Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Robert Downey Jr. arrested again for drugs

April 25, 2001

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— Robert Downey Jr. was fired from the TV show "Ally McBeal" on Tuesday, hours after his arrest for investigation of being under the influence of drugs.

The arrest was the latest in a string of substance-abuse troubles for the actor, whose career has been derailed several times by rehabilitation and prison time.

Downey was on foot in Culver City, near southwest Los Angeles, at the time of the midnight arrest, police Lt. Dave Tankenson said. Police offered no details about what led to Downey's arrest, nor did they release the type of drug he was accused of using.

Downey, 36, of Malibu, was held several hours, issued a citation and released to his parole agent, who arranged for him to enter a detoxification center, Tankenson said. The actor must appear in court May 4.

David E. Kelley, the Emmy-winning producer of "Ally McBeal," released a statement Tuesday saying that he has scuttled plans to feature Downey in several more episodes. "We are wrapping up the stories on the final few episodes of "Ally McBeal" for the season without him," Kelley said.

The producer had publicly supported Downey until his latest arrest, even signing him to more episodes after the actor's arrest last November on drug charges.

Downey's role as "Ally McBeal" star Calista Flockhart's boyfriend won him a Golden Globe Award and is credited with boosting sagging ratings for the Fox comedy this season.

Downey's arrest Tuesday could have sent him back to jail. Rather than pursuing a parole violation, however, his parole agent decided to send him to a detoxification center for at least 72 hours, said Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections. After that, Downey will stay in a live-in drug treatment center for at least six months, she said.

The actor's legal troubles began in 1996 when he was stopped for speeding and authorities found cocaine, heroin and a pistol in his vehicle.

A month later he was found unconscious in a neighbor's home and hospitalized at a substance-abuse treatment center. Three days later, he was arrested for leaving the recovery center.

In August 1999, Downey was sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation by missing scheduled drug tests. He was released a year later on $5,000 bail.

Last November, he was arrested at a Palm Springs hotel after police received a 911 call reporting someone in a hotel room with guns and drugs.

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