Weird News: Ex-Child Stars Unite

Rusty Hamer Highlight: For 12 years, he played Danny Thomas' bratty son Rusty on The Danny Thomas Show (also known as Make Room for Daddy) — one of the longest running TV shows of its era. Low point: When the show ended in 1965, Hamer's career fizzled. He left Hollywood and battled with depression and alcoholism. He shot himself in the head and died at 43. Mackenzie Phillips Highlight: Arrived in 1973 with her role in American Graffiti. She then landed a prominent role in the sitcom One Day at a Time. Low point: Arrested in the show's third season for cocaine possession. Left and returned several times. Fell asleep during rehearsals, refused to take drug tests, and reportedly appeared incoherent at points. Recently: Advocating sobriety, she toured with her father's group, The Mamas and the Papas. She later co-starred on the Disney Channel series So Weird. Drew Barrymore Highlight: At 7, she rocketed to fame as Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Low point: Entered a rehab clinic at the age of 13 to fight drug and alcohol abuse. In one episode, she swiped her mother's credit card and hopped a plane to the West Coast with the intention of continuing on to Hawaii. She was apprehended by private investigators in Los Angeles and led back to rehab in handcuffs. On the road to recovery, she portrayed Amy Fisher in a TV movie. Recently: She'll reprise her role in Charlie's Angels next year and will star in an update of the Jane Fonda sci-fi classic Barbarella. Now 27, she divorced her second husband, Tom Green, last year. Adam Rich Highlight: Rich was the cherubic star of ABC's Eight Is Enough for four years, beginning in 1977. The show consistently ranked at the top of the ratings chart. Low point: Battled alcohol and substance abuse. Participated in a hoax to fake his own death in Might magazine in 1996. He later said he did it to satirize the media capitalizing on celebrity funerals. Recently: At 33, he extolled the virtues of his 12-step program. Macaulay Culkin Highlight: Calkin is considered the most powerful child star since Shirley Temple. His adorable screaming in 1990s Home Alone catapulted him to the top of Hollywood. A few years later, he was earning $8 million a picture, more than Richard Gere. Low point: Battling with his parents over his estate — once estimated at more than $50 million — he became a surly teen. As the highest-paid 10-year-old in Hollywood history, he told reporters, "I don't even get an allowance." Gossip pages recounted stories of public drunkenness. He sued his father, scrawled graffiti in his New York apartment, and dyed his hair blue. He told New York magazine that Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch is "the only place on earth where I feel absolutely, 100 percent comfortable." Recently: Now 22. Culkin took to the London stage and received good reviews in Madame Melville, in which he played a 15-year-old American schoolboy in 1960s Paris who's seduced by his 30-year-old literature teacher. He will soon appear in the independent film. Party Monster, his first film in nearly a decade.

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.

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