The American novelist and short story writer admitted to his alcoholism, drug addiction, and homosexuality. He underwent treatment in the 1970s, but his health was so compromised that he died in 1984 at the age of 59. Capote’s drunken behavior is legendary, and although he would stop drinking for several months at a time, he could not stay away from alcohol.
The Piano Man’s drinking continues to be problematic, and has damaged his career and personal relationships. His drummer split from the band after 30 years because he could no longer handle Joel’s excessive drinking. This year, Elton John dished out some tough love to his longtime friend, saying that Joel needs to check into "tough" rehab. Despite John’s honesty, Billy Joel has still failed to quit drinking.
The horror-story writer nearly died of a drug and alcohol overdose in his mid-40s. King’s family and friends staged an intervention, dumping evidence of his addictions taken from the trash including beer cans, cigarette butts, cocaine, painkillers, and marijuana in front of him. King immediately sought help and quit all forms of drugs and alcohol in the late 1980s, and has been sober since.
The infamous comedian was addicted to cocaine and alcohol early in his career, but quit when friend and fellow comedian, John Belushi, died of a cocaine overdose in 1982. When he began slipping into alcoholism again in 2006, he immediately sent himself to rehab. Today, he's alcohol-free.
Mel Gibson began drinking at 13 and has said that alcoholism runs in his family. As a manic-depressive, alcohol aggravates his condition, and his unruly behavior has prompted accusations of homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and misogyny. In the past, Gibson has sought professional help and attended AA meetings. He finally went into rehab after being arrested for a DUI in 2006.
The young starlet, like many child actresses, turned to drugs and alcohol as a response to her high-pressured life. Lindsay has to work hard to stay sober and has already had one failed attempt with rehab. She was forced to wear an alcohol detection bracelet to monitor her alcohol consumption.
David Hasselhoff has gained fame since his role on Baywatch for being a raging alcoholic. To hold himself accountable for his erratic behavior, he asked his daughter to film his next drunken outburst. She did, and the video has played on countless news programs and across the internet, forcing him to seek serious help for his addiction.
Ernest Hemingway is one of the world’s most famous and successful literary alcoholics. He began drinking heavily as a young man, and drank continuously through the years he spent writing his masterpieces. He suffered from severe mental and physical problems as he aged, aggravated by his drinking, and eventually committed suicide in 1961.
This famous celebrity alcoholic was a role model for African-American women all over the world in the 60's, 70's and 80's. She was glamorous, rich and talented - all without losing her ethnic roots. Yet, she had a little secret. Most people thought it was the love child (daughter Rhonda) that she bore with Motown producer Berry Gordy. However, after voluntarily checking herself into a rehab center in 2002 and an embarrassing drunk driving stint in Arizona, the public realized that Diana’s secret was a love affair with the bottle. Since then, Diana Ross has found a way to keep her drinking under control. Yet, her alcoholism has tainted the public's view of her, which can be seen in recent Saturday Night Live (SNL) skits. Ross is not portrayed as a diva and acclaimed actress, but as a drunken mess with silly quirks. Unfortunately, her public relations team has not been able to clean up the mess caused by her excessive drinking.
No one ever knew if Dean Martin was pretending to be drunk all of the time as part of a well-crafted comedy shtick, or was really an alcoholic in real life. Of course, he didn't help matters by placing a vanity license on one of his vehicles that read "Drunky." Either way, he was one of the most famous alleged celebrity alcoholics of his era. He sang, ran with the "rat pack" and co-starred in hilarious movies with fellow actor Jerry Lewis. He stayed high profile until the 80's when he slowly began to drift out of the public eye. He died in 1995 from respiratory failure. However, the public can still see him late night on refurbished DVD's of comedy roasts. Puffy-eyed and with drink in hand, Dean Martin aimlessly makes jokes about his actor friends and appears to all viewers as the "lush" of the party.
Are comedians funny because they drink, or do they drink to be funny? This question is one the public had to ask themselves in 2005 when SNL star Tracy Morgan was charged with a D.U.I. and narcotic possession. By far, he was one of the funniest cast members of SNL, which had led to movies, commercials and another TV show (30 Rock). He had a lot to lose, and no one really wanted to see it all go because of alcoholism. However, this famous celebrity alcoholic struggled to rehabilitate himself. Finally, he got it together in 2008. During this year, after wearing an ankle bracelet that tested his skin for alcohol every 30 minutes, he turned a corner. In 2009, he announced to the world that he had been sober for one year.
In her Back to Black CD, crooner Amy Winehouse sung about not going to rehab. However, when the song "Rehab" actually hit the airways and popped up as a hot MTV video, no one really knew how close this song was to reality. Amy Winehouse was drinking excessively and also using drugs. In 2009, she became one of the most infamous celebrity alcoholics and drug users. Pictures of her drunk in public and smoking a crack pipe surfaced all over the Internet. The paparazzi follow her around now because of her crazy antics. Amy’s fame is no longer connected to her soulful voice, but a dark journey she is taking down to road of addiction.
Famous celebrity alcoholic and rocker Eddie Van Halen married one of America's sweethearts - actress Valerie Bertinelli. People didn't understand their attraction, but according to the duo it was love at first. Also, Eddie Van Halen hid his "habits" while they were dating. According to reports, he acted like the perfect gentlemen, even sleeping in separate hotel rooms when they were together at times. However, as the marriage ensued, Eddie began showing his true colors. His drunken behavior is one of the reasons cited by ex-wife Valerie as a destroyer of their 20-plus year marriage. Thankfully, after his divorce, Eddie managed to turn his life around. In 2009, he tied the knot again and married Janie Liszewski. Now, he is so serious about his sobriety that he wouldn’t even allow alcohol to be served at his reception.
Actor William Shatner is often lovingly joked about as an alcoholic. His famous role as Captain Kirk on the TV series Star Trek along with his celebrity status has given him a public pass. However, life always has a way of catching up with people dealing with the dreaded disease of alcoholism. After winning his own battle with the bottle, Shatner met and married a beautiful model named Nerine. Unfortunately, she was a hopeless alcoholic. Friends warned him about the troubles he would incur as a spouse of an alcoholic, but he didn’t listen. Shatner thought his love for her would conquer all. Unfortunately, it wasn’t strong enough and Nerine died in an alcohol-related accident sometime later. This event devastated William Shatner and caused him to go public about the negative effects of alcoholism. Now, through the Nerine Shatner Friendly House, he helps other people struggling to get and stay sober.
Actress Melanie Griffith is a famous celebrity alcoholic who has been connected to two Hollywood hunks: Don Johnson (ex) and Antonio Banderas (current spouse). She was the product of a model (Tippi) and struggling actor (Peter Griffith). For years, she graced the big screen with celebratory roles. Yet, behind the scenes, she was drinking to deal with all of her Hollywood success. Her alcoholism was so excessive that she finally ended up in rehab. Afterward, for a while, Melanie Griffith remained sober. The public deemed her as a fully recovered alcoholic - that is - until late August of 2009. It was during this time that she returned to rehab. Her people won't admit that Melanie’s fallen off the wagon again. They just say her stay is part of a long, planned out maintenance program. It all sounds pretty fishy, but at least Melanie’s where she needs to be if she’s drinking again.
Those closest to Elton John know of his lifelong battle with alcohol abuse. He identified the problem early on in his career and sought extensive alcohol abuse treatment. He has since used his past addiction to help others including British singer Robbie Williams, overcome their addiction with alcohol. His hope was that his past experience could help turn someone else’s life around.
Like many celebrity alcoholics Anthony Hopkins struggled with alcoholism early in his career. In spite of friends and family he turned to alcohol and used that for comfort. Drinking turned him into a loner, which resulted in many failed relationships. He joined alcoholics anonymous after he woke up one morning in another state wondering how he got there. He attributes AA to putting his life back in order.
Steven Tyler admitted to Matt Lauer of Today that the reason he ended up in rehabs and abused alcohol and drugs was the fact that the industry romanticized it. Rock God’s were often seen in videos smoking and drinking. Tyler said that he felt rock music made drinking appear like the cool thing to do but that addiction would only lead to jail, death or insanity. He went through a long battle to overcome his addiction.
Eminem began his alcohol abuse with a few drinks along with prescription pain medications. This led to alcohol and drug addiction. In spite of trying several times to overcome his addiction he slipped into relapse multiple times. Eminem formed a friendship with Elton John, who helped him get clean and sober.
Mackenzie Phillips was a popular teen star that fought an extensive battle with addiction. Her own father encouraged her to try cocaine when she was just 11 years old and taught her how to roll a joint when she was only 10. She went through a long period of sexual abuse by her father, who was also addicted to drugs. Her father, a singer in the popular group the Mamas and the Papas, would often purchase alcohol and drugs and share them with MacKenzie. She became pregnant twice as a result of the abuse from her father. After her second abortion she vowed to give up drugs and alcohol. Today she is an abuse counselor and helps others overcome their own addictions.
Downey grew up in a home that provided him with easy access to drugs and alcohol. He tried marijuana when he was just 6 years old. In his early twenties he was already addicted to cocaine, heroin and alcohol along with several other drugs. He had an extremely promising career but it was derailed when directors were afraid to hire him. At the lowest point in his career he made the decision to join a treatment program where he worked to become clean and sober. He has not relapsed and is now still enjoying the success that he should have achieved earlier.
One of the legendary great Yankees of all time was Mickey Mantle. Most of his games were played under the influence of alcohol or hung over. Mantle died as a result of health related issues due to drinking.
Billie Holliday was a very popular jazz singer that died of alcohol related illness. She could not deal with the extreme pressure and strain that was related to her fame so she resorted to alcoholism. As a result of the stress she began using illegal drugs along with the alcohol. She died alone without the company of friends or family by her side when she was arrested for the possession of illegal drugs.
At 25, Orson Welles wrote, directed, and starred in one of the best films of the past century, Citizen Kane; however, the genius of this first film resulted in his ruin. William Randolph Hearst, the basis for Welles's character, Charles Foster Kane, forced studios to blacklist Welles. Perhaps it was this early peak and stunted potential that caused Welles to be consumed by his enormous appetites for food and drink. The average dinner for Welles, whose weight ballooned to over 350 pounds at his heaviest, was ordinarily comprised of two rare steaks and a pint of scotch. His appetite for alcohol is evident in a well circulated video clip in which Welles stumbles through a reading for a commercial for Paul Masson's California champagne. Having decided to sample the product prior to filming, Welles falls asleep between takes, slurs his lines, and stares uneasily at the camera through bleary eyes. While not the most outrageous of characters in terms of behavior, the depth of this former prodigy's descent from the pinnacle of film to drunkenly reading for liquor advertisements stands as the saddest and most remarkable of the lot.
The gritty portrayals of tough guys, in films like Oliver! and Hannibal Brooks, by this British-born actor, were too often eclipsed by his erratic and remarkable appearances on talk shows. In one such incident, Reed succinctly proclaimed the location of a very personal tattoo. Another such episode saw Reed staggering with a booze-filled pitcher, and upstaging the show by dancing in spastic inebriation. The most poignant of his antics occurred during the filming of his final film, Gladiator, in 1999. While on location in Malta, Reed suffered a fatal heart attack after a fierce bout of drinking at a pub. Reed racked up a bill of $866 by reportedly drinking three bottles of Captain Morgan's rum, eight bottles of beer, and numerous doubles of Famous Grouse's. Ridley Scott, the director of Gladiator, was forced to use CGI effects in order to compensate for Reed's untimely death.
Despite leaving his birthplace of Louisville, Kentucky by the age of 18, Thompson never went far without a bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon. The author of books such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hell's Angels was famous for both his gonzo form of journalism, which blurred the lines of subjectivity and objectivity, and for his drug-fuelled persona. Throughout his life, Thompson repeatedly danced with the law. Despite several arrests for drunk driving and a search of his house by the police which revealed drugs, firearms, and several sticks of dynamite, all charges against Thompson were ultimately dropped. In a 2002 skit that appeared on the Conan O'Brian show, Thompson can be seen drinking large glasses of Wild Turkey as he and O'Brian fired various guns at a stuffed bear which ultimately bursts into flames. Thompson, who committed suicide in 2005, can be heard muttering four-letter expletives as he fires multiple rounds at the bear.
For the past 20 years, the British press has claimed that the frontman of the Irish punk band, The Pogues, appears to have only 6 months of life left. Despite their erroneous prophecies, McGowan, an unabashed user of recreational drugs, has continued to gain years and to lose teeth. The punk singer with the smile of a broken jack-o-lantern began drinking stout at the age of 4 and whiskey by the age of 10. McGowan's behavior ultimately forced The Pogues to kick him out in 1991. In 2001, The Pogues reunited with McGowan as the lead vocalist. Shortly thereafter, McGowan vomited on several members of the audience in the front row after a particularly rough pre-concert binge in 2002. To this day, McGowan continues to tour with The Pogues, to drink and to give incomprehensible interviews.
The man in black fueled his outlaw image not only with alcohol, amphetamines and barbiturates, but with actions far beyond the ordinary. In 1965, Cash's car started a forest fire that consumed several hundred acres of land and killed several dozen endangered condors. He became the only person at the time to be sued by the federal government for starting a forest fire. Several years later, the country singer attempted suicide after growing tired of the pain his various addictions inflicted upon his family. High on various drugs and alcohol and feeling "barely human," Cash decided to crawl into Nickajack Cave in Marion County, Tennessee so that he might join the ranks of the many lost explorers of that cave. Cash moved into the depths of the cave until his flashlight died and his personal reservoirs of energy were spent. At this, his lowest point, Cash experienced a spiritual epiphany and a renewed vigor. After several long hours in the dark he managed to extricate himself from the cave. From that point on, Cash sought treatment and maintained sobriety, thanks to the support of his family.
Most of the Los Angeles-based poet's oeuvre is in some way influenced by his muses of alcohol, gambling, and philandering. Throughout his life, the author of Post Office and Factotum remained on the margin of the literary establishment and unrepentantly admitted that he only worked at jobs long enough to allow him to gamble and get drunk. During World War II, Bukowski travelled America, living on skid row and working short stints at odd jobs to support his vices: postal worker, gas station attendant, elevator operator, bus driver, and a foreman in a dog biscuit factory. He survived on the fringe using his experiences on the down-and-out as inspiration for his writing.
The host of the long-standing game show, Jeopardy!, while appearing rather sedate and amiable on the surface, has demonstrated the depths that even game show hosts can reach. In a clip of several promo outtakes from 1990, a mustachioed Trebek can be seen drinking beer between takes, flubbing his lines, and in response to his mistakes, yelling various curses and expletives. The clip transcends the mundane when Trebek appears to be drinking a clear liquid from what can only be described as a chalice. What is vodka, Alex?
Classified as a "functioning alcoholic," Frank Sinatra battled alcoholism for many years. However the 2 weeks before a recording session, Sinatra would save his voice by not having one drop of alcohol or a single cigarette. In comparing Sinatra's music from the early 50's to late 50's it is painfully evident that his massive alcohol abuse and smoking took a toll on his voice. The singer's biographer was quoted as saying "Sinatra's use and abuse of alcohol was much more important than anyone understood."
Known by many as one of the greatest writers of all time, Edgar Allen Poe had a severe drinking problem. Born to the father of an alcoholic, Poe constantly drank throughout his life until he was found on a street in Baltimore passed-out-drunk. He was rushed to the hospital where he died. Edgar Allen Poe managed to drink himself to death at the age of 40.
Often accused of being a "work-a-holic," Samuel L. Jackson was also once a full blown alcoholic. Jackson is now considered a recovering alcoholic and has appeared in hundreds of hit major motion pictures.
Edwin Aldrin, more commonly known as simply "Buzz Aldrin" was the second man to set foot on the moon. He was also a man with a serious drinking problem. In 1976 he announced he had been an alcoholic for several years before 1969's Apollo 11 mission. Just 2 days before the shuttle launch, Aldrin quit drinking and completed a historical mission to the moon. To this day, Aldrin is an advocate against alcohol abuse.
Main character of the classic TV show "The Dick Van Dyke Show," the sitcom star was secretly taking on a battle with alcoholism. His case was less typical as he hadn't taken his first drink until the age of 29. Dyke was quoted as saying "It was a marvelous relaxer..... Jack Daniel's became my good friend. Then sometime in my early forties he turned on me." Dick Van Dyke eventually gave up drinking and has made his victory over alcohol public to help encourage others.
Ben Affleck had a problem with alcoholism for many years during the early stages prior and during his career. Finally in 2001 Affleck checked into rehab where he successfully kicked his drinking habit for a time span of 10 years. Sadly he "fell off the wagon" in 2010 where he was spotted taking shots of Vodka at Sundance Film Festival.
The famous movie star who appeared in hit movies such as Back To the Future and Teen Wolf, has admittedly had a serious problem with drinking. Before being diagnosed with Parkinson Disease, Fox would often endulge is large amounts of alcohol. He has since quit drinking and is focused on helping to find a cure for Parkinson Disease. Fox re accounts his problem with drinking in his book "The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist."