shooting a project....[He was a] demon-haunted star with lifelong addiction struggles."28

Chris Lemmon, son of actor Jack Lemmon, acknowledged that his dad had a "darker side. 'He had demons.'"29 For example, his dad had a "20-year bout with alcoholism."30

Old-time actor Robert Ryan "had his demons, alcohol and depression among them."31

Actress and director Katt Shea had "trauma-filled elementary schooldays. 'I don't know why a certain kid is picked as the scapegoat,' she says, recalling 'very, very painful' years as an outcast in grade school....Shea admits she's 'probably socially dysfunctional.'...To combat her fears and to do something with her life, she chose acting."32

Actor Bryan Cranston on his childhood: "Not a childhood that I would want for others."33

Actor Thomas Middleditch was "bullied all through elementary and junior high school."34

Actor Michael J. Fox also felt like somewhat of an outcast when young: "You become an actor because you're a 15-year-old geek. Ten years later you're on magazine covers because you focused your neuroses in a malleable craft."35

Actor Eric Mabius: "Actors are usually terribly neurotic and worried about what people are thinking of them."36

Like Michael J. Fox, actor Jeff Dorchen also admitted to feeling "geeky" when younger. He described his fellow college arts students as "a bunch of people who, like myself, had been geeks and weirdos in high school."37

Actor Dennis Quaid on his high school years: "I wasn't a popular kid. I spent a lot of time by myself."38

Actor Henry Cavill had an "awkward adolescence...[which he mined] to play a [movie] character steeped in lonliness and confusion."39

Actor Paul Rudd: "I always felt a little bit like an outsider [in high school]. My senior year, I got more confident, I didn't feel like a total nerd."40

When actor Charles Durning enrolled in drama school he "was a dreadfully shy person" by his own admission.41

Actor Gavin MacIntosh: "I didn't have any [friends when young]....I wasn't sociable. I was kind of reserved and shy."42

Actress Ingrid Bergman, who had a sad childhood partly because her parents died when she was young, admitted this about herself: "I was the shyest creature in the world but I had a lion in me that wouldn't keep quiet."43 (One has to wonder if she was bipolar.)

Actress Patty Duke, who was ultimately diagnosed with bipolar disorder, had an "unstable mother [who] turned over her [Patty's] care to exploitative talent managers John and Ethel Ross....[Patty's] teenage years were miserable, and the Rosses encouraged her to take alcohol and prescription drugs starting when she was 13."44

Actress Claire Bloom described those in the theatrical profession thusly: "we were all outsiders of one kind or another."45

U.S. News & World Report on Steven Spielberg: "An awkward outsider in his youth,...Spielberg found in his father's 8-mm camera a means of escape and connection."46

Actor Cory Monteith "grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, feeling like an outsider....'I never fit in, so I started pretending I was other people.'"47

Actress Charlize Theron, who's father was an alcoholic killed by her mother in self-defense: "I always felt like an outsider [when I was young]."48

Actress Zooey Deschanel: "Feeling like an outsider is part of my nature."49

Actor Daniel Radcliffe, in response to an interviewer's question ("Growing up, did you have the sense of being an outsider?"), answered: "Totally! I remember being 6 years old and knowing that I saw the world differently from the rest of the boys in my class. I have always said to myself there must be a reason for me being this weird."50

Actress Jennifer Morrison: "I was a misunderstood kid. With [the] Cinderella [fairy tale], I [when a child] related to being on the outside and wanting to be understood."51

Screenwriter Graham Moore: "Feeling like a social misfit, I was drawn to other people who were outsiders."52

Actress Carrie Brownstein: "We've [i.e., she and her good friend, actor Fred Armisen] always felt like we are outsiders. There's a feeling of acceptance and home that we have with each other. It's like finding a fellow weirdo and being able to feel normal."53

Film director Bryan Singer on him and filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie, who have been friends since their childhoods: "We're the two kids who were always on the outside."54

Outsiders, outcasts, geeks, weirdos, neurotics, people with low self-esteem, prostitutes, and drug users---these are the types of people who are exercising enormous influence over our children via the entertainment industry.

And speaking of kids, child-actors in Hollywood are subjected to their own special pressures. According to actor Christian Slater: "You know, I had this belief system for many years that I had to suffer for my art....I thought if I didn't suffer for my art, I couldn't get really deeply into a character....That's what they teach young kids in this [acting] business."55 All we need are more suffering children.

Actor and comedian John Cleese: "A lot of creative ability does come from neuroses, pain."56

It's not just creative ability that comes from pain and suffering, but, ironically, comedy too.

Comedian Alan King stated this about fellow comedians: "[T]here is some form of deprivation---a large family, an affliction, alcoholic parents---something in early life, that creates this need to attract, to be paid attention to, to be loved. It's been said many times, including by Lenny Bruce: 'If it hurts, wait a minute; it'll become comedy.'"57

Billy Crystal: "I think so much of comedy is based on an anger. We're always looking for approval, looking for somebody to listen to us."58

Comedian Jim "Carrey said his sense of humor 'has always come from desperation.' This desperation for attention led to his performance debut in 3rd grade."59

Rodney Dangerfield: "People think comedians are happy people....It's the reverse. When I was writing jokes when I was 15, it wasn't because I was happy. It was to escape my reality."60

Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones drew attention to "the universal truth that comedians rarely have funny lives"61 and that "many of the best comedians had rough childhoods and troubled personal lives in adulthood."62

Comedienne Phyllis "Diller thinks there is one universal thing about standup comics. 'They usually are only children, or a child born late in life, or someone who has suffered some sense of abandonment. Check it out. It's true of almost all comics. Comics are searching for love.'"63

Cartoonist/humorist Gahan Wilson: "I think it was S.J. Perelman who said that the requisite for any humorist is an unhappy childhood....For most creative people, there's a great deal of storm and stress associated with it, one way or another. Mine was plenty traumatic."64

Comedy writer Diane English: "The definition of a comedy writer is somebody who did not have a pleasant childhood...and I can definitely put myself in that category."65

Comedian Jim J. Bullock: "Most comedians come from dysfunctional families."66

Comedienne Sarah Silverman on comedic talent: "It's almost like a sickness....I think it comes from some kind of damage or some kind of need or means of survival."67

From TV critic Neal Justin: "Many comedians suffer from depression."68

Theater critic Hedy Weiss: "there is more than a little truth to the notion that while comics make others laugh they themselves often are crying on the inside."69

From film critic Richard Roeper: "Most of the best comics are dark, disturbed, brilliant observers of the human condition."70

Comedian Richard Lewis had a "miserable childhood...[and a later] bout with alcoholism."71

Comedian Adam Carolla: "I had a crappy childhood in terms of my parents were just, I don't know, I always kind of wonder why they had kids. They just weren't into it....I suppose they were depressed most of the time."72

Comedian Sid Caesar experienced "emotional problems...[and had a] tormented inner life."73

Comedienne Whitney Cummings: "My biggest obstacle [to success] was myself, my self-doubt and my low self-esteem."74

"In 2010 [comedian Robin] Williams [who ultimately committed suicide] talked to an interviewer from London's Guardian newspaper about his demons, chemical and psychological, and how pouring himself into work didn't really help."75

"Comedians are notorious for often being miserable human beings off-camera, insecure and misanthropic."76

Chicago Tribune writer Mary Schmich wrote about "the perpetually dark soul that is the curse of so many funny people."77

To return to the subject of child-actors for a moment, in late 2011 film critic Roger Ebert referred to a "recent controversy about Hollywood child sexual abuse and the victims who aren't naming names."78 There is more about this outrage in a Fox News story http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2011/12/05/recent-charges-sexual-abuse-children-in-hollywood-just-tip-iceberg-experts-say/. From that story:

Actor Corey Feldman, 40, himself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by an unnamed Hollywood mogul, "unflinchingly warned of the world of pedophiles who are drawn to the entertainment industry last August. 'I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia.'"

"Another child star from an earlier era agrees that Hollywood has long had a problem with pedophilia. 'When I watched that interview, a whole series of names and faces from my history went zooming through my head,' [said] Paul Peterson, 66, star of The Donna Reed Show....'Some of these people, who I know very well, are still in the game....The casting couch is a real thing, and sometimes just getting an appointment makes people do desperate things [like prostitute themselves].'"

According to actress Alison Arngrim: "This has been going on for a very long time....It was the gossip back in the '80s. People said, 'Oh yeah, the Coreys [Corey Feldman and actor Corey Haim], everyone's had them. People talked about it like it was not a big deal....I literally heard that they were passed around....The word was that they were given drugs and being used for sex. It was awful---these were kids, they weren't 18 yet. There were all sorts of stories about everyone from their, quote, 'set guardians' on down that these two had been sexually abused and were totally being corrupted in every possible way."

Actor Elijah Wood, "in a new [May 2016] interview with the Sunday Times, is accusing Tinseltown [Hollywood] of having a pedophilia problem, saying 'a lot of vipers' are preying on children in the business."79

And if all that wasn't enough to make the case that Hollywood really needs to be cleaned up, there is this somewhat political fact about Hollywood: So many producers and directors and actors are judgmental liberal bigots who believe it's okay to discriminate against conservatives who are in "the biz." As Prof. Patricia F. Phalen, described by USA Today as "a recognized expert on the American TV industry," has noted: "It's no secret that liberal viewpoints are the 'gold standard' in Hollywood, or that careers can rise and fall according to one's political beliefs."80

I think we can safely conclude from all the aforegoing personal testimonials and personal observations by those in a position to know, that many influential actors and comedians are not exactly psychologically "normal" or healthy. Add to them the many drug-using, promiscuous, influential rock 'n' roll stars.

Given all that, is it any wonder sexual exploitation (i.e. promiscuity) is becoming more and more acceptable? And extra-marital cheating a la Bill Clinton? Is it any wonder we have an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases? A high divorce rate? A high teen suicide rate?

Is it any wonder we have a high out-of-wedlock birth rate? So many young girls becoming mothers? So many fatherless homes? "Gang-banging" kids killing other young gang members? It seems like the patients are taking over the asylum.

If we are ever going to durably reverse these trends, if we are ever going to reduce/eliminate the influence of depraved people, we are going to have to do a much better job of learning and imparting moral truths.

But we don't teach morality like we teach math or physics or English. We hardly teach morality at all; and it's such a complex subject it's difficult to expect people to learn it on their own.

As a society, we not only need to learn how to logically defend our values; but once we learn that, we must teach our children those logical defenses. If we don't, we can't expect them to blindly or automatically adopt those values. It's just not realistic.

One last note: Hereinabove was much anecdotal support for a link between creativity and psychopathology. But there is more than just anecdotal support available. For example, researchers have found evidence "indicating that creativity and psychosis share genetic roots."81 So, while we should applaud creative people when they create something worthwhile, generally speaking we should not look at them as role models unless we want a more psychologically unhealthy world. Creative people need to get the message that they shouldn't be judging us, telling us how to live, telling us what's right and wrong, etc. They need to get the message that they aren't exactly experts in the fields of morality and psychological health, to say the least. So many creative but troubled people should humbly admit that they have psychological problems, that they are poor role models, and that they could benefit from therapy. Our young people are way too influenced by dysfunctional "famous" people. That's not good---for them or for us.


There is some good news. There finally are efforts to begin cleaning up the cesspool that is Hollywood. From a 2017 Chicago Tribune: When movie mogul "Harvey Weinstein was first accused of sexual assault, harassment and rape...[that] opened the floodgates, and over the past two months, hundreds of industry women and men have come forward to accuse Hollywood figures of similar offenses" ("Talent agency swaps party for harassment defense fund," Dec. 13, 2017, section 4, p. 5). Also, actor Corey Feldman is promising to shed a lot more light on Hollywood's pedophile scandal. Hopefully Americans will finally see how despicably corrupt Hollywood has been for years and will see how Hollywood, via its millions and millions of dollars of political donations, has thoroughly corrupted California politics (not to mention the politics in other states).


In this appendix are more recent quotes than those above. These quotes jibe with the quotes found in the main body of this composition.

Actor Michael Kenneth Williams experienced "years of wrestling with low self-esteem and self-destructive choices, including recklessness and rampant drug use" (Greg Braxton, Chicago Tribune, "'The Wire' actor racks up memorable TV, movie roles," July 31, 2016, section 4, p. 7).

Actress Carrie "Fisher battled alcoholism, drug addiction, depression and bipolar disorder" (Brian Truitt, "Carrie Fisher Will Forever Be Star Wars Royalty," Chicago Sun-Times, Dec. 28, 2016, p. 39).

Actor Leonard Nimoy had a serious "drinking problem" (Rick Bentley, "Warm tribute and farewell to 'Star Trek' star Nimoy," Chicago Tribune, Sept. 23, 2016, section 4, p. 8).

Actor Robert Vaughn's "parents divorced when he was only 6 months old....[H]e said his childhood was miserable. 'I cried all the time and I was always getting beat up'" (Frazier Moore, "Actor was debonair TV spy on 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.'", Chicago Tribune, Nov. 13, 2016, section 1, p. 40).

Filmmaker Tim "Burton is a perennial outsider, always feeling like an oddball, a peculiarity" (Will Lawrence, "The Peculiar World of Tim Burton," Parade, Sept. 25, 2016, p. 13).

Actor Jeffrey Tambor acknowledged that "my mother was an alcoholic and I never felt like I fit in" (Stephanie Stephens, "Sunday with Jeffrey Tambor," Parade, May 7, 2017, p. 8).

Actress Eva Green: "When I was young, I always felt a bit weird....I was extremely shy and always felt like an outsider" (Bill Zwecker, "Odd Kids Out," Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 29, 2016, p. 39).

Actress Beth "Howland described herself in a 1979 AP profile as 'very shy'" (Associated Press, "Actress played Vera on CBS sitcom 'Alice,'" Chicago Sun-Times, May 26, 2016, p. 56).

In her autobiography, actress Mary Tyler Moore wrote that her father "'was bereft of the ability to express his love for me---or anyone.'...Her mother was an alcoholic" (James R. Hagerty, "Mary Tyler Moore," Wall Street Journal, Jan. 28-29, 2017, p. A5). To make matters worse Moore had "a neighbor who sexually abused her when she was young" (Ann Oldenburg, "Love was all around for TV icon," Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 26, 2017, p. 27).

Actress Joan Crawford's childhood was characterized by "poverty, physical abuse, a mother who never wanted her, no father, [and] the sexual relationship she had with her stepfather from the age of 11" ("Walter Scott's Personality Parade," Parade, March 5, 2017, p. 2).

Actor/playwright Sam Shepard had a "volatile, violent, alcoholic father" (Michael Phillips, "Shepard had quiet charisma on the screen," Chicago Tribune, Aug. 1, 2017, section 1, p. 6).

Actor Nelsan Ellis's childhood involved poverty, dyslexia, and being a ward of the state. As an adult he "battled alcoholism and drug abuse for years" (Maudlyne Ihejirika, "Talent Couldn't Trump Trauma," Chicago Sun-Times, July 21, 2017, p. 16).

When actor Kelsey Grammer "was 13, his father was shot and killed by a psychopath. A few years later, his sister was raped and murdered....Traumatized and full of guilt, Grammer turned to alcohol and drugs" ("Grammer's hard-won stoicism," The Week, July 11, 2017, p. 10).

"For most of Hollywood history, the 'casting couch'---a euphemism that glosses over sexual harassment and even rape---was a practice cynically accepted as part of the business....And the problem continues to this day" (Meredith Blake, "Harassment In Spotlight," Chicago Tribune, Aug. 31, 2017, section 4, p. 5).

Actor/singer David Cassidy "was married and divorced three times, battled alcoholism....[His] parents split up when he was 5 and he would long express regret about Jack Cassidy [his father]...being mostly absent from his life....[David was] Kicked out of high school for truancy" (Hillel Italie, "'Partridge Family' Heartthrob," Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 22, 2107, p. 46).

Actress Amy Morton: "Only crazy people want to be actors....[W]e know we're weirdos. Think about it, this need all actors have to be exhibitionists and have people clap for you" (Rick Kogan, "Mahoney a private man in public view," Chicago Tribune, Feb. 11, 2018, section 4, p. 6).

"A [2018] USA TODAY exclusive survey, focused on the entertainment industry, has found that almost every one of hundreds of women questioned---a startling 94%---say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault in their careers in Tinseltown [Hollywood]" (Maria Puente and Cara Kelly, "How bad is Hollywood's 'Me Too' problem?", USA Today, Feb. 21, 2018, p. 1A).

Actor Alan Cumming "grew up so tormented by his abusive father that he confessed in his autobiography to having no memories of childhood that were 'not clouded by fear or humiliation or pain'" (Aaron Hicklin, "No Mean Feat," Out, April 2018, p. 48).

According to actress Tatum O'Neal, she was molested by her mother's boyfriend when she was 6-years-old. And her father had a volatile temper. And Tatum "became involved with a married stuntman" when she was 14-years-old. And she eventually became a heroin addict and cocaine user for a time (Susan King, "Tatum O'Neal is still committed to acting," Chicago Tribune, April 1, 2018, section 4, p. 7).

Actress Susan Anspach described her childhood as "too many sad memories," which included physical abuse (Associated Press, "Actress known for 'Five Easy Pieces,' 'Play It Again, Sam'," Chicago Sun-Times, April 10, 2018, p. 32).

Actress Margot Kidder "from an early age...suffered from constant mood swings and even tried to kill herself as early as age 14. By the time she became a movie star, she more and more sank into the throes of paranoia and what she would learn was bipolar disorder" (Maria Puente, "Lois Lane in 'Superman,' later advocated for mental health awareness," Chicago Sun-Times, May 15, 2018, p. 21).

Actress Jane Fonda "was sexually abused during a tumultuous childhood...and her mother committed suicide in a psychiatric hospital" ("Fonda's late-life awakening," The Week, June 15, 2018, p. 10).

Actress Roseanne Barr's life has been "marked by multiple personalities, bipolar disorder, child abuse and other family turmoil" (Greg Braxton, "Roseanne always ready to rumble," Chicago Tribune, June 20, 2018, section 4, p. 4).

Actor Sterling Hayden had a "turbulent life....Hayden fought against a dysfunctional childhood....[H]e died of cancer after a lifetime of regrets and self-recriminations he tried to soften with alcohol and hashish" (Douglass K. Danie, "Bruce Lee, Sterling Hayden, Two Unlikely Movie Stars, Shine In New Biographies," Chicago Sun-Times, July 15, 2018, p. 33).

Actress Sally Field had a "painful, abusive childhood....[S]he survived years of emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather" (Amy Spencer, "Acting set me free," Parade, Sept. 23, 2018, p. 14).

Actress Bella Thorne "was sexually abused from age 6 to 14 by an older man....She calls her mind 'a scary place'" ("Thorne's confused inner life," The Week, Nov. 9, 2018, p. 10).

Actress/singer Cher "had an unstable upbringing. Cher barely knew her father...whom her mother...divorced when Cher was 10 months old. By the time Cher was 9, her mom had divorced her third husband" (Jim Farber, "Cher-a-Palooza," Parade, Nov. 25, 2018, p. 8).

Actress Claire Foy "has mostly painful memories from her life before her acting career blossomed. Her parents divorced when she was 8....At school, Foy...was treated as an outsider" ("How Foy escaped her anxiety," The Week, Jan. 25, 2019, p. 10).

Actress Eliza Dushku "says she was molested as a child actor....For years she struggled with addiction" (Eliana Dockterman, "The Brief TIME with," Time, April 1, 2019, p. 14).

Actress Winona Ryder acknowledged that "I was an outsider [during her school years]....[And she's had] personal struggles with anxiety and depression" (Amy Spencer, "Winona Ryder," Parade, June 30, 2019, p. 7).

Actor Patrick Swayze, as a boy, had to endure physical abuse "at the hands of his strict mother, Patsy Swayze, who was also his dance teacher. At one point, Swayze’s dad, Jesse, had to stop Patsy from 'laying into him' and threatened to divorce her if she continued to harm their son.....When Swayze was young, he became an easy target for bullies, because he was the boy in ballet tights" (Carly Mallenbaum, "Swayze documentary reveals moving moments in beloved actor's life," Chicago Sun-Times, August 17, 2019, p. 11).

Comedian Tom Dreeson's childhood was "bleak. He grew up in a shack in the shape of a railroad car behind a factory, the third of eight children of a waitress mother and a father who...were alcoholics" (Rick Kogan, "The life and times of comic Tom Dreeson," Chicago Tribune, Sept. 8, 2019, section 4, p. 14).

Actress Andie MacDowell's "single mother was an alcoholic" ("Why MacDowell doesn't drink," The Week, Oct. 18, 2019, p. 10).

According to actor Marshall Efron "'School wasn't much fun for me,'...explaining that he was picked on for being short and heavyset" (Harrison Smith, "Witty star of 1970s' 'Great American Dream Machine,'" Chicago Tribune, Oct. 13, 2019, section 1, p. 33).

Actor Edd "Kookie" Byrnes "came from a poor family. His alcoholic father died when he was 13....In his personal life, Mr. Byrnes struggled with alcohol and drug addictions for years" (Robert Jablon, "Kookie in 77 Sunset Strip," Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 13, 2020, p. 31).

Actor Kirk Douglas "grew up in harsh poverty...[and had an] alcoholic mess of a father" (Michael Phillips, "Douglas a link to fading golden age," Chicago Tribune, Feb. 7, 2020, section 4, p. 1).

Actor-comedian Orson Bean "left home at 16 after his mother died by suicide" (Associated Press, "Actor-comedian struck and killed by cars in LA," Chicago Tribune, Feb. 9, 2020, section 1, p. 30).

Actor Ben Affleck: "my father was such an acute and severe alcoholic that it was very, very difficult and scary to live with him" (Amy Spencer, "Finding His Way," Parade, March 1, 2020, p. 9). Ben himself eventually became a severe alcoholic for a time.

Actress Julie Andrews "had a less than ideal childhood....[S]he was young when her parents split [up]....Her stepfather was an alcoholic....At 15, Andrews was pulled from school and forced to perform in shows in order to support her parents" ("Why Andrews started in show biz," The Week, May 29, 2020, p. 10).

Actor Patrick Stewart on his father: "'He'd drink, get angry, and hit my mother. I would put my body between them to protect her.'...Stewart became an actor to escape his father. 'The first moment that I walked onto the school stage...it was the safest place I'd ever been'" ("Stewart's escape from his father," The Week, Aug. 21, 2020, p. 10).

Actor Matthew McConaughey's "parents had a volatile relationship and often fought violently....[They] divorced twice and married three times" ("McConaughey's eccentric parents," The Week, Nov. 6, 2020, p. 10).

Actor Dan Levy "had debilitating anxiety as a child" ("How Levy overcame his anxiety," The Week, Jan. 22, 2021, p. 10).

Actress Ellen Burstyn's "parents divorced when she was a child, and she and her two brothers went to live with her often violent mother....She believes that enduring a painful childhood has made her a much better actress" ("Burstyn's chats with her dead mother," The Week, Jan. 22, 2021, p. 10).

When Irish actor Gabriel Byrne was 11, wanting to be a priest, he left Dublin [Ireland] "for a seminary in England [and] a friendly priest there groomed and [sexually] molested him" ("Gabriel Byrne," The Week, Jan. 29, 2021, p. 24). Actor Gabriel Byrne "was [sexually] abused by members of the Christian Brothers when he was an altar boy and then again by a priest when he was 11" ("Byrne's battle with shame," The Week, Aug. 19, 2022, p. 10).

Actress Kim Novak "struggled with bipolar disorder since her teens and...[experienced] sexual molestation in her childhood" ("Why Novak fled Hollywood," The Week, March 5, 2021, p. 10).

Actress Sharon Stone experienced "a spectrum of traumas, including the childhood sexual abuse she and her sister suffered at the hand of their maternal grandfather" (Nicole Pajer, "Sharon Stone," Parade, March 28/April 4, 2021, p. 10).

"In her memoir, she [actress Olympia Dukakis] wrote about...navigating her mother's perpetual threats of physical violence and...[her own] struggles with addiction and depression" (Michael Phillips, "Olympia Dukakis: A life in theater, then 'Moonstruck' made her famous," Chicago Tribune, May 3, 2021, section 4, p. 2).

Actor Gavin "MacLeod acknowledged that he had struggled with alcoholism in the 1960s and 1970s" (Lynn Elber, "Captain Stubing of 'The Love Boat' also starred on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show,'" Chicago Sun-Times, May 30, 2021, p. 52).

Actor Mark "Wahlberg's own teenage years [were] complicated by drugs and a lot of destructive rage....He served 45 days of a two-year prison sentence [for a felony assault]" (Michael Phillips, "Is this Wahlberg's personal hate-crime atonement project?", Chicago Tribune, July 23, 2021, section 4, p. 2).

Comedian Jackie Mason: "A person has to feel emotionally barren or empty or frustrated in order to become a comedian....I don't think people who feel comfortable or happy are motivated to become comedians" (Mark Kennedy, "Rabbi-turned-comic known for piercing social commentary," Chicago Sun-Times, July 25, 2021, p. 53).

"At the peak of her fame in the late 1990s...[actress Mena] Suvari was a substance-abusing wreck, traumatized by her rape by an older boy at age 12 and a series of exploitative relationships" ("Suvari's hidden anguish," The Week, Aug. 20, 2021, p. 10).

Comedienne Cecily Strong wrote in her memoir about "past wounds that she'd never fully processed: an abusive relationship, her parents' divorce during her grade-school years, her struggles with anxiety and depression" ("Author of the week," The Week, Aug. 27, 2021, p. 23).

Actor Ed Asner: "For me, acting was therapy....I was not pleased with who I was" (Michael Phillips, "Remembering Ed Asner," Chicago Tribune, Aug. 31, 2021, section 2, p. 10).

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who has struggled with alcoholism and opiate addiction: "I am a product of a lot of divorces, Janet [Leigh---her mother] married four times, Bob [Brandt---her stepfather] four, and Tony [Curtis---her father] six. It is what it is, but I think, as a result, I have always had a feeling for vulnerable children" (Meg Grant, "Jamie Lee Curtis Is Leaning In," AARP Magazine, Aug./Sept. 2021, p. 36).

Actress Anya Taylor-Joy felt "unheard and unseen as a kid, a time when she was bullied in her self-described awkward years" (Glenn Whipp, "Taylor-Joy has found her happy place," Chicago Tribune, Sept. 3, 2021, section 2, p. 12).

Actor Kit Harington has "struggled with alcoholism and extreme depression...[plus a] debilitating obsessive-compulsive disorder" ("Harington's private battles," The Week, Sept. 3, 2021, p. 10).

Comedian David Steinberg: "Like many comics, I struggled with bouts of depression" (Rick Kogan, "Book a 'comedy museum' of sorts," Chicago Tribune, Sept. 21, 2021, section 2, p. 10).

Actor William Hurt "struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, and attended rehabilitation clinics" (Jake Coyle, "Oscar-winning actor, one of top leading men of '80s films," Chicago Sun-Times, March 14, 2022, p. 28).

Actress Halle Berry "grew up as a young child with an alcoholic, violent father. As a kid I saw my mother beaten up, and I know the horror and helplessness a kid feels" (Natasha Stoynoff, "How Halle Berry Found Her Groove," AARP Magazine, Feb./March 2022, p. 28).

Actor Robert "Morse's private demons [included] depression, alcohol and drugs" (Michael Phillips, "Actor succeeded in show business his way," Chicago Tribune, April 22, 2022, section 2, p. 11).

Actress Viola Davis had an "alcoholic father [who] routinely beat and bloodied her mother" (Douglass K. Daniels, "Viola Davis Bares Soul On Way to 'Finding Me,'" Chicago Sun-Times, April 28, 2022, p. 23).

Actress Selma Blair had "traumatic experiences that have shaped her life,…such as alcoholism [her own], sexual violence [she was raped] and suicide [attempts]" (Edward Segarra, "Blair is clear-eyed, honest in 'Mean Baby'," USA Today, May 25, 2022, section D, p.2).

Actor Brad Pitt has undergone treatment for alcoholism and has said he has "'deep scars'---including a sense of being 'completely alone,' with a need to express himself that had been buried since childhood. 'I think I spent years with a low-grade depression'" ("Pitt's post-divorce reckoning," The Week, July 8/July 15, 2022, p. 10).

Actor Tyler Perry has "talked about growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father, in an area rife with poverty and despair" (Harriette Cole, "Tyler Perry Is Flying High," AARP Magazine, Aug./Sept. 2022, p. 38).

Actor Matthew Perry "struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for decades, with 15 stints in rehab" ("Perry's addiction anguish," The Week, Nov. 11, 2022, p. 10).

Actress Pamela Anderson's father "was an abusive alcoholic....Her babysitter molested her for three-plus years, and when she was 12, she was raped by a man in his 20s" (Richard Roeper, "Emotionally Exposed," Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 31, 2023, p. 20).

Actor Tom "Hanks had a disorderly home life....[Both of his parents] divorced multiple times" (Chris Heath, "The Making of Tom Hanks," The Atlantic, June 2023, p. 49).

Re actress Suzanne Somers: "Her childhood, she'd later say, was tumultuous. Her father was an alcoholic and abusive" (Lindsey Bahr, "'Three's Company' star dies, fought breast cancer," Chicago Sun-Times, Oct. 16, 2023, p. 2).

"In his memoir, [actor Matthew] Perry opened up about life behind the scenes of the hit sitcom ['Friends'], chronicling his battle with alcohol and drugs" (Laura Trujillo, "Star of hit series 'Friends' dies at 54," Chicago Sun-Times, Oct. 29, 2023, p. 52).

Comedian Shecky Greene "grappled with addictions to both drinking and gambling....He also struggled with what were later diagnosed as severe depression and panic attacks" (Andrew Dalton, "Chicago native became a legendary standup comic," Chicago Tribune, Jan. 1, 2024, section 1, p. 8).


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