July 05, 1999 12:00 PM

A Hard Habit to Break

Robert Downey Jr. faces a summer behind bars after a parole violation

Focus

“I am going to recover, but I am still finding that difficult.” That statement in the Malibu Municipal Courthouse suggested what many in Hollywood had been whispering—that Robert Downey Jr.’s much-publicized drug problem is far from solved. In a June 22 probation appearance, the Oscar-nominated star of Chaplin, 34, admitted violating his parole by refusing to take a mandatory drug test; he was put into handcuffs as Judge Lawrence Mira told him that he had “serious psychological issues” to address.

Downey’s home until at least Aug. 5, when his next hearing is set, will be a rehab facility in the L.A. County Jail system. According to Peter Knecht, an attorney assisting the actor in court, the problem is extremely “deep-seated.” He pointed out that his client has done well in drug programs before: “It’s after the care when he falls apart. We’re saving his life; that’s what’s happening here.”

Eighteen months ago, under similar circumstances, Mira sentenced Downey to six months in jail. He was released in April 1998. Last week the actor voluntarily checked himself into a rehab facility, where he remained until Knecht picked him up for his court appearance. The attorney described Downey’s mood as upbeat, adding, “There was no bummer about this, because this is what we were expecting and wanted to happen.”

Downey once claimed he had been addicted to drugs since he was 8 and said his filmmaker father, Robert Sr., 63, introduced him to pot. Yet despite his arrests on drug and weapons charges, Hollywood has continued to find him work. Over the past two years he has starred in U.S. Marshals, Two Girls and a Guy and In Dreams. His personal life, however, has suffered. Downey, who has a 5-year-old son, Indio, is separated from his wife, singer Deborah Falconer. Now he will be placed in a 12-step program in the jail’s minimum-security Impact House. “He’ll have dignity there,” says Knecht. “He’ll have a TV and a VCR.”

Put On a Happy Face

It was 350 years ago that the British found it necessary to decapitate Charles I for reasons of state. On June 19, Prince William, oldest son of Prince Charles, lost his head for reasons far less compelling: He wouldn’t smile for the camera. But thanks to the magic of digital technology, the 17-year-old prince quickly got another noggin. Wills was one of 60 royal family members and friends posing for an official photograph after the wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones. When the photo was developed, he was also the only one not smiling. “Prince Edward said he didn’t think Prince William looked absolutely his best,” royal photographer Sir Geoffrey Shakerley told British television news, “so we put in another picture of Prince William where he is smiling and laughing.” Shakerley, however, used his own low-tech approach to minimize height differences: Shorter royals stood on the Yellow Pages. (For more on the royal wedding, see p. 62.)

Getting Face Time with the Stars

Care to gaze at Elizabeth Taylor across the dinner table? Jack Nicholson in the den? Well, now it’s possible, thanks to an old Hollywood tool finding new life on the Web. Life masks—replicas of movie-star faces—are used by makeup artists as stand-ins. They pour a little goop—alginate—on the actor’s face, cover with gauze, peel off, and…voilà! A perfect mold to create a plaster duplicate for makeup testing.

“It’s not a photo; it’s not a sculpture; it’s their actual face,” says Doug Norwine, 48, a memorabilia collector who sells the masks through eBay, the Internet auction house. Bids start at anywhere from $50 to $100 for likenesses of James Cagney or Grace Kelly that, Norwine says, are so lifelike “you expect them to open their eyes and talk.”

Hey, Big Spender

A word of advice to wives who spend money on Paris fashions: Keep the bills from your husband, but don’t fudge the figures with U.S. Customs agents. Columba Bush, wife of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was fined $4,100 for declaring only $500 of her $19,000 vacation loot when she returned from France June 17. And though she apologized for “exercising bad judgment,” the governor was not amused. “I can assure you,” he said, “it was a difficult weekend at our house.”

A Potential Hit, Man: Leo as a Corleone

Will there be a Corleone family reunion—and will Leonardo DiCaprio and Andy Garcia be the guests of honor? “There is interest” in a Godfather, Part IV, says DiCaprio’s spokeswoman. “It has been discussed,’ says Garcia’s agent.

Which is not to say an offer has been made, much less refused. Francis Ford Coppola, who directed the previous three epics, “has no plans to film a Part IV,” insists his rep. However, Neil Olson, Godfather author Mario Puzo’s literary agent, does say, “Mario’s got a personal relationship with Coppola, and I’m sure they talk about this kind of thing all the time.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Leo may star as young Sonny Corleone, Don Corleone’s headstrong oldest son, played by James Caan in the first two Godfathers. The scuttlebutt also has Garcia reprising his Godfather, Part III role as Vincent Mancini, Sonny’s illegitimate son. But will Coppola go along for the ride? Remember what Al Pacino said in III: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

The Battle’s Over for Eastwood’s Ex

No need to ask Sondra Locke, Clint Eastwood’s ex-lover, if she’s feeling lucky. Five years ago the actress sued Warner Bros, for $25 million, charging that the studio, which has been affiliated with Eastwood since the early ’70s, tried to derail her film career following her bitter breakup with the star. In 1996, Eastwood settled a related suit, and on May 24 the studio did the same. “I feel great,” says Locke, calling the case “five years of torture.”

Eastwood, 69, and Locke, 52, split in 1989 after spending 14 years together and costarring in Sudden Impact, The Outlaw Josey Wales and other films. According to Locke’s 1994 suit, she agreed to drop any palimony claims against Eastwood in exchange for a development deal with Warner Bros. Unbeknownst to Locke, however, Eastwood was secretly financing the deal as a way, she claimed, to control her career. Locke charged that Eastwood’s interference diminished her stature with studio execs, who, she claimed, rejected the 30 ideas she pitched over three years. Eastwood claimed he was only trying to help her.

Both sides are barred from discussing the settlement’s terms. But Locke isn’t shy about disclosing her feelings. The agreement, she says, is “a happy ending.”

ON THE BLOCK: RYDER RELOCATES

Reality bites, according to a 1994 Winona Ryder film, but realty is another matter. Ryder recently sold her 1920s Mediterranean-style home in Beverly Hills for about $900,000, having redesigned the 2,000-square-foot house (cozy by star standards) into an architectural delight. Among her changes: The top floor was turned into a master bedroom suite, and a small patio was transformed into a romantic garden, complete with fountain, Ryder’s new abode is a $2.5 million, 4,000-square-foot house, also in Beverly Hills.

Judge, Meet the Judge

Did actor Judge Reinhold punch a fellow driver on Hollywood’s La Brea Avenue a year ago? That’s what a lawsuit filed by sometime actor Clifford Dorfman claims. Dorfman, who has appeared in a Beverly Hills, 90210 episode, says that Reinhold, costar of all three Beverly Hills Cop movies, attacked him after cutting off his car. Reinhold’s publicist dismisses Dorfman’s suit as “an apparent effort to take advantage of Reinhold’s celebrity status.”

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