Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hollywood’s 15 Worst Kept Secrets

Hollywood gossip is something that has become so pervasive in our culture that we tend to take it all for granted. Whether we tend to listen to it all or shun it like the plague, we end up hearing more than our fair share, and stowing it away in memory without even realizing it. Sometimes, the really good gossip slips through the mainstream and get slowly forgotten by the few people that ever knew about it to begin with. These are some of those bits of information; these are 15 of Hollywood’s worst kept secrets.


1 - Tim Allen Served Time

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Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor of Home Improvement fame was supposed to be the all-American dad — one of the good guys. He was your average Joe who spent more time in the garage than anywhere else, had a loving wife and a house full of kids that he had to teach the ways of the world. What Tim Allen’s character never taught his kids on the show, however, was how to get caught in an airport, smuggling over 1.4 pounds of cocaine in his luggage. This was in 1978, and he plea-bargained a potential life-sentence down to a few years by giving away the names of his suppliers, and got out on parole 28 months later.

2 - Silvester Stallone Starred in a Porn Movie

The trailer above was made back in 1970, a full six years before Stallone would become Rocky, and it was originally released under the title The Party at Kitty and Stud’s. Once Rocky broke the box office, the movie was re-released as The Italian Stallion in an effort to grab more sales. When asked about the movie later, Stallone said that he was “starving” when he made it, and that he was “desperate.” You don’t have to play coy with us, Sly.

3 - Jack Nicholson’s “Sister” Was His Mother

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Jack Nicholson, one of Hollywood’s greats, was born in 1936. Most of us know the little trivia tidbit that he was born the son of a showgirl, but nobody ever seems to realize or remember that the showgirl he was born to wasn’t the same woman he called “mom” all his life. His grandmother insisted on taking the him and raising him as her own, to allow his mother (a bit of a floozy) to continue her work. His real mother became his sister overnight, and nobody ever told him — until a journalist from Time magazine broke the silence and informed him during an interview in 1974. By that time, both women had already passed away.

 

4 - Eric Stoltz Was the Original Marty McFly

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Eric Stoltz hasn’t spent a great deal of time in the limelight, but some of us do still remember some pretty great roles of his; roles like Martin Brundle in The Fly II, Danny in Memphis Belle, Simon in The Prophecy and our favorite, Lance in Pulp Fiction. Now he’s back in the spotlight with his role as Daniel Graystone in SyFy’s new BSG precursor, Caprica. Inventing the Cylons is a pretty good bullet point on any guy’s resume, but back in 1985 he was still just a newbie on set, and Robet Zemeckis booted him from the role of Marty McFly after six weeks of filming when Michael J. Fox agreed to take the part.

 

5 - Don King Killed Two Men, Did Time

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Don King gets a lot of press for being, well, Don King. He’s got the support of some heavy-hitters (pun intended), but he’s also come to be known as something of a bastard by those who know him best. One of the little stories that tends to get forgotten involves two incidents in King’s past: he shot one guy in the back as he was trying to rob one of his gambling houses back in 1953, and then stomped another guy to death because he owed him $600. Nice guy, eh?

 

6 -  Winona Ryder is Naturally Blonde

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You gotta love Winona. She’s the bad girl who’s not the bad girl; she’s cute, bubbly, dark, light, shoplifts with the best (and worst) of ‘em and rolls with the punches. She played roles in some of the best movies of our time, including Edward Scissorhands and BeatleJuice. What most of us never stop to think about, given the fact that she’s nearly always appeared as a brunette (and a good one at that), is that Winona is actually a blonde. For those who never had an inkling, watching Edward Scissorhands again with this knowledge is like flipping the world upside-down.

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7 - Nicole Richie’s Real Dad Was a Member of Lionel’s Band

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Nicole Ritchie being Lionel Ritchie’s kid was always one of those things you just tend to forget about. The names match up, but little else does, and we sort of just make it work in our heads. Most people never stop to question it, and when they do, they find ways to justify it in their heads that they’re father/daughter instead of checking to be sure. Fact is, Nicole is Lionel’s adopted daughter; her mother was a bit of a deadbeat who worked wardrobe for Prince, and her biological father was actually a former percussionist in Lionel’s own band.

 

8 - Janet Jackson Was Secretly Married for Eight Years

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People elope all the time; it’s much more common than most of us realize. When an individual as famous as Janet Jackson does it, and manages to keep it a secret for eight years; well that’s an accomplishment. Apparently she had to keep her marriage a complete secret because she wanted to keep it from her father, who we all know is not the greatest guy on earth. She and her husband, Rene Elizondo, had to act like “close friends” the entire time. It was his hands in the photo shoot above. In 2000, Rene had officially had enough of the secret life, and since Janet wouldn’t budge, he filed for divorce. It got pretty ugly after that point, and since he was suing her for millions, we’re pretty sure her father found out anyway.

 

9 - Charlize Theron Watched Her Mother Kill Her Father

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Charlize Theron is South African by birth, and lived there her entire young life. She led a somewhat normal life into her pre-teens, but then things changed a bit. Her father was an abusive alcoholic, and her mother was the chief punching bag around the house. When Charlize was 15, her father came home especially drunk one night. A scuffle broke out and she witnessed her mother pull a gun and shoot her dad dead. At least this makes it a bit easier to understand how she can play such messed up roles so well — and if the picture of her from Monster scared you a bit, here’s a nicer one to reset the memory.

 

10 -Tobey Maguire’s Father Is a Convicted Bank Robber

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Tobey Maguire, born Tobias Vincent Maguire, was named partly after his father, Vincent. When Tobey was a struggling teen actor back in 1993, his dad was a struggling regular Joe. A regular Joe who got the hair-brained idea in his head to rob a bank in Reseda, California. The irony screams on this one, and Tobey has tried his hardest to keep this one of the least talked about topics in his life. If only he had been Spider Man a decade earlier, he could have stopped the whole thing from ever happening.

 

11 - Mark Wahlberg’s Living on Borrowed Time

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It’s pretty common knowledge that Mark Wahlberg is either blessed or just among the luckiest guys on earth by natural circumstances. Either way you cut it, the guy has made out pretty well time after time, despite beginning his public life as Marky Mark (an unforgivable sin). What most people don’t know is that the morning of September 11, 2001, Wahlberg was a ticket-holding passenger on one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center. He, on the other hand, was miles away attending a film festival in Toronto. He was invited at the very last minute by some friends who happened to be there, and he missed his flight. Lucky is an understatement for this guy.

 

12 - Oprah Had a Baby When She Was 14

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Oprah is known for many things, but having a kid at 14 is not one of them. Apparently she was a bit of an underaged harlot, and told her best friend at the time that she had no idea who the father could have been, since the list of possible donors was relentlessly long. Really Oprah? We always thought the whole 9000 Penises bit felt a little too natural.

 

13 - Alanis Morissette Likely Wrote “You Oughta Know” About Dave Coulier

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In 1993, Dave Coulier was Uncle Joey on Full House, and Alanis Morisette was just getting her feet under her in the music business. Somehow, they started dating. The relationship went pretty sour due to work schedules and some bad communication, among other things (who would have guessed Uncle Joey was such a stud?) and then it fell apart. In 1995, Alanis released Jagged Little Pill — and it was “You Oughta Know” that really hit the public like a punch to the face. The lyrics were crystal clear, angsty, and just plain pissed off. What nobody realized at the time was that those lyrics were very likely to be directed at Dave Coulier, and to this day Alanis has never denied these claims.

 

14 - Woody Harrelson’s Father Was a Hitman

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Woody Harrelson is a badass. He’s a fantastic actor, a hilarious guy, and one of the few folks in Hollywood that stays somewhat down to earth throughout the fame. One thing that people don’t usually know about Woody is that his father was actually a convicted hitman. He was arrested in 1979 after assassinating a federal judge in San Antonio, Texas. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to Natural Born Killers, doesn’t it?

 

15 - The Story of Alan Smithee

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Hollywood’s been around for a long time now, and the cultural wall that’s been built up around it goes nowhere but up. In the long, long time that Tinseltown has grown and flourished, it’s gathered some strange traditions. One of them is called Alan Smithee. Originally named Al Smith, the persona was concocted by film-makers who wanted a way to sign movies that they didn’t want to sign their own name on when they became disgusted with the finished product. Often times, it was due to a director losing creative control over a film. When it happens, it’s roiling, and the director has the option of going to the Guild and requesting that he be allowed to sign anonymously in protest. The number of Hollywood films with Alan Smithee listed as director is surprisingly long — films such as The Birds II: Land’s End, the segment in Twilight Zone: The Movie in which an actor died, Death of a Gunfighter, the pilot episode of MacGyver; and the television-edited versions of some major films like Heat, Dune, Rudy and Scent of a Woman. The name Alan Smithee was officially retired in 2000, probably because the list was getting so long that people were beginning to think Alan was a real director. Now disgruntled film-makers have to come up with their own pseudonyms when they don’t want their name on a finished product.

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1 comments: on "Hollywood’s 15 Worst Kept Secrets"

Charles Heyman said...

Pretty good list, man.

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