burt-reynolds-sarah-miles-in-the-man-who-loved-cat-dancing7) THE STARS: Sarah Miles and Burt Reynolds

THE SCANDAL: In 1972, Miles and Reynolds, both of whose careers were just taking off, co-starred in the Western romance The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. In the movie, the rough outlaw played by Reynolds abducts and eventually wins the heart of the flinty English beauty played by Miles, in the course of a story that requires her to suffer at the hands of crueler, less photogenic men. Midway through filming, Miles herself was physically attacked by her business manager, David Whiting, and sought sanctuary by fleeing to Reynolds' quarters; the next morning, Whiting was found to have committed suicide.

THE FALLOUT: At first, the creepy synchronicity between the movie's plot and what happened on the set inspired a certain amount of interest and rumor-mongering, and Esquire ran a purplish article by Ron Rosenbaum titled "The Corpse as Big as he Ritz." Two things splashed cold water on the whole thing: Miles (who was married at the time to playwright Robert Bolt) and Reynolds (who was embarking on a very public relationship with Dinah Shore) failed to hold up their end by having a steamy affair, and the movie turned out to be so dull that no amount of gossip could prop it up at the box office. Much of the blame belonged to Miles; her offscreen reputation as an irresistable temptress didn't come across onscreen. Her failure to become a star probably had little to do with the unhappy fate of David Whiting. As for Burt Reynolds, Cat Dancing was a blip in his career, sandwiched between his first big hits Deliverance and White Lightning, and was almost instantaneously forgotten.

james-woods-sean-young8 ) THE STARS: James Woods, actor and nut, and Sean Young, nut

THE SCANDAL: In 1988, Woods, then forty-one, and Young, twenty-eight, co-starred in the raging-cokehead drama The Boost. They then had a nasty public spat that played into popular hysteria over "stalkers" and "fatal attractions." Woods claimed that the two of them had enjoyed an on-set affair and that Young, unable to let go, had tried to keep his heart tingly by burning the limbs off a doll and leaving the charred remains on his fiancee's doorstep. Young accused him of being delusional. Woods and his fiancee eventually filed a harassment suit that was settled out of court.

THE FALLOUT: Woods survived the embarrassment while continuing to be frustrated in his attempts to graduate from character actor to mainstream leading man, never mind his bewildering campaign to be seen as a nice guy. (Delusional? Even Sean Young is right twice a day.) But Young, who already had a reputation as a troublesome weirdo to go with her reputation as a godawful actress, was not so lucky. A year later, her attempt to storm Tim Burton's office in a homemade Catwoman costume — part of her master plan to get cast in Batman Returns— badly scared the creator of Edward Scissorhands and solidified her image as a walking freak show, a once-hot property who would soon be lucky to get hired for the sake of her punch-line value in Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.


9) THE STAR: Paul Reubens, actor and improvisational comedian, who achieved camp immortality in the person of his idiot man-child character Pee-wee Herman.

THE SCANDAL: In the summer of 1991, Reubens was arrested for masturbating in a porno theater in Sarasota, Florida. (He was reportedly in town visiting his parents.) A mug shot of Reubens looking like a serial killer was widely circulated, and the media did in fact go after him as if bodies had been found in his crawlspace. Much of the overreaction was probably due to a misunderstanding of the nature of the Pee-wee character and the diversity of his fan base. Reubens had created a surreal parody of a stunted pre-teen and, on his TV show, somehow found a way to function as a "real" kid's-show host without violating that character's essence. Not grasping any of this, much of the press behaved as if Captain Kangaroo had been caught running a white-slavery operation out of the back of Mr. Green Jeans' barn.

THE FALLOUT: In the wake of the scandal, CBS canceled its reruns of Pee-wee's Playhouse. (Contrary to fable, the show itself had already ceased production.) Reubens himself had already decided to put Pee-wee on the shelf, feeling that, after more than a decade, the character was running on fumes. Before retiring Pee-wee forever, Reubens slipped back into his skintight suit for the MTV Awards, where he greeted the crowd with the line, "Heard any good jokes lately?" and brought down the house. The media had badly misread the national mood on this one; some still wanted to string Reubens up, but most people just wanted to know if Sarasota cops had nothing better to do than hang out at showings of Nurse Nancy.


10) THE STAR: Charlie Sheen, actor

THE SCANDAL: In 1993, Heidi Fleiss was arrested for running a prostitution ring in Los Angeles. Intense media speculation suggested that the madam's "little black book" might be chock full of the names of movie stars and other celebrities. Ultimately, the one recognizable show business name outed was Charlie Sheen. Fleiss was finally sentenced to thirty-seven months in prison for tax evasion in 1997.

THE FALLOUT: When the story broke, Sheen had already slid a ways from his high-profile roles in Platoon and Wall Street. The years that Fleiss was in the news neatly overlapped with his transition to walking punch line. His self-parodying role in Being John Malkovich was the first sign that this might actually be a good look for him. He recently began his seventh year co-starring alongside fellow '80s relic Jon Cryer on the TV sitcom Two and a Half Men, and is currently the highest-paid actor on TV.

Commentarium (21 Comments)

Oct 12 09 - 1:19am

so uh... I would think that the Polanski case would be on here. Didn't Chaplin get in trouble for sleeping with underage girls and also blacklisted?

Oct 12 09 - 10:07am

Re: the Charlie Sheen thing: a friend of mine in the business out in LA has said that she thinks the reason Charlie Sheen didn't catch more flak for the Heidi Fleiss thing was because he was covering for a whole lot of other people, and they made sure he received their appreciation.

Oct 12 09 - 3:51pm
Ret Marut

Remove Dave from the scandal ranks. He was single during those consensual relations with his staffers.

Oct 12 09 - 5:58pm

What about Hugh Grant? Roman Polanski?

Oct 12 09 - 8:03pm

Rob Lowe? Woody Allen? Hugh Grant? Roman Polanski? That "Great Balls of Fire" dude who married his tween cousin? This list was missing some of the big ones.

Oct 13 09 - 10:24am

What about the Lana Turner, her daughter and the wanna-be mafioso Johnny Stompanto? Sex scandal and murder in one!

Oct 13 09 - 3:11pm

Imagine the how juicy the ones we've never even heard about must be!

Oct 14 09 - 1:06pm
cyle sage

What about Alex Mucknicka?

Oct 16 09 - 8:28pm
Herbert Dorfman

The phrase "in like Flynn" did not originate with the Errol Flynn case. The comment was made earlier in reference to the influence of Boss Flynn of New York.

Oct 16 09 - 11:40pm
outraged mama

The rats are the "adult" predators who go after kids: Polanski and Woody Allen should be tops. Letterman, though "technically" single was not as his partner was pregnant for at least some of it. As for Sheen, his descent into being a known drug abuser saved his bacon (besides, he "collaborated" w/ highly compensated consenting adults; F them)

Oct 17 09 - 6:42pm

This list is absurd. Half aren't even "sex" scandals, while so many real ones are missing. Hope you kids had fun flipping through Hollywood Babylon.

Oct 22 09 - 8:48am

Like those rooms where leaders gather, this room will be a forum in which all countries, large and small, developed and developing, can air their grievances, highlight their aspirations, and hopefully, in the end, find consensus. ,

Oct 23 09 - 12:02pm

Wow, a sex scandal list that doesn't included Hugh Grant or Monica Lewinsky? Nerve.com, I totally love you!

Although the Hugh Grant thing is fascinating, not only did being caught with a hooker not hurt his career (because he owned up to it, let everyone get it out of their system and then everyone moved on) it's actually helped it. Having the public identify him as kinda sleezy has gotten him more interesting parts!

Oct 27 09 - 1:27am

What about Robert Blake and O J Simpson, people, died here, Pee Wee having abit of solo fun is hardly a scandal is it!!!!!! The only scandal above is that Blake and Simpson walked free.. Some real journalisim please

Jan 14 10 - 6:32pm

The story goes that when Robert Mitchum was asked by reporters how things were going when he was serving his jail sentence he replied "You meet a better class of people in here than you do in Hollywood."

Nov 30 11 - 2:35pm


Jun 28 12 - 7:04pm

ha ha ha yoy made it then!

Jul 09 12 - 2:51pm
steve price

what about jake (the snake) boylan

Jul 24 12 - 11:52pm
Jail Bait-er (LMAO)

I second Jerrry Lee Lewis. Nothing makes good copy like rock stars banging teenage girls.

Jul 24 12 - 11:58pm
Jail Bate-r

And wasn't she Jerry's cousin, on top of being only 13?

Jul 25 12 - 12:06am
Master of Bait

Sorry, I stand corrected: Jerry Lee Lewis and his young wife were "first cousins once removed" which means that Jerry was probably her father or mother's first cousin.