by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith
Anyone who's seen much of Jack Osbourne
couldn't have been too surprised that the 17-year-old son of Ozzy and Sharon ended up in rehab.On the first season of The Osbournes
," his boorish behavior (including hitting his sister) earned him legions of Jack-haters among the show's viewers. He had more trouble than the rest of his family coping with being on camera all the time. He fought depression, was on and off Zoloft, battled insomnia.
"I couldn't fall asleep till 8 in the morning. That's why I first stopped going to school," he explained to a reporter. His drinking increased as his mother fought cancer. He was going out of control. In March, when Sharon was hospitalized for heat exhaustion in Las Vegas, Jack reportedly continued to party until dawn.
The Osbournes may be a one-of-a kind family, but Jack?s fall while in the glare of the public spotlight is all too familiar. Hollywood has a terrible history of juvenile stars who flame out after being suddenly thrust into fame, surrounded by yes-people, invited into the high life -- the clubs, the parties, the limos and jets -- who find themselves loaded with money but short on relationships they can trust.
Certainly Edward Furlong and Brad Renfro have to be considered poster boys of the current crop of Child Stars Gone Bad.
Furlong went from breakout fame in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" to such a wild life as an underage playboy that "A Home of Our Own" director Tony Bill wrote to Furlong's agents, "I've never worked with a kid so clearly on a path to disaster." Renfro has been busted for underage drinking, cocaine and marijuana possession and grand theft (he and a friend tried to steal a yacht, which they failed to untie from the dock). He has been quoted as saying he'd done "everything," including using heroin.
Two of Ryan O'Neal's kids stretched the bounds of wild behavior in their teen and young adult years. Griffin O'Neal, a child actor in such films as "The Escape Artist" and "Hadley's Rebellion," informed E! Entertainment that, "I tried every drug on the planet." In 1987 he was convicted of reckless boating in the death of Francis Ford Coppola's son Giancarlo. Tatum O'Neal was an Oscar winner at age 10 and an addict by age 20 who ended up losing custody of her children to ex-husband John McEnroe.
Then there are the examples of Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. In 1990, after a string of hit films that included "Stand by Me," "The Lost Boys" and "License to Kill," Feldman was addicted to heroin and cocaine, was $150,000 in debt and faced the possibility of serious prison time for drug possession. His "Lost Boys" co-star Corey Haim was also a victim of drug addiction and had more than one brush with authorities. On one occasion he was charged with threatening the life of his manager.
Adam Rich, once the darling of TV's "Eight Is Enough," has been in and out of trouble for over a decade. His rap sheet includes no contest pleas to felony burglary and drug charges. Despite a rehab stint at the Betty Ford Center, in February, he was charged with driving under the influence in Pomona, CA.
Dana Plato of "Diff'rent Strokes" was arrested for robbery in 1991. Her co-star Todd Bridges was arrested for cocaine possession and, after a retrial, acquitted of shooting an accused drug dealer in a crack house.
"The Sopranos'" son Robert Iler was arrested on two counts of second-degree robbery and drug possession. Former "Wonder Years" child star Fred Savage insists that he and many of his peers "learned from the mistakes of previous generations of young actors." As far as the Stanford University graduate is concerned, "being an actor at a young age is not a curse."
Yet despite success stories like Savage's, show business continues to be a breeding ground for young people who get too much too soon, and are unable to develop into self-sustaining adults.