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MARCH 1, 2011 1:16AM

Charlie Sheen and me

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I remember the first time I ever met Charlie Sheen. It was about 2 a.m. and I was riding the elevator in the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City back to my room. The elevator stopped and Sheen got on with with a beautiful and very drunk blonde girl. They were both wearing open bathrobes and leaning on each other for support. Since I was staying at the hotel to attend a press junket for Navy SEALs, a film that Sheen was co-starring in, I knew exactly who he was. Even then in his clearly altered state, he was jaw-droppingly handsome and exuded that rare but very real aura of star power. 

I was supposed to interview Sheen in the morning for the lame movie I'd just seen about Navy SEALs fighting terrorism, but I maintained my journalistic distance and stared straight ahead. The elevator stopped at my floor and as I got off, I could hear Sheen and his paramour snicker.


Screencrave.com Ignore the bad 80s hair.  

Matinee idol  

The first time I ever saw Sheen was in the movie Platoon. I lined up outside to see it one frigid New Year's Day in Toronto  back when movies were important enough for me to plan my life around them. As soon as the film unspooled, I knew that Sheen was being groomed for stardom. He had the acting intensity, the looks, and the lineage. Wall Street sealed the deal. Sheen was a bona fide star and living the Hollywood life to the hilt. It didn't hurt that his father was a well-respected actor and activist, or that his brother Emilio was as popular and laid-back as Charlie was wild and unpredictable. 

The next day dawned at the junket and I made the rounds of interviews. Only one person was missing -- Sheen. The day wore on and the publicists became more frantic, his co-stars more edgy, until finally Michael Biehn intimated that Sheen was living up to the role he was playing in the movie -- an irresponsible showoff who endangers the lives of his fellow SEALs. SEALs have a history of getting away with antics that would get anybody else court martialed.  As it became clear that Sheen was a no-show, everybody went to the hotel bar and had many, many drinks. The head of publicity came out and said they were doing everything they could to get Sheen to do a press conference the next day. 

Rumours flew that he was holed up in the hotel on a coke and booze-fuelled bender and that the head honchos of Orion Pictures (now defunct) had personally begged him to do the publicity he was contractually obliged to perform. I shared my bathrobe tale, and someone else added that they'd seen him drinking in the sauna with two buxom babes. Who knew? The man's reputation was already legendary. 


When Sheen finally made an appearance in the late afternoon of the following day, it was spectacular. After keeping the press waiting more than an hour in a cavernous ballroom, he sneaked into the room and took a seat. But with his superpimp attire, he didn't stay unnoticed for long. Dude was wearing a white suit and gold jewelry that would have done Superfly proud. Topping it off was a snazzy fedora with a feather in the band, and an unmistakable twinkle in the bad boy's eye. Once Sheen had our collective attention, he passed around headshots of himself in the getup. It is one of my few regrets that I threw that bizarre photo away a couple of house moves ago otherwise I would post it here. 

What was most telling about the incident is that Sheen was enjoying himself immensely and didn't give a rat's ass about what anyone thought. His skin had a greasy shine to it, his pupils were dilated, and if a man could be said to swagger sitting down, he was. I don't remember much about the actual press conference, or even the stories I wrote, but I have an indelible recollection of the power he wielded that day. He had the rapt attention of everyone in that room because no one knew what he might do next. 

When I stopped in at the gift shop later, the woman behind the counter admired my swag bag, which I gave to her, and she told me that Sheen had charged thousands of dollars to Orion outfitting himself at the boutique next door earlier in the day. She said he was an excellent tipper.

Sheen isn't the first actor to choose booze and the pleasures of the flesh over a serious film career  -- although he prides himself as a professional and is always on time and prepared -- and he won't be the last. He's been hugely successful on his own terms. The Hollywood code of ignoring bad behavior in favour of raking in cash remains sacrosant. I won't pass judgment on Sheen although I sure as hell wouldn't want to be married to him. I'll leave the finger wagging to the armchair moralists who are thick upon the ground when it comes to the blame game. One thing I know for sure is that Charlie still doesn't give a damn about what any of us thinks of him. 


dipity.com  On the set of Navy SEALs. Wasn't he pretty? 

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Charlie, Charlie, Charlie. Some things never change.
You're spot on about how he appeared in Platoon and Wall Street emma2. And he sure sounded like he didn't give a damn in the clip I saw on the news this evening. Rather, he sounded like he was living in an alternate universe.
You know Charlie? Cool!

"Charlie still doesn't give a damn about what any of us thinks of him."

Yep, and why should he? Whether he crashes and burns tomorrow or makes a come-back and sticks around for a while, it's just Charlie being Charlie.
I haven't ever seen Charlie Sheen.
I love to watch a Seal nap on a rock.
PETA can counsel Charlie Sheen.
More cigarettes, coke-crack, pie,
scotch, rum, Pepsi, and two seals.
Buy @ Salon adds kosher crackers?
Animal Crackers shaped like dogs?

Beastly nature.

PETA may visit.
Call Pope. Merry.
No marry Snoops.

Call PTA Chaplain.
Lay on a deathbed.
People go to ruins.
Thanks. I no got TV.
O.S. is a news source.
I'm pretty sure he'll make a comeback from this. Chuck Lorre isn't about to kill the golden goose. Even if he does, Charlie has a boatload of money to keep him company.
Art, you have a most refreshing take on events.
I remember him in Platoon and Wall Street. he really did seem promising back then. His behaviour is inexcusable, but my guess is he's in a lot of pain, possibly as a result of Borderline Personality Disorder or some other personality disorder. Thanks for this.
Problem is I don't think he gives a damn what he thinks of himself either. All these outrageous statements are a plea for help. He's entering Tom Cruise territory now where his off-screen persona overshadows his onscreen one.
Excellent, Emma! Cool that you met him at his best. It seems like he is slipping, losing ground and that bad behavior may not be seen as favorably as in the past. But who knows. You are right about Hollywood and that loyalty is rarely without profit. Watching his interview this morning actually sickened me because I have found him to be a very entertaining actor, despite his over the top bad boy antics. He really seemed un well. Grasping for the man he wants to be believe he still is. Something was missing this time. Maybe for a long time but now coming into focus. I felt hints of his own dislike for what he has manifested. It was there. He wasn't so sure of much of what came out of his mouth. His body language was twitchy and uncertain. Perhaps even some drug withdrawal thrown in the mix. No armchair morality from me. Just a gut hunch that the wonder boy he was may be waining in the aftermath of the messy bed he has made.
Actually, seriously, I believe this is Charlie's (nervous) breakdown moment. Everybody has one or hundred in their life. I've had one. No matter how much money you make, nobody is immune and with the drugs, alcohol and such, just adds to the straight to the bottom crash into insanity.

Course, when I had my breakdown, I wasn't on the Today Show saying that my show's producers should be apologizing to me while kissing my feet.

Nope, I told the VP of Casino Services to go fuck himself while we both were standing on the casino floor after he got too close to my face about my 'attitude'.

I may have also tried to shove a PC monitor(not the slim kind neither) up his rump, that part, for me anyways, is a little bit hazy!!

I should have gotten help but instead I went through 2 years of hell and finally got out of the hole, with a lot of friends clapping and saying, "Welcome back....."

Course couple years after, I lost my job to outsourcing which threw me back into depression but that's a different story.

Pay me 2 million dollars an episode and I'll throw lines out like nobody's business!! "Hello nurse!!" **Swats her ass** "You got spunk!! Woooo!!" **Audience laughs** "2 million dollars please!! TEEEHEEEHEE!"

He will come back and do some sort of superhero trilogy a la Robert Downey Jr. I think it is safe to say we haven't seen the last of Chuck...
@lizw9: I think you may be right.

@Harry's Ghost: The Tom Cruise analogy is a good one. I watched a 30-minute clip on TMZ today and he stilled seemed pretty high -- pardon the pun -- on himself. But it seemed forced.

@Bonnie: It always amazes me that women will marry guys like this and have kids with them. $ talks I guess. Apparently he is on good terms with his oldest daughter from a long-ago girlfriend. I may be wrong, but I do think Charlie is the Keith Richards of actors. He could still pull through this.

@Stellaa: Charlie is lucky to have a loving, supportive family that has stuck by him. He's had behavioral problems since middle school and like you say, the treatment for mental health issues and addiction is a low priority even for the rich.
You people don't like Charlie Sheen because he rejects AA? Lots of people do, myself included. It has a lousy success rate, and it hasn't worked for him. Most people stop on their own, according to research done by Stanton Peele. There are other options even if he feels he does need some kind of help. He seemed quite sane to me.
@Just Cathy: I agree that he is a talented entertainer. Nobody gets $2 mil an episode who doesn't deliver the goods. Like you say, he may be getting a little tarnished at this point.

@Leslie: I'm not sure who you mean by "you" since I'm not pushing AA or anything else on him. I know people who've gotten and stayed sober without AA. It's individual to say the least.

@Tink: Thanks for your honest comment. We all have our bottom, and I've crashed a time or two myself. Sometimes I think money and fame make it easier to deny what's going on, but it's still going to catch up with us in the end.
I think having too many 'yes' folks around(that's where the money kills ya!!! :D) enabling a person, not just Charlie, but others as well, is the big problem.

~shrug~ What the hell do I know, I'm just a cat!!

~wanders off into the thorn bushes~
Great story! I heard that he was a baseball player in high school, a really talented one at that. He got a car (or something), started not doing his school work and ended up with poor grades: the result was he got cut from the team. I wonder if some of his behavior is out of that regret for missing out on a opportunity to turn his athletic talent into a pro job. But you're absolutely right, his reputation precedes him.
Best Wishes,
Well, thanks, Emma.
From over here it looked like a self-righteous pile-on.
The guy has his craft down and makes other people rich - it would be great if more people could leave it at that.
I love a bad boy!!
you are always you and never let me down :) you do write like a journalist that I can admire. Even as you tell the truth you still manage to stay focused on the human being behind a persona and that is how I think your post generated a spate of decent humane comments here and at last am reassured, America is still the America we learned to admire despite its racists and hateful fundamentalists. Platoon and Wallstreet and many episodes of Two and a Half Men are really good. I had started to watch it and then had not liked Navyseals though. I think being a community means you don't pounce upon someone when he starts to fail and try to maul him and attempt to kill him. Only animals do that. Instead as viewrs and ordinary citizens that dont know him - we could acknowledge he is good when he makes the effort and wait for him to get back. If he doesn't, well, he is lost then.

He is just a paid staff after all, works for money. Am sure producers can always save jobs if they really want to by getting replacements for erring stars. Why blame this one like he runs the place?!
Yes, Charlie Sheen doesn't give a damn about what any of us think and I couldn't give a rat's ass about him either. This is the first piece I've read about him (anywhere) because I knew it would be good captured through a journalist's lens. As you say, Emma, he is the epitome of ... "the Hollywood code of ignoring bad behavior in favour of raking in cash" Loved that sentence. A compelling read. Hope you take more of these out of the archives.
charlie's life is his responsibility. charlie's choices are his own. as an actor you know what you are going to get from his performance, and he never disappoints.
Nice post and interesting to me, especially the personal experience. He reminds me of my cousin Charlie in a way, I think it was the coke; he's alive but has lost his way. He's still my cousin, you don't choose family; I'm not a fan of Charlies, but he is a man and I wish him well. As the tink said, what do I know?
Yeah, Charlie doesn’t give a rat’s ass what anything thinks. That would be great, except that he now has four small children (which, conveniently, nobody except Bonnie has bothered to mention). Fatherhood demands responsibility. If Charlie doesn’t quickly get help for his drug and violence issues – and let’s not forget that “Charlie being Charlie” apparently includes holding a knife to his wife’s throat – Charlie will almost inevitably end up in prison or six feet under. And while many will comntinue refusing to moralize about “Charlie being Charlie,” his kids will be left fatherless. I don’t have a problem being moralistic about that.
Ooo yeah and if you wanna waste a half hour of your time kindly check out my (shameless self-promotion) Charlie clip collection ALL THINGS CHARLIE SHEEN. (sorry)
@Blittie: It's hard to know what motivates such destructive behavior.

@Sarah Jordan: He may well get a third act like Downey. Stranger things have happened.

@ Kim: I agree. I don't really care about someone's private life. As Piers Morgan said when Sheen was on his show last night, no one would even be questioning his lifestyle if he were a rock star. It would be expected.

@zanelle: Me too, but these days I prefer them from a distance!

@Rolling: Thanks for the compliments. Sheen has some responsibility for his own behavior in his personal life, but he isn't the one who pulled the plug on the show. That would be Lorre, and it's hypocritical to put the blame on Sheen for that.

@Scarlett: Thanks. I may pull more stories out of the archives, but I'd have to change the names to protect the guilty!

@Chuck: Yes, I agree. I don't require that entertainers (or anyone) be squeaky clean in their private lives or live up to my moral standards.

@Cranky Cuss: I think your moral indignation is misplaced. Charlie's children are being cared for by their mothers/nannies and he is hardly the only absent father in the industry or elsewhere. If his addiction kills him, his children will be no worse off than millions of others who lose their parents to accidents, war or disease. At least they will be well provided for.

His violent tendencies when high bother me, but as someone who has been the victim of male violence -- physical, verbal and sexual -- for most of my life along with countless other women, I know that he is not unique in that regard. I suggest your concerns might be better focused on working against the virulent misogyny in the entertainment industry, of which Sheen's show is a prime example. You seem to be just fine with that though. It is always so much easier to attack the symptoms, or one man, than to address the real problems that create a climate where it is OK to use women as whores and punching bags.
I'm surprised he has time in his one-man media blitz! I cannot imagine him getting full custody under any circumstances.
@noah: Thanks for the link. Some wild 'n whacky stuff there.
@neilpaul: You might say we were strangers in the night.
??? wheres the part where you moralize on all this & look down on him for his debauchery? hard to believe this is the real emma peel.
Talk about an insider's view!! nice read~rated!
@vzn: You come on to my blog solely to make assumptions and insult me, and you do it to me on others' blogs as well. That says a whole lot more about you than it does me.

@Susie: Thanks. I got a view of something all right. :)
I agree with Lizw9 - personality disorders beyond repair.

No comeback for this blowhard.

Excellently written and FACT-filled.

Has anyone seen him in his recent interview circuit?

Heaping layers upon layers upon what once could have been a respectable career.

Wonderfully put, Ms. Peel.

I don't think he gives a rat's ass what we think either. He's resonating with many of us for just that very reason. He's a dark id gone wild. And I for one am tired of doing all the tame, right things.

I say more power to him...oh, wait. He doesn't need more power. He's got plenty of his own, apparently. Even his crazy is cool.
Great insider peek into his earlier self, foreshadowing his middle-aged self. rated.
Charlie is a man in serious need of an intervention and, probably, hospitalization. Unfortunately, Hollywood has a tendency to tolerate, if not encourage such antics in mega-celebrities such as Sheen. Underneath all the bravado, womanizing and drug abuse, I suspect there lurk some serious issues he’s trying to escape. I’m almost certain there’s some type of psychiatric disorder underlying all this drama. I’m no expert, but to me he seems like a manic-depressive in a manic phase. If he weren’t so full of himself and such an arrogant @ss, one could almost feel sorry for him.
Where's Robert Downey Jr. when you need him? A far superior actor-addict than this wanna-be.

All this blitz will blow over when someone else out-crazies Charlie; by then we'll all be sick to death of Mr. Sheen; his career and uber-rich lifestyle will eventually be in the crapper, and he'll have no choice but to re-surface as a reality star in Intervention, or worse: Where R They Now? (Has-been's rehab).

Pitch: turn the latter into a sitcom with canned laughter and flavor of the day Goddess babes.
WAS being the operative word there, Emma. He's looking so worn out and there's something going on with the dental work on the left side of his mouth so that he appears in some photos to be missing teeth, and even I know granny was right when she said 'take care of your teeth b/c you'll look old before your time if you let 'em go!'

I watched his performance with Piers Morgan this week and he certainly is a walking party. Takes great pride in that accomplishment according to, well...him. I guess it's as Piers said, 'Personally I don't give a damn how you live your life, and as long as you meet all of your contractual obligations, it's nobody's business, I guess' - speaking of his business relations in H'wood right now.

He asserted clearly that he doesn't believe he is an addict, just a partier who overdoes it (goes "sideways") now and then.

Charlie spoke of having 5 children and assured Morgan that he never parties at the house when it's his weekend, "I take the party somewhere else"... and apparently asks a call girl to care for them...

Mental illness is a difficult thing, isn't it?
@iq: Thanks for visiting. It's much appreciated.

@markinjapan: He's definitely got issues. That's another fact. :)

@Beth: His crazy is entertaining, and that's why he has so much support. Charlie is a man of many contradictions. He is apparently a loving father -- if not exactly hands on-- and has a good relationship with his eldest daughter who was raised by his parents.

@Brokenwing: What you say can't be disputed. The networks are interviewing him since he is newsworthy, and he is making himself instantly available to them in his one-man PR campaign.

@mimitwo: Charlie has an awful lot of dough so it may take quite a while for him to spend it all. He could come back. Who knows?

@Gabby Abby: I watched the Piers interview too. He says that he doesn't have an "off" button, but clearly he does since he has been sober for longish periods. He parties because he likes it and can afford to indulge his every whim -- perpetual adolescence and the industry certainly facilitate that -- but I think even he is beginning to get that he needs to change. And yeah, his looks are fading but that's not as big an issue for men. Charlie noted that he had to clean up his act in that regard. Many addicts have problems with their teeth, but that can be fixed easily enough. It's the underlying issues that are problematic.
"The Hollywood code of ignoring bad behavior in favour of raking in cash remains sacrosant. "

This is very true. It's also the path for many towards self destruction as they are scavanged by the media.
Great piece. And I swore I would steer clear of Charlie Sheen stories after his Piers Morgan interview.
I think he's an arrogant narcissistic asshole who is living his own fantasy movie. And he looks like hell now. I used to think he was amusing, now it's very, very sad.
Congrats Emma on EP and cover... well done.
Oh those are nice little tales of seeing the current flavor of the month. May CS make his bed so that he sleeps in it comfortably one day soon.
i love him...it can't be helped.
I have to agree with Brokenwing: the man likely needs hospitalization. I am familar with manic depressives illness, and I am convinced he is on a manic high.

I feel sorry for him. He's mentally ill and it's sad, especially for his family and children.
I really, really want him to be a healthy person that behaves out of the norm because he doesn't care what we think, he wants to and because he can. I desperately don't want him to be mentally ill and a drug/alcohol addict out of control. And yes, I think he's beautiful and want his beauty to have been a positive in his life (carrying it with the same don't give a damn attitude) not a negative (recipe for narcissism and an eventual downfall).

So, that's it in a nutshell, and I'm waiting with baited breath like the rest of the world to see how it all works out.
I gotta admire him for seemingly sincerely
not giving a shit what anyone thinks.
but does he have to be altered for this?
if so, ok, but he'll have a price to pay:
that body will not last very long...
but! if he gets the most enjoyment out of it as he possibly can,
more than 97.5% of people who live til 85,
well, then...
bravo, i suppose.

i am not convinced he isn't projecting all this rageful disdain
at himself: his own shrieking conscience.
the drugs and booze are probably for that.
someone who doesn't give a shit, truly,
would be mellow
Great post emma and great restraint shown in the elevator. I've never found him attractive but I haven't seen him in person either. I think Harry's Ghost has it right.
My partner loves Emma Peel. I won't tell him about you. ;-). I always liked Charlie's brother, Emilio, better. Wonder where he is now? R
Great read...he would have made a great rock star in the eighties.
Having not done a hell of a lot with my own life I am not in a position to criticize anybody else in their attempts to handle whatever being alive requires. Especially someone as together as Sheen who, whatever his faults, cannot be assessed as a zero. One must accord the complicity of his associates and whatever people who have decided to insert themselves into his life whatever the cost to their personal standards.
But my comment is towards your post which is very well written, clear and relatively clean of personal judgment.