Cocaine hidden in the walls, more than half a million dollars stuffed in hidden trash bags, and a “secret” set of accounting books listing celebrity clients’ favorite drugs were just a few of the scandalous items the FBI found when they busted New York hotspot Studio 54 in 1978. Owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager enjoyed a three-year reign as the kings of New York nightlife during disco’s heyday, attracting high-profile regulars like Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Liza Minelli, Calvin Klein, and Halston. But the duo’s flashy lifestyle and boasts (“only the Mafia does better”) helped sink their ship — temporarily.
After spending 13 months in prison for tax evasion, neither Ian nor Steve could get a checking account, a driver’s license or a credit card. Still, in 1984, the duo talked financiers into helping them open Morgans, a boutique hotel. The pair turned the hotel into a chain worth $200 million before Steve died of hepatitis in 1989. (Rumors swirled that it was AIDS that got him.) For Ian, who has since opened hotels in New York, London, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, the party hasn’t stopped.
There’s a party at Rick James‘s house, so grab a friend and bring a crack pipe! Perhaps that’s what 24-year-old Frances Alley was told before heading over to Rick’s West Hollywood home one night in 1991.
Hits like “Give it to Me” and “Superfreak” made Rick one of the biggest Motown stars of the ’70s and ’80s, but his fame began to fade during the following decade. When M.C. Hammer sampled Rick’s “Superfreak” on “U Can’t Touch This” in 1990, Rick reportedly made $30 million off the song, which more than supported his alleged $15,000-per-week cocaine habit. It was during a coke binge that Rick and his girlfriend Tanya Hijazi tied Alley up, forced her to perform sexual acts, and burned her legs and abdomen with the hot end of a crack cocaine pipe. And then, a year later — while James was out on bail — music executive Mary Sauger testified that when she’d gone to his hotel room for a business meeting, Rick and Tanya proceeded to beat her and hold her prisoner for 20 hours.
Rick spent nearly three years in Folsom State Penitentiary and was released in 1996. He continued to release mildly successful albums, including Urban Rhapsody in 1997 and Anthology in 2002, but never quite regained his “Superfreak” status. He was found dead of a heart attack in his Burbank apartment in 2004 with traces of Xanax, Valium, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Vicodin, marijuana, cocaine, and Ecstasy in his bloodstream.
Never have so many known so little about one rumor. The words Richard, Gere, and gerbil became intractably linked over a decade ago, the story going like this:
Back in the early ’90s, Richard was allegedly admitted to a Los Angeles area hospital with a foreign object lodged in his rectum. Only he and the X-ray machine know for sure, but the object was reported to be a gerbil, either alive or dead (we’ll let you make the educated guess). According to the rumor, Richard had been participating in a sexual activity called “gerbilling,” wherein a gerbil is used in an attempt to attain auto-erotic stimulation. The incident, if true, would have taken place while Gere was riding high from his Pretty Woman success, and while married to uber-fox Cindy Crawford.
Though Richard has never directly addressed the rumors, they’ve persisted, making their way into the cultural consciousness — with everything from a South Park episode to the gerbil-in-question’s very own MySpace page.
By the mid-1990s, Hugh Grant had weaseled his way into our hearts, thanks to his bumbling courtship of Andie MacDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Throw bombshell girlfriend Liz Hurley into the mix, and Hugh had it all. Imagine the shock when he stopped stammering long enough to be arrested in the company of Hollywood sex worker Divine Brown in June 1995. She was polishing Mr. Grant’s knob at the time. Overnight, he went from Hugh Star to Lewd Grant–but his Oxford education didn’t go to waste.
Grant went on Jay Leno to tell all. “I think you know in life what’s a good thing to do and what’s a bad thing, and I did a bad thing,” he said. “And there you have it.” Hugh also served up mea-culpa on Larry King. “I don’t have excuses,” he shrugged. The PR offensive worked. Fans held up billboards reading, “I would have paid you, Hugh.”
Still reeling from the incident, Grant and Hurley split up five years later. Grant’s career hasn’t been the same since, and he still cries himself to sleep thinking about films like About a Boy, Love Actually, and Bridget Jones’s Diary. Last year, Hugh had another run-in with the law after he attacked the paparazzi with baked beans. — Charles Bottomley
After the jump, watch Hugh sing. Read more…
Angelina Jolie, eh? She has tattoos. And sex. With a lot of different people. Billy Bob Thornton. Some other dudes. Possibly her brother. The list goes on and on and on. So when Jolie was cast opposite Brad Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, bedsprings were expected to be sprung.
Brad had never been so vulnerable. His marriage to Jennifer Aniston was crumbling. The aging himbo wanted kids; the nipply Friend did not. Pitt, an architecture nut, also had become obsessive about building the couple’s new house. It was enough to make a girl listen to some John Mayer records.
With trouble at home, and Jolie’s penchant for shtupping anything with a pulse, it was inevitable there would be some in-trailer hosing going on, on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. In 2005, the Pitt-Aniston five-year union ended in divorce.
Brad and Angelina are now embarked on their plan to adopt the entire world one child at a time. Jennifer has been working out her single’s issues with a succession of men including unfunny party-harder Vince Vaughn and that Mayer guy. Magazines fret nonstop over her inability to move on. But that’s okay. We haven’t either. — Charles Bottomley
“You’re not paying a hooker to have sex,” Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen once famously said. “You’re paying her to leave afterwards.” Sheen should know. At 1995 the trial of Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss, it emerged that the son of movie icon Martin Sheen had spent some $50,000 on prostitutes in just over a year.
Sheen’s was the most public face in Fleiss’s very public bust. During the 1990s she ran a prostitution ring whose client list included movie and political types who, if we mentioned them, would sue us into the poorhouse. (Hint: Not Larry Craig.) It’s a bitch-eat-bitch world in Hollywood: Fleiss’ boyfriend turned her in (he was launching his own call-girl ring), while Sheen was offered up as a B-list patsy for the prosecution.
In 1997, Fleiss was sentenced to 37 months in jail for charges related to her prostitution business. Upon her release, she embarked on a (failed) attempt to start a brothel for women in Nevada. But the scandal did wonders for Sheen, who’s since developed into one of the highest paid actors on TV, earning $350,000 per Half Men episode. — Charles Bottomley
Before the early 1970s, pornography was a strictly underground taboo, but the revolutionary adult film Deep Throat broke the mold, sending erotica from “smut” to “porno chic” almost overnight.
In 1972, the World Adult Theater in New York’s Times Square premiered the monumental film, which tells the story of a sexually frustrated woman, played by Linda Lovelace, who goes to the doctor only to learn that her clitoris is located in the back of her throat. Thankfully there is a very simple remedy, which the doctor and a variety of other men happily demonstrate. Director Gerard Damiano set his film apart from other pornos by including an actual storyline, superior cinematography, and witty dialogue–like a recipient of oral sex asking, “Do you mind if I smoke while you eat?” The movie even garnered a favorable review in Variety.
An NYC judge ruled that the film was “indisputably obscene by any measure,” and Deep Throat was banned in 23 states. After a lengthy, costly legal battle, lead actor Harry Reems and 11 others involved in the film were convicted of conspiracy to distribute obscenity across state lines. (In the years to follow, Reems’s career hit the rocks and he fell into alcohol and drug abuse.)
But the government proved to be Deep Throat‘s best publicist. The controversy surrounding the flick pushed its worldwide gross into the stratosphere, with some estimates reaching $600 million.
Not even Batman or Spidey can touch Lovelace!
Ah, the joys of minor league stardom. For Bob Crane, his six-season sentence making the world laugh at Nazis in Hogan’s Heroes brought him just that. The dedicated sex addict lived a life full of barflies with rug-burned knees and sheets crusted with dried jizz.
When his friend John Carpenter (no relation to the Halloween director) got him a prehistoric video camera, he started filming his sexcapades — many of them co-starring his techie pal. The orgy came to a premature end in 1978, when Bob was found bludgeoned to death in an Arizona hotel. Carpenter was the prime suspect, but DNA tests on the blood found in his car were inconclusive.
The 2002 film Auto Focus revived Crane’s notoriety, portraying him as a churchgoing family man who ends up screwing his brains out. The Cranes were disgusted. “My father had been having extramarital affairs and photographing hundreds of nude women engaged in sexual activity since the 1940s … He was an overly sexual person from an early age,” protested son Scotty — who, to prove it, posted prehistoric porn loops featuring Pop on the Web. Even his father might agree that some things are better left behind closed doors. — Charles Bottomley
After the jump, watch Bob perform “These Boots Were Made for Walkin’” — on the drums!
In 1921, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was the biggest comic actor in America, the Jazz Age’s answer to Will Farrell. Paramount was paying him $1 million to make six laff riots a year (that’s more than 12 million in 2008 dollars). One fan described dancing with him as “like floating in the arms of a huge doughnut.” Then, 30-year-old aspiring actress Virginia Rappe died of a ruptured bladder after an epic party in Arbuckle’s San Francisco hotel room. Oops.
The cops concluded that the damage had been done by Arbuckle’s 300-pound girth during sexual intercourse. He was booked after a friend of the actress claimed Arbuckle had raped Rappe in the hotel room. Rumors quickly swirled around the case. It was whispered that Rappe had been abused by everything from an icicle to a champagne bottle.
After two mistrials, Arbuckle was acquitted, but the legal fees left him penniless. In 1922, he was banned from making movies and left with but a solitary friend — alcohol. Arbuckle died on June 30, 1933, aged 46, ironically the day after he had been signed by Warner Bros. to make his first feature film in 12 years. — Chuck Bottomley
It’s 1988, and Rob Lowe‘s star is in the ascendant. Movies like Class (Lowe nails an older woman), St. Elmo’s Fire (Lowe nails Demi Moore) and About Last Night … (Lowe nails Demi Moore — again) made him the Brat Packer you’d most want to use as a seat cushion.
What better time, then, to go to the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta and have sex with two women, one of whom was only 16 at the time and may (or may not) have been a Dukakis supporter? And since it’s the 1980s, why not film it with one of those cool new camcorders?
As a consequence, Lowe was summarily blacklisted by Hollywood execs, but he stuck around to have the last laugh. SNL comedies like Wayne’s World and Tommy Boy let him play the heel, and the TV hit The West Wing made him seem like normal guy material. Perhaps most importantly, Lowe proved that a sex-tape isn’t necessarily a career ender, but a career booster. — Charles Bottomley