A fun list of famous people caught breaking the law from shoplifting, drugs, drunk driving, and miscellaneous charges to murder. A celebrity Â“Who Committed WhatÂ”.
What started out as a simple, fun list of famous people caught breaking the law has turned into a mammoth undertaking – due mainly to the unbelievable number of offences, but also the nature of some.
This article looks at shoplifting, drugs, drunk driving, miscellaneous charges and even murder. Many celebrities favour “cross-over crimes” and are caught in more than one type of illegal behaviour. In cases such as these they are mostly in the category related to their major crime.
There is also a section for “ones that got away”. Famous people who were caught, but not charged, thought mainly to be due to their fame.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, drunk driving is understandable – you go to a party, have a few drinks too many, and suddenly driving seems like a good idea – but what makes stealing something you do not need and can well afford to pay for, seem like a good idea?
Another interesting fact to emerge is that most of these crimes were committed by people of a certain age, and by that I mean they were old enough that age cannot be an excuse. Another point is that most of the offenders repeated the same crime – surely that should tell the authorities who dish out lenient punishment something important?
DUI (Driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol)
The heiress to the Hilton Hotel chain was arrested for drunk, reckless driving in September 2006. She got three years probation and her licence was suspended.
Not happy with that, in 2007 she was caught driving, drunk yet again, but also with no lights on and was driving with a suspended driving licence. She got 45 days in jail and spent 23 of them incarcerated.
Keifer Sutherland spent 48 days in jail,(Los Angeles, 2007) for DUI as this was the second time he was caught in a three year period.
Mickey Rourke was arrested and charged with DUI. in 2007. The funny part was he was on his Vespa scooter. Not very cool.
Glen Campbell, the aged country singer, got 10 days in jail and 75 hours of community service for “extreme” DUI, (whatever defines extreme remains a police secret), hit and run, and “suspicion of assaulting a police officer”. How you can only be “suspected of assaulting a police officer remains a mystery, as you would think the police men knew whether he was hit or not.
This famous rapper seems to have spent longer in jail than not and for a nice range of crimes – from drugs to driving under the influence and add cruelty to animals to the list as well.
Heather Locklear was arrested in 2008 for DUI, but a few years on she managed a “hit and run” charge while it is believed she was again “under the influence”.
Nick Nolte was caught for DUI in 2002.
Mel Gibson caught for DUI managed to talk himself into more trouble with anti-sematic remarks.
Where to begin with actress Lindsay Lohan is the big question. Her passport should say “law breaker” as that seems to be her most time consuming career.
She put on a $2,500 necklace while in a jewellery store and walked out without paying. This latest, but no doubt not last, shopping spree cost her 120 days of jail time and 480 days of community service, or at least that was the general idea. Apparently she stayed 4 hours as the jails were crowded.
In 2007 she was arrested for drunk driving and possessing cocaine. In 2010 she was jailed for violating the terms the probation relating to this.
These are not her only charges, but it is only fair to talk about other offenders as well.
Winona Ryder stole goods worth $5,000 in 2001. Then In 2008, she stole jewels worth $125,000, but was not charged. It looks like she is due to do another raid soon and seems to be increasing her booty each time, so what will it be this time?
Claude Allen, advisor to ex-president Bush, (George W.) – He claimed stress from Hurricane Katrina made him take items from several stores. Good story, if people will fall for it.
Mike Leake stole 6 T-shirts. His charges were reduced to “unauthorized use of property”, which is an interesting euphemism.
List of other Shoplifters/thieves
former Miss America Bess Myerson,
Farrah Fawcett convicted twice in 1970
Caught, but let off:
Britney Spears stole a lighter worth $1.39 – hardly seems worth it.
Three years in jail, December 2010 – December 2013, for not paying his taxes, but it does not end there; there were also three other misdemeanours.
Luciano Pavarotti’s problems were his taxes. He didn’t pay them. In 1999 he was fined $4.55m. Although he had also once agreed to pay the Italian government $11m in back taxes, when he was caught yet again he stated he was not a tax evader and had always paid his taxes. (Yes he did pay, but late and only after he was caught.)
The last time a complicated and unbelievable case followed in which Pavarotti’s lawyer said Pavarotti lived in Monte Carlo, a tax haven, and as Pavarotti lived in America he didn’t pay. (Makes no sense, but it gets worse.) Pavarotti claimed he only visited Italy to “slim and see friends”, and as a guest who did not live in Italy, he always stayed with friends in Modena. (This would presumable be next door to his luxury, large mansion in Modena and also close to his 11 companies?)
The court held that Mr Pavarotti had not evaded taxes this time as he did not live or work in Italy.
Also caught out cheating on their taxes were:
Al Capone (undoubtedly the most famous tax evader)
Abbott and Costello
Music producer Phil Spector murdered a young lady because, reputedly, she maligned his looks, (see photo and judge for yourself). Perhaps he should have looked in a mirror first. He now has 19years to life to spend in a room without a mirror, so what will happen to the “hair” is anybody’s guess.
Well, after beating up his wife a few times, he, or someone else, (he did get off the charge), killed her along with her boyfriend. Tried for a different crime, which was actually the same one, he was found guilty and got 33 years.
Michael Brea was accused of “decapitating his mother with a Masonic ceremonial sword”. He is in a psychiatric hospital as he thought his mother was possessed by the devil.
Sid Vicious of the punk rock group the Sex Pistols stabbed his girlfriend. His defence was he meant to stab her, but not to kill her and didn’t remember what happened. He dies soon afterwards from an overdose of heroin.
Notable others (tried or at least arrested for murder, but found not guilty)
Christian Brando was not charged with murder, despite his confession because he had not been adequately advised of his rights.
Michael Barrymore, arrested but not charged.
Snoop Dogg, tried but found not guilty on self-defence grounds.
50 Cent has rapped his way to drug dealing and later added assault and battery.
Rip Torn, the actor with the strange name, tried to rob a bank. Armed – yes, dangerous, maybe - as he was drunk. It is good to know he did not violate the terms of a previous probation regarding driving, as he committed the attempted robbery on foot.
Cheryl Cole, wife of the gun wielding Ashley Cole, (no ex-wife, no wife – who knows what point they are at currently), battered, (and I choose the word advisedly), a toilet attendant, (Sophie Amogbokpa), for reasons known only to Ms Cole. The lady’s face after this incident was not a pretty sight and the damage did not come from one little punch and could not have been a mistake! She was convicted of “actual bodily harm” but got only 120 hours unpaid community service and ordered to pay Miss Amogbokpa £500 compensation.
Although Ashley went one better when shot the work experience student in the dressing room – by mistake he was not convicted, so forfeits the right to be on this list. Mr Cole was “reprimanded”, but why he took a powerful air gun to a football match has never been answered.
In 2001 Vince Vaughn was arrested for fighting in public. During the fight Steve Buscemi was stabbed several times. It was reported that “the minor charge was dropped six months later”. How an occasion where someone is stabbed multiple times can be minor is itself an unsolved crime.
Hugh Grant was arrested in 1995 “in the act” with a prostitute Divine Brown. Perhaps the biggest shock about this was for the many people who thought he was gay.
Daniel Baldwin arrested in 2006 for drug possession and auto theft. He had taken a friend’s car without permission.
Family man Ryan O'Neal was arrested in 2007 for “assault with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm”. This happened while fighting with his son. It seems no one was hurt.
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Zsa Zsa Gabor slapped a policeman and got three days in jail and a fine. Seems a bit much for a slap when you consider what other celebrities get away with.
Johnny Cash spent a night in jail when caught with a case full of amphetamines and tranquillizers.
James Brown managed two cases of aggravated assault and eluding the police, but quite how this singer, who seems to struggle to stay upright on stage, managed this, is unknown.
Sir Paul McCartney in 1980, when he was old enough to know better, was arrested in Tokyo for “drug smuggling”. Although he claimed it was all for personal use, the quantity was reported to be so large no one believed him. After 90 days locked up he was deported.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. while on probation for drug and alcohol related offences, violated his probation. In theory this led to his original 3 years sentence being imposed – in practice he spent 2 weeks in prison. His list of mistakes includes; 1999 drug conviction, 2000 drug possession, 2001 “under the influence of a controlled substance.”
Christian Slater, like Lindsay Lohan leaves you not knowing quite where to begin. In 1994 he tried to get on an airplane with a gun in his luggage, and was arrested. In 1997it was three counts of assault and battery and he spent 59 days locked up for that. He was beating up his girlfriend and when the police arrived he started on them.
Caught but not charged
Carmen Electra, or rather Tara Patrick was arrested Miami Beach police in 1999 for battering her husband. The charges were dropped. Bit of a turn around to get a battered husband.
Lastly we come to Charlie Sheen, but I have neither the time nor patience to go through a list of his misdemeanours.
Here are some interesting sites to visits regarding celebrity crimes:
It is interesting to see the mug shots – this is them stripped down and many do not look very appealing. What is also interesting is some, like Robert Downey junior, smile for the camera.
For a few interesting mug shots go to
DISCLAIMER : ALL ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW. That means even if they did it, were caught doing it and admit they did it, they are innocent if they did not go to court to be judged guilty. (Everyone else used disclaimers, so why not here too.)
Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons