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JOHN BELUSHI

(Actor, died of heroin and cocaine overdose)


Judy Belushi, his widow, has attacked Woodward's book for a number of reasons, of
which the most heartfelt is: That's not John in the book. Woodward's portrait doesn't
show the life, the humor, the courage, the energy. He wasn't just a junkie.
Yet the cops who removed his body from a bungalow at the Chateau Marmont on March
5, 1982, were brutally frank. He looked, to them, like just another dead junkie.
Judy Belushi remembers the good times. She argues that "drugs can be fun," and that
she and John had a lot of ups along with the downs. The difference was that John never
knew when to stop. Woodward portrays a man who, at the time of his death, was
throwing away a career and alienating key people in the movie industry by a pattern of
uncontrolled drug abuse. Judy Belushi speaks of the pressures of show business, of
John's need to find energy and inspiration in drugs so that he could deliver what was
expected of him.
In all the important ways, Woodward's book is apparently reliable. Judy Belushi
quarrels with some dates and interpretations, but basically the facts are there, and
documented. Their real difference is over the interpretation of the facts. Beginning with
the same man and the same life, Judy Belushi sees a lifestyle, and Bob Woodward sees
the progression of a disease.
Was John Belushi an addict? Friends shy away from the word, and yet on the evidence
in Woodward's book he was a classic addict, a textbook case of drug and alcohol abuse.
You don't get much worse and live, as indeed he proved.
The protests over Woodward's unflinching portrait of Belushi's last days reminds me
(not with a smile) of an old Irish joke. The mourners are gathered around the dead
man's coffin.
"What did he die of?" one asks the widow.
"He died of the drink," she says.
"Did he go to AA?"
"He wasn't that bad."

John Belushi did try to stop, many times. It is just that he never tried to stop in a way
that would have worked. He tried resolutions and willpower. Every addict knows that
willpower hardly ever works in the long run, since when the will turns, the game is over.
He tried changing his environment, with retreats to Martha's Vineyard. Recovering
addicts talk cynically of "geographical cures," as if a habit you carry within yourself can
be left behind. He tried placing himself under the discipline of others, and even
submitted to "trainers" who were to guard him twenty-four hours a day. That made his
drugs their problem, not his. He tried switching from one drug to another, or to "only
beer" or "only pot." All mood-altering substances are interchangeable to the abuser, and
the drug of substitute leads inevitably back to the drug of choice. He tried health kicks,
with Judy mixing her husband "health shakes" in the mornings, all filled with yogurt
and bananas and wheat germ. An abusers body is incapable of efficiently absorbing
nutrition. He talked to doctors who issued their dire warnings while writing him
prescriptions for tranquilizers. He talked to psychiatrists who wanted to get to the root
of his problem, as if today's drug abuse can be treated by understanding the traumas of
childhood.
All of these attempts were valiant. When Judy Belushi speaks of them, she speaks from
the bottom of her heart. But they were all doomed. All but the very luckiest of drug
abusers and alcoholics have tried and failed at most of those strategies. Those who have
been successful at stopping are almost unanimous in describing what finally worked:
1. Complete abstinence from all mood-altering substances.
2. Admission of defeat, and willingness to accept help.
3. Use of a support group, such as AA.
The odds against successfully stopping by going cold turkey and using willpower are so
high, according to the Harvard Medical School study "The Natural History of
Alcoholism," that it's hardly worth trying -- except as a prelude to an admission of
defeat.
From the evidence in Wired, John Belushi was rarely away from one drug or another for
more than a few days. Using Valium or Quaaludes as a "substitute" was just his way of
putting his drug of choice on hold. When he did occasionally get clean, it was almost
always in response to a specific challenge (doing a movie, meeting a deadline), and it
often involved some kind of external control, like a bodyguard who would act as a
substitute for Belushi's own will. When he went back to drug use, it was also often in
response to a challenge like a movie or a deadline; whether he was using or abstaining,
he connected drugs with his ability to work.
I remember a day here at the Sun-Times building when Belushi was shooting scenes for
"Continental Divide." I had known him for years on a casual basis; our paths crossed

occasionally, from early days of Old Town bars and Second City parties to later
interviews and show-biz occasions. I had rarely seen him looking better than he looked
that day. He told me he was in great shape. He was off the booze and the drugs. He was
exercising.
A man was standing next to him, and he introduced him as "my trainer." Well, what was
he going to call him? "My drug guard?" Alcoholism and drug abuse are characterized by
denial and an addict will substitute almost any conceivable illness or weakness for the
one he must deny; John seemed to place the entire situation in the category of "losing
weight" and "getting in shape." An alcoholic who has temporarily stopped drinking but
does not yet admit his problem will frequently do what John did, which is to describe
abstinence as a training program or a diet.
His career was coming apart. "Continental Divide" did not do well at the box office.
There were arguments and major problems during the shooting of "Neighbors." Work
was at a standstill on the screenplay for Belushi's next project, titled "Noble Rot." All the
career setbacks are described by Woodward. They were accompanied by episodes of
drug and alcohol abuse that grew increasingly alarming to his friends and family.
Judy Belushi, in describing those episodes, often links them with their "causes." For
example, she differs with Woodward on his interpretation of Belushi's drug use during
the filming of "Goin' South," one of his early films, which starred Jack Nicholson. In
the Woodward version, Belushi's drug use created problems with the shooting schedule.
In Judy Belushi's version, John had flown to New York for a heavy "Saturday Night
Live" taping schedule, had exhausted himself, was diagnosed as having "walking
pneumonia," should have been hospitalized, was nevertheless advised by his lawyer to
fly back to the movie location in Mexico -- and only then, after being kept on hold for
several days in Mexico, began to use drugs. Well, she seems to be asking, can you blame
him?
The disagreement over the facts of this episode are unimportant, now that Belushi is in
his grave. Judy's interpretation is revealing. Her rationale, if I follow it, is that John
used drugs in response to an intolerable situation, and that drugs were his means of
coping with it. He was not just irresponsibly going on a blast.
That is true, but it is half of the truth.
It is true, that for someone with a dependency on drugs or alcohol, there will be
situations that literally cannot be gotten through without drugs or alcohol. But the other
half of the truth is: The situations that cannot be gotten through without drugs or
alcohol are invariably situations caused by drugs or alcohol. Booze fixes a hangover.
Then booze causes a hangover. If a non-drinker woke up with a normal hangover, he
would go to an emergency room. A surprising number of drug and alcohol abusers walk

around every day for years with symptoms that a healthy person would equate with
"walking pneumonia," or worse.
Some reviews of Wired say it describes John as a tragic figure. But disease is not tragic,
it is just very sad. And what is sad in John's case is that he was not lucky enough to find,
or be able to accept, help. In the book, Dan Aykroyd cries out that John must be
hospitalized, that he needs professional help. John Landis says, "We've got to get him
formally committed if necessary." Judy was in agreement, but wondered how they'd ever
get John to go along with it. They were right. At the time of John's death, his friends
were apparently mobilizing to "enforce" such help -- to intervene.
They were on the right track, but too late. John Belushi himself, on some pages of this
book, pounds his fists, cries out against his demons and vows to straighten himself out
forever. If he had gone the route of detox, drug counseling, therapy and AA, there is a
possibility that he could have stayed drug-free long enough to come down to normal
speed, to look soberly at his life, and to accept help. But in the years covered by this
book, Belushi was never clean long enough to see very clearly.
To me, the tragic figure in the book is Judy Belushi. Tragedy is when you know not only
what was, but what could have been. No matter what she thinks of the Woodward book,
for me she comes across in it as a courageous, loving, generous and incredibly patient
woman who stood by John as well as she could, who put up with a lot of hell, who did
what seemed to be right, and who is not content to have his epitaph read "junkie."
Yet her behavior toward her husband, as described here, is often an example of
"enabling." Almost all active alcoholics and addicts have "enablers" in their lives -people who make excuses, hold things together, assume the roles of bodyguard, parent,
nurse, accountant and alibier. Enabling is obviously done out of love -- usually out of a
deep and stubborn love that refuses to admit defeat. But groups such as Al-Anon, the
organization for friends and associates of alcoholics, argue that the best thing an enabler
can do is stop enabling.
Judy tried that on occasion, threatening John with divorce as a last resort.
Unfortunately, her battle was not only against her own enabling, but also against the
army of enablers that flocked around Belushi in the years of his fame. This was possibly
the most enabled man of his generation. The angriest pages in Woodward's generally
dispassionate book are devoted to the friends, fans, agents, producers, employers,
groupies and general scum who competed with each other to supply Belushi with drugs.
I remember John from the early 1970s, in Old Town, where, to put it cruelly, you'd put
drinks into him like quarters into a jukebox, and he'd entertain everyone in the room.
He was eventually "eighty-sixed" (barred) from most of those bars, though, and at the
end was frequenting his own private saloons in New York and Chicago.

In Chicago during those early days, we were buying him drinks, In Los Angeles and New
York in the later days, Woodward reports, money for cocaine was built into some of his
business deals, and his associates were giving him hundreds of dollars in cash, on
demand, day or night, to buy drugs. For that matter, what difference would it have made
if they hadn't? Friends and sycophants were sneaking him drugs because it boosted their
own images: There are long, painful passages in the book in which Judy is asking people
not to give John drugs "because I know you don't want to hurt him." The same people
are hiding drugs for him in stovepipes, toilet bowls and his pockets.
John Belushi was an actor and a comedian, but the book could have been written about
a pilot, a plumber, a taxi driver or a journalist -- if their diseases commanded $600,000
advances from Simon and Schuster. Judy Belushi is wrong, I believe, in confusing the
progression of John's disease with the "demands" and "pressures" of show business.
Life involves a lot of pressure. It is easier to handle without the incalculable pressure of
drug abuse. The comedian who cannot be funny, the pilot who cannot fly, the journalist
who cannot meet a deadline, the mother who cannot be patient with her child, feels
demands and pressures that are exactly the equal of Belushi's -- since there is no
measuring the intensity of the intolerable. Wired is essentially not a show-business
biography, but just the sad natural history of a disease.

ROBERT PHOENIX
(Actor, died of heroin and cocaine overdose)
River Phoenix was born on August 23, 1970 in Madras, Oregon. His breakthrough film role was
in "Stand by Me" based on a novella by Stephen King. He earned an Academy Award nomination
for "Running on Empty" directed by Sydney Lumet. Phoenix also starred as the young Indy in
the film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Phoenix died of a drug overdose outside West
Hollywood's Viper Room in 1993.

Actor, activist. Born River Jude Bottom on August 23, 1970, in Madras, Oregon. Considered
one of the most talented actors of his generation, River Phoenix had his promising career cut
short by his premature death in 1993. He was born on a farm where his parents, John Lee
Bottom and Arlyn Dunetz, were working. The couple followed a bohemian lifestyle, moving
around a lot with their infant son. They named their son after the river of life in Hermann
Hesses book Siddhartha.
As a young child, Phoenix learned to play guitar and sing. River and Rain performed on the
streets in Caracas, Venezuela, to earn money and pass out literature on their religious beliefs.
His parents eventually became disillusioned with their religious group and decided to leave it
and return to the United States in 1978. They spent time in Florida where Phoenix and some of
the other children performed in talent shows and started to attract attention for their
musical and acting abilities.
For his last completed film, Phoenix starred with Alan Bates, Richard Harris, and Dermot
Mulroney in director Sam Shepards western Silent Tongue(1994). He had started work
on Dark Blood with Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis when tragedy struck. During a break in
filming, Phoenix went out to the Viper Room, a popular nightclub that was partly owned by
Johnny Depp, with his brother Joaquin, his sister Rain, and his girlfriend Samantha Mathis.
At some point during the evening, Phoenix took some drugs and became ill. He was helped
outside and started to have seizures. His brother Joaquin called 911 while his sister Rain tried
to help Phoenix who was lying on the sidewalk. When the ambulance arrived, paramedics worked
on resuscitating the young actor at the scene. Their efforts failed, and they transported him
to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he was declared dead in the early hours of October 31.
Family, friends, and fans mourned the untimely passing of the talented young star. He was only
23 years old. After his death, Harrison Ford said He once played my son, and I came to love
him like a son, and was proud to watch grow into a man of such talent and integrity and
compassion, according toThe New York Times. A memorial service was held for Phoenix and his
ashes were scattered at the familys Florida ranch.

JAMES MORRISON
(Musician, died of heroin overdose)
James Douglas Morrison was born in Melbourne, Florida, on December 8, 1943. His father,
a career Navy officer, was transferred from base to base during his son's childhood, but,
by his Jim's early teens, the family had settled in Alexandria, Virginia. After finishing

high school in Alexandria, Morrison took several classes at St. Petersburg Junior College
and Florida State University before pulling up roots in 1964 and heading for the West
Coast. By 1966 the twenty-two-year-old Morrison was enrolled in film classes at the
University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), but a friendship with fellow student Ray
Manzarek would sideline any plans he had of becoming a filmmaker.
While the two young men had known each other only casually as fellow students, they ran
into each other one day by accident, on a Venice, California, beach. Manzarek, an organist,
along with Morrison, guitarist Robbie Krieger, and drummer John Densmore, decided to
form their own rock band to put their songs to music. The young men decided to call their
group the Doors, a name inspired by a quote from nineteenth-century English poet William
Blake (17571827): "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear as
it is, infinite." As Morrison was fond of saying, "there are things known and things unknown
and in between are the Doors."
Caught up in a wave of popularity, the young band found itself carried into a new world,
where drugs, alcohol, and sex played a major role. Morrison, whose status as a celebrity
had begun almost overnight, found it difficult to handle the change: his growing
dependence on alcohol would dim his talent in the years that followed, and the superstar
status made him believe he was immune to normal authority.
After the trial in Miami, Morrison's life grew more chaotic, his relationships with band
members more strained. Searching to recover a sense of himself, he went back to the
poetry that he had loved while a college student. In 1970 he published his first book of
verse, The Lords [and] The New Creatures, which had been privately printed the year
before.
On July 3, 1971, Morrison's girlfriend found him dead in his bathtub. The cause of death
was determined to be a heart attack, although an autopsy was never performed. He was
buried at the Pere-Lachaisse Cemetery in Paris, France. His death was kept secret until
after the funeral to eliminate the crowds of saddened fans that would likely have
attended. Morrison's grave remains one of the most visited sites in all of Paris.

JERRY GARCIA
(Musician, died during heroin rehab)

For the last ten years of Jerry Garcia's life, his health and lifestyle were major topics of
discussion in the Grateful Dead world. From the innermost sanctum to the far edge of the

parking lot and beyond -- the band, its extended family, the Dead's business organization,
the businesses that did business with the Dead and the Deadheads, and the legendary
community of Grateful Dead fans -- whenever two or more Dead-lovers engaged in
conversation, news and gossip about Garcia were of primary interest.
Garcia nearly died from a diabetic coma in July 1986. Following his return to the stage, his
health -- and the creative vigor of the Grateful Dead -- fluctuated greatly, alternating
between periods of sweet creativity and deeply worrisome spells of forgotten lyrics, vocal
problems, weight gain, and retreat from the intrepid musical explorations of the past.
Despite news reports of Garcia eating healthy gourmet food on tour, scuba diving in
Hawaii, enjoying his burgeoning career in the visual arts -- and a giddy People magazine
spread on his wedding to filmmaker Deborah Koons -- his music just kept getting harder
and harder to listen to. Whatever the cause -- addiction to heroin (as the rumors had it)
or a loss of interest in the Grateful Dead -- Garcia's failing command of his musical gifts
was the subject of great concern and controversy in the Deadhead subculture, where
rumor battled with hope and denial.
Whatever was going on behind the scenes, and despite occasional cancellations due to "flu"
or "exhaustion," the Dead kept touring, season after season; as one former manager put it,
the band had become "addicted to affluence."
As the producer of the Grateful Dead Hour (a nationally syndicated weekly radio program),
a member of the online community of Deadheads on the Net, and the author of three
books on the subject, I heard most of the rumors and some of the facts; I encountered
concern, anger, and denial inside the Dead organization as well as out among the fans. I
kept the radio show focused on the music and did what I could to control misinformation in
the online world, but as time went by the tale of the tapes became undeniable. Listeners
wrote in to request this or that favorite moment from a just-completed tour, and I often
felt my heart sink as I evaluated those shows in search of presentable performances.
Giving up hope was not an option. As a friend, fan, and musical disciple, I was in it for the
long haul. To the more optimistic among us, Garcia seemed indestructible, having bounced
back so many times. The rest of the Grateful Dead seemed to grow in power as Garcia
receded, and on those magical occasions when Jerry engaged us musically, he brought us all
a few days' peace of mind. Although his stamina was failing and his performances often
seemed uninspired, Garcia had immense reserves of good will to draw on: the famously
uncritical majority of the audience continued to radiate unconditional love as long as Garcia
kept showing up on stage.

This is not your garden-variety rock-star worship we're talking about here. An eloquent
guitarist, an engaging vocalist, and a gifted composer/improviser, Garcia was charismatic,
articulate, generous, well read, and a born leader. Beginning in the fabled ballrooms of the
psychedelic sixties, he and his partners forged a complex and constantly evolving musical
continuum, taking chances onstage with the support of an audience as committed to the
long haul as the musicians themselves. The fierce intimacy among members of the Dead
was shared by the audience, and built a profound sense of mutual belonging over three
decades of peak experiences.
So what happened on the morning of August 9, 1995, wasn't just the death of a beloved
guitarist: it was the end of a long, strange, intimate and deeply rewarding relationship.
Only the most diligent denialists could have been surprised by the news, but it was a
painful reckoning just the same -- maybe even more so because we knew it was coming and
had tried so hard to wish it away.
The truth -- well, some of the truth -- about Garcia's life has begun to emerge since his
death. In Dark Star: An Oral Biography of Jerry Garcia, Robert Greenfield (co-author of
Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out, the promoter's autobiography) has
assembled recollections from sixty-eight witnesses, including the people who did the often
heartbreaking work of keeping Garcia's scene together over the years. Greenfield called,
wrote and faxed the members of the Dead, but they never responded. What emerges in
Dark Star, as Greenfield says, "is a sense of the arc of Jerry's life, separate from the
band."
I was first seduced by Garcia's music in 1972, and by his personal charisma in various
encounters over the years. So I was hurt and frustrated by his inaccessibility over the
last decade or so. He gave me some exhilarating interviews in the early eighties, and he
encouraged me to get more involved in the Dead scene as a writer and later as a radio
producer. But although he supported me in the contract negotiations to syndicate the
Dead's radio show, he refused to be interviewed. It was hard not to take it personally, and
so it was with a sad sort of relief that I read Greenfield's concatenated dialog describing
the depths of Garcia's struggle over those last years: it seems just about everybody was
closed out.

JANIS JOPLYN
(Musician, died of heroin overdose)

Born on January 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas, Janis Joplin developed a love of
music at an early age, but her career didn't take off until she joined the band Big
Brother and the Holding Company in 1966. Their 1968 album, Cheap Thrills, was a
huge hit. However, friction between Joplin and the band prompted her to part ways
with Big Brother soon after. Known for her powerful, blues-inspired vocals, Joplin
released her first solo effort, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, in 1969.
The album received mixed reviews, but her second project, Pearl (1971), released
after Joplin's death, was a huge success. The singer died of an accidental overdose
on October 4, 1970, at age 27.

Following a long struggle with substance abuse, Joplin died from an accidental
heroin overdose on October 4, 1970, at a hotel in Hollywood's Landmark Hotel.
Completed by Joplin's producer, Pearl was released in 1971 and quickly became a
hit. The single "Me and Bobby McGee," written by Kris Kristofferson, a former love
of Joplin's, reached the top of the charts.
Despite her untimely death, Janis Joplin's songs continue to attract new fans and
inspire performers. Numerous collections of her songs have been released over the
years, including In Concert (1971) and Box of Pearls(1999). In recognition of her
significant accomplishments, Joplin was posthumously inducted into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime
Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards in 2005.
Dubbed the "first lady of rock 'n' roll," Joplin has been the subject of several
books and documentaries, including Love, Janis (1992), written by sister Laura
Joplin. That book was adapted into a play of the same title.

SID VICIOUS
(Musician, died of an opiate overdose and may have killed his girlfriend
during opiate use)

The voice is quavery and hesitant, the sound of a frightened, exhausted young man. The trebly nature of
the recording - on a cassette, over the telephone - makes him sound old, paper-thin, and accentuates the
slight hitch in his voice. For he is talking, quietly and surely, about his own self-destruction: "I can't drink,
I can't, like the doctor said if I drank anything even remotely like the way I've been drinking for the past
however long, I've got six months at the absolute outside to live."
It's 20 January 1978. There is a snowstorm in New York. The previous day, Sid Vicious slipped into a
valium and methadone coma during a flight from the west coast and was rushed off the plane into a
hospital in Jamaica, Queens, hard by JFK airport. A few days ago, he was the bass player in the Sex
Pistols, playing to more than 5,000 people in San Francisco's Winterland. Now that the group has split up
he is all alone, very lonely, and fearful of the future. The only person to contact him is Roberta Bayley - the
doorperson at the city's CBGB club and a successful photographer, with credits including the first
Ramones LP, who befriended him during the Sex Pistols US tour.
The blizzard is so severe that no one can get out to Queens from the city, so she calls him, in an act of
humanity tinged with the demands of reportage. The Sex Pistols split is big news, so she tapes the
conversation, just in case.
Like any reasonable person, Bayley is appalled by Sid's headlong flight into oblivion. "Oh well, then don't
drink, you asshole," she chides. "You have to straighten out for a while." No chance. "I can't straighten
up," Sid replies, his voice cracking. "I just can't be straight."
Later, he simply concludes: "My basic nature is going to kill me in six months." In fact, Sid lasted double
that, dying of a heroin overdose in the early hours of 2 February 1979. He was internationally notorious,
and only 21.
I included a transcript of the Bayley tape in my history of punk, England's Dreaming, but it has never been
broadcast before now. You can hear extracts from it - along with fresh interviews - in a new BBC Radio 4
documentary that coincides with the 30th anniversary of Sid Vicious's death.
Over the decades, Sid has percolated through the culture: there are Sid dolls, thousands of photos on the
internet, appearances in The Simpsons, and Gavin Turk's sculpture, Pop - a self-portrait in the guise of
Sid and a high point of the Sensation show at the Royal Academy in 1997.
Sid has become a romantic hero. Like James Dean, nobody really cares what he was like, because he took
such a good picture and, according to the script, flamed out so spectacularly. Sid did not care: he took a
bad idea - the rock'n'roll suicide theatrically rehearsed by Bowie and Iggy - and ran with it all the way to
the other side.
Produced and hosted by his teenage friend John Wardle, better known as Jah Wobble, In Search of Sid
aims to go behind the image and humanise the icon of punk. "Sid was unformed," Wobble remembers.
"He didn't have any boundaries and he didn't have any role models. Before he died he had become a
complete liability. In the past I just felt anger and irritation when I thought of Sid. But I now feel a strong
element of compassion. At the end of the documentary I felt that a job had been done, for all of us who
knew him. I made myself love him retrospectively."
Wardle's story starts when he met Sid, then known as John Beverley, in late 1974. Along with his friend
John Lydon, Beverley was attending Kingsway College of Further Education in Holborn, central London,
a place where the expelled, the difficult and the intelligent could take O- and A-levels.
Lydon had another friend, John Grey, and, following Wardle's example, the four Johns began to haunt the
Kings Road. They were all in their late teens, from north or east London, and this was a new part of the
capital to discover. "We were all bright-eyed, looking to have fun," Wobble says; "a bit like the Marx
Brothers.
"In mid-to-late 1975, the nicknames came into play. It was a crucial time. Everything was really
magnified. One day, John Lydon disappeared and said: 'I'm in a band'. We were all into black music - the
only rock we liked was Can, Krautrock, the Who - so this was a real surprise."
Three of the four Johns were transformed by pseudonyms that, beginning in teenage jokes, became
international news. Lydon became Johnny Rotten, thanks to Sex Pistols' guitarist Steve Jones; Beverley
became Sid Vicious, thanks to Lydon, Wardle became Jah Wobble, thanks to Sid.
Sid was named after Lydon's pet hamster, recalling the Lou Reed song that, with its slicing guitar, kicked
off the Transformer album. It was a laugh, because Sid wasn't Vicious then: he was goofy, funny, very

style-conscious - a Bowie boy. As the Slits' guitarist Viv Albertine says in the documentary, he was "kind of
sweet really".
But he wasn't called Sid Sweet. Vicious was a strong name to be saddled with. The script was set and, like
many scripts, it took over the actor to the point where person and persona became fatally blurred. "Be
careful what you set yourself up for" should be one pop culture motto, and Sid was more vulnerable than
most.
Born on 10 May 1957 as Simon John Ritchie but also known as John Beverley, Sid was the only child of
mother Anne. It was a peripatetic, poor childhood, as they moved from Tunbridge Wells to Bristol and
finally Stoke Newington in north London. When Sid turned 16, she threw him out on the streets. When I
interviewed Anne Beverley in 1988, she remembered her son with pride, but her anger came through. "I
remember saying to him: 'It's either you or me, and it's not going to be me. I have got to try to preserve
myself and you just fuck off.' He said: 'I've not got anywhere to go,' and I said: 'I don't care.'"
Sid's family life was, according to Wobble, "a big black hole. When I met his mother at that time, she had
no interest in his life. She didn't even know he was attending Kingsway. She was into the hardcore drug
thing - heroin and opiates - which was all-embracing, that was her life."
As we speak, Wobble recalls, for the first time, a chilling incident. Even before his notoriety, Sid had "a
weird, brooding quality. He would loon about, he was very bright, but he had another side. He was very
hurt, I now realise. Even then he made me feel cautious. An hour or two of his company was enough.
"I sensed his dark side as early as 1975. He had a counsellor at Kingsway: they had obviously identified
him as a kid with problems. He'd already said that he was going to kill himself. The counsellor had told
him to bring a friend along so we both went one day, for a laugh.
"The counsellor said: 'John says he's going to kill himself,' and I said: 'He might as well end it all.' Sid
nodded his head, very gravely. The counsellor was a very earnest, Hampstead bloke, and he didn't know
what he was dealing with. His mouth was open. It was supposed to be fun, but as I came out, I thought:
'Oh God.'"
Sid starts to enter the public domain during the spring of 1976. He is pictured at the Nashville pub in
April, watching the Sex Pistols attack their audience. He is implicated, along with Wobble, in the violence
directed at journalist Nick Kent during a Sex Pistols show at the 100 Club.
The suggestible teenager was being shaped by malign forces. "Once he got into the squat world," Wobble
remembers, "he lived in some very depressing places. The zeitgeist was nihilistic. There were hard drugs
around. It was that time and generation: a reaction against the 60s."
Sid might have begun, in Albertine's words, as "softer, sheepish and shy" but as punk became a national
phenomenon, he started to grow into his role. At the September 1976 100 Club Punk Festival, he took the
stage as the drummer for Siouxsie and the Banshees, banging out a simple Mo Tucker/ Velvet
Underground pattern.
The next day, during the Damned's set, a glass was thrown and a young woman received severe eye
injuries. Sid was arrested and packed off to Ashford Remand Centre. While there, he wrote a letter to
Albertine: he was reading a "book about Charles Manson that Vivienne Westwood lent me". He found it
"quite fascinating".
Sid became the Sex Pistols ur-fan. Encouraged to run wild, constantly drunk, he became the figurehead of
the new movement, inventing the pogo dance and coming out with pithy, nihilistic statements that
defined the new age.
In Jonh Ingham's seminal October 1976 Sounds article, 'Welcome to the "?" Rock Special', Sid dominated
the pull quotes: "I didn't even know the Summer of Love was happening. I was too busy playing with my
Action Man"; "I've only ever been in love with a beer bottle and a mirror."
Sid formed a band with Albertine, the Flowers of Romance. He learnt the bass by listening to the first
Ramones album: fixing on the bump and grind pattern from I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement, he
would apply it to nearly every song that he touched.
In February 1977, he stepped into the role he felt he was born to play, replacing Glen Matlock as the Sex
Pistols bassist. Within a few months he had hooked up with Nancy Spungeon, a New Yorker who,
although slightly younger, was more worldly than him. Her appetite for self-destruction matched, if not
exceeded his own.

They genuinely loved each other, but Nancy had a disastrous effect on Sid. Already a junkie, she
reintroduced him to the drug and so Sid was cast into his last, and most enduring, phase: that of leatherclad, random destruction machine.
Subtlety had never been Sid's forte and he was not hired for his dexterity (and, in fact, played on few
Pistols records): he was John Lydon's friend and, as far as manager Malcolm McLaren was concerned, the
perfect assistant in the Sex Pistols' career as national and international outrages.
Wobble says now: "Sid was offered up as a sacrificial lamb by the people around the Pistols. None of them
would have gone over the top. He was their kamikaze pilot, and they were all too happy to strap him and
send him off."
Sid's behaviour peaked during the group's final tour of the US. Forcibly withdrawing from heroin, he was
out of control. Whether clubbing an audience member with a bass in San Antonio, or carving 'GIMME A
FIX' on his chest in Dallas, he turned the Pistols into a living circus. Talking to Roberta Bayley after Lydon
left the group, Sid said he thought he was the most "Sex Pistol" of them all. In Wobble's words, he
embodied "everything in punk that was dark, decadent and nihilistic".
But this was also the moment when punk truly became pop. During 1978, McLaren kept the Pistols going
without Lydon. As Sid dissolved further into a hail of drugs, he had a top 10 record in July with his radical
cover of My Way. As the single slipped down the charts, Sid and Nancy moved to New York, never to
return.
Ensconced in room 100 of the Chelsea Hotel, they sought oblivion, and Nancy found it on 12 October,
when she died from a knife wound. Sid was arrested for murder but it was very unlikely that he would
have deliberately killed her: it was probably a case of mutual provocation resulting in a stabbing,
compounded by negligence.
The rest was a ghastly mess. Sid was charged and let out on bail. After attempting suicide, he spent three
days in hospital. In early December, he bottled Patti Smith's brother Todd and was sent to Rikers Island
prison for two months. On the night he was released, he took some extremely pure heroin and overdosed
during the night.
After he died, two Sex Pistols singles were released with his vocals. Both Something Else and C'mon
Everybody reached the top three - becoming the decade's two bestselling Pistols songs.
Now that punk has become mythic, so Sid has become its archetype: the heedless young man who went all
the way, who told the world a brutal truth. The reality was far grimmer. The most frightening thing about
Sid's conversation with Bayley is that he knew that he was killing himself, but that he had no power to
avoid the inevitable.
Sid Vicious was not stupid, but he did not have any emotional resources with which to deal with fame. As
Wobble says: "John Lydon kept a link with his past, and that saved him, but Sid had no past." Sid was a
lost boy who, like Peter Pan, never grew beyond childhood, and his spectacular demise was both exploited
and unmourned.
"I felt like giving him a proper funeral because no one ever did," Wobble says today. "It's like when
someone dies at sea, and you throw a wreath overboard. That's what I'm doing: throwing the wreath. I
wanted to state what this boy meant to the world, and that he was a good boy."

KEITH RICHARDS LIFE


Keith Richards joined the group, Little Boy Blue and the Blue
Boys, which by 1963 became the Rolling Stones. The band made
the British charts in 1964. By the late 1970s, he had developed a
serious heroin habit and went to rehab. The Rolling Stones' next
album, Some Girls (1978), was a huge success, selling 8 million
copies. The band went on hiatus, but reunited forSteel Wheels in
1989.
With The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the songs that
roused the world, and he lived the original rock and roll life. Now,
at last, the man himself tells his story of life in the crossfire
hurricane. Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy
Waters records, learning guitar and forming a band with Mick
Jagger and Brian Jones. The Rolling Stones's first fame and the
notorious drug busts that led to his enduring image as an outlaw
folk hero. Creating immortal riffs like the ones in "Jumping Jack
Flash" and "Honky Tonk Women." His relationship with Anita
Pallenberg and the death of Brian Jones. Tax exile in France,
wildfire tours of the U.S., isolation and addiction. Falling in love
with Patti Hansen. Estrangement from Jagger and subsequent
reconciliation. Marriage, family, solo albums and Xpensive
Winos, and the road that goes on forever.
With his trademark disarming honesty, Keith Richard brings us
the story of a life we have all longed to know more of, unfettered,
fearless, and true

LIFE OF TOM SIZEMORE


Tom Sizemore rose in prominence throughout the 1990s, establishing himself as a memorable
tough-guy actor, sought by the most respected directors in the business.
Thomas Edward Sizemore, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Judith (Schannault), an
ombudsman staff member, and Thomas Edward Sizemore, Sr., a lawyer and professor. Sizemore
grew up idolizing the tough-guy characters of the movies he watched. After attending Wayne
State University, he got his master's degree in theatre from Temple University in 1986.
Like many, he moved to New York City and struggled, waiting tables and performing in plays.
His first break came when Oliver Stone cast him in a bit part in Born on the Fourth of
July (1989). Bigger roles soon followed throughout the early 1990s, such asGuilty by
Suspicion (1991), True Romance (1993), and Striking Distance (1993). 1994 proved to be an even
bigger year for Sizemore, as he won the role of "Bat Masterson" in Kevin Costner's star-studded
biopic Wyatt Earp (1994), as well as one of his first truly memorable roles as "Detective Jack
Scagnetti" in Oliver Stone's controversialNatural Born Killers (1994). In 1995 he appeared
in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995),Strange Days (1995), as well as the acclaimed crime
epic Heat (1995), directed byMichael Mann. Sizemore's first big leading role is in The
Relic (1997), the big-budget effects thriller directed by Peter Hyams.
According to a 2001 interview in The Calgary Sun, Sizemore entered a drug rehabilitation
program in 1998 after his mother and his friend Robert De Niro appeared on his door-step
during the filming of Witness to the Mob (1998). Telling him they were there to drive him to jail
or to rehabilitation, Sizemore chose the latter. After completing rehabilitation, he counseled
adolescents involved in substance abuse.
Offered roles in W.W.II films directed by both Terrence Malick and Steven Spielberg, Sizemore
chose the role of "Sergeant Horvath" in Saving Private Ryan (1998). The role and film received
wide acclaim and introduced Sizemore's talents to a much broader audience in a more human
and well-rounded role than he had previously been given. Sizemore also credits this shoot
and Steven Spielberg for helping him with his recovery from addiction, with Steven
Spielberg threatening to reshoot the entire film if Sizemore failed a drug test even once.
After a flamboyant and uncredited mobster role in Enemy of the State (1998), Sizemore then
portrayed a psychotic paramedic in Bringing Out the Dead (1999) directed byMartin Scorsese.
Seemingly taking it easy, he then turned in fine but stereotypical performances in Play It to the
Bone (1999), Red Planet (2000), and Pearl Harbor(2001). Sizemore then received another
leading role in the high-profile military dramaBlack Hawk Down (2001) directed by yet another
legendary director, Ridley Scott.
Specializing in the sort of ultimate tough-guy/manly man roles that hearken back to a different
era in film, Sizemore continues to be a favourite of Hollywood's greatest directors. Never afraid
to speak his mind about anyone and anything, his sense of blunt honesty and lack of pretension
is refreshing. A commanding voice and presence on film, Sizemore looks to continue as one of
Hollywood's greatest actors.

ROBERT DOWNEY JR.


Born in New York City on April 4, 1965, Robert Downey Jr. began
acting as a young child. He made his first film appearances and
was a cast member onSaturday Night Live in the 1980s, but his
growing success was marred by years of struggles with drug
abuse. Eventually turning his life around, he earned a resurgance
of critical and popular acclaim, and is considered one of
Hollywood's A-list actors.
Sadly, the story line and character rang especially true for
Downey, who had been introduced to drugs at the age of eight by
his father, and developed a full-fledged addiction as he headed
into his 20s.
"Until that movie, I took my drugs after work and on the
weekends," he later explained. "Maybe I'd turn up hungover on
the set, but no more so than the stuntman. That changed on Less
Than Zero. I was playing this junkie-faggot guy, and, for me, the
role was like the ghost of Christmas future. The character was an
exaggeration of myself. Then things changed, and, in some ways, I
became an exaggeration of the character. That lasted far longer
than it needed to last."
A stint in drug rehabilitation followed shortly afterward, but
Downey's struggles with drugs and alcohol would continue. And
yet, his career continued to advance forward. By the early 1990s,
Downey had established a reputation as a critically acclaimed AList actor. He earned praise for his comic turn as a shifty soap
opera producer in Soapdish (1991), co-starring Sally Field, Kevin
Kline and Whoopi Goldberg. More adoration followed when

Downey landed a featured role in Short Cuts (1993), the critically


lauded ensemble film by Robert Altman.

ROBERT DOWNEY JR.


Born in New York City on April 4, 1965, Robert Downey Jr. began
acting as a young child. He made his first film appearances and was
a cast member onSaturday Night Live in the 1980s, but his growing
success was marred by years of struggles with drug abuse.
Eventually turning his life around, he earned a resurgance of critical
and popular acclaim, and is considered one of Hollywood's A-list
actors.
Sadly, the story line and character rang especially true for Downey,
who had been introduced to drugs at the age of eight by his father,
and developed a full-fledged addiction as he headed into his 20s.
"Until that movie, I took my drugs after work and on the weekends,"
he later explained. "Maybe I'd turn up hungover on the set, but no
more so than the stuntman. That changed on Less Than Zero. I was
playing this junkie-faggot guy, and, for me, the role was like the
ghost of Christmas future. The character was an exaggeration of
myself. Then things changed, and, in some ways, I became an
exaggeration of the character. That lasted far longer than it needed
to last."
A stint in drug rehabilitation followed shortly afterward, but
Downey's struggles with drugs and alcohol would continue. And yet,
his career continued to advance forward. By the early 1990s,
Downey had established a reputation as a critically acclaimed A-List
actor. He earned praise for his comic turn as a shifty soap opera
producer in Soapdish (1991), co-starring Sally Field, Kevin Kline and
Whoopi Goldberg. More adoration followed when Downey landed a
featured role in Short Cuts (1993), the critically lauded ensemble
film by Robert Altman.

MILES DAVIS
Instrumental in the development of jazz, Miles Davis is
considered one of the top musicians of his era. Born in Illinois in
1926, he traveled at age 18 to New York City to pursue music.
Throughout his life, he was at the helm of a changing concept of
jazz. Winner of nine Grammy awards, Miles Davis died on
September 28, 1991 from respiratory distress in Santa Monica,
California.
By 1979, Davis had rekindled his relationship with actress Cicely
Tyson, with whom he overcame his cocaine addiction and
regained his enthusiasm for music. As he had not played trumpet
for the better part of three years, regaining his
famed embouchure proved particularly arduous. While
recording The Man with the Hornat a leisurely pace throughout
19801981, Davis played mostly wahwah with a younger, larger
band.
During the last years of Miles Davis's life, there were rumors that
he had AIDS, something that he and his manager Peter Shukat
vehemently denied. According to Quincy Troupe by that time
Davis was taking azidothymidine (AZT), a type of antiretroviral
drug used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Davis died on September 28, 1991, from the combined effects of a
stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure in Santa Monica,
California, at the age of 65. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in
the Bronx.

JOHN BELUSHI
(Actor, died of heroin and cocaine overdose)
Judy Belushi, his widow, has attacked Woodward's book for a number of
reasons, of which the most heartfelt is: That's not John in the book.
Woodward's portrait doesn't show the life, the humor, the courage, the
energy. He wasn't just a junkie.
Yet the cops who removed his body from a bungalow at the Chateau
Marmont on March 5, 1982, were brutally frank. He looked, to them, like just
another dead junkie.
Judy Belushi remembers the good times. She argues that "drugs can be fun,"
and that she and John had a lot of ups along with the downs. The difference
was that John never knew when to stop. Woodward portrays a man who, at
the time of his death, was throwing away a career and alienating key people
in the movie industry by a pattern of uncontrolled drug abuse. Judy Belushi
speaks of the pressures of show business, of John's need to find energy and
inspiration in drugs so that he could deliver what was expected of him.
In all the important ways, Woodward's book is apparently reliable. Judy
Belushi quarrels with some dates and interpretations, but basically the facts
are there, and documented. Their real difference is over the interpretation of
the facts. Beginning with the same man and the same life, Judy Belushi sees
a lifestyle, and Bob Woodward sees the progression of a disease.
Was John Belushi an addict? Friends shy away from the word, and yet on the
evidence in Woodward's book he was a classic addict, a textbook case of
drug and alcohol abuse. You don't get much worse and live, as indeed he
proved.
The protests over Woodward's unflinching portrait of Belushi's last days
reminds me (not with a smile) of an old Irish joke. The mourners are gathered
around the dead man's coffin.
"What did he die of?" one asks the widow.

"He died of the drink," she says.


"Did he go to AA?"
"He wasn't that bad."
John Belushi did try to stop, many times. It is just that he never tried to stop
in a way that would have worked. He tried resolutions and willpower. Every
addict knows that willpower hardly ever works in the long run, since when
the will turns, the game is over. He tried changing his environment, with
retreats to Martha's Vineyard. Recovering addicts talk cynically of
"geographical cures," as if a habit you carry within yourself can be left
behind. He tried placing himself under the discipline of others, and even
submitted to "trainers" who were to guard him twenty-four hours a day. That
made his drugs their problem, not his. He tried switching from one drug to
another, or to "only beer" or "only pot." All mood-altering substances are
interchangeable to the abuser, and the drug of substitute leads inevitably
back to the drug of choice. He tried health kicks, with Judy mixing her
husband "health shakes" in the mornings, all filled with yogurt and bananas
and wheat germ. An abusers body is incapable of efficiently absorbing
nutrition. He talked to doctors who issued their dire warnings while writing
him prescriptions for tranquilizers. He talked to psychiatrists who wanted to
get to the root of his problem, as if today's drug abuse can be treated by
understanding the traumas of childhood.
All of these attempts were valiant. When Judy Belushi speaks of them, she
speaks from the bottom of her heart. But they were all doomed. All but the
very luckiest of drug abusers and alcoholics have tried and failed at most of
those strategies. Those who have been successful at stopping are almost
unanimous in describing what finally worked:
1. Complete abstinence from all mood-altering substances.
2. Admission of defeat, and willingness to accept help.
3. Use of a support group, such as AA.
The odds against successfully stopping by going cold turkey and using
willpower are so high, according to the Harvard Medical School study "The
Natural History of Alcoholism," that it's hardly worth trying -- except as a
prelude to an admission of defeat.

From the evidence in Wired, John Belushi was rarely away from one drug or
another for more than a few days. Using Valium or Quaaludes as a
"substitute" was just his way of putting his drug of choice on hold. When he
did occasionally get clean, it was almost always in response to a specific
challenge (doing a movie, meeting a deadline), and it often involved some
kind of external control, like a bodyguard who would act as a substitute for
Belushi's own will. When he went back to drug use, it was also often in
response to a challenge like a movie or a deadline; whether he was using or
abstaining, he connected drugs with his ability to work.
I remember a day here at the Sun-Times building when Belushi was shooting
scenes for "Continental Divide." I had known him for years on a casual basis;
our paths crossed occasionally, from early days of Old Town bars and Second
City parties to later interviews and show-biz occasions. I had rarely seen him
looking better than he looked that day. He told me he was in great shape. He
was off the booze and the drugs. He was exercising.
A man was standing next to him, and he introduced him as "my trainer."
Well, what was he going to call him? "My drug guard?" Alcoholism and drug
abuse are characterized by denial and an addict will substitute almost any
conceivable illness or weakness for the one he must deny; John seemed to
place the entire situation in the category of "losing weight" and "getting in
shape." An alcoholic who has temporarily stopped drinking but does not yet
admit his problem will frequently do what John did, which is to describe
abstinence as a training program or a diet.
His career was coming apart. "Continental Divide" did not do well at the box
office. There were arguments and major problems during the shooting of
"Neighbors." Work was at a standstill on the screenplay for Belushi's next
project, titled "Noble Rot." All the career setbacks are described by
Woodward. They were accompanied by episodes of drug and alcohol abuse
that grew increasingly alarming to his friends and family.
Judy Belushi, in describing those episodes, often links them with their
"causes." For example, she differs with Woodward on his interpretation of
Belushi's drug use during the filming of "Goin' South," one of his early films,
which starred Jack Nicholson. In the Woodward version, Belushi's drug use
created problems with the shooting schedule. In Judy Belushi's version, John
had flown to New York for a heavy "Saturday Night Live" taping schedule,
had exhausted himself, was diagnosed as having "walking pneumonia,"
should have been hospitalized, was nevertheless advised by his lawyer to fly
back to the movie location in Mexico -- and only then, after being kept on

hold for several days in Mexico, began to use drugs. Well, she seems to be
asking, can you blame him?
The disagreement over the facts of this episode are unimportant, now that
Belushi is in his grave. Judy's interpretation is revealing. Her rationale, if I
follow it, is that John used drugs in response to an intolerable situation, and
that drugs were his means of coping with it. He was not just irresponsibly
going on a blast.
That is true, but it is half of the truth.
It is true, that for someone with a dependency on drugs or alcohol, there will
be situations that literally cannot be gotten through without drugs or alcohol.
But the other half of the truth is: The situations that cannot be gotten
through without drugs or alcohol are invariably situations caused by drugs or
alcohol. Booze fixes a hangover. Then booze causes a hangover. If a nondrinker woke up with a normal hangover, he would go to an emergency
room. A surprising number of drug and alcohol abusers walk around every
day for years with symptoms that a healthy person would equate with
"walking pneumonia," or worse.
Some reviews of Wired say it describes John as a tragic figure. But disease is
not tragic, it is just very sad. And what is sad in John's case is that he was not
lucky enough to find, or be able to accept, help. In the book, Dan
Aykroyd cries out that John must be hospitalized, that he needs professional
help. John Landis says, "We've got to get him formally committed if
necessary." Judy was in agreement, but wondered how they'd ever get John
to go along with it. They were right. At the time of John's death, his friends
were apparently mobilizing to "enforce" such help -- to intervene.
They were on the right track, but too late. John Belushi himself, on some
pages of this book, pounds his fists, cries out against his demons and vows
to straighten himself out forever. If he had gone the route of detox, drug
counseling, therapy and AA, there is a possibility that he could have stayed
drug-free long enough to come down to normal speed, to look soberly at his
life, and to accept help. But in the years covered by this book, Belushi was
never clean long enough to see very clearly.
To me, the tragic figure in the book is Judy Belushi. Tragedy is when you
know not only what was, but what could have been. No matter what she
thinks of the Woodward book, for me she comes across in it as a courageous,
loving, generous and incredibly patient woman who stood by John as well as

she could, who put up with a lot of hell, who did what seemed to be right,
and who is not content to have his epitaph read "junkie."
Yet her behavior toward her husband, as described here, is often an example
of "enabling." Almost all active alcoholics and addicts have "enablers" in
their lives -- people who make excuses, hold things together, assume the
roles of bodyguard, parent, nurse, accountant and alibier. Enabling is
obviously done out of love -- usually out of a deep and stubborn love that
refuses to admit defeat. But groups such as Al-Anon, the organization for
friends and associates of alcoholics, argue that the best thing an enabler can
do is stop enabling.
In Chicago during those early days, we were buying him drinks, In Los
Angeles and New York in the later days, Woodward reports, money for
cocaine was built into some of his business deals, and his associates were
giving him hundreds of dollars in cash, on demand, day or night, to buy
drugs. For that matter, what difference would it have made if they hadn't?
Friends and sycophants were sneaking him drugs because it boosted their
own images: There are long, painful passages in the book in which Judy is
asking people not to give John drugs "because I know you don't want to hurt
him." The same people are hiding drugs for him in stovepipes, toilet bowls
and his pockets.
John Belushi was an actor and a comedian, but the book could have been
written about a pilot, a plumber, a taxi driver or a journalist -- if their
diseases commanded $600,000 advances from Simon and Schuster. Judy
Belushi is wrong, I believe, in confusing the progression of John's disease
with the "demands" and "pressures" of show business.
Life involves a lot of pressure. It is easier to handle without the incalculable
pressure of drug abuse. The comedian who cannot be funny, the pilot who
cannot fly, the journalist who cannot meet a deadline, the mother who
cannot be patient with her child, feels demands and pressures that are
exactly the equal of Belushi's -- since there is no measuring the intensity of
the intolerable. Wired is essentially not a show-business biography, but just
the sad natural history of a disease.

MILES DAVIS
Instrumental in the development of jazz, Miles Davis is considered
one of the top musicians of his era. Born in Illinois in 1926, he
traveled at age 18 to New York City to pursue music. Throughout
his life, he was at the helm of a changing concept of jazz. Winner
of nine Grammy awards, Miles Davis died on September 28, 1991
from respiratory distress in Santa Monica, California.
By 1979, Davis had rekindled his relationship with actress Cicely
Tyson, with whom he overcame his cocaine addiction and
regained his enthusiasm for music. As he had not played trumpet
for the better part of three years, regaining his
famed embouchure proved particularly arduous. While
recording The Man with the Hornat a leisurely pace throughout
19801981, Davis played mostly wahwah with a younger, larger
band.
During the last years of Miles Davis's life, there were rumors that
he had AIDS, something that he and his manager Peter Shukat
vehemently denied. According to Quincy Troupe by that time
Davis was taking azidothymidine (AZT), a type of antiretroviral
drug used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Davis died on September 28, 1991, from the combined effects of
a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure in Santa Monica,
California, at the age of 65. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in
the Bronx.

LIFE OF TOM SIZEMORE


Tom Sizemore rose in prominence throughout the 1990s, establishing himself as a memorable
tough-guy actor, sought by the most respected directors in the business.
Thomas Edward Sizemore, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Judith (Schannault), an
ombudsman staff member, and Thomas Edward Sizemore, Sr., a lawyer and professor. Sizemore
grew up idolizing the tough-guy characters of the movies he watched. After attending Wayne
State University, he got his master's degree in theatre from Temple University in 1986.
Like many, he moved to New York City and struggled, waiting tables and performing in plays. His
first break came when Oliver Stone cast him in a bit part in Born on the Fourth of July (1989).
Bigger roles soon followed throughout the early 1990s, such asGuilty by Suspicion (1991), True
Romance (1993), and Striking Distance (1993). 1994 proved to be an even bigger year for
Sizemore, as he won the role of "Bat Masterson" in Kevin Costner's star-studded biopic Wyatt
Earp (1994), as well as one of his first truly memorable roles as "Detective Jack Scagnetti"
in Oliver Stone's controversialNatural Born Killers (1994). In 1995 he appeared in Devil in a Blue
Dress (1995),Strange Days (1995), as well as the acclaimed crime epic Heat (1995), directed
byMichael Mann. Sizemore's first big leading role is in The Relic (1997), the big-budget effects
thriller directed by Peter Hyams.
According to a 2001 interview in The Calgary Sun, Sizemore entered a drug rehabilitation
program in 1998 after his mother and his friend Robert De Niro appeared on his door-step during
the filming of Witness to the Mob (1998). Telling him they were there to drive him to jail or to
rehabilitation, Sizemore chose the latter. After completing rehabilitation, he counseled
adolescents involved in substance abuse.
Offered roles in W.W.II films directed by both Terrence Malick and Steven Spielberg, Sizemore
chose the role of "Sergeant Horvath" in Saving Private Ryan (1998). The role and film received
wide acclaim and introduced Sizemore's talents to a much broader audience in a more human
and well-rounded role than he had previously been given. Sizemore also credits this shoot
and Steven Spielberg for helping him with his recovery from addiction, with Steven
Spielberg threatening to reshoot the entire film if Sizemore failed a drug test even once.
After a flamboyant and uncredited mobster role in Enemy of the State (1998), Sizemore then
portrayed a psychotic paramedic in Bringing Out the Dead (1999) directed byMartin Scorsese.
Seemingly taking it easy, he then turned in fine but stereotypical performances in Play It to the
Bone (1999), Red Planet (2000), and Pearl Harbor(2001). Sizemore then received another leading
role in the high-profile military dramaBlack Hawk Down (2001) directed by yet another legendary
director, Ridley Scott.
Specializing in the sort of ultimate tough-guy/manly man roles that hearken back to a different
era in film, Sizemore continues to be a favourite of Hollywood's greatest directors. Never afraid to
speak his mind about anyone and anything, his sense of blunt honesty and lack of pretension is
refreshing. A commanding voice and presence on film, Sizemore looks to continue as one of
Hollywood's greatest actors.

ROBERT PHOENIX
(Actor, died of heroin and cocaine overdose)
River Phoenix was born on August 23, 1970 in Madras, Oregon. His breakthrough film
role was in "Stand by Me" based on a novella by Stephen King. He earned an Academy
Award nomination for "Running on Empty" directed by Sydney Lumet. Phoenix also
starred as the young Indy in the film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Phoenix
died of a drug overdose outside West Hollywood's Viper Room in 1993.
Actor, activist. Born River Jude Bottom on August 23, 1970, in Madras, Oregon.
Considered one of the most talented actors of his generation, River Phoenix had his
promising career cut short by his premature death in 1993. He was born on a farm
where his parents, John Lee Bottom and Arlyn Dunetz, were working. The couple
followed a bohemian lifestyle, moving around a lot with their infant son. They named
their son after the river of life in Hermann Hesses book Siddhartha.
As a young child, Phoenix learned to play guitar and sing. River and Rain performed on
the streets in Caracas, Venezuela, to earn money and pass out literature on their
religious beliefs. His parents eventually became disillusioned with their religious group
and decided to leave it and return to the United States in 1978. They spent time in
Florida where Phoenix and some of the other children performed in talent shows and
started to attract attention for their musical and acting abilities.
For his last completed film, Phoenix starred with Alan Bates, Richard Harris, and
Dermot Mulroney in director Sam Shepards western Silent Tongue(1994). He had
started work on Dark Blood with Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis when tragedy struck.
During a break in filming, Phoenix went out to the Viper Room, a popular nightclub that
was partly owned by Johnny Depp, with his brother Joaquin, his sister Rain, and his
girlfriend Samantha Mathis.
At some point during the evening, Phoenix took some drugs and became ill. He was
helped outside and started to have seizures. His brother Joaquin called 911 while his
sister Rain tried to help Phoenix who was lying on the sidewalk. When the ambulance
arrived, paramedics worked on resuscitating the young actor at the scene. Their efforts
failed, and they transported him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he was declared
dead in the early hours of October 31.
Family, friends, and fans mourned the untimely passing of the talented young star. He
was only 23 years old. After his death, Harrison Ford said He once played my son, and I
came to love him like a son, and was proud to watch grow into a man of such talent and
integrity and compassion, according toThe New York Times. A memorial service was
held for Phoenix and his ashes were scattered at the familys Florida ranch.

JAMES MORRISON
(Musician, died of heroin overdose)
James Douglas Morrison was born in Melbourne, Florida, on December 8, 1943. His
father, a career Navy officer, was transferred from base to base during his son's
childhood, but, by his Jim's early teens, the family had settled in Alexandria, Virginia.
After finishing high school in Alexandria, Morrison took several classes at St. Petersburg
Junior College and Florida State University before pulling up roots in 1964 and heading
for the West Coast. By 1966 the twenty-two-year-old Morrison was enrolled in film
classes at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), but a friendship with
fellow student Ray Manzarek would sideline any plans he had of becoming a filmmaker.
While the two young men had known each other only casually as fellow students, they
ran into each other one day by accident, on a Venice, California, beach. Manzarek, an
organist, along with Morrison, guitarist Robbie Krieger, and drummer John Densmore,
decided to form their own rock band to put their songs to music. The young men
decided to call their group the Doors, a name inspired by a quote from nineteenthcentury English poet William Blake (17571827): "If the doors of perception were
cleansed every thing would appear as it is, infinite." As Morrison was fond of saying,
"there are things known and things unknown and in between are the Doors."
Caught up in a wave of popularity, the young band found itself carried into a new world,
where drugs, alcohol, and sex played a major role. Morrison, whose status as a celebrity
had begun almost overnight, found it difficult to handle the change: his growing
dependence on alcohol would dim his talent in the years that followed, and the superstar
status made him believe he was immune to normal authority.
After the trial in Miami, Morrison's life grew more chaotic, his relationships with band
members more strained. Searching to recover a sense of himself, he went back to the
poetry that he had loved while a college student. In 1970 he published his first book of
verse, The Lords [and] The New Creatures, which had been privately printed the year
before.
On July 3, 1971, Morrison's girlfriend found him dead in his bathtub. The cause of death
was determined to be a heart attack, although an autopsy was never performed. He was
buried at the Pere-Lachaisse Cemetery in Paris, France. His death was kept secret until
after the funeral to eliminate the crowds of saddened fans that would likely have
attended. Morrison's grave remains one of the most visited sites in all of Paris.

JANIS JOPLYN
(Musician, died of heroin overdose)
Born on January 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas, Janis Joplin developed a
love of music at an early age, but her career didn't take off until she joined
the band Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966. Their 1968
album,Cheap Thrills, was a huge hit. However, friction between Joplin and
the band prompted her to part ways with Big Brother soon after. Known for
her powerful, blues-inspired vocals, Joplin released her first solo effort, I
Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, in 1969. The album received
mixed reviews, but her second project, Pearl (1971), released after Joplin's
death, was a huge success. The singer died of an accidental overdose on
October 4, 1970, at age 27.
Following a long struggle with substance abuse, Joplin died from an
accidental heroin overdose on October 4, 1970, at a hotel in Hollywood's
Landmark Hotel. Completed by Joplin's producer, Pearl was released in
1971 and quickly became a hit. The single "Me and Bobby McGee," written
by Kris Kristofferson, a former love of Joplin's, reached the top of the
charts.
Despite her untimely death, Janis Joplin's songs continue to attract new
fans and inspire performers. Numerous collections of her songs have been
released over the years, including In Concert (1971) and Box of
Pearls(1999). In recognition of her significant accomplishments, Joplin was
posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and
honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award at the
Grammy Awards in 2005.
Dubbed the "first lady of rock 'n' roll," Joplin has been the subject of several
books and documentaries, including Love, Janis (1992), written by sister
Laura Joplin. That book was adapted into a play of the same title.

JERRY GARCIA
(Musician, died during heroin rehab)
For the last ten years of Jerry Garcia's life, his health and lifestyle were major topics of
discussion in the Grateful Dead world. From the innermost sanctum to the far edge of
the parking lot and beyond -- the band, its extended family, the Dead's business
organization, the businesses that did business with the Dead and the Deadheads, and
the legendary community of Grateful Dead fans -- whenever two or more Dead-lovers
engaged in conversation, news and gossip about Garcia were of primary interest.
Garcia nearly died from a diabetic coma in July 1986. Following his return to the stage,
his health -- and the creative vigor of the Grateful Dead -- fluctuated greatly, alternating
between periods of sweet creativity and deeply worrisome spells of forgotten lyrics, vocal
problems, weight gain, and retreat from the intrepid musical explorations of the past.
Despite news reports of Garcia eating healthy gourmet food on tour, scuba diving in
Hawaii, enjoying his burgeoning career in the visual arts -- and a giddy People magazine
spread on his wedding to filmmaker Deborah Koons -- his music just kept getting harder
and harder to listen to. Whatever the cause -- addiction to heroin (as the rumors had it)
or a loss of interest in the Grateful Dead -- Garcia's failing command of his musical gifts
was the subject of great concern and controversy in the Deadhead subculture, where
rumor battled with hope and denial.
Whatever was going on behind the scenes, and despite occasional cancellations due to
"flu" or "exhaustion," the Dead kept touring, season after season; as one former
manager put it, the band had become "addicted to affluence."
As the producer of the Grateful Dead Hour (a nationally syndicated weekly radio
program), a member of the online community of Deadheads on the Net, and the author
of three books on the subject, I heard most of the rumors and some of the facts; I
encountered concern, anger, and denial inside the Dead organization as well as out
among the fans. I kept the radio show focused on the music and did what I could to
control misinformation in the online world, but as time went by the tale of the tapes
became undeniable. Listeners wrote in to request this or that favorite moment from a
just-completed tour, and I often felt my heart sink as I evaluated those shows in search
of presentable performances.
Giving up hope was not an option. As a friend, fan, and musical disciple, I was in it for
the long haul. To the more optimistic among us, Garcia seemed indestructible, having

bounced back so many times. The rest of the Grateful Dead seemed to grow in power as
Garcia receded, and on those magical occasions when Jerry engaged us musically, he
brought us all a few days' peace of mind. Although his stamina was failing and his
performances often seemed uninspired, Garcia had immense reserves of good will to
draw on: the famously uncritical majority of the audience continued to radiate
unconditional love as long as Garcia kept showing up on stage.
This is not your garden-variety rock-star worship we're talking about here. An eloquent
guitarist, an engaging vocalist, and a gifted composer/improviser, Garcia was
charismatic, articulate, generous, well read, and a born leader. Beginning in the fabled
ballrooms of the psychedelic sixties, he and his partners forged a complex and
constantly evolving musical continuum, taking chances onstage with the support of an
audience as committed to the long haul as the musicians themselves. The fierce intimacy
among members of the Dead was shared by the audience, and built a profound sense of
mutual belonging over three decades of peak experiences.
So what happened on the morning of August 9, 1995, wasn't just the death of a beloved
guitarist: it was the end of a long, strange, intimate and deeply rewarding relationship.
Only the most diligent denialists could have been surprised by the news, but it was a
painful reckoning just the same -- maybe even more so because we knew it was coming
and had tried so hard to wish it away.
The truth -- well, some of the truth -- about Garcia's life has begun to emerge since his
death. In Dark Star: An Oral Biography of Jerry Garcia, Robert Greenfield (co-author of
Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out, the promoter's autobiography) has
assembled recollections from sixty-eight witnesses, including the people who did the
often heartbreaking work of keeping Garcia's scene together over the years. Greenfield
called, wrote and faxed the members of the Dead, but they never responded. What
emerges in Dark Star, as Greenfield says, "is a sense of the arc of Jerry's life, separate
from the band."
I was first seduced by Garcia's music in 1972, and by his personal charisma in various
encounters over the years. So I was hurt and frustrated by his inaccessibility over the
last decade or so. He gave me some exhilarating interviews in the early eighties, and he
encouraged me to get more involved in the Dead scene as a writer and later as a radio
producer. But although he supported me in the contract negotiations to syndicate the
Dead's radio show, he refused to be interviewed. It was hard not to take it personally,
and so it was with a sad sort of relief that I read Greenfield's concatenated dialog
describing the depths of Garcia's struggle over those last years: it seems just about
everybody was closed out.

JANIS JOPLYN
(Musician, died of heroin overdose)
Born on January 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas, Janis Joplin developed
a love of music at an early age, but her career didn't take off until she
joined the band Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966. Their
1968 album,Cheap Thrills, was a huge hit. However, friction between
Joplin and the band prompted her to part ways with Big Brother soon
after. Known for her powerful, blues-inspired vocals, Joplin released her
first solo effort, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, in 1969. The
album received mixed reviews, but her second project, Pearl (1971),
released after Joplin's death, was a huge success. The singer died of an
accidental overdose on October 4, 1970, at age 27.
Following a long struggle with substance abuse, Joplin died from an
accidental heroin overdose on October 4, 1970, at a hotel in
Hollywood's Landmark Hotel. Completed by Joplin's producer, Pearl was
released in 1971 and quickly became a hit. The single "Me and Bobby
McGee," written by Kris Kristofferson, a former love of Joplin's, reached
the top of the charts.
Despite her untimely death, Janis Joplin's songs continue to attract new
fans and inspire performers. Numerous collections of her songs have
been released over the years, including In Concert (1971) and Box of
Pearls(1999). In recognition of her significant accomplishments, Joplin
was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
1995, and honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement
Award at the Grammy Awards in 2005.
Dubbed the "first lady of rock 'n' roll," Joplin has been the subject of
several books and documentaries, including Love, Janis (1992), written

by sister Laura Joplin. That book was adapted into a play of the same
title.

MILES DAVIS
Instrumental in the development of jazz, Miles Davis is
considered one of the top musicians of his era. Born in Illinois
in 1926, he traveled at age 18 to New York City to pursue
music. Throughout his life, he was at the helm of a changing
concept of jazz. Winner of nine Grammy awards, Miles Davis
died on September 28, 1991 from respiratory distress in
Santa Monica, California.
By 1979, Davis had rekindled his relationship with
actress Cicely Tyson, with whom he overcame his cocaine
addiction and regained his enthusiasm for music. As he had
not played trumpet for the better part of three years,
regaining his famed embouchure proved particularly arduous.
While recording The Man with the Hornat a leisurely pace
throughout 19801981, Davis played mostly wahwah with a
younger, larger band.
During the last years of Miles Davis's life, there were rumors
that he had AIDS, something that he and his manager Peter
Shukat vehemently denied. According to Quincy Troupe by
that time Davis was taking azidothymidine (AZT), a type
of antiretroviral drug used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Davis died on September 28, 1991, from the combined effects
of a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure in Santa

Monica, California, at the age of 65. He is buried in Woodlawn


Cemetery in the Bronx.