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Lessons for Shia LaBeouf: What He Can Learn From Hollywood's Reformed Bad Boys

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Aug 08, 2008 | 10:51pm EDT

Has Shia LaBeouf gone bad boy on us? Well, you might say that. Remember when he got arrested last November trying to buy smokes at a Walgreens? Now, the Transformers star is facing DUI charges and maybe even rehab (rumors are swirling). But don’t worry, there’s still hope! Robert Downey Jr.Vince VaughnCharlie Sheen and countless others survived Hollywood and came out on top. Perhaps Shia could learn a thing or two from our favorite bad boys gone good. 

ROBERT DOWNEY JR. 

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After a successful career through the eighties and early nineties (including an Oscar nod for 1992’s Chaplin), Robert Downey Jr. hit a speed bump … or two or three or four in the mid-nineties with several drug-related arrests. He once told a judge in 1999, “It's like I have a loaded gun in my mouth and my finger's on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gunmetal.”

Notable naughty moments included speeding down Sunset Blvd. with heroin, cocaine and an unloaded .357 Magnum, wandering into a neighbor’s home and falling asleep in an empty bed, and a Thanksgiving day 911 call in Palm Springs that led to an arrest for possession of cocaine and valium.

Career Comeback

It took several stints in jail and rehab before Downey got his life back on track. A few roles here and there like The Singing Detective and Gothika helped garnish credibility. By 2005 he was back in full swing with Kiss Kiss Bang BangGood Night, and Good Luck and A Scanner Darkly. Downey’s popularity went through the roof in 2008 with his summer hit Iron Man, grossing more than $300 million at the box office. Look for the native New Yorker, 43, next week in Paramount’s Tropic Thunder alongside Ben Stiller and Jack Black.

Lesson Learned

A break might be beneficial, just try not to spend it in jail, court or rehab.

RUSSELL CROWE

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Who would have thought a few publicized scuffles could lead to second degree assault? In the case of Russell Crowe, that’s exactly what happened. The Oscar winning star was caught on a security cam squabbling with two men at an Australian hotel in 1999, followed by a temperamental tiff with BAFTA Awards producer Malcolm Gerrie in 2002 for cutting a portion of his acceptance speech from the broadcast. In 2005 Crowe was arrested and charged with second degree assault and fourth degree possession of a weapon when he threw a telephone at a hotel employee in New York who refused to help him place a call. The Mercer Hotel concierge had to be treated with facial lacerations while Crowe had to pay $100,000 to settle out of court.

Career Comeback

Less than a year later, Crowe was ready to laugh off the incident and so was the rest of the world (except maybe the hotel concierge). While hosting the Australian Film Industry Awards in Melbourne that November, the actor brought an old-fashioned Bakelight telephone onstage and warned the nominees, “If there are any problems and you do get up here and go on too long, then ‘hello’ to my little friend.”

Lesson Learned

Pick your battles and never ever take yourself too seriously.

VINCE VAUGHN

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Similar to Josh Brolin’s recent bar brawl in Shreveport, Louisiana, Vince Vaughn and costar Steve Buscemi ran into trouble in 2001 while filming Domestic Disturbance in North Carolina. The fight with pub patrons left Buscemi with several stab wounds and Vaughn was charged with fighting in public. Vaughn plead no contest and the charge was dropped.

Career Comeback

While the tussle bolstered Vaughn’s reputation as a Hollywood party guy, it did little to damage his career or his fan base. His later roles alongside Will FerrellLuke and Owen Wilson and others even earned him a spot in Tinsel Town’s Frat Back.

Lesson Learned

Everything in moderation. 

CHARLIE SHEEN 

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The old adage “don’t kiss and tell” never applied to Charlie Sheen. As the son of star Martin Sheen (who once had Charlie arrested for cocaine use), the eighties star had Hollywood at his fingertips and never batted an eye at taking advantage. Whether it was sex-capades with Heidi Fleiss’ high-class call girls or boasting about taking five women to the sack at a time (Empire magazine), it’s no wonder Maxim named him number two on their list of “Living Sex Legends.” While Sheen claims the bragging rights to 5,000 sexual conquests, the actor walked down the aisle multiple times. His first marriage to Donna Peele lasted only one year, his second to Bond girl Denise Richards was sensationalized in the tabloids (and still is), while his third wife Brooke Mueller seems to have tamed his wild ways.

Career Comeback

After a successful stint on CBS’ Spin City, the network decided to use Sheen’s bad boy image to their advantage, casting him as a freewheeling bachelor on Two and a Half Men. The Golden Globe and Emmy nominated role combined with his new partner Mueller have proved to be a recipe for success.

Lesson Learned

Play to your strengths.

KIEFER SUTHERLAND

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Kiefer Sutherland loves to have a good time (just type in “Kiefer Sutherland Christmas Tree” in a youtube.com search), but the 24 actor had to learn when to say when. We thought he learned his lesson back in 2004 with a DUI arrest, until it happened again in 2007. Sutherland was leaving a Fox Casino party in Los Angeles when he was pulled over and allegedly blew twice the legal limit. Luckily the writer’s strike allowed him to do his 48 days in jail without missing any work.

Career Comeback

Since his last arrest, Sutherland has been back at work filming a made for television 24 prequel and keeping himself out of trouble and out of the spotlight.

Lesson Learned

Learn from your mistakes.

HUGH GRANT

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“I think you know in life what’s a good thing to do and what’s a bad thing, and I did a bad thing. And there you have it,” Hugh Grant told Jay Leno just days after being arrested. The British actor was referring to a night of indiscretion when L.A. Vice officers caught the star with Hollywood prostitute Divine Brown. Grant plead no contest to the charges, paid $1,180 in fines and still made an appearance on the Tonight Show to promote his next movie Nine Months.

Career Comeback

Despite the finest public relations strategy money could buy, there was one thing Grant couldn’t hang onto – his longtime model girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley. She dumped him after the incident and rightly so.

Lesson Learned

Love the one you’re with!

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