Jailed US Celebrities
June 14, 2005 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Name 5 US Celebrities to have gone to jail that aren't boxers or rap stars.

Because, apart from Christian Slater, I can't think of any.
posted by BigCalm to Society & Culture (51 answers total)
 
Tim Allen
posted by Coffeemate at 8:40 AM on June 14, 2005


Tommy Chong. Robert Downey Jr.
posted by smackfu at 8:40 AM on June 14, 2005


Look under "Hollywood" right here. There's a ton of 'em.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 8:41 AM on June 14, 2005


How far back in history are we going, how long of a sentence are we talking, and where do you draw the line about who's a celebrity?

Anyway, Martha Stewart and James Brown probably fit the criteria you have in mind. Martin Luther King probably doesn't.
posted by box at 8:41 AM on June 14, 2005


Chuck Berry.
posted by drezdn at 8:42 AM on June 14, 2005


Robert Downey Jr
posted by necessitas at 8:43 AM on June 14, 2005


Nick Nolte. Robert Blake (not convicted but definitely went to jail). Johnny Cash. Heidi Fleiss (celebrity???). Vince Neil from Motley Crue. Shannon Doherty.
posted by spicynuts at 8:43 AM on June 14, 2005


Martha Stewart, Lenny Bruce for two. Further, ,you might want to define celebrity here. For instance, I would consider G Gordon Liddy celebrity, but I guess the crime came first.
posted by SteveInMaine at 8:45 AM on June 14, 2005


Leadbelly
posted by box at 8:45 AM on June 14, 2005


Rick James
posted by xmutex at 8:46 AM on June 14, 2005


Fatty Arbuckle?
posted by scratch at 8:47 AM on June 14, 2005


Um...Martha Stewart, Robert Downey Junior, Steve Madden (how are we defining celebrity), Daryl Strawberry. That's off the top of my head.

Gone to jail = in the lockup (eg held overnight)
or sentenced to jail time? (I think only the former applies to Cash).
posted by cushie at 8:47 AM on June 14, 2005


And there are a lot of people who attained celebrity partially by being criminals (serial killers, mafiosos and political radicals spring to mind).
posted by box at 8:50 AM on June 14, 2005


There's a little pizza joint near our house that has all sorts of fun Hollywood stuff on its walls. The wall near the entrance is plastered with celebrity mug shots. It's great fun.
posted by jdroth at 8:52 AM on June 14, 2005


I was thinking more of actually convicted, not just 'held in the cells because they were too drunk to focus' type thing.

For it to count, they must have done time AFTER they became famous, so Tim Allen doesn't count.
posted by BigCalm at 8:52 AM on June 14, 2005


or sentenced to jail time? (I think only the former applies to Cash).
Johnny Cash never actually spent more than a night or so in jail.

Tommy Lee spent six months or so for beating up/defending himself against Pamela Anderson.
posted by togdon at 9:07 AM on June 14, 2005


How 'bout big bad pot-smoking Robert Mitchum?
posted by Richat at 9:07 AM on June 14, 2005


Robert Mitchum did time (about 2 months I seem to remember) for, all things, getting caught with a little weed in his pocket. When people asked him what jail was like he said it was "like Palm Springs without the riff-raff"

the coolest white man ever, with the possible exception of Johnny Cash
posted by matteo at 9:08 AM on June 14, 2005


Tommy Lee
posted by Carbolic at 9:09 AM on June 14, 2005


heh, richat beat me on the Mitchum thing


defending himself against Pamela Anderson.

even considering her massive cleavage as a weapon, I still think that a pretty tall man like Lee has a definite advantage over a small woman like Anderson, frankly. I have so very little sympathy for the plight of a jailed wife-beater
posted by matteo at 9:11 AM on June 14, 2005


Doestoyevsky.
posted by dobbs at 9:15 AM on June 14, 2005


dobbs wins.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:25 AM on June 14, 2005


Kevin Mitnick
posted by Four Flavors at 9:25 AM on June 14, 2005


Oh, and Dalton Trumbo, Oscar Wilde, and Ring Lardner Jr. And possibly Norman Mailer and Billy Burroughs.
posted by dobbs at 9:30 AM on June 14, 2005


I think Tom Sizemore (Black Hawk Down, Red Planet, Relic) did at least some time for beating up Heidi Fleiss.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:33 AM on June 14, 2005


oh, crap, you said American. Doestoevsky and Wilde aren't American. :)

My others are, though. Adrian Scott and Sam Ornitz, Albert Maltz, and John Howard Lawson as well, but that might be cheating.

(And possibly James Ellroy--I can't remember.)

And what about Charlie Parker and other jazz greats? I'm sure there were a slew of them who got pinched for drugs or working without a union card.
posted by dobbs at 9:35 AM on June 14, 2005


Johnny Cash never actually spent more than a night or so in jail.

Merle Haggard, on the other hand...

Sonny Rollins for heroin.
posted by kenko at 9:38 AM on June 14, 2005


dobbs - on a point of pedantry, Oscar Wilde was British and was imprisoned in Britain (hence this).
posted by prentiz at 9:39 AM on June 14, 2005


Dostoevsky wasn't really in jail, anyway.
posted by kenko at 9:40 AM on June 14, 2005


Tom Sizemore's currently in jail for drug charges so he definitely counts.
posted by xmutex at 9:54 AM on June 14, 2005


Oh, and what about Edward Bunker (though he was in jail then out of jail then became a celebrity then went back to jail) and... whatshisface... the guy Mailer got freed who then killed again and went back to jail?

And did Matthew Broderick ever do time for killing that girl (I think it was)? I know it was in Europe but he's American.
posted by dobbs at 10:09 AM on June 14, 2005


Scott Weiland
posted by superkim at 10:16 AM on June 14, 2005


Stacy Keach, in between stints as Mike Hammer.
posted by ambrosia at 10:24 AM on June 14, 2005


And did Matthew Broderick ever do time for killing that girl (I think it was)? I know it was in Europe but he's American.


Nope, he just paid a fine to the family.
posted by Alison at 10:25 AM on June 14, 2005


How about Thoreau?
posted by Alison at 10:25 AM on June 14, 2005


Leona Helmsley and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
posted by anapestic at 10:27 AM on June 14, 2005


Socrates.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 10:33 AM on June 14, 2005


Sean Penn.
posted by mogget at 10:51 AM on June 14, 2005


>And what about Charlie Parker and other jazz greats? I'm sure there were a slew of them who got pinched for drugs or working without a union card.

Frank Morgan, Gene Ammons, Art Pepper. Miles had a long rap sheet, apparently. Gene Krupa, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker. Dexter Gordon, Elvin Jones.

Good point about the union cards - but most of these went up on posession charges. Frank Morgan went in on forgery, Miles has weapons offences, too. I'm not sure how many of these players are/were "celebrities", though.

Lenny Bruce, maybe? Frank Sinatra was charged with "seduction" as everyone going to an Imaginus show knows.
posted by philfromhavelock at 11:27 AM on June 14, 2005


Huh? Matthew Broderick killed someone?
posted by xmutex at 11:36 AM on June 14, 2005


Broderick (from here):

Tragedy struck again in 1987, when Broderick and [Jennifer] Grey - who were visiting his family's Irish vacation home - were driving in Northern Ireland. Broderick was behind the wheel on a country road when he collided head-on with another car. The crash broke Broderick's leg and, worse, killed the two Irishwomen in the other car. Broderick pleaded guilty to a reckless-driving charge and was fined $175. The event still haunts him, and he doesn't like to discuss it. "I don't feel comfortable spouting off," he says, "because the families of those women who were killed don't get to."

The accident sent Broderick into psychotherapy. Then, a year later, his therapist died as well. "I've experienced a lot of death," Broderick has said. "But experiencing it doesn't make you any more comfortable with it."


Huh. I didn't know that.
posted by Hankins at 11:42 AM on June 14, 2005


Here are arrests of all kinds of famoous people. It's not necessarily people who were jailed, but it's a decent start.
posted by abbyladybug at 11:45 AM on June 14, 2005


Denny McClain. David Crosby.
posted by jonmc at 12:35 PM on June 14, 2005


Those kids from Different Strokes. You know, Willis and the crack smoker.
posted by klangklangston at 12:45 PM on June 14, 2005


Merle Haggard watched Johnny Cash in San Quentin from the first row.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:13 PM on June 14, 2005


James Brown. Ray Charles.

I don't know if you'd call him a celebrity, but Jim Gordon, studio drummer and co-author of "Layla" was sentenced to 16 years to life for the murder of his mother. He's serving his sentence in Atascadero State Hospital.
posted by timeistight at 2:00 PM on June 14, 2005


Oops! Ray Charles was arrsted and convicted of heroin possession, but did not serve any time in jail.
posted by timeistight at 2:04 PM on June 14, 2005


Do you mean jail or prison? Jail is the place you go when you get arrested. Prison is the place you go when you are convicted.

Jail's pretty easy to name a ton of celebs, prison not so much.

Example: Russell Crowe went to jail, but not to prison
posted by falconred at 2:54 PM on June 14, 2005


Steve Earle. He did four and a half months of a year sentence in 1994.
posted by essexjan at 3:08 PM on June 14, 2005


even considering her massive cleavage as a weapon, I still think that a pretty tall man like Lee has a definite advantage over a small woman like Anderson, frankly. I have so very little sympathy for the plight of a jailed wife-beater


He claims in The Dirt that she came at him with a frying pan, but yeah...
posted by togdon at 3:57 PM on June 14, 2005


peewee herman?
posted by mr.marx at 1:17 PM on June 15, 2005


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