When Fame and Addiction Run in the Family

Michael Douglas' son Cameron is the latest celebrity busted for drugs.

ByABC News
September 22, 2008, 5:11 PM

Aug. 5, 2009 — -- "It Runs in the Family" was the title of the 2003 film that Cameron Douglas, a would-be actor and member of Hollywood royalty, starred in with his famous father, Michael Douglas, and legendary grandfather Kirk Douglas.

But it could also have referred to the family's other legacy: addiction.

Cameron, 30, was arrested Friday at the upscale Hotel Gansevoort in Manhattan and faces federal charges of methamphetamine-dealing, according to The Associated Press.

It's not his first run-in with drugs. In 2007, Michael Douglas' only child from his 22-year marriage to ex-wife Diandra Douglas was arrested in California on cocaine possession charges. Cameron pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct.

Earlier this year, Cameron was evicted from his $4,200 a month home after falling behind on his rent. His landlord told Star magazine that he left behind a mess of drug paraphernalia.

Michael Douglas' representative declined to comment to ABCNews.com about the actor's son.

Cameron's drug problems, while sad, are not surprising. When it comes to addiction, the apples usually don't fall far from the tree.

"We have very good evidence that heredity plays a significant role," Dr. Timmen Cermak, president-elect of the California Society of Addiction Medicine, told ABC News.

In 1992, Michael Douglas went to rehab for alcoholism. In 2004, his half-brother, Eric Douglas, died of a drug and alcohol overdose at the age of 46.

Kirk Douglas, the 92-year-old patriarch of the family, addressed the pain of losing his son in 2007.

"My wife Annie and I discuss it. We know for years and years we tried to do everything we could," he said. "But nothing helped."

"[Addiction] runs in families," Tatum O'Neal told People magazine last year after she was arrested for allegedly trying to buy crack cocaine on a New York street corner, nearly ruining her yearlong sobriety.

O'Neal should know. Her famous party-boy father Ryan O'Neal, brother Griffin and younger half-brother Redmond have all had problems with drugs.

Griffin, in interviews with Vanity Fair and CNN's "Larry King Live," said not only did father Ryan supply the genetic predisposition to drug addiction, he often supplied the drugs themselves. When he was 11, Griffin said Ryan gave him cocaine before they watched a screening of Ryan's film "Barry Lyndon" because "it was a long movie."

Griffin told Larry King that Ryan also fueled Redmond's addiction. "My dad just let him do whatever he wanted to do, supplied him with cash for his drugs, supplied him with everything. It was a losing battle."

He said father and son used to party together and were even arrested together last May. The pair were accused of possession of methamphetamines during a routine check on Redmond, who was on probation for previous charges of meth and heroin possession and a DUI.

Ryan, 68, denied that a vial of methamphetamine allegedly found in his room was his.

"He would never use them," his attorney Mark Werksman told The Associated Press. "We know that when all the facts come out, he should not be charged with any crime here."

But Redmond, who was arrested on a second drug charge weeks later, was sent to jail and is now in a court-mandated rehab program.

Lindsay and Michael Lohan

After her third stint in rehab and her second arrest, Lindsay Lohan pleaded guilty to cocaine use and driving under the influence in August 2007 and was sentenced to one day in jail and 10 days community service.

In a statement released to the media, she said, "It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs."

Lindsay's father, Michael, has talked openly about his own struggles with drugs and alcohol. Since serving time on assault and DUI charges, he has maintained his sobriety by working as a counselor with a Christian ministry.

The Downeys

Robert Downey Jr. famously battled addiction.

From 1996 to 2001, he was arrested on numerous drug-related charges. He was finally sentenced to a three-year prison term in 1999 when he told a judge, "It's like I have a loaded gun in my mouth and my finger's on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gunmetal."

Downey explained his many relapses by his early use of drugs, which he has said were introduced to him by his father, director Robert Downey Sr.

In an interview for the 1988 book "The New Breed," Downey said, "There was always a lot of pot and coke around."

Drugs, he said, became an emotional bond. "When my dad and I would do drugs together," explained Downey, "it was like him trying to express his love for me in the only way he knew how."

The Barrymores

If stardom came early to Drew Barrymore, so did addiction.

Barrymore, now 33, has admitted that she had her first drink at age 9, began smoking marijuana at 10 and took up cocaine at 12. By the time she turned 13, she had undergone extensive drug rehab -- twice.

Acting and addiction appear to be part of Barrymore's lineage. Her grandfather John Barrymore, a star of stage and screen in the 1920s and '30s, drank himself to death at age 60. Her aunt Diana Barrymore detailed her love for booze and drugs in the 1957 bestseller "Too Much, Too Soon."

And her father, John Drew Barrymore, a sometime actor and poet who never lived with her, had a history of alcoholism and drug arrests.

After a period in her late teens of appearing nude in Playboy and making five films, Barrymore cleaned up her act, choosing a successful string of romantic comedies, becoming a Cover Girl model and getting involved with a U.N. charity.

Liza Minnelli with mom Judy Garland

It seems that for most of her life, Liza Minnelli has been living up to and trying to escape the shadow of her mother, Judy Garland.

Not only did she inherit her mother's talent for singing, dancing and acting, but she also inherited her mother's addictions to drug and drink. Garland died from a drug overdose at 46. Minnelli became a star in her own right but also succumbed to the darker forces of her mother's personality.

After waiting until 30 to sip her first drink, Minnelli fell deeply into booze and drugs in the hard-partying '70s. By 1984, her half-sister Lorna Luft was forced to literally kidnap Minnelli to save her from a downward spiral of alcohol, cocaine and pills. Luft wrote in her 1988 memoir, "Me and My Shadow," of how Frank Sinatra loaned her his plane to fly Minnelli to the Betty Ford Clinic in California.

Liza has returned to rehab a handful of other times since then, including in 2003, when she checked herself into an eight-week "self-help" program, according to Reuters.

Mackenzie Phillips and father John Phillips

It almost seemed like Mackenzie Phillips' battles with drugs were behind her. The "One Day at a Time" star saw her career, which had skyrocketed in the 1970s and '80s, suspended when she suffered two near-fatal overdoses, went through rehab several times and repeatedly relapsed.

She returned to television in the 1990s, playing a counselor on the original "90210," and recently she played a rock star mom in the Disney Channel series "So Weird."

Then came news in August that the 48-year-old actress had been arrested at Los Angeles International Airport, after police found a "small amount" of drugs and a hypodermic needle in her possession. Shortly after, TMZ.com reported that she was entering rehab -- for the 10th time.

Phillips just can't seem to escape either her genes or her past.

"I grew up in mansions, but everything was dirty and broken," she told USA Weekend magazine in 1999. "Very little was going on inside except sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll."

Her father, John Phillips, founder of '60s folk rock group The Mamas and the Papas, was widely known for his heavy narcotic use. On "The E! True Hollywood Story," he admitted that he shot cocaine and heroin into his body "almost every 15 minutes for two years." Even after receiving a liver transplant in 1992, he was photographed drinking. He died in 2001 at age 65.

Charlie and Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen has talked publicly about suffering from alcoholism. So when he saw his son Charlie headed down the road to addiction, he quickly sprang into action.

He recently told AARP magazine that he turned to Alcoholics Anonymous for help. "I only got involved with AA when I was trying desperately to find a way to help Charlie, because I didn't have any skills," he said.

Charlie, who had developed a bad-boy reputation for his partying and drug use, was hospitalized for a drug overdose in 1998 when he tried injecting cocaine.

"The only way I got to Charlie, frankly, was because he'd skipped out of the hospital," Sheen told the magazine. "I had to pay the bill.

"He'd consumed an illegal substance; he was on probation," Sheen explained. "This was a criminal matter. And so that was the wedge; that was the leverage I had. That is what I took to the court; that's what I took to the sheriff. It was the only way I got him."

After a warrant was issued for his arrest, Charlie signed up for rehab.

Daniel Baldwin and younger brother Stephen Baldwin

In the famous Baldwin family, with brothers Alec, Daniel, Billy and Stephen, the glare of Hollywood is a fact of life. And so, it seems, for two of the brothers, is addiction.

Since taking his first hit of cocaine in 1989, actor Daniel Baldwin has been marred by failed attempts at sobriety.

His drug problem started making headlines after a very public overdose in New York City's historic Plaza Hotel in 1998, and he had another very public relapse in 2005 on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club," on which he erupted during filming. Daniel admitted to becoming addicted to pain medication and eventually left the show.

ABC's "Primetime" followed Daniel through rehab last year, when he admitted that he will always be an addict. "The addict will always be there, forever. I am an addict. That's just the way it is."

His younger brother, Stephen, also an actor, has written about his struggles with drug addiction in his book, "The Unusual Suspect." Going to rehab introduced Stephen to Christianity, and since then, he has become a born-again Christian.

"It's real. It's changed my life. It's transformed my heart. I'm not who I was," Stephen said.

ABC News' Lauren Cox and Rena Furuya provided additional reporting.