The Curse of Hollywood-Rest In Peace Cory Monteith!
Following on from the tragic death of Cory Monteith (Rest In Peace) I became interested in investigating the amount of celebrity involvement within drug dependance, alcoholism and suicidal thoughts.
I am not a pshychologist therefore I do not have an official scientific knowledge of what happens when someone enters into fast fame and the negative thoughts that come from it. However it does seem to be a common theme in causing celebrity depression.
From an outside looking in, it is difficult to see what is going on. To us they are the elite, entering into what seems to be a rather easy job and earning millions from standing in front of a camera and saying the same words over and over again. Yet alongside this fame comes the public expectation (the rules). Alongside standing on set for a whole day filming one scene again and again comes the interviews and press releases that keep your career and limelight going. Potentially one no-show to an appearance, could spin your career into oblivion.
Is the actor in control of themselves and their career once they become famous or do they become a robot controlled by their managers? Is it fame that spirals these people out of control?
We hear of celebrities complaining about fame all the time:
‘I feel like I’m looking at someone being raped..A lot of the time I can’t handle it. It’s f**ked. I never expected that this would be my life’- Kirsten Stewart (Twilight)
‘I don’t want to be a product…Of course you want the movies to do well. But I don’t want to know … who’s hot now and who’s not and who’s making this much dough and who’s boffing this woman or that one. I want to remain ignorant of all this. I want to be totally outside and far away from all of it.”- Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands)
With too much money to their name and long hours of work, these stars start to lose who they are at heart. Take a look at obvious cases such as Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes. Did they know what they were getting into when they were younger? If they had known that this is how they would turn out, do you think they would have continued to go into fame and fortune? Or would they have opted out?
Is there another side to the story?
Amanda Bynes is famously having a very public break down in the media at the moment. However is this really her craving attention and causing a media storm to launch hopefully a new career, or is she really being conned in every way. Are there people pretending to be her and taking pictures to post on the internet? Is her twitter account really her? Or does someone post on her behalf? We all know that stars have people who constantly tweet and status update on behalf of them, so why would this be any different?
Or is it Amanda having a real melt down and being heavily involved in drugs and crying out for help!? Is she the next overdose waiting to happen?
What is so awful about fame and fortune, that it drives celebrities to drugs and alcoholism?
I want to try something..let’s see if we can get into the same frame of mind of a celebrity from the early stage of their career to the later stages:
You are a young actor/actress and nearly finished at school. A casting director comes to your school and spots you and asks you to come and audition for a TV show they are casting. After persuading your mum and dad, you finally get permission to go and do it.
You get it.
Before you become apart of a television programme, depending on what series it is on, you will either enter straight into publicity for your character or you will start doing pilots for the show. Even when doing the pilots, apart from the different setting and spending hours on a set instead of at school, there is not much fame and fortune involved yet.
Already the friends you use to have our starting to embark on different stages of life and you are not very involved as you are constantly filming. You lose contact with most of them. After about 3 months of filming the first five episodes of the series, you find out that the production company has given the green light. It will start airing in a month.
Until that point you will keep going at the same pace, apart from the occasional promo stint with the rest of the cast. The pilot airs and receives 1.5 million people watching. Pretty normal for a series.
Over night you start to be recognised. They do not know your name but they recognise your face. This is weird but quite fun. It is not until the series is on its sixth episode that you start to realise you might have gained a few fans. You find this out through a Facebook page that has over 5,000 fans attached to it.
The production studio suggests that each of the cast members should get a Manager that represents them, in order to protect their reputations. This has to happen in order to keep the production company and the TV programme safe from any reputations or past discrepincys. Automatically you are signed to a management deal which prevents you from hanging out with certain people, drinking certain things etc. It states how your life should look -through what you should eat to what diet you should be on. Again this is not for the benefit of you as the star, it is so that the TV show receives a good reputation and will gain more fans and viewers.
One night after 2 months of being on TV, your manager suggests that you meet up with them and few other people for a few drinks or a meal. You know that the paps have been informed of your outing. So you dress up in the clothes that FCUK has sponsored you to wear and promote, and put the make up on that MAC has sponsored you to wear, and make your way in the car that FORD has sponsored you to drive. These are not your products, you are just promoting them-the moment you are seen without them you could risk your reputation, breeching of contract and losing everything.
You arrive at the restaurant and you sit down at the table with your manager and a bunch of guys. One of the men in the group you are introduced to. You recognise that they are a film star…in this case for example… Daniel Radcliffe. Your manager keeps suggesting that you and Dan should get together and talk more, because you have so much in common. He arranges for you two to go for coffee tomorrow.
The most common thing that happens to a potential celebrity who is at the bottom of the ladder rung, is that their manager will introduce them and try and pair them up with an even more famous celebrity-this automatically boosts the lower actors reputation and gets people talking. All it takes is one photo to be taken of the two before the papers go wild.
You meet for coffee, paps have been called by your manager, they get the photo. Next thing you know you are trending on twitter, more people are talking about you. Your fans on twitter and Facebook go through the roof. For the first time you turn up to the studio the next day and are followed by paps that have not been paid to be there.
When you know that the paps have turned up, off of their own accord, you know that the photo of you is obviously worth something, not a huge amount but enough for them to follow you to work.
The series gets renewed for the second season and is being repeated all the time. You have a substantial amount of fans and recently a few of them have been turning up at your house. Your manager convinces you to get security.
When you hire security it makes you look and appear unattainable, this is what encourages potential stalkers to get excited. If you are told you cannot do something the knee -jerk reaction is to do it.
You are well on your way to becoming a known household name amongst teens. You get a call and land your first movie role. You are excited. You film the movie and find yourself sleeping in trailers and filming in very quiet locations. When you get back to home you have a good few months where life continues just with the TV fame.
Most potential celebrities are offered film roles, but do not actually become really famous until they definitely know that the movie is going to be released, so it is all dependant on the film company having enough money and support to get it into the cinemas.
It gets the approval to be released. Over night you are given a PR team and a team of make up and hair etc. You are turning up at TV and Radio stations to be interviewed, but are told to not answer any questions other than abbut the film. Everything you say in the interview is scripted. You say your bit and leave. Because you have turned up with a large team and are being guarded when answering questions, the people interviewing you immediately think you are up your self. They will smile at you but behind your back you can tell they are talking. You are very aware that whatever you do, whatever you wear (a skirt being too short or a bump appearing under your t-shirt) will put the movie into jeopardy.
When stars have large entourages it is often assumed that they are being difficult by companies that are interviewing them. In fact I can tell you that if a singer turns up with a large entourage then- yes they have been paid for by the singer and normally means that they think a lot of themselves. If an actress/actor turns up with a large team, almost all of them are paid for by the production company and the actress has no choice but to do what they say.
You get your first pay cheque and you buy a car. After six pay cheques you buy a house. You are so happy, but you are all alon in the house of your dreams with no one to share it with. Your family have other jobs and things to do so they cant live with you. Your boyfriend is also working he cannot be with you all the time. There are people constantly trying to break into your house. You are scared and vulnerable in a house that is to big for you.You have friends but you are aware that they are only interested in partying and spending money. The production company has you under strict guidelines of what behaviour is acceptable. You know that if you go against what they say you could lose your job and they could turn you from a star to a tragedy.
Unfortunately money is great for a small amount of time, what tends to happen is you will spend it on the things you most want and then before you know it, what you have bought is not enough. You either buy and buy until your broke or you stop and suffer the loneliness that comes with it. Your friends tend to be people that the management company has suggested you hang out with. Your original friends are unlikely to still be your friend because you are never available and they think that you are not interested in knowing them anymore.
You finish promoting the film and a friend asks you to go for a drink. She slips something to you and tells you that it is a happy pill. You take it because you are drunk and not being sensible. You enter into a world where everything is amazing. You spend money everywhere, you love everything. This one pill has made you happier than you have been in months.
Normally drug abuse begins with a great experience. If you had taken a drug and ended up in hospital the first time, the chances are you would not repeat the experience. If on the other hand everyone around you is doing it, then peer pressure and a lack of sensibility pushes you into the first trial of the substance.
The paparazzi begin to get more aggressive, the fans are appearing outside the studio in thousands. The attention is nice at first but then they start trying to physically touch you, sometimes hurt you, scratch you, anything so that they can say they have touched you. You are walking down 5th avenue trying to film a scene, but suddenly a load of fans start running at you. The director tells you to cross the road and get away because he does not want them getting in the way of the equipment. You run across the road. You get hit by a car. You are in hospital. No one is there at your bed side, apart from your manager and agent. No parents. No friends. The truth is they were not told about the accident, but you do not know that, you start to think you are alone. You get upset. You start feeling this devastated all the time. You start craving any kind of happiness.
More often than not the downward fall of a celebrity is when something dramatic happens in their life. Like a death of a close person, or being involved in an accident. This can cause a ripple affect. All of a sudden you start thinking that if you were not famous than this would not have happened.
Before you know it you start craving any lift, this turns you to a drug. Because of this drug and some shoddy performances where it looks like you are on something, you lose your job on the TV programme. No film offers are coming in. Your agent has warned that you are not as sexy any more to the public. Suddenly you go from having everything to nothing. The public are not aware of you losing so much, but you are. Your friends have found other people to party with, you are no longer the cool person. You have lost your boyfriend, you have lost your family (or you convince yourself you have), you are losing what you love. There is no other place to go than die (you think). This is what influences you to overdose.
This is just one account from one person (everything in this post is true and is what was experienced by a very famous actor-who is still famous today. Any names have been changed or made up).
Unfortunately sometimes fame can drive you wild. Eventually you do not know where you stand. This is obviously just the effects of fame. There of course are other circumstances for celebrities for example the impact of stalkers. Marilyn Monroe had a few stalkers who would threaten her. They would include so much detail in their notes to her, that they must have been either in the room with her or had been in there earlier. Could this have driven her over the edge?
Some find the constant attention very draining. Paparazzi have a tendency to be ver invasive (I mean this is their job, so if they are going to make a fortune on a picture than they are going to do anything to get that money). They will poke cameras in your face, prevent you from walking by standing in your way, they will shout insults at you to provoke a reaction. There is not much they won’t do.
There is another world that we do not see behind the celebrity. However because they have achieved what we think we crave, we look at them through jealous eyes. However before you are quick to judge these people make sure you know the real person behind the scenes, more often than not the celebrity is not all you think they are.
Nowadays to many actors and celebrities get driven to distraction and end up hurting themselves and leave the people around them devastated.
This post is in commemoration of the following celebrities, may they rest in peace:
Marilyn Monroe-Died on the 5th August aged 36 who died of poisoning via suicide.
Judy Garland-June 22nd aged 47 who died of anti-depressant poisoning.
Michael Jackson-June 25tth aged 50 died from an overdose.
Heath Ledger- 22nd January aged 28 died from an overdose of sleeping pills.
Amy Winehouse-23rd July aged 27 died from an overdose.
Cory Monteith- 14th July aged 31 died from heroin overdose
To name just a few.
- Amanda Bynes Genius, Lunatic, or Both? (themusicmenagerie.wordpress.com)
- Stalker Sarah: the world’s most famous superfan (telegraph.co.uk)
- When did Amanda Bynes turn into one of her movies’ villains? (ryanjohnsonproducer.wordpress.com)
- Rihanna, Amanda Bynes & More: Hollywood’s Biggest Exhibitonists (hollywoodlife.com)
- Pop Talk: Remembering Cory Monteith (923now.cbslocal.com)
- VIDEO: TV Latest News: Hollywood, ‘Glee’ Costars Mourn Cory Monteith (marketcurator.com)
- This Is What Addiction Looks Like (thoughtcatalog.com)
- The Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star (defamer.gawker.com)
- ‘The Lone Ranger’ and the Curse of the Blockbuster Western – Businessweek (coralvillecourier.typepad.com)
- Cory Monteith: the Glee star’s death is an all-too familiar teen idol plotline | Hadley Freeman (guardian.co.uk)