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Scandal Sheet

Winona Ryder continues a long Hollywood tradition

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By now, we've all heard about actress Winona Ryder's continuing troubles with the law, which started when she allegedly was caught shoplifting from a posh store. Of course, celebrity scandal is nothing new, but the larger question always revolves around whether the star's silver screen status has been irreparably damaged or if a long and fruitful career is still possible. In Ryder's case, it's too early to say. But other fairly recent examples have yielded mixed results. Despite his dalliance with a Divine lady of the night, Hugh Grant has seen practically no career fallout; earlier this summer, he starred in the critically acclaimed About a Boy, earning some of the best reviews of his career. The fortunes of drug-addled Robert Downey Jr., on the other hand, haven't run nearly as smooth, as the talented actor, even with all the breaks tossed his way, continues to self-destruct at a frightening clip.

Here, then, is a look at some past Hollywood scandals and whether they resulted in career fallout for the affected stars.

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle At a party thrown by the large (and largely popular) silent film star in 1921, a young model was raped and murdered, and Arbuckle himself was charged with the crimes. The evidence against him was weak, though, and after two hung juries, the third finally acquitted him. But despite the acquittal, the public, the press and the studio heads turned against him with a vicious zeal, and his career was destroyed. He was never allowed to act again in a major production, although he did manage to direct a few pictures under a pseudonym and star in some comedy shorts before being fatally stricken by a heart attack at the age of 46.Mabel Normand A beloved silent film comedienne, Normand made a number of films with Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle, two others not unfamiliar with scandal. Reportedly a heavy drinker and drug user, Normand was linked to the still-unsolved murder of director William Desmond Taylor; she had been the last person to see him alive. A second scandal erupted when one of her suitors shot a competitor for her affections. Eventually, the public completely abandoned her, and she only managed to snag roles in a handful of short films before her death (from tuberculosis) at the age of 35.Robert Mitchum The tough star of Night of the Hunter and Cape Fear was busted in the late 40s for marijuana possession and spent approximately two months behind bars. Career fallout? What career fallout? If anything, this incident of incarceration helped solidify his standing as a rebellious Hollywood outsider who always followed his own path.John Garfield One of the most exciting actors of the 40s -- heck, of any decade -- Garfield became an overnight star after delivering an Oscar-nominated turn in his film debut in 1938's Four Daughters; this in turn led to leading roles in such classics as The Postman Always Rings Twice and Body and Soul. But Garfield's participation in liberal causes caught up with him during the notorious Hollywood "witch hunts," as the House Un-American Activities Committee tried to paint him as a Communist. He denied the allegations -- and of course there was never proof to support the charges -- but Garfield's career options declined immediately, and he died soon after of a heart attack. He was 39 years old.

Ingrid Bergman While still married to her first husband, Bergman had a child by her lover, writer-director Roberto Rossellini, while living with him in Italy in 1950. Spurred by the venomous reaction from religious organizations (who were probably mindful that Bergman had played a nun in 1945's The Bells of St. Mary's), America shut its doors to the actress and refused to have anything to do with her (according to some sources, the Congressional Record had her listed as "a powerful influence for evil"). However, the country "forgave" her a few years later, and she won the second of her three Oscars for 1956's Anastasia.Lana Turner Just days after she lost the Best Actress Oscar for 1957's Peyton Place, Turner witnessed her abusive gangster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato get stabbed to death by her 15-year-old daughter Cheryl. But since Cheryl was deemed to be simply protecting her mother from another savage beating by this thug, a jury acquitted the teenager. Yet although the event dominated headlines, it apparently had no impact on Turner's career: In 1959, she starred in Imitation of Life, which became one of the year's top moneymakers.Rob Lowe While staying in an Atlanta hotel for the 1988 Democratic Convention, Lowe taped his sexual liaison with a pair of women (one of whom was a teenager). Unfortunately for the actor, the private tape was made public. While Lowe claims the incident damaged his career, the truth is that, until his recent luck on TV's The West Wing, he never had much of a career to damage in the first place. In fact, if something did impede his supposed ascension to superstardom, it wasn't this videotape but rather that godawful opening number with Snow White that he performed on that year's Academy Awards broadcast.

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