BY BELINDA M. PASCHAL
Danny Bonaduce. Todd Bridges. The Coreys – Feldman and Haim. Drew Barrymore. River Phoenix and Dana Plato, may they rest in peace.
Former child stars falling into the clutches of drink and/or drugs – it’s nothing new. It’s a sad story made sadder by the fact that it’s all-too-familiar and unfortunately, expected. But nothing could have prepared me for the addition of li’l Rudy Huxtable to the list.
According to the celebrity gossip web site, Bossip.com, ex-Cosby Show star Keshia Knight Pulliam allegedly has an affinity for snow – and I don’t mean she’s a skiing enthusiast. I’m talkin’ about cocaine. Nose candy. Blow. Toot. Dust. Powder. California cornflakes. Booger sugar. You get the point.
At age 6, she was the youngest actress ever nominated for an Emmy and possibly one of the Top 10 cutest kids in TV history. (And I’m not just saying that ‘cos she looked a lot like me at that age.) She’s a college grad with a degree in sociology – a sorority girl, even. She won celebrity editions of The Weakest Link and Fear Factor. Now, "friends" speaking anonymously to Bossip have reduced her to a sensationalistic headline.
Perhaps they had good intentions, but we all know how the road to hell is paved. Perhaps they went public thinking the attention and criticism would motivate KKP to get help. That makes about as much sense as going on Jerry Springer to break up with your girlfriend because you’ve been cheating with her: a) Mother; b) Sister; c) Brother; d) All of the above, plus you suspect you’re not her baby’s daddy.
(Note to KKP’s "friends": Interventions are supposed to be private, not internationally broadcast.)
Sigh. What would Cliff and Claire do? In an ideal world, the solution would be a stern admonition from Mom – "Rudy Lillian Huxtable, go to your room and don’t come out till you can act like you got some sense!" – while Dad hovers in the background wearing colorful sweaters and funny facial expressions. Problem solved, all wrapped up in a neat half-hour package (including commercials). Unless it’s A Very Special Episode. Then they get a whole hour.
But this is the real world, where young people, famous or otherwise, sometimes make bad decisions and engage in risky behavior as part of the growing-up process. All we can do is hope they learn from their mistakes before it’s too late. I’m talking to you, Lindsay Lohan. You were great in Mean Girls. You have talent, charisma and seriously great hair. Get it together, Missy, and start working that LiLo magic again. But please, no more albums.
I jest, but the problem is serious and very real. Any child star, no matter how wholesome, can fall into the trap. Just last month, Haley Joel Osment – the apple-cheeked waif from The Sixth Sense – celebrated his entry into adulthood with misdemeanor charges of DUI and marijuana possession. The 18-year-old actor tested at almost twice the legal 0.8 blood alcohol level after crashing his 1995 Saturn into a brick pillar in L.A.
Oh, Haley J. Pull it together, little man. You’ve got genuine acting chops; you don’t need Hollywood Bad Boy antics to get noticed. Jodie Foster and Ron Howard turned out just fine. Seeing dead people? Cool. Becoming one because you drink and drive? Not so much. Besides, when you’re the most bankable kid actor of the early 2000s and you drive a’95 Saturn, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion coolness is not your forte.
Come back to us, HaJo. Get yourself back on track. Then pay it forward by making sure Dakota Fanning doesn’t end up with a standing reservation at the Betty Ford Clinic.