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Thoughts, information, commentary on Hollywood's former child stars | Joal Ryan, Editor

"Homecoming Queens and Tatum O'Neal"

A former Iowa homecoming queen, whose mother suffered from a substance abuse problem, and whose father was physically and emotionally abusive (or so she says -- he insists otherwise), fritters away her early promise, and descends into drug abuse. At age 44, she is arrested for allegedly trying to buy crystal meth. Does the world ask: Is this the classic tale of the Iowa homecoming queen gone bad?


But substitute Tatum O'Neal's name for "former Iowan homecoming queen," and swap out crystal meth for crack cocaine, and we ask: Is this the classic tale of the former child star gone bad?

The answer is still no.

The answer is there is no easy answer.

Tatum O'Neal's story, the former Iowa homecoming queen's story, the messed-up guy down the block's story are the same.

Their stories are complicated. They are messy. They are sad.

And you can only hope that one day they will be rewritten. For good.

UPDATE (06-02-08): O'Neal reportedly told the arresting officers she was "researching a part -- I�m doing this for a part as a junkie."

Before you enjoy the obligatory laugh, consider the following scenarios: (a) She didn't actually say this; the account is inaccurate, or at least partly garbled; (b) she did actually say this, and, believe it or not, she told the truth; or, (c) she did actually say this, but she lied because, believe it or not, that's what people with drug problems do -- they lie.

UPDATE, PART 2 (06-02-08): I more or less weigh say what I've written here to UK's Scotsman, which more or less quotes me accurately. (I don't think I actually speak in complete sentences, or paragraphs. Sadly.)

(Originally published by Joal Ryan on June 2, 2008.)

c. Joal Ryan