The Top 10 Deadbeat Celebrity Relatives
When Al Gore's large-faced son was arrested last month for flooring a Prius full of weed and pills down a California highway, we thought two things: First, that sounds like a swell time, and second, that his parents are going to have his ass.
But, Albert Gore III is hardly the first celebrity relative to embarrass his more important, less frequently arrested family members. Let's see how the newcomer measures up against these notable drunk/stupid/greedy/lazy celebrity relatives.
AL GORE III (Deadbeat Son of Al Gore, Jr.)
Back in December 2003, the impressionable 23-year-old Gore was pulled over for driving without headlights and promptly arrested for possession of marijuana. OK, it's a little weed; no big deal. We all make mistakes when we're young and then go on to ... Oh my God! This shithead got caught again? Last month, the younger Al Gore was infamously arrested for the exact same offense, only this time he threw in a little speeding and some pills. The real embarrassment for Big Al and Tipper isn't that Little Al was getting stoned, it's that he was stupid enough to get caught doing something everyone else his age in America does. Twice. Still, this clown's antics pale in comparison to those of the following elite deadbeats.
SHAME-O-METER (a 1 to 5 scale of shame): 1
BILLY CARTER (Deadbeat Brother of Former Pres. Jimmy Carter)
Jimmy Carter's younger, more redneck brother Billy sullied Carter's already-pretty-sullied presidency with suave moves like urinating on an airport runway in full view of the press. Billy's most successful venture-other than his sketchy, government-investigated involvement with a crew of Libyan businessmen-was the launch of the unsuccessful Billy Beer, which tasted like deer piss, but on the bright side, featured the president's idiot brother on the box. Surprisingly, Billy would later come out as an alcoholic, but not before making it clear to the American public that their president shared the same genes as a man you wouldn't let within 500 yards of a child.
LEON HENDRIX (Deadbeat Brother of Jimi Hendrix)
Best known for getting screwed out of his late brother's estate, Leon Hendrix was in jail for stealing a fur coat at the time of Jimi's death in 1970. Although he was granted a temporary release to get some face time at the funeral, Leon still came up short. Even after his father died in 2003, Leon inherited only a single gold record. Ouch. Recently, the not-doing-so-hot Leon discovered that he could make a modest chunk of cash off his storied last name. He took up the guitar and released the 2005 collection of audio feces, Keeper of the Flame, which shamelessly touts the opening track, Jimi and Me. One minor note regarding Leon's sanity/willingness to exploit his dead brother: He claims he had a vision in which Jimi appeared to him in a purple flame and encouraged him to take up the guitar. And, well, that's not true.
NOELLE BUSH (Deadbeat Daughter of Gov. Jeb Bush)
Noelle Bush, the crack-smoking daughter of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and niece of Pres. George W. Bush, was first caught breaking the law for unsuccessfully trying to fill a XANAX prescription under a false name. Things really turned to shit for her-and her mortified father-when she was sentenced to check into an Orlando rehab facility. While there, Noelle was caught stealing prescription pills from the nurse's office and hiding crack in her shoe, for which she served 10 days in jail. One positive thing did come out of Noelle's ordeal: The president, as he so often does, issued her a folksy nickname: "Crackie."
PETER GRAF (Deadbeat Father of Steffi Graf)
Before he forced toddler Steffi into tennis, Peter Graf worked (predictably) as a used car salesman. By the time Steffi turned pro at age 13, Peter had total control; the domineering father rarely let her attend Tour social events, much less have anything resembling a normal life (e.g., driving around stoned in your Prius). If that dynamic isn't creepy enough, Peter was convicted of tax evasion in 1995. In typical used car-salesman fashion, he had mishandled Steffi's fortune and was forced to serve a 25-month prison term that included mandatory treatment for his alcoholism. Peter gets extra points for the 1990 episode in which a nude model he had an affair with accused him (falsely) of fathering her child. Needless to say, you don't see Peter spending a lot of quality time with Steffi and Andre Agassi's young kids.
ROGER CLINTON (Deadbeat Brother of Former Pres. Bill Clinton)
If Bill Clinton is the best-case scenario for what an Arkansas good ol' boy can become, then his half-brother Roger is the worst-case scenario (Actually, he's probably more like the regular-case scenario, since we're talking about Arkansas). Either way, you'd think that a yearlong stint in federal prison for dealing cocaine in 1984 would be enough to scare him straight. Surprisingly, you'd be dead wrong. Although he (presumably) stopped slinging the yayo, Roger moved on to conspiring with the Mafia. According to TIME, the family of a Gambino crime family soldier handed a $50,000 check to one of Roger's companies in 1999, just months after Roger sought leniency from the U.S. Parole Commission for the mobster, who was serving a 45-year sentence for heroin trafficking. That's probably just a coincidence, though.
DANIEL BALDWIN (Deadbeat Brother of Alec, William and Stephen Baldwin)
Beset by drug abuse problems for years, Daniel is the least successful of the Baldwin brothers. Unless, of course, you consider running naked through the halls of New York's The Plaza hotel a success-he's very good at that. So good, in fact, that the police came to watch in 1998-and then arrested him for cocaine possession. A slew of other embarrassments followed, including a July 2006 arrest for running a red light and crashing into two parked cars in L.A. In Baldwin's defense, however, he was going a remarkable 45 miles over the speed limit, which is technically pretty awesome. And, while Daniel has further shamed his three brothers by no-showing the season finale of Celebrity Fit Club and appearing in DVD-taint like 2004's Vegas Vampires, he redeemed himself somewhat by appearing on The Sopranos (although it was basically a joke at his expense).
MICHAEL LOHAN (Deadbeat Father of Lindsay Lohan)
The man largely responsible for creating the lovely genital-flashing young firecrotch we know today served a four-year federal prison sentence for stock fraud when Lindsay was just 11. Apparently, he missed prison life-he returned in 2005 for a slew of ridiculous crimes, including attacking his brother-in-law with a shoe and ramming his car into a telephone pole whilst shit-sauced. There are also reports of other violent episodes, such as punching a New York City garbage man for blocking his car (You have to admit, that one's pretty sweet.). Now divorced and scrounging desperately for a share of his daughter's fortune, Michael Lohan can at least take solace in the fact that, hey, one time he totally knocked the shit out of some sanitation worker, and that's better than having a family that's not ashamed of you.
IKE TURNER (Deadbeat Ex-Husband of Tina Turner)
It's largely believed that Ike Turner has been married 14 times (seriously), and while it's a lock that he's punched most-if not all-of his wives in the mouth for being uppity, Tina Turner is the most famous punchee. It's one thing to have a deadbeat relative who just embarrasses you before a performance (like Lindsay Lohan, for example), but it's quite another to have a deadbeat relative who very literally knocks five teeth outcho' head right before show time. And in addition to that most deadbeatish of traits, Ike's also lived through drug abuse, prison time, gambling problems and some questionable car crashes. Still, his most notable low-life move is derailing the talented-although very, very annoying-Tina's career/face.
MICHAEL SKAKEL (Deadbeat Nephew of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy)
Much like his Uncle Robert's brother Ted, Michael Skakel killed an innocent young girl after a night of partying. But very unlike Ted, Skakel took said life on purpose, bludgeoning Martha Moxley to death with a six iron in 1975. This fat son of a bitch's relation to the Kennedy family helped him evade prosecution until 2002, when he was finally convicted of the crime. One of the most disturbing moments in the Skakel story-and the only genuinely funny one-came in 1991 when DNA testing became available to investigators. In a pathetic effort to explain possible traces of his DNA, Skakel claimed that he had been masturbating in a tree outside Martha's home on the night of the murder. You know, just normal guy stuff. Everybody masturbates in trees at night, right?