The summer release of the Scooby-Doo film brought back childhood memories for fans of the original cartoon series, many of whom had suddenly noticed the pot references in the series once they themselves had taken to toking. Although the film was sadly forgettable, the writers did make sure to play off the well-known cannabis connections in the original series, including Shaggy’s love interest, named Mary Jane.
Shaggy and Scooby have long been tagged as a pair of puffers ? their heavy appetites, predilection to seeing ghosts and devotion to the energy-enhancing “Scooby Snacks” all revealing their stoner status. Scooby Doobie Doo’s middle name being a synonym for a joint provides the final canna-confirmation.
“Scooby Snack” has even become a sort of generic term for party drugs like Ecstacy and magic mushrooms. Some inspired British Columbians even make gel caps filled with ground mushrooms mixed with ginseng, spirulina, and other beneficial herbs, sold in baggies labelled with a Stoned Scooby design. The stoned Scooby Doo has also inspired songs by bands including Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Cypress Hill.
In an example of how prevalent ganja is among celebrity culture, we present a Hollywood journey, showing how we can get from Scooby Doobie Doo to people as diverse as John McEnroe or Cary Grant, in an unbroken chain of celebrity stoners.
Ted Turner and Jane Fonda
Our first stoned celebrity step takes us from Scooby Doo to billionaire media mogul Ted Turner, founder of TV networks including CNN, TBS and TNT.
Turner was approached in 1998 by Cable Sitters, a media-monitoring group which complained that Scooby-Doo is “laced with subliminal drug references” and demanded that Turner’s Cartoon Network stop broadcasting re-runs of the series.
Turner wisely ignored them, just like he didn’t cave in to pressure from the DEA in 1996, after his CNN network broadcast a documentary on marijuana called Higher Times. The DEA demanded that Turner give them “rebuttal time,” to the news broadcast, but Turner refused.
In fact, Ted Turner has been known as a toker since his youth ? he even got caught growing marijuana in his dorm room at school! Yet unlike most stoner celebrities, Turner is willing to put some of his fortune where his bong is. Although nowhere near the $1 billion that he pledged to the United Nations in 1997, the Turner Foundation is a major sponsor of the Kentucky Hemp Museum, through a program which provides grants to groups that may “benefit the environment.” Museum coordinator Craig Lee told the media that he has met personally with Ted Turner, and that Turner expressed “interest” in the industrial use of cannabis. Another prime sponsor of the Kentucky Hemp Museum is the ultimate pro-hemp celeb ? Woody Harrelson.
In 1987, Turner’s then-girlfriend Jane Fonda was quitting smoking cigarettes, and so Turner flamboyantly declared that his TBS network would not hire cigarette smokers. Tobacco giant Philip Morris tried to get a lawsuit going, and in a statement, tobacco smoker and former CNN anchor Gwenn Scott claimed Turner’s ban was hypocritical, because “it is common knowledge that Turner sits in his office and smokes marijuana.”
In 1991, Turner married Fonda, who has toked on-screen and off, and who was also once married to Tom Hayden, one of the Chicago Seven. In 1980 Fonda appeared in 9 to 5, toking up with her fellow underpaid secretaries, and fantasizing about how to suitably punish their mysoginist boss.
Yet Fonda was known as a toker long before 9 to 5. In 1970, Uncensored Tabloid Magazine called Jane Fonda “Hollywood’s wildest pot smoking rebel.” Three years earlier Fonda had appeared on the cover of Red Dirt Marijuana, an anthology of short stories by Terry Southern. Southern also helped write the scripts for films such as Easy Rider and Dr. Strangelove.
Easy Rider, released in 1969, saw the character played by Jane Fonda’s brother, Peter, finance his cross-country motorcycle trip with a coke deal, trip on acid, and introduce Jack Nicholson’s character to marijuana. It was a much more successful film than The Trip, released in 1967, written by Nicholson and starring Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Bruce Dern. The Trip tried to translate an LSD experience by Fonda’s character onto the big screen, but was sadly more laughable than enlightening.
Hopper, known for playing a plethora of pie-eyed druggies over his career, says he currently eschews liquor and other hard drugs, sticking solely to pot these days.
Jane Fonda also maintains her publicly pot-head ways. An article in the June 2001 Daily Variety had film reviewer Rex Reed outing both Fonda and himself. The Variety article explained how Reed had profiled Jane Fonda as she sat smoking marijuana in her father’s apartment. “Her comment when the piece came out,” said Reed, “was, ‘I don’t mind that he said I was smoking pot. I only minded that he didn’t say he was smoking it, too.'”
In 1968, Fonda starred in campy sci-fi cult classic Barbarella, co-written by Terry Southern. In one scene Fonda and other women smoke “the essence of man” from a giant hookah, with a semi-nude man floating on the inside. Barbarella is undergoing a remake, which is a great segue to the next celebrity stoner in our chain, Drew Barrymore, who will be taking on Fonda’s classic role. No word yet on who will play the bong-floating boy-babe.
Drew Barrymore and Tom Green
Drew Barrymore has been a toker since she was 10, her early start being part of a rapid-fire childhood that included starring in E.T. and being part of the prestigious yet doomed Hollywood Barrymore family. Over the years she’s had her moments with harder drugs like alcohol and cocaine, but she seems to recognize that pot is not a problem.
Barrymore was recently married and then divorced from Canadian shock-comic Tom Green, who is also known to enjoy his share of herb. In the 2000 film Road Trip, which features Green, the most intelligent character is the heavy toker, Rubin. In one scene Rubin tokes up while explaining that, because of his youthful stress over the international political situation, he was put on Xanax and other pharmaceuticals as a child. “The truth is,” says Rubin, “weed is the only thing that could ever balance me out.”
At the end of the film, when the character’s future lives are outlined, Rubin is credited with developing a potent strain of pot which is undetectable by drug tests, earning him the title of High Times‘ Man of the Year.
Drew Barrymore’s most recent media connection to marijuana tragically comes through her half-brother John Barrymore, who was viciously attacked in May by teenagers seeking to steal from his med-pot grow-op. Police reports indicate that Barrymore’s teenage son may have bragged to friends about his dad’s grow-op, with word spreading to the criminally-oriented crowd.
One youth struck John Barrymore on the side of his head with a heavy trailer-hitch, then chased his wife Rebecca, hitting her with the weapon multiple times. With both victims unconscious and laying in their own blood, the youths fled, but were apprehended the next day. The Barrymores survived, but John required six hours of brain surgery.
Rebecca Barrymore told the media that the plants were medically prescribed to relieve her husband’s chronic migraines. Yet although the youths left the marijuana behind, the police didn’t. Officers seized about 100 plants from the home, and said they were “investigating” the possibility of charging the Barrymores with cultivation.
Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal
From Barrymore’s sad filial situation we move to Farrah Fawcett, our next stoner starlet link, via Charlie’s Angels. The 1970’s series starred Fawcett, and Barrymore starred in the 2000 remake, and will also star in the upcoming movie sequel.
Although a few episodes of Charlie’s Angels involved nasty drug dealers, the only episode to involve marijuana was episode #102, which had the Angels involved in a dispute between the owners of a sunken ship and thieves who wanted to steal the load of marijuana still on board.
Farrah Fawcett’s personal life has many marijuana connections, and it might have been best for her to have stuck simply to smoking the herb. She was ridiculed after an infamous 1997 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, where she appeared disoriented and drugged on something stronger than herb.
Fawcett was married to actor Ryan O’Neal, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Oliver in classic tear-jerker Love Story. The 1970 film had Oliver’s wife, played by Ali McGraw, develop leukemia and die, and now the 60-year old O’Neal has tragically been diagnosed with the same life-threatening illness. Fawcett and O’Neal had split up, but are now reunited to face his illness.
Since THC has recently been shown to destroy leukemia cells (CC#39, Med-pot News) hopefully one of them has pot connections as good as those of their 17 year old son Redmond, who was jailed last March for pot possession, and got kicked out of his school two years back because some buds were found in his locker.
Ryan O’Neal’s daughter, Tatum, would also have done best to stick with pot. She’s been through a few rehab clinics in her time, although being the daughter of a mega-movie star surely didn’t help her have an easy childhood. Tatum O’Neal was married to John McEnroe from 1986 to ’92, which brings us to the final celebrity stoner in this chain.
Tennis great John McEnroe, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated seven times, recently outed himself in his autobiography, You Can’t Be Serious. Although he is teasingly vague when it comes to details, McEnroe reveals that he had been toking up for all of his stunning professional sports career.
In 1978, a young John McEnroe was competing for the Stanford University tennis team. In his book he explains that the night before a big match he helped host a party in the team’s hotel, and expresses gratitude that their coach didn’t mention the strongly “pungent” odor.
Two years later, now ranked in the top five tennis players in the world, McEnroe describes how he was partying it up with other tennis superstars. He writes that he celebrated his newfound celebrity “by indulging in something I’d never tried before (never mind what) ? and the next thing I knew, Vitas Gerulaitis and Bjorn Borg were carrying me back into the hotel.” Only McEnroe and his tennis pals know what he ingested that night, but at Cannabis Culture we’ll bet it was stronger than herb and wasn’t legal.
The first time McEnroe and Tatum O’Neal had sex it was in Farrah Fawcett’s house, possibly in her bed. According to McEnroe “we were high, and it was terrible.” But again, he doesn’t specify the substance involved. In subsequent interviews, O’Neal clarified that it was cocaine, not pot, which adversely affected their first night of romance.
Years later, after the birth of their third child, with the stress of their marriage and fading careers, McEnroe claims “my answer to all this was to overindulge in marijuana. I thought it would relax me and help me appreciate my life more. Unfortunately it often had the opposite effect.” Although he was by then past his prime, the heavier herb use didn’t seem to impair McEnroe’s game ? that year he made it to the Wimbledon semi-finals and won the doubles final as well.
During his stellar career, McEnroe got to toke it up with the best of them. He writes that he held up a 1980 Rolling Stones concert because he was lighting up with Mick Jagger just before the show. During his own unsuccessful attempt at becoming a rock star, McEnroe got lessons from ganja-grooving guitarists including Carlos Santana, Eddie Van Halen, David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Billy Squier and others. McEnroe was also hanging with toking celebs like Jack Nicholson.
So we’ve gone from talking stoner dog Scooby Doo to stoned sportsman John McEnroe through Ted Turner, Jane Fonda, Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett and Tatum O’Neal ? six degrees of stoned celebrity separation. But to get from Scooby to Cary Grant, we need to back up to Ted Turner and head off in a different direction.
Our next celebrity stoner is connected to Ted Turner by way of Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher. Maher is well known for his libertarian views, and has been outspoken in his support of ending the war on drugs.
Sadly, Maher’s six-year tenure with Politically Incorrect on ABC has come to a close, as Maher was, well, too politically incorrect in the post 9/11 America. Maher often pointed out the hypocrisy of the global drug war, and claims imprisoned Californian med-pot patient and activist Todd McCormick as a friend.
Maher is the only celebrity figure who makes regular public statements like “The Partnership For a Drug-Free America really isn’t for a drug-free America. It’s a lobbying arm for the liquor and prescription drug industries.”
Here’s another typical quote from Maher: “The most interesting place you can ever travel is inside your own head. And if you’ve never even tried any drugs, then you’re always staying home.”
Maher was the keynote speaker at the NORML conference in San Francisco (CC#38, NORML in San Francisco). During his speech, Maher outed some fellow celebrities. “There are a lot of prominent people,” said Maher, “I’m not going to mention any names – Harrison Ford, Ted Turner – who smoke a lot of pot and need to stand up!”
At Cannabis Culture we admire Maher’s candor, and hope that he is an inspiration to others among Hollywood’s glitterati, to use their wealth and status to make the world a better place and end the terrible drug war, rather than publicly going along with the drug war madness, while silently toking up in expensive hotels, and exhaling into a toilet paper tube filled with Bounce.
While Turner and Maher have both been openly supportive of their favorite plant, the hard-hitting Harrison Ford has done nothing to speak out for pot. In a 1997 interview with Movieline, Ford was asked “Should marijuana be legalized?” His answer was a weak-kneed and understated “Probably.” That’s better than a “no,” but not much.
Ford also refused to appear in 1998 comedy Half-baked. The film is full of pot references and cameos from tokin’ celebs like Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Stephen Baldwin, Bob Saget, Jon Stewart and Tommy Chong. Dave Chappelle, who co-wrote the film as well as starred in it, told the media that the only stoner celebrity he approached who turned him down was Harrison Ford.
Unfortunately, Ford did lend his celebrity status to a 1995 gala concert supporting the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. CASA is virulently anti-pot, claiming that smoking herb is like “playing Russian roulette.” CASA promotes the idea that ganja “primes the brain for heroin” and actively opposes any medical use of marijuana.
Other CASA benefit committee members included Neil Simon, Elizabeth Taylor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Eisner, and many other celebrities and media elite, all of whom should have known better.
Interestingly, each of these sell-out celebrities has a quirky cannabis connection of their own. For instance, Neil Simon’s daughter Nancy was briefly married to cannabis-activist Woody Harrelson. And Elizabeth Taylor has apparently changed her opinion on tokers since she fell for James Dean during the filming of Giant in 1955. Dean was a heavy toker at the time, constantly smoking up pot and hash during filming, but that didn’t seem to be an impediment to Taylor’s passion.
As for Schwarzenegger, he can clearly be seen toking up in the 1977 Pumping Iron ? the film which documented his successful quest for a sixth straight Mr Olympia title against competitors including Lou The Hulk Ferrigno. Now that he’s rich, successful and hanging out with important Republicans, Schwarzenegger just tells the media he’s never smoked pot, and then changes the subject.
Disney president and CEO Michael Eisner has long been a pusher of anti-pot propaganda. Disney has been involved in all kinds of child brainwashing exercises, including teaming up with AOL to create online “drug prevention content” for children. ABC-Disney gets many tens of millions in federal anti-drug propaganda contracts each year, so whether Eisner’s anti-pot views are shaped by true beliefs, or if he’s just getting in on the feds’ big-money bandwagon, we may never know.
Despite all this, the forbidden weed has still crossed Harrison Ford’s movie career in some strange ways. For example, in the film Blade Runner, where Ford played an android hunter named Deckard, there is a scene where Deckard examines a microscopic image of a snakeskin scale. Oddly, the image used in the movie is actually a microscopic close-up of a marijuana bud.
Ford will always be best known for playing “spice smuggler” Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy, yet he might be surprised to find out that the Star Wars universe itself is awash with magical plants and exotic drugs.
An essay written by sci-fi afficianado and editor of the Official Star Trek Fact Files Jennifer Cole claims how there is a “realistic and refreshingly liberal attitude to recreational drugs” in the Star Wars universe. She explains that this is most apparent in the books, “where the Star Wars canon is free of the confines of Hollywood.”
In the novels, “‘Spice’ becomes more specific: glitterstim, yarrock, sweetblossom, pyrepenol, Santherian tenho-root…” explains Cole. “In the worlds of Star Wars, drugs are abundant and evidently not too difficult to come by.”
Even Jedi-master Yoda likes to get high. In the Episode One Visual Dictionary Yoda is shown chewing on his “gimmerstick,” with the text explaining that this releases substances which “aid meditation.”
Dyan Cannon and Cary Grant
Ford fans know that he’s been dating Calista Flockhart of the recently-cancelled Ally McBeal. Although we couldn’t find out for sure how Flockhart fits into Ford’s toking ways, at Cannabis Culture we’re convinced that the appetite enhancement effects of a few phatties could help the wafer-thin Flockhart bulk up a bit and quash persistent rumors of anorexia.
Yet the cast of Ally McBeal has many other strange pot connections of their own. Every celeb-watcher already knows about the drug-related trials and tribulations of Robert Downey Jr, the talented Academy Award nominated film actor whose work on Ally McBeal got him a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination.
Much less well-known and more bizarre is the pot-smoking past of Dyan Cannon, who played Ally McBeal‘s well-wattled Judge Whipper. “I was addicted to marijuana,” Cannon told Larry King in an April 2001 interview. “I would have to have a puff off a joint before every take. I’d run out to the bathroom and come back… Well, I just said I need help and I have to do this and I knew I had to do it.”
Cannon eventually came to consider herself a “marijuana addict,” which lead to her quitting pot and finding Jesus. “I’ll tell you what happened. I was going to go make a film in Greece, and in Greece, if they caught you with this much marijuana, they threw you in jail, no questions asked. I was trying to stuff it in my deodorant bottles, you know, in the bottom of my deodorant, because I thought they’ll never look in there. And I thought, what I am doing? Is this thing bigger than me?”
To fight her pot habit she decided to convert from Judaism to Christianity, and she now leads evangelical religious ceremonies called “God’s Party.” First these were held at her home, but now they’re on the lot at CBS, which she leases for that use.
Cannon’s canna-karma also connects her to the founders of the 60’s LSD phenomenon. Cannon was married to actor Cary Grant from 1962 to ’68, during the pre-Christian times when Cannon enjoyed toking. Marijuana would have been mild for Grant, who had just finished extensive LSD therapy. Grant took over 100 therapeutic trips during the late 1950’s, before the drug was banned. Timothy Leary has credited Grant as being one of the first to convince him that LSD research was worth pursuing.
So from Scooby Doo to John Mcenroe, then back again to Cary Grant, via Ted Turner, Bill Maher, Harrison Ford and Dyan Cannon we see that stoned celebrities are everywhere, and with six skips of a stoner we can hit almost any one of them.
When they use their fame and fortune to help do something good then we just want to love them all the more. Will Harrison Ford ever come out of the closet and join our Rebel Alliance? Will Bill Maher find a new outlet for his anti-prohibitionist rants? You’ll have to tune in to the next installment of Celebrity Stoners to find out!