Some may not bounce back after public offence
amy sancetta/associated press
Former football star O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife and her friend.
It’s lucky for journalists that celebrities provide a constant stream of material with which to work. If not for our train-wreck performers, what would we have to write about every week? Sure, there would always be news, but it certainly wouldn’t be as interesting.
Reminding us once again that even Hollywood heavyweights are susceptible to public shame, actor-director Mel Gibson recently filled hundreds of column inches with his July 28 drunk driving arrest that included an anti-Semitic tirade, for which he apologized profusely — twice.
But will the incident kill the career of the two-time Oscar winner? Some pundits argue Gibson’s career is finished. Others say this episode will be forgotten faster than another Lethal Weapon instalment.
Inspired by Mel’s madness, this week A Guy Thing looks at some of the most memorable male celebrity career meltdowns of all time.
The offence: That whole alleged murder thing.
The most-watched celebrity trial in history certainly killed the former football star’s acting career, which included roles in two Naked Gun films. But even though the Juice got loose after being acquitted in criminal court of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1995, he was later found responsible for his ex’s death in civil court and has since been dogged by protesters at speaking engagements, public appearances and has generally avoided the spotlight as much as possible.
The offence: We get it dude, you LOVE her!
We could deal with the Scientology activism, the anti-anti-depressant rants, the seemingly staged romances, but the Oprah incident where Cruise “jumped the couch,” proclaimed his all-too-creepy love for Katie Holmes and dove head-first into celebrity infamy, was too much to bear. While War Of The Worlds still managed to do well at the box office, Cruise’s name is now more stand-up punchline than moniker associated with Hollywood royalty.
The offence: One molestation charge too many.
After a 2005 child molestation trial permanently tarnished Jackson’s name (he had settled out of court with past accusers), the King of Pop bailed out and moved to the Middle East country of Bahrain, where he was reportedly welcomed by local royalty. While his musical legacy is forever ingrained in pop culture, a Jackson comeback is highly unlikely.
The offence: Iced by crappy music, circumstances.
In 1990, Rob van Winkle, a.k.a. Vanilla Ice, released To The Extreme, an album that contained the monumentally successful single Ice, Ice Baby. By 1991, the record had sold more than 11 million copies, but his career had already begun a downward spiral. The final nail in the coffin was his appearance in the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret Of The Ooze, in which Ice performed his Ninja Rap. Needless to say, the suburban rapper’s already non-existent street cred was crushed and he quickly faded into obscurity when the public’s hip-hop sensibilities matured. Fans can still find him on reality shows (another stint on the Surreal Life is on deck) and playing pubs and frat houses — seriously.