Saturday, August 25, 2007

Chris Makepeace

Chris Makepeace is a former child star best known for his role in the 1980 high school drama, My Bodyguard. Makepeace was born on April 22, 1964 in Montreal, Quebec. Makepeace's acting career began a role in a 1974 Canadian television special, The Ottawa Valley. Five years later, in 1979, he was cast in the comedy, Meatballs, in which he starred opposite Bill Murray, playing one of the teenage attendees of a summer camp.

Makepeace apparently opened some eyes with the acting in Meatballs, because his next role was as the star of My Bodyguard. In My Bodyguard, Makepeace played Clifford Peache, a kid who moved downtown with his father, the manager of the Ambassador East Hotel, a high-end hotel located in the Gold Coast area of Chicago, Illinois. The Clifford character was sent to the public Lake View High School and was immediately hassled by bullies led by Melvin Moody (played by a young Matt Dillon). The bullies threatened Clifford and extorted lunch money from him. To fend off the bullies, Clifford paid a huge kid in his class, Ricky Linderman (played by Adam Baldwin) to be his bodyguard.

The movie focused on the friendship between Clifford and Linderman after Linderman scared off the bullies. Clifford hung around with Linderman and eventually gained the confidence to fight Moody in a scene at the end of the movie. I first saw My Bodyguard when I was a kid and thought that it was a very good movie. The relationship between Clifford and Linderman seemed wholesome at the time and Clifford looked up to Linderman as his hero of sorts. However, I recently viewed the movie and noticed some nuances that I had naively overlooked in my youth.

There are conspicuous homoerotic overtones in My Bodyguard and the gay tension between Clifford and Linderman is palpable at times. In one scene, Clifford was so interested in Linderman that he followed Linderman home through some rough neighborhoods after school one day. After Linderman saw Clifford, they went riding Linderman's bike together. Look at the movie images below - in the first one, Clifford looks elated as he rides on the back of Linderman's tiny bike, hanging onto Linderman for safety (or pleasure) purposes. In the second picture, their positions are reversed and Linderman appears to be shouting with glee. Despite the overtones in the movie, Linderman and Clifford never consummated their relationship, most likely due to the 1980 release year of the movie.

Makepeace's acting in My Bodyguard was well-received. In his review of the film, critic Roger Ebert wrote that Makepeace's character was "one of the most engaging teen-age characters I've seen in the movies in a long time."

Unfortunately, Makepeace was not able to parlay his critically acclaimed performance into any other meaningful roles. After My Bodyguard, subsequent roles included appearances in made-for-television films and a few crappy feature films, including the 1984 film, The Falcon and the Snowman, and 1986's Vamp. Makepeace is rumored to have slept with the man-ish Grace Jones during the filming of Vamp.

In 1996, Makepeace returned to the big screen in the poorly-received Memory Run (a.k.a., Synapse). Here are some image captures from Memory Run:

Despite some early success, Chris Makepeace's acting career is clearly over. His only acting role since 1998 was a very minor role as a pilot in the straight-to-video movie, Full Disclosure. Perhaps he would be more successful if he returned to his bread and butter - movies with subtle gay themes. For this and the reasons above, Chris Makepeace is one washed-up celebrity!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Danny Pintauro

Danny Pintauro (birthname, Daniel John Pintauro) is a former child actor born on January 6, 1976 in Milltown, New Jersey. He began his acting career in the early 1980s on the television soap opera As the World Turns and in the movie Cujo. He later rose to prominence when he played Jonathon Brower on the hit sitcom, Who's The Boss?

Who's the Boss was a popular family sitcom in which Tony Danza played Tony Macelli, a former professional baseball who was forced to retire from baseball after suffering a debilitating shoulder injury. To make ends meet and stay close to his daughter Samantha (played by Alyssa Milano), Tony became the housekeeper for divorced advertising executive Angela Bower (played by Judith Light). The character Jonathan was the young son of Angela on the show.

America watched Danny Pintauro grow from a young child into a youth while on the show. Although his character was somewhat wimpy, several of the episodes dealt with Jonathan's teenage angst as he tried to get girls, like most youthful boys.

Pintauro, however, was hiding a big secret. He was a homosexual, although he decided to stay in the closet at the time because he was a young actor and likely did not want to harm his acting career.

Who's The Boss? was originally on the air between 1984 and 1992. After the 1992 cancellation of the show, Pintauro's acting career hit the skids. In 1994, he took time off from professional acting to attend Stanford University to study English and Theater. Pintauro graduated four years later, in 1998.

Pintauro's life radically changed in 1997 when he was contacted by the National Enquirer tabloid. The National Enquirer contacted him to inform him that they intended to "out" him as being gay. Instead of remaining in the closet or fighting the tabloid, Pintauro decided to grant the National Enquirer an interview in which he commented on his homosexuality.

Ever since bursting out the closet, Pintauro has become more and more flamboyant as he morphed being just "slightly gay" in the late 1990s to being full-blown "Liberace gay." His mannerisms have become far more flamboyant and he apparently posted an online ad in January 2007 in a gay matchmaking website, (As far as I know, Pintauro has never publicly admitted placing the ad, although most people believe that he did, in fact place the ad.) Pintauro's online profile indicated that he was into "spit, slap, piss, wrestle, fuck, repeat." His profile also indicated that he was "sexy, passionate, fun, verbal, obedient (and) open to anything." He further wrote that his penis is seven inches long, circumsized, and he sometimes does drugs (this link is NSFW). Here are some pictures from his online ad. The second picture has been edited to make it acceptable for this blog.

Pintauro's transformation is shocking to anyone who saw the young and wholesome, albeit slightly effeminate, boy on Who's The Boss? It's unclear as to whether Pintauro wanted Tony Danza to give him a "Tony Danza" in a trailer behind the Who's The Boss? set after a taping, although it wouldn't necessarily surprise me now. Pintauro's acting career is effectively over, although he does currently dabble in theatre productions. For this and the reasons discussed above, Danny Pintauro is one washed-up celebrity!

*** Update - September 27, 2015 ***

Danny Pintauro appeared on an episode of "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" on Saturday, September 26, 2015, and revealed that he has been HIV+ since March 2003. If Pintauro did post the online ad in January 2007 on discussed above, then he clearly knew he was HIV+ when he posted the ad!

Pintauro told Oprah that he had been taking crystal meth and had sex with a random man whose name he cannot remember who infected him with HIV. Pintauro also mentioned that he is married, lives in La Vegas, and manages a restaurant.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rob Stone

Rob Stone is an actor who played the character Kevin Owens on the sitcom Mr. Belvedere ,which was originally aired on ABC from 1985-1990. Kevin was the oldest child in the Owens family.

Stone was born on September 22, 1962 in Dallas, Texas. He started acting in Dallas doing a lot of theatre at the age 13, primarily at the Dallas Theatre Center. He later attended the University of Southern California's BFA Drama conservatory. Stone acted in several plays at USC and met his agent, who happened to be in the audience of one of them. Stone's first television roles were guest spots on The Facts of Life and V.

Stone later got his big breakthrough when he auditioned for the role of Kevin Owens on Mr. Belvedere. Mr. Belvedere was a very successful sitcom and Kevin Owens was an important character on the show. Several of the episode plotlines revolved around Kevin's attempts to meet girls.

Kevin Owens was one of the creepiest characters ever to appear on a family sitcom. There were definitely some homoerotic overtones in episodes in which the Kevin character played a large role and it seemed like it was only a matter of time until Kevin molested a kid in one of those "serious" episodes that were occasionally shown in 1980s sitcoms. Kevin seemed to be a little bit "too close" to his brother, Wesley T. Owens (played by fellow washed-up actor Brice Beckham), although nothing inappropriate was ever shown happening between them.

After Mr. Belvedere went off the air in 1990, Stone's career derailed. His only roles since the show's cancellation were in an unaired TV pilot of Revenge of the Nerds and two guest appearances on Matlock.

I'm not sure what Stone is currently doing. I know that actors often use their own experiences when playing characters, so I can only hope that the real-life Stone isn't as creepy as Stone's Kevin Owens character. There were obviously incorrect rumors that Stone was Marilyn Manson. However, regardless of what he's doing now, there can be no doubt that Rob Stone is one washed-up celebrity!

*** Update - July 5, 2009 ***

I recently discovered this strange video clip from a 1980s After School Special entitled Ace Hits the Big Time, in which Rob Stone makes an appearance. In this video, Stone appears to be attacked by a gay gang whose members beat him up in a "dance fight."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Brandon Call

Brandon Call is a former child star best known for his role as "J.T. Lambert" on the 1990s family sitcom, Step By Step. Call was born on November 17, 1976 and achieved a lot of success throughout his teen years.

Call’s career began in the mid-1980s with small guest roles on various TV shows and movies such as Simon & Simon, Slickers, and Jagged Edge. He parlayed these early appearances into a recurring role in the mid-1980s on the afternoon soap opera, Santa Barbara.

As his star was rising, Call began receiving better acting opportunities. He auditioned for and was original cast as the star character, "Kevin Arnold," in The Wonder Years, only to be replaced at the last minute by Fred Savage. He also starred alongside David Hasselhoff as the original "Hobie Buchanan" in the first season of Baywatch (the Hobie character was played in subsequent seasons by fellow washed-up up actor Jeremy Jackson). Call apparently left Baywatch because the show was not very popular during its first season, and only became a phenomenon after the focus turned toward the beautiful lifeguards on the show, as opposed to well-written storylines.

Call's most substantial role was as J.T. Lambert on Step-By-Step. Step-By-Step was on the air for a long time, from 1991-1998, although I only watched it maybe 3 or 4 times. On the show, Call's character was the oldest child in the Lambert family. The Lambert family, ironically enough, resided in Port Washington, Wisconsin, where the king of washed-up celebrities, Dustin Diamond, currently resides.

The Lambert family was a middle-class family and the entire premise of the show was ripped off from the Brady Bunch. Frank Lambert, the character J.T.'s father, was divorced and had custody of three children, including the character J.T. Frank Lambert impulsively married Carol Foster, a widowed woman with three kids of her own. The families merged and the episodes followed the family members as they matured and got to know each other.

Step-By-Step was a fairly successful show on ABC and made Call somewhat of a star. Based on his fame on the show, Call picked up an endorsement deal for the early 1990s beverage, Boku.

In 1996 Call was involved in a very strange mugging. While leaving a taping session on the Step By Step set, Call was attacked by an unknown gunman in an apparently random attack after a traffic dispute. The gunman shot Call in both arms. Luckily, Call was not seriously injured and made a full recovery.

After Step By Step was cancelled in 1998, Call's career ended. Perhaps it was due to anxiety from being shot or that he was sick of the spotlight. Regardless of the reason, there is no doubt that Brandon Call is one washed-up celebrity!

*** Update - May 12, 2013 ***

Someone sent me the following photo on Brandon Call.  This photo was apparently taken in 2007:

*** Update - March 4, 2014 ***

When I originally drafted this post back in 2007, I was unable to find much information on the the incident in which Brandon Call was shot. However, I recently performed an Internet search and found additional details relating to the shooting. According to the Associated Press, Call was driving when Tommy Eugene Lewis started tailgating him in another car. Call turned onto a side street that turned out to be a dead end to elude Lewis who cornered Call and fired six bullets into Call's car. Lewis was convicted of attempted premeditated murder and sentenced to 41 years to life in prison.

The text of a published opinion relating to Lewis's unsuccessful appeal of the verdict may be found here.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Jose Canseco

In view of the fact that the disgraced steroid-abusing San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds recently tied one of Major League Baseball's most hallowed records, Hank Aaron's lifetime home run record, I decided that it was time to add a profile a washed-up sports celebrity. The first washed-up sports celebrity that I will profile is Jose Canseco.

I. Jose Canseco’s Early Life

Jose Canseco, born July 2, 1964 in Havana, Cuba, is a former a former Major League outfielder and designated hitter. Canseco grew up in a suburb of Miami, Florida with his family and twin brother Ozzie Canseco. He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics directly out of high school and eventually became one of the best players in baseball was well on his way to the Hall of Fame until his career unexpectedly short-circuited, leaving him disgraced and destitute.

As a 15-year old youth at Coral Park high school, Canseco stood about 5'11" and weighed 155 pounds. He was too small to play football, so he joined the school's baseball team. He claims that he wasn't good enough to play varsity right away, so he was relegated to the junior varsity team until his senior year. Canseco was a natural athlete with good hand-eye coordination and was good enough to earn the MVP award on this JV team during his junior year. Several members of the varsity team graduated after his junior year, and Canseco finally received his chance to play on the varsity team as a senior in high school. Canseco's skills continued rapidly improved throughout high school and he performed well enough to earn the team's MVP award as a senior in high school.

II. Canseco’s Time In The Minor Leagues

Canseco was drafted by the Oakland A's in the fifteenth round of 1982 amateur draft and received a $10,000 signing bonus. Canseco began his minor league career in a Pioneer league team in Idaho Falls. Canseco struggled during his 28 games at Idaho Falls, hitting barely .260 with only two home runs. He played against eventual major league pitcher David Wells during his early years in the minor leagues. David Wells had the following to say about Canseco at the time:

"Staring down this poor sap from the pitcher's mound, his uniform flapping loosely in the breeze, I remember thinking, Jesus Christ, this guy could Hula-Hoop inside a Cheerio. The toothpick's name was Jose Canseco, and before the game was over, I'd beat him for four dribbled groundouts and a nice, fat K."

Canseco continued to toil in the minor leagues for the next couple years. In 1984, he made a deathbed promise to his mother that he was going to be the best athlete in the world, no matter what it took to do so. At the end of the 1984 minor league season, Canseco stood at 6'4" and weighed a thin 185 pounds. However, during the off-season Canseco lifted weights like a madman and started injecting himself (a.k.a. "juicing") with anabolic steroids in an effort to make it to the major leagues.

By the start of the 1985 season, Canseco had gained 25 pounds of rock-solid muscle and started looking more like a body-builder than a baseball player. Canseco was tearing the cover off of the ball; hitting .318 with 25 home runs and 80s RBIs in only 58 games for the A's Double-A team in Huntsville, Alabama. He again faced pitcher David Wells, who had this to say about Canseco:

"One year later ... Canseco and I would cross paths again ... and I was stunned to find that 'the Idaho skinny guy' had somehow grown up to become a freaking Macy's balloon. Brand-new biceps ripped out from under his uniform sleeves. Thick slabs of beef padded his formerly bony frame. A pair of tree trunks now connected to his ankles. Seven innings and two 450-foot moon shots later, I still had no idea what to make of this new improved mutant. Was this kind of super-size growth spurt even possible? What the hell was this monster eating?"

III. Canseco’s Major League Career

Canseco was called up by the A's at the end of the 1985 season, and hit .302 with 5 home runs in 29 games. The following season was his break-through year, as he 33 home runs, was named to the All-Star team, and won the American League Rookie of the Year award. Canseco kept his juicing while at the major league level and followed up with another solid season in 1987.

During the subsequent season, 1988, Canseco had his finest season, winning the American League MVP award in a unanimous decision and becoming the first player in major league history to join the 40-40 club (i.e., hit at least 40 home runs and steal at least 40 bases in the same season). Canseco also played on perhaps the best team during the 1980s. Mark McGwire was his power-hitting teammate, and the two of them were known as the "Bash Brothers" because they were both huge and gave each other forearm bashes after hitting home runs. The 1988 Oakland Athletics made it to the World Series, losing to the L.A. Dodgers in one of the biggest World Series upsets in the past 25 years.

Canseco's 1989 season was cut short by injuries, although he did return in time to help his team win the World Series. By the end of the 1980s, Canseco was on the fast-track to the Hall of Fame. He was one of the most popular players in the game of baseball, but he quickly fell by the wayside as his career spectacularly collapsed.

IV. Canseco Becomes the Butt of Jokes

In 1992 he was traded to the Texas Rangers. During the 1993 season, Canseco received unwanted attention for two on-field debacles that occurred within days of each other. In a May 26th game against the Cleveland Indians, Canseco was playing right field when Carlos Martínez of the Indians hit a fly ball that Canseco lost in the lights as he ran over near the warning track. The ball hit him in the head and bounced over the wall for a home run. In 1998, This Week in Baseball rated Canseco's blunder as the greatest blooper of the show's first 21 years. After the incident, the Harrisburg Heat offered him a soccer contract.

Three days later, Canseco asked his manager, Kevin Kennedy, to let him pitch the eighth inning of a blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately, Canseco threw out his arm and had to undergo Tommy John surgery, and was lost for the remainder of the season.

Canseco's personal life also had its troubles, starting in the late 1980s. In 1989, his first wife, Esther Haddad, whom he married in November 1988, accused him of domestic violence after he allegedly ran his car into hers. Canseco divorced Haddad in 1991 and married Jessica Sekely in 1996. He was later arrested in November 1997 for allegedly hitting her. In January 1998 he was sentenced to probation and required to have counseling. The couple divorced in 1999. In October 2001, he and his brother Ozzie were involved a fight with two California tourists at a Miami Beach nightclub that left one man with a broken nose and another needing 20 stitches in his lip. Canseco was charged with two counts of aggravated battery for his role in the incident and was eventually sentenced to two years of house arrest.

Canseco fell off of the baseball radar for much of the mid-late 1990s, although did have a productive season again in 1998, in which he hit 46 home runs and stole 29 bases for the Toronto Blue Jays. Canseco received some criticism for selfishly attempting to steal too often, seeing as though his was caught stealing 17 times. Canseco then went to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, where he was having an excellent home run season in 1999 (34 in 114 games; and was voted an All-Star) until he injured his back and was lost for the season.

Canseco's career finally ended in 2001. By this point, Canseco was jealous of all of the attention being paid to former Bash Brother, Mark McGwire. He also felt bitter and claimed that he was being blackballed by major league baseball.

V. Canseco’s Tell-All Book and Steroid Admission

Canseco decided to get even with the sport that he felt had turned its back on him by exposing rampant steroid abused. In 2005, Canseco admitted to using anabolic steroids in a best-seller tell-all book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big. Canseco also claimed that up to 85% of major league players took steroids, a figure disputed by many in the game. In the book, Canseco specifically identified former teammates Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, Iván Rodríguez, and Juan González as fellow steroid users, and that he injected them. He further claimed that he, McGwire and Jason Giambi all crowded together naked in a bathroom stall at the Oakland Coliseum and shot each other up with steroids.

Juiced was an interesting book and led to a 2005 steroid hearing in front of the U.S. Congress, during which Canseco and several other professional baseball players were subpoenaed to testify under oath about steroid use in baseball. It was at this hearing that McGwire evaded the question of whether he had used steroids, substantially hurting his later chances for election into baseball's Hall of Fame.

In Juiced, Canseco wrote about the effect of drug abuse on his genitals in a couple paragraphs that were completely unnecessary. He wrote that rampant steroid use had shrunken his testicles, but that his abuse of Human Growth Hormone had counteracted the effects by making his penis grow larger.

VI. Falling on Hard Times

Canseco earned over $45 million during his major league career. However, he somehow managed to piss away his personal fortune and is desperate for money. He sold his 1988 AL MVP award plaque for $30,000 and his Rookie of the Year ring for $5,100 on eBay.

He was sentenced to two years of house arrest for his role in the 2001 nightclub brawl and in 2003 auctioned an afternoon with himself on eBay with bids starting at $2,500.

VII. Conclusion

Canseco is broke and bitter about how his baseball career turned out. He also claims that there was an anti-Cuban conspiracy against him to hold him down. I don't believe his allegations, as in the late-1980s he was the favorite player of many of the kids I knew. The media loved him and he even had a brief relationship with Madonna.

I think he should be commended for coming forward and exposing the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. That's apparently not good enough for Canseco, as he seems to want everyone associated with professional baseball to come forward and kiss his ass. The guy made a fortune during his career but blew through it quickly and will now do anything for a few bucks. He even stooped so low as to appear on the Surreal Life for $50,000 in 2005.

Canseco was undoubtedly the best player during the late 1980s and threw it all away to become a destitute laughingstock, all within the matter of a few years. Accordingly, there should be no doubt that Jose Canseco is one washed-up sports celebrity!

*** Update - May 1, 2008 ***

It was reported today that Jose Canseco lost his $2.5 million mansion in Encino, CA to foreclosure today. Canseco said that he owed more than what the mansion is worth and that it made financial sense for him to simply walk away from his home. It's simply amazing to me that someone who made more than $45 million from playing major league baseball blew through his vast fortune already. I guess that's why he's a washed-up sports celebrity!

*** Update - July 24, 2008 ***

Jose Canseco is so hard up for money that he has begun appearing in celebrity boxing matches. On July 12, 2008, Canseco stepped into the ring with Vai Sikahema, a former NFL running back/kicker. The 44-year old Canseco, at 6'4" tall, towered over the 5'9" tall Sikahema. Canseco must have thought that this would be an easy fight. Canseco, however, was terribly mistaken as he got his ass kicked and was knocked out a mere 97 seconds into the first round. When asked about Canseco's size advantage, Sikahema said, "Whatever size advantage he had it was negated by his stupidity."

Canseco apparently engaged in some trash talking before the match, making gestures towards Sikahema's corner prior to the fight in which he was slashing his finger across his throat. In Canseco's defense, Sikahema is an experienced amateur boxer with 80 fights under his belt.

Canseco received a mere $35,000 for his pummelling. Apparently there was little public interest in this fight, as there were only about 1,250 spectators in the 5,000 seat stadium in which the fight took place.

*** Update - July 24, 2010 ***

Jose Canseco participated in another boxing match in July 9, 2010. This time he faced Gary Hogan, the 60-year-old assistant athletic trainer for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Canseco received between $10,000 and $30,000 for his appearance.

Canseco went four rounds with Hogan and lost the bout 39-37 on the judges' scorecards. Canseco has received some criticism for his poor performance against the much older and out-of-shape Hogan. I saw a clip of the fight on youtube and it does appear as though Canseco threw the fight - it appeared as though he wasn't trying very hard.