In some cases, however, it's simply a sad, last rest stop between fame and obscurity. In the case of Tom Sizemore, who starred in a painfully raw six-episode VH1 show called Shooting Sizemore and has signed on for the new season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, it hurts to watch the decline of a genuinely talented performer.
Some actors, you remember the first time you saw them. But it's not like that with Sizemore. For me, it's like he was just suddenly always there. In the 1990s, he was a sort of a poor man's Tommy Lee Jones, except with his own distinct, streetwise edge -- where Tommy Lee still had a warm glimmer in his eye, Sizemore was all cold, weary rage.
He seemed dangerous, really dangerous, in a way that actors rarely pull off, and his naturalistic style brought an authenticity to the character roles he played, whether as an Army sergeant (Saving Private Ryan), a cop tracking murderers on a crime spree (Natural Born Killers), a professional thief (Heat) or even Bat Masterson (Wyatt Earp).
IMDb credits Sizemore with 28 movie roles between Born on the Fourth of July in 1989 and Red Planet in 2000. That's a busy decade, and the workload may have contributed to the actor's well-publicized drug problems. Convicted in 2003 of assault and battery against his then-girlfriend, "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss, he was arrested again in 2007, while on probation for a drug conviction, when cops found him with a bag of methamphetamine and three meth pipes in his car. He served nine months in jail that time.
He's had continued problems since, repeatedly going to court to avoid more jail time for probation violations. Most recently, he's been investigated in connection with stealing phones from a Verizon store, as reported by TMZ.
And now, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. In a perverse twist, Sizemore will be in rehab with Fleiss, who Sizemore accused of faking the bruises in the photo she entered as evidence in the assault trial. I'm not one to second-guess Dr. Drew, but what makes for good TV drama doesn't necessarily make for productive therapy. In fact, it sounds like a deliberately destructive idea.
Also on this cycle of the addiction circus, according to the VH1 press release, will be Mackenzie Phillips (One Day At A Time), Dennis Rodman, country music singer Mindy McCready, an America's Next Top Model contestant, somebody from The Real World, a Playboy playmate, and Mike Starr of Alice in Chains. The show is slated for broadcast in early 2010.
It's hard to watch someone suffer with addiction, and cringe-inducing to see truly talented actors like Sizemore debase themselves on television. I sincerely wish him all the best.
Of course, all actors face a certain amount of debasement in pursuit of their chosen profession -- it just usually comes at the beginning of their career. Like with this Blistik commercial that Sizemore did in the 1980's, long before everything went off the rails: