It’s easy to imagine that a movie star for a father and a famous last name equates automatic success in Hollywood, with industry doors instantly swinging open, your name on the guest list for the hottest bars and clubs, and everyone wanting to hang out with so-and-so’s kid for some fame-by-proxy.
But Sage Stallone’s tragic death of a suspected overdose at the age of 36, last week, has revealed the extent to which having Stallone, Douglas or Brando after your first name, can be more of an albatross around the necks of star kids, rather than a licence to succeed in Tinseltown, reveals the young men, for whom the shadow cast by their famous fathers’ fame proved too much darkness to step out of…
Found alone in the bedroom of his Los Angeles home, with sources claiming his body could have lain undiscovered for up to a week, Sage Stallone is said to have spent his final days living reclusively “like Howard Hughes”, with magazine editor, Robert Rhine describing his behaviour as “similar to Ozzy Osbourne”.
And although Sage and his dad Sylvester had grown closer over the past few years, with Sly calling his late son “the centre of my universe”, the pair’s relationship was not always easy, with Sage accusing his father of not having been around enough when he was growing up.
“When I was screaming, ‘You never spent time with me! You never spent time with my mother!’ [in 1990’s Rocky V] – that was true,” the actor and producer told People back in 1996. “I was looking into my father’s face and really saying that.”
Aged nine when his parents divorced (his mother is actress Sasha Czack), Sage and his brother Seargeoh watched as his father went on to have two other children, Scarlet and Sistine, with his third wife, Jennifer Flavin, who he wed in 1997; with Sage himself having a brief one-year marriage at the age of 29 to actress Starlin Wright.
But although he revealed that “everything changed” for the better between himself and Sly, resulting in the 20-year-old landing a role in his dad’s 1996 film, Daylight, Sage was still failing to land impacting roles in films when his father wasn’t involved, eventually moving into Grindhouse movie production.
“Sage has chosen an entirely different route,” said the action star. “He’s interested in a different type of filmmaking and he avoids the gym like the plague.” “What’s troubling is the fact that the people around him claim there were no signs [of his demise],” said Robert Rhine. “I saw the signs. When [we] heard the news, none of us were surprised.”
And Sylvester’s apparent close recent relationship with his eldest son has been called into question by LA sources, who have insisted that, of late, “Sage was not allowed in his father’s home and he admitted to other family members of his devastation that he’d seemingly been cut out of his father’s life. Sage idolised his father but they had become estranged in recent times. It crushed him.”
He’s just 21, but Nicolas Cage’s troubled son, Weston, has already made plenty of headlines for his attempts to become an actor, a heavy metal singer, an MMA cage fighter and a comic book creator in a bid to find his place in Hollywood.
Revealed to suffer from “a number of mental, psychological and physical ailments,” according to court documents, Weston has also been arrested twice on violence-related charges, and was placed under psychological evaluation last year after a fight with his personal trainer at an LA restaurant.
The fight began when Weston attempted to kick his trainer for telling him what he could and couldn’t order from a restaurant menu, and resulted in Weston being hit 13 times in the face – restaurant staff later insisted that Cage appeared to have been “on something”.
And just one month later – and six weeks after their marriage – Weston was arrested once more on charges of domestic violence involving his new wife, Nikki, who was also arrested following the altercation. And fuelling the rumour that Weston endured a traumatic childhood, his mother, actress Christina Fulton, blamed her son’s problems on Nicolas Cage, alleging in court docs that the actor “abused and traumatised” him as a child, also dubbing her son “medically challenged”.
However, when Christina tried to gain custody of her son’s care, Weston fired back through his father’s lawyers, saying, “I am an adult. I don’t want to have anything to do with my mother. Any problems that I have ever had are because of the relationship that I had with my mother.”
Raised by servants and nannies after his father won the lengthy battle to gain custody of 13-year-old Christian from his actress mother, Anna Kashfi, to whom Marlon was married for one year; George Englund, a long-time friend of Marlon revealed that the little boy had been “the battleground between Anna and Marlon.”
Shuttled between Hollywood and his father’s private island in Tahiti, Christian has revealed of his father’s ever-expanding family and many children, “The family kept changing shape. I’d sit down at the breakfast table and say, ‘Who are you?’” With Christian’s ex-wife, Deborah Presley also revealing, “His mother would only call him Devi, and his father would only call him Christian. He was so splintered from early on. He didn’t have a chance.”
Getting his first taste of the movies at the age of 10, Christian’s acting career never took off, and he starred in just three films between 1988 and 1990, the year in which he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his half-sister Cheyenne’s boyfriend-of-four-years Dag Drollet, with Cheyenne eight months pregnant at the time.
After five years in prison, Christian descended into hard core drug abuse upon release, with Marlon’s biographer, Peter Manso, spilling, “Christian led a very self-abusive life… he was living on welfare.”
And the would-be actor never seemed to make peace with his famous father, with
film producer Carmine De Benedittis revealing, “When I went to meet Marlon, I noticed that when Christian is near his father, he seems to shrink, he becomes a gnat. He seems to be crushed by the force of his father’s character. It’s a very heavy load, to be called Christian Brando.”
Succumbing to pneumonia at the age of 49, Chaplain Timothy Berg, who performed
the funeral service, said of the troubled man, “I guess as a society, we’ve made it really hard for people who are famous. He had a hard life, he really did, and I guess that’s really true of a lot of people who are born into fame.”
Cameron’s sentencing to four-and-a-half years in prison last year, after he plead guilty to possession of and intent to distribute drugs, was the culmination of years of runins with the law – and two prior drug-related offences – for Michael Douglas’s eldest son.
And the judge in charge of sentencing the 31-year-old wannabe actor, who has five movies in his filmography did not hold back when it came to laying the blame at Michael and his ex-wife, Diandra’s feet.
Calling the pair “problematic” and “immature” parents to the young Cameron, Judge Richard Berman slammed, “While his family states… they are ready to... do the right thing, I respectfully say they do not explain what has changed in their lives that would enable them to do things differently with Cameron today than they did before.”
And Oscar-winner Michael has accepted the blame for Cameron’s problems, insisting he’d been an absent father. “Would it have been better to have been around more? Absolutely,” he admitted. “There were absences, and I was no angel.”
Adding, “I have some idea of the pressure of finding your own identity with a famous father. I’m not sure I can comprehend it with two generations to deal with."
Redmond and Griffin O’Neal
Two of Oscar-winning actor Ryan O'Neal’s sons have ended up in prison on drug-related charges. Redmond, 26, was jailed in 2010 on a drug-related parole violation, which saw him miss his mother Farah Fawcett’s funeral.
Forty-seven-year-old Griffin was sentenced to 16 months in prison in February this year after pleading guilty to two felony charges of driving under the influence and possession of a firearm.
Having failed to find a meaningful career in Hollywood, Sean Stewart, son of Rod Stewart, has so far popped up in reality TV shows, Sons Of Hollywood and
Celebrity Rehab, and has also been arrested numerous times.
Said to share a turbulent relationship with his rocker father, the 32-year-old broke down on his rehab show, appearing to admit that when he was 11, Rod called
him “a waste of a sperm and an egg.”