Seeing Stars in Hollywood

A list L.A. locations that made the headlines.
The sites of famous celebrity scandals, crimes, accidents, hijinks...
and occasional celebrity heroics.

1855 Main Street, in Santa Monica: the parking lot of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, where, around 1:30 AM on July 21, 2007, actress Lindsay Lohan ("Georgia Rule", "Herbie: Fully Loaded", "Mean Girls", "Freaky Friday"), drove a 2004 Yukon SUV, allegedly chasing the car of the mother of her personal assistant - who had just quit. When the mother of that assistant called the police, the cops found Lindsay (who had just gotten out of rehab a few days before) under the influence of alchohol and unable to pass a sobriety test. Worse, as she was being booked at the police station for DUI and driving with a suspended license, the police found a small amount of cocaine in her pants pocket, a possible felony charge.

But Lindsay lucked out.  In August, she pleaded guilty to multiple charges, but all of them were misdemeanors, including driving under the influence, being under the influence of a controlled substance (cocaine), and reckless driving. Her plea deal allowed her to serve just one day in jail, along with 36 months probation and an 18-month alcohol-education program. Part of the deal means she had to visit a morgue to see the results of drunk driving.

  • Just a month earlier: Sunset Blvd & Foothill Drive, in Beverly Hills: around 5:30 AM, on Saturday, June 26, 2006, Lindsay Lohan was driving westbound on Sunset Blvd, apparently drunk and speeding, when she lost control of her vehicle (a 2005 Mercedes SL-65). The car struck the curb and some shrubbery north of Sunset, at Foothill Road, damaging the car. (That's a residential neighborhood of palatial homes, about four blocks east of Rodeo Drive and the Beverly Hills Hotel.) Someone phoned in the crash. But when police arrived, Lindsay wasn't there. The cops later found her at Century City Hospital, where she was being treated for minor injuries, where they arrested her for driving under the influence. She was cited and released (it's a misdemeanor charge). She was only 20 years old at the time, a year younger than the legal California drinking age of 21. Police also found what they believed to be cocaine in her car, which could result in additional charges being filed in the future.
  • Third Street & Sweetzer Avenue, in West L.A.: Previously, on May 31, 2005, Lindsay Lohan had been involved in another traffic incident. Her was car allegedly rammed by a crazed paparazzi. Lindsay had realized that she was being followed by a van. She called the cops on her cell phone, and when she spotted a police car on Third Street, she started to make a U-turn to hail them, but according to reports, the van then deliberately rammed her brand new Mercedes-Benz. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The driver, photographer Galo Ramirez, was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon. The case is still pending. (The intersection is located just east of the Beverly Center mall, and just west of Farmers Market and The Grove.)

1514 N Gower St., in Hollywood: the curb outside Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n' Waffles, just north of Sunset Blvd, where (on Memorial Day evening, Monday, May 28, 2007) actor Cuba Gooding Jr. ("Jerry Maguire") was sitting in his car outside the restaurant waiting to pick up dinner for his family, when he heard gunshots. He saw a young man stumbling towards him who had been wounded in the attack. The young man was bleeding from the neck and collapsed. Cuba called for towels to stem the victim's bleeding, and cradeled him until Cuba was able to flag down a passing police car. Then he stayed at the scene until an ambulance arrived. (Way to go, Cuba!)

The corner of Wilcox Ave. & Selma Ave., in Hollywood: the intersection where Paris Hilton was arrested by police on a misdemeanor charge of suspicion of driving under the influence, just after midnight on Sept. 7, 2006. Paris had just left a charity event at Dragonfly bar (at 6510 Santa Monica Blvd), and was driving her $252,000 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren north up Wilcox, headed for an In-&-Out Burger (at 7009 W. Sunset Blvd), when cops saw her driving erratically and pulled her over. The breathalizer test showed the bare minimum (0.08) needed for the DUI bust, and Paris insisted that she had only had a single margarita on an empty stomach:   "I was starving because I had not eaten all day... I was just really hungry and I wanted to have an In-N-Out Burger." Kimberly Stewart, the daughter of singer Rod Stewart, was also in the car at the time. Paris was booked at the nearby Hollywood police station and released. Her sister, Nicky Hilton, picked her up. She was put on 36 months probation for that offense, and her driver's license was suspended.

But on Jan. 15, 2007, she was pulled over again by the Highway Patrol, driving with the suspended license, and signed a document acknowledging that she was not supposed to drive.

On Feb. 17, 2007, she was pulled over again (this time while driving a blue Bentley on Sunset Boulevard).  As a result, in May of 2007, a judge sentenced her to 45 days in jail at the Century Regional Detention Center (in Lynwood), for violating her probation.

However, after checking into the Lynwood jail in early June 2007, she was released just a few days later, when her psychiatrist claimed she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She was allowed to return home three weeks early - with an electronic ankle bracelet confining her to her house on Kings Road for 40 days. Just a day later, public outcry over "special treatment" of celebrities led to Paris being brought back to the court in handcuffs and ordered back to her solitary cell at the county jail to serve out the remainder of her sentence. She was released, after serving her time, on June 27.

20300 block of Pacific Coast Highway, in Malibu: the area where, at 2:30 a.m. on July 28, 2006, Mel Gibson ("The Road Warrior", "Lethal Weapon") was stopped by police in his Lexus LS430 while doing 87 mph in a 45 mph zone. It's not surprising that 'Mad Max' might be speeding - the real problem was that he was then arrested for driving under the influence - and apparently he didn't behave nicely while drunk, berating the cop who arrested him and spewing out a lot of offensive rhetoric. He was taken to a Malibu police station, and was later released on $5,000 bail. (It was his first drunk driving offense in the U.S., so he didn't face jail time - just a lot of negative publicity.)

To his credit, Mel immediately owned up to it, once he was sober, issuing a statement that read: "I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested.  I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior, and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse."

Earlier, he had been drinking and posing for photos with fans on the patio bar of the beachside Moonshadow's restaurant (20356 Pacific Coast Highway). By 2 a.m., the fans were concerned enough about his condition to offer him a ride home, but he shrugged it off.

246 N. Canon Drive, in Beverly Hills: the location of Mastro's Steakhouse, where, on June 11, 2005, actor Omar Sharif ("Dr. Zhivago," "Lawrence of Arabia," "Funny Girl") had an altercation with a valet parking attendant. In a lawsuit, the parking attendant accused the 72-year-old Sharif of berating him for not having his Porsche SUV waiting when he came out of the restaurant, hurling racial slurs at him (when the attendant refused to accept a 20 Euro note) and delivering "a blow to the face" that left him bloodied.

The police report of the incident states that the attendant refused medical treatment and there were no visible injuries. Omar Sharif pleaded no contest to hitting him, and was sentenced to probation and anger management counseling.

    9600 Wilshire Blvd., in Beverly Hills: the Saks Fifth Avenue store where, on Dec. 12, 2001, actress Winona Ryder was arrested for shoplifting $5,560 worth of merchandise. Store security officers said they saw her remove security tags from the store items, place them in her bag and leave the store. At a later trial, she was acquitted of burglary, but convicted of grand theft and vandalism, and in December 2002, she was was sentenced to three years probation and 480 hours of community service.

    The store is located at the corner of Wilshire & Bedford Drive, just three blocks west of Rodeo Drive.

    The corner of Sunset Boulevard & Courtney Avenue, in Hollywood: the spot where, in the early morning hours of June 27, 1995, actor Hugh Grant ("Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Nine Months") picked up a prostitute - less than a mile west of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. He drove around the corner and parked in a residential area (at the corner of Hawthorne & Curson), where police arrested him (and the hooker) for lewd conduct.

    Hugh Grant pleaded no contest to the charges, paid a $1,200 fine, and was placed on two years' probation.

    Lake Balboa, 6300 Balboa Blvd, Encino, CA:
    all of the bad news about the "Different Strokes" cast members over the years, I'm happy to report that Todd Bridges, the actor who played 'Willis' on the show, was a hero when a woman needed rescuing.  On Thursday, April 12, 2001, Todd and his brother were out at Lake Balboa (in the Valley) when a physically disabled woman (Stella Kline), accidentally got her fishing line wrapped around the joystick of her electric wheelchair. The wheelchair lurched ahead into the lake, overturning and trapping the woman underwater. Todd jumped into the water and saved her from drowning.

    13248 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne, CA: the California Uniforms store, where in 1998, actor Gary Coleman (who formerly played 'Arnold' on the TV sitcom "Different Strokes") was involved in a scuffle which led to his arrest on misdemeanor assault & battery charges. Coleman, who was then working as a security guard at Fox Hills Mall, and had come into the shop to buy a uniform, was accused of punching a woman who had asked for his autograph in the store. During the trial, he testified that he had feared for his safety after the woman (who was larger than the 4'8." actor) had become insulting and aggressive towards him. But he ended up pleading "no contest" to disturbing the peace and was given a suspended sentence of 200 days, fined $200 and ordered to attend anger-management classes.

    Will Rogers Memorial Park, at 9650 Sunset Blvd., in Beverly Hills: the park where, on April 7, 1998, British pop singer George Michael (formerly of Wham!) was arrested for performing a lewd act (while alone) in a public restroom.

    The star pleaded no contest, paid an $810 fine, and was ordered to undergo counseling. Michael later dressed as a cop and made light of the incident in his music video "Outside."

    (Don't confuse this Will Rogers Memorial Park with the much larger Will Rogers State Historic Park. This smaller park is located right across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel.)

    The 2200 block of Benedict Canyon Drive, in Beverly Hills: the spot where Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone ("Platoon," "JFK," "Natural Born Killers") was arrested just before midnight on July 16, 1999 on charges of drunken driving and felony possession of hashish (which police allegedly found in his black Ford Mustang.) Police said they had followed him from Wilshire Blvd, and had observed him commit multiple traffic violations.

    He posted $12,500 bail and was released the next morning. He later pleaded no contest to the possession and DUI charges, and got a suspended sentence in return for entering a drug rehab program. .

    Near 915 Foothill Road, Beverly Hills: the last home of Frank Sinatra. Nearby, a few hundred yards away from the Sinatra home, on the 600 block of Doheny Road, Frank's widow, Barbara Sinatra, her son, Robert Marx, and "Laugh-In." producer George Schlatter and his wife had just finished dinner on Tuesday, June 23, 1998, and were walking the short distance from Schlatter's home on Doheny Road to the Sinatra home on Foothill, when they were mugged by three young men who demanded their valuables.

    The victims complied, but were attacked by one of the men, who launched into a karate pose and kicked at Schlatter. The 65-year-old Schlatter grabbed the attacker's leg and flipped him over. A fight broke out. Marx was struck, the women's purses were jerked away, and the robbers fled. This incident took place just a few weeks after Frank Sinatra's death, and one of the items stolen included a gift of jewelry from Frank to Barbara.

    29169 Heathercliff Road, Malibu: the home of Robert Downey Jr. The 31-year-old actor (star of "Chaplin") was busted in Malibu on July 16, 1997, when he wandered into his neighbor's house and passed out on their bed. The neighbor, Lisa Curtis, returned, found a strange man asleep in her house, and called police, who arrested him for trespassing and being under the influence of drugs.

    Downey had earlier been arrested after being pulled over by police for speeding on Malibu's Pacific Coast Highway; when they searched his pickup, police allegedly found an unloaded revolver, black tar heroin, powder cocaine and crack.

    Later, he was arrested for violating parole when he walked away from a drug treatment center. In December '98, he was sentenced to six months in jail. In August of 1999, after violating parole again, a judge sentenced him to three years in prison.  

    10445 Wilshire Blvd., West Los Angeles: the L'Elysee high-rise condominium where actor Christian Slater was arrested for several counts of assault & battery on August 11, 1997. The 27-year-old actor (star of "Broken Arrow") had been attending a party with friends when a scuffle broke out; apparently Slater was abusive toward his girlfriend and another man attempted to intervene. Slater allegedly bit him on the stomach, and fought with police who attempted to arrest him (they found him in the stairwell between the 8th and 9th floors of the condo).

    He later told police that he had been binging on heroin & cocaine and going without sleep. He served 59 days in jail.  

    8852 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood: The Viper Room (again), where, in 1996, rocker Tommy Lee (of Mötley Crüe) was convicted of battery after he pushed over a photographer (Henry Trappler) who tried to take a photo of he and wife Pamela Anderson Lee outside the Viper Room on Sept. 26, 1996.

    Lee was fined and sentenced to a 24-month summary probation and 200 hours of community service. (In May of the same year he was sentenced to six months in jail for kicking his wife at their Malibu home.)

    8478 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood:  the trendy Ago restaurant, where "Pulp Fiction" director Quentin Tarantino allegedly punched out "Natural Born Killers" co-producer Don Murphy because he didn't like what Murphy had said about him in a book, "Killer Instinct." Daily Variety quoted Tarantino as saying afterward: "I really think I slapped some respect into the guy. We shook hands and agreed not to bad-mouth each other anymore."

    Don Murphy subsequently filed a $5 million lawsuit against Tarantino, saying that Tarantino threatened him, then slammed him against a wall and punched and slapped him. Murphy gave this quote to Entertainment Weekly: "I didn't say I wished Quentin Tarantino was dead. I didn't say I wanted him dead. I just said I'd celebrate his death."  

    The corner of Olympic Boulevard and Le Doux Road (the 8500 block of Olympic), one block west of La Cienega Boulevard, on the outskirts of Beverly Hills (on the west side of La Cienega Park and the Academy Library): it was here, on June 29 of 1989, that Zsa Zsa Gabor slapped a Beverly Hills Police officer after he pulled her over to write her a ticket.

    She was sentenced to do community work at a women's shelter. The event was later parodied in the 1993 movie, "The Beverly Hillbillies."

    412 Ross Street, Glendale. where actress Margot Kidder (who played 'Lois Lane' in the "Superman" movies) was found cowering in the bushes in the back yard of this private home (which belonged to strangers) about five miles east of the Warner Bros Studios where she had made the Superman films. After being missing for days, she had cut off her hair with a razor blade, was missing teeth, and was ranting about being followed.

    Apparently, Ms. Kidder had suffered a mental breakdown following a number of unfortunate incidents in her life, including a painful 1990 car accident, bankruptcy and an alcohol problem.  Police were called and she was taken in handcuffs to Olive View Medical Center in Sylmar. Fortunately, she has since recuperated and has returned to making movies.

    4641 Havenhurst Avenue, Encino: in November of 1993, police searched singer Michael Jackson's family compound here in the San Fernando Valley, looking for evidence that might support charges of child molestation against Jackson.

    The criminal case was dropped for lack of evidence. Jackson settled the civil lawsuit out of court with the boy (for a reported $20 million), while insisting that he was innocent. Michael's sister, LaToya Jackson, had earlier alleged that she had been abused as a child by her father at this same Jackson family home.

    The corner of Riverside Drive & Moorpark Street in Studio City (near the Lakeside Golf Course): on February 8, 1994, actor Jack Nicholson (star of "Chinatown," "As Good As It Gets." and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") allegedly jumped out of his car at this intersection and attacked motorist Robert Blank's Mercedes-Benz with a golf club - when Blank cut him off in traffic. After smashing the car's windshield and denting its roof with his golf club, Jack allegedly got back into his own Mercedes and drove away.

    Nicholson was charged with misdemeanor assault and vandalism, and Blank sued him, claiming assault & battery. But the civil suit was settled out of court, and the criminal case was dropped. Jack later said, in his defense, that a friend of his had just died, and that he (Jack) had been up all night playing a maniac in a movie.

    The corner of Highland Avenue and Camrose, in Hancock Park, where at about 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, May 15, 1999, actor Andy Dick (who played geeky 'Matthew' on the TV sitcom "NewsRadio") lost control of his car and knocked over a utility pole while allegedly driving under the influence. He tried to run away from the scene of the accident, but was nabbed by a witness. Police found marijuana and cocaine in Dick's car, and he was arrested on DUI and drug possession charges.

    He was released on $10,000 bail. He later pleaded no contest to the charges and entered a two-year drug treatment program, but escaped any more jail time. (In June of 2001, after Dick completed the court-ordered drug program, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge officially dropped the charges.)

    Canyon Drive, just north of Franklin Avenue, in Hollywood: coming home from a concert at 12:30 a.m. on Friday, December 3, 1999, actor Jason Priestly (who played 'Brandon Walsh' on "Beverly Hills 90210") drove his new Porsche into a light pole and trash cans, before smashing into a parked car. His friend, a passenger in the car, broke his arm.

    Jason told police he had swerved to avoid hitting a deer, but was arrested for drunk driving. He later pleaded no contest and was sentenced to five days in a work-release jail program.

    The intersection of Sunset Blvd & Doheny Drive, West Hollywood: where, on February 23, 2000, actress Halle Berry, was driving alone in a rented Chevy Blazer, when she allegedly ran a red light and smashed into another car, and just kept going. Berry suffered a gash on her forehead which required 20 stiches, a mitigating factor which may explain why she was charged with the misdemeanor of leaving the scene of an accident, rather than a hit-and-run felony. She reported the accident to a police officer at the hospital.

    The driver of the other car suffered a broken wrist, and sued the actress for "gross negligence." The suit alleges that Berry had been driving while "under the influence," but investigators concluded there was no evidence that alcohol or drugs were involved. She pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge, and was placed on three years' probation and ordered to pay $14,000 in fines, and to do 200 hours of community service. The civil suit was settled out of court.

    2233 Chelon Drive, in the Hollywood Hills: at around noon on May 20, 2000, Matthew Perry ('Chandler' on the TV sitcon "Friends") was driving his green Porsche 911 downhill on this narrow road from his nearby home (on Chelon Way), when he swerved to avoid hitting another car. Instead, he lost control of the vehicle and ended up ramming his car through the front porch of a neighbor's home. The porch was wrecked, and so was Matthew's Porsche, which had to be towed away.

     A neighbor remarked that he knew Matthew lived in the area, and had seen him drive by - but somehow, I suspect that he never guessed that his famous neighbor would drop by in such a dramatic fashion. Matthew was not under the influence, nobody was hurt, and no police report was filed. Ironically, he had just signed a new contract that would pay him $750,000 per episode for two more years of "Friends." Some of that most likely went to paying for a new porch and a new Porsche.

    500 block of Bristol Avenue, Brentwood: accident scene where actor Mark Harmon ("St. Elsewhere") and wife Pam Dawber ("Mork & Mindy") rescued two teenage boys from a burning car after the boys' Jeep Cherokee crashed into a tree, flipped over and burst into flames outside the celebrity couple's Brentwood home (the evening of Jan. 3, 1996).

    According to the fire department on the scene, "Mr. Harmon smashed the car windows with a sledgehammer and pulled the burning boy to safety. The youths owe their lives to the action of Mr. Harmon.." A true hero. (Ironically, this address is only blocks away from O.J. Simpson's old Rockingham estate.)
    [map approximate]

    Click here to go to Hollywood Scandals , Part II
    [includes locations associated with news stories about Paula Abdul, Heidi Fleiss, Bob Barker, Burt Reynolds, Dudley Moore, Billy Dee Williams, James Garner, Harry Dean Stanton, Milli Vanilli, and Madonna.]

    * locations marked by an asterisk could be located in a high-crime district. Exercise reasonable caution.


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