Downey Written Out of 'Ally' After New Arrest

ByABC News

April 25, 2001 -- Hours after his latest arrest, actor Robert Downey Jr. was dropped from the TV show Ally McBeal, at least for the rest of the season.

Downey, who is scheduled to appear in court next week in connection with a November drug arrest, was picked up at 12:10 a.m. Tuesday while walking on Washington Boulevard in Culver City, Calif.

Culver City police Lt. Dave Tankenson said Downey's behavior as he walked suggested he was under the influence of something illegal. Downey, who submitted a urine sample, was charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance and released into the custody of his parole officer.

He checked into a rehab facility shortly afterward.

"Mr. Downey was cooperative," said Tankenson. "He was described as being pretty solemn and disappointed, [and] didn't say a whole lot."

He said the arresting officer did not immediately recognize the actor.

Ally Loses Another Boyfriend

Even after Downey's November arrest, the television show appeared committed to working with him. After all, the troubled actor and the show had been good for each other: Downey won a Golden Globe, and the show got a boost in its then-sagging ratings.

But producers have apparently had enough.

"We are wrapping up the stories on the final few episodes of Ally McBeal for the season without him," producer David E. Kelley said in a statement.

Kelley called Downey "a unique talent and a very special person ... we wish him the best and hope for his full recovery."

It was unclear whether episodes already in the can with Downey would air, and also unclear how — if at all — they would work his character, who had formed a romantic bond with the title character, out of the show.

Not Just an Actor — a Singer With ‘Soul’

Downey had been scheduled to do an in-store appearance Tuesday at a record store in Los Angeles with singer Vonda Shepard to promote a soundtrack album from Ally McBeal. On the album, Downey does a duet with Sting of "Every Breath You Take." Downey also sings a song that he wrote called "Snakes."

"I think he may get a record deal after this, when this record comes out," Shepard said prior to the arrest. "He's got soul."

Long History of Legal Trouble

The actor has had repeated brushes with the law over his drug use. His lawyers are currently challenging the legality of the hotel room search that led to last fall's arrest on drug possession charges. Police say they found cocaine and Valium in the room.

He is expected to appear in court Monday in San Bernadino on those charges, and could face jail time if convicted. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 4 in connection with Tuesday's arrest.

Downey's legal troubles date to June 1996, when he was stopped for speeding on the Pacific Coast Highway and authorities found cocaine, heroin and a pistol in his vehicle.

A month later, he was found passed out on a child's bed in a neighbor's home. Three days later, he was arrested after leaving a recovery center.He was jailed in August 1999 after he admitted during a probation hearing that he was missing scheduled drug tests. Superior Court Judge Lawrence Mira sentenced him to three years in prison for violating his probation.

Talent Equal to His Troubles

Downey had established an impressive movie career before his incarceration. The son of film director Robert Downey, he earned an Oscar nomination for his work in the title role in Chaplin, the 1992 screen biography of famed comedian Charlie Chaplin. He also appeared in the critically acclaimed film Wonder Boys.

Other film credits include Less Than Zero, Natural Born Killers, One Night Stand and Two Girls and a Guy.

His fans were upset — if not exactly surprised — by the news.

"He's such a wonderful soul, we were just really heartbroken to think that he's taken away from us," said fan Linda Albertono of West Hollywood.

ABCNEWS Radio contributed to this report.

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