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PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Halle Berry and Robert Downey Jr.: A-List Actors

Aired March 30, 2002 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Next, on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, he's one of Hollywood's A-list actors, an Oscar nominee, a Golden Globe winner, barely out of diapers when he made his big screen debut.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He made you like him immensely without trying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: But his ability was always overshadowed by his addiction to drugs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many second, third, forth, fifth chances is Robert Downey going to get?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The personal demons haunting Robert Downey Jr. Plus, she's the stunning actress with the monster upset at this year's Oscars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALLE BERRY, BEST ACTRESS WINNER: When I got the nomination, I knew that I would either repeat history or I would change history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: She was a beauty pageant runner-up. Now, she's taking her place in history. Barrier breaking beauty, Halle Berry. Then...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a 100 percent better shot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: He will climb any mountain to give moviegoers a breathtaking view of the world. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we set out to climb Kilimanjaro twice to make this film.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The cliffhanging filmmakers behind the IMAX movie, "Everest." Their stories and more now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. Halle Berry, what can you say. She is Oscar's new leading lady, the belle of the ball and she's enjoying every minute of it and why not? Berry stole the show last Sunday night, beaming and sometimes sobbing on her way to becoming the first African-American woman ever to win Best Actress at the Academy Awards. And for that, Halle Berry is our person of the week.

Here's Daryn Kagan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DARYN KAGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's the rarest of Hollywood celebrity, a stunning mixture of glamour, beauty, and acting ability. So who better than Halle Berry to make history at the Academy Awards? And who better to break down the door and become the first African-American woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress?

BERRY: It's a great night. I never thought it would be possible in my lifetime.

KAGAN: The significance of Berry's historic achievement was obviously not lost on her. Over the 74 years of the Academy Awards, only a handful of African Americans have ever been nominated for the top five Oscars, fewer have won. Prior to Berry, the last black woman was Whoopi Goldberg and that was for Best Supporting Actress in "Ghost." And though Berry was nearly speechless when here name was first announced, she did eventually find her voice and she speak for nearly three minutes on accomplishment, considering her speech, came during the longest Oscar show in history.

(on-camera): I also like this moment when they were trying to shoo you off the stage and you said, "74 years."

(LAUGHTER)

BERRY: I saw that sign and I'm thinking, wait a minute, 74 years. I'm going to tell somebody.

ANNE-MARIE O'NEILL, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Halle Berry, when she was accepting the Oscar, spoke about the women who come before her.

BERRY: Lina Horne, Dianne Carroll, Dianna Ross. You know, they've all been women that have made my struggle that much easier, yeah. So it was about them. You know, I certainly didn't do this by myself today, that's for sure.

When I got nomination, I knew that I would either repeat history or I would change history. One or the other it had to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you?

KAGAN (voice-over): But it almost wasn't. However surprising it seems now, Halle Berry had to put up a monster fight just to win the role in "Monster's Ball." The filmmakers just couldn't see Berry in this racially charged drama. She didn't fit the mold of death row widow, Leticia, who false in love with her husband's executioner.

O'NEILL: Halle Berry's big obstacle in taking the "Monster's Ball" role was that no one would take her seriously as this poor black woman. She is gorgeous. I mean she's a Revlon model. And that was something that she really to overcome, the I'm not just a prettier face factor.

KAGAN (on-camera): The producers and the director really didn't have you in mind.

BERRY: Right.

KAGAN: Not discriminating necessarily because of skin color but kind of discriminating for beauty. Oh, she's too pretty. She couldn't do that role.

BERRY: It seems like it's been always something about me.

KAGAN: What is it about you Halle?

BERRY: If I'm not black, then I'm too Revlon. If I'm not this, I'm too that. But that's become normal for me, you know, and I'm always up to a good fight and to a good challenge.

KAGAN (voice-over): And there have been plenty of challenges in Berry's life. The youngest daughter of a black father and a white mother, Berry experienced early on the pain of racism and abandonment.

O'NEILL: Her father, she says, was an abusive alcoholic. He left the family when she was four. Another factor that made her childhood difficult was coming to terms with being a biracial child and experiencing all kinds of discrimination. And in growing up, she's always said that the person who helped her deal with that was her mother.

KAGAN: Berry began her career on stage as beauty queen, eventually becoming first runner up in the 1985 Miss USA competition.

O'NEILL: She was a beauty queen and she's attributed that with how she managed to overcome like difficult times she had had with being treated, you know, with discrimination, that she stood up and this was a way to make is her stand up and say no, you know, I'm beautiful whenever you say.

KAGAN: But Berry wouldn't remain on the pageant circuit for long. She was soon was devoting her time wholeheartedly to a life in entertainment.

Her first big break came in 1991, when Spike Lee cast her as Samuel L. Jackson's drug addicted girlfriend in "Jungle Fever." To prepare for that gritty role, Berry went so far as to stop bathing for several days.

BERRY: If you think you're just going walk up in this court and take my baby like you take some puppy from a pound, you got another thing coming, lady.

KAGAN: Critical praise for "Jungle Fever" led to more substantial roles, including a starring turn in 1995's "Losing Isaiah," and later, opposite Hollywood legend, Warren Beatty, in 1998's "Bullworth."

BERRY: You gonna remember me?

KAGAN: Although Berry dazzling critics in the 1990s, she was becoming better known to the public as cover girl.

O'NEILL: There came a time where she was really just known as the face of Revlon and here -- she was wearing beautiful gowns to all various performances and award shows and became known more as Halle Berry, beauty queen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're one of the Revlon ladies.

BERRY: I am.

KAGAN: If Berry's professional image faltering, it was nothing compared to her private life.

Halle Berry has not had as much luck in love as she has had in her career. She started off badly. She's talked about a former boyfriend who beat her so hard that she ended up deaf in one hear or 80 percent deaf in one ear.

KAGAN: But it was Berry's disastrous marriage to baseball player, David Justice, that really ushered in a dark period in the actress's life.

O'NEILL: All kinds of accusations have flown on both sides of her marriage with David Justice. She had accused him in print of sleeping with prostitutes, strippers. He's accused her of all kinds of things as well. And she put a restraining order against him. It was messy. It was really nasty on both sides.

KAGAN: Berry now admits that she contemplated suicide after her bitter divorce from David Justice. But instead of taking her own life, Berry threw herself into her work. In 1999, she released her most personal film to date, "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge." The film follows the life of the first black woman ever nominated for Best Actress and her struggle against segregation in 1950's Hollywood.

But Berry's success was soon overshadowed by controversy. In 2000, Berry was indicted for leaving the scene of car accident. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning your honor.

O'NEILL: She got incredibly bad publicity surrounding that event and she actually had to perform community service. So she was kind of down and out there for a while.

KAGAN: In the midst of this very public turmoil, Berry would find solace in the arms of R&B singer, Eric Benet. The couple quietly married early last year.

O'NEILL: Halle had said that Eric Benet had a lot to do with how her life has turned around. She seems to find a lot of strength in him. He seems to give her a lot of support. She spends a lot of time with his daughter, India.

KAGAN: It's Berry's new family that she credits most for her Oscar win.

BERRY: That's the only reason this happened, really.

KAGAN (on-camera): Really?

BERRY: Everything sort of came together for me, finding that peace, finding a partner. I became a mother. You know, I had so many more reasons to do what I do and I think that's the reason this reward came my way.

KAGAN (voice-over): Berry now insists that she'll be paring down her film roles although you wouldn't know it from her current schedule. This year, she reprises her role as "Storm" from the box office hit "X-men," a vast departure from her dramatic performance in "Monster's Ball."

O'NEILL: Halle Berry clearly has a range and she's trying to show it off. Whether it works in the future, will interesting to see.

KAGAN: Berry doesn't seem too concerned about balancing various movie roles. In fact, she's looking forward to it.

BERRY: It is fun. And the beauty of acting for me has become being able to not be pigeon holed and play different characters, characters written for a black woman like Leticia and then a Bond girl, which is written for a woman. You know, that's the beauty of it, to be able to do such diverse characters.

KAGAN: Whatever roles Halle Berry chooses in future, one thing is certain, she's proven time and time again, she's much more than a just prettier face.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Coming up, he's led a charmed life on screen, but a troubled life off of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CHICKLESS, ACTOR: This is a guy who cannot help himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Robert Downey Jr.'s rough road to recovery when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: PEOPLE IN THE NEWS with Paul Zahn.

ZAHN: If there is anyone who knows the pitfalls of Hollywood, it is Robert Downey Jr. Wildly talented and admittedly flawed, Downey has lived a vicious cycle of addiction, recovery and relapse. Recently, however, there has been some very encouraging news about Downey. The troubled actor is winning rave reviews from the judge overseeing his court-ordered rehab. With more now on that, here's Sharon Collins.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHARON COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Robert Downey Jr., is one of Hollywood's most recognizable and bankable stars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CHAPLIN")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Onto the stage, right now. Gentlemen!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Academy Award nominee for his star turn in "Chaplin"...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: And the Golden Globe goes to Robert Downey Jr., "Ally McBeal."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: ... Golden Globe winner for his role in TV's "Ally McBeal."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ALLY MCBEAL")

DOWNEY: I scheduled it for your place...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Ratings for the series increased 11 percent after Downey joined the cast. Yet for all his on-screen success, Downey's life offscreen has become the stuff of bad drama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOWNEY: It's like I have a shotgun in my mouth and I've got my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Since 1996, the 36-year-old Downey has starred in as many courtrooms, it seems, as in movies. Gripped by a drug addiction he cannot...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All rise, please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: ... or will not shake.

MICHAEL FLEEMAN, CORRESPONDENT, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: What's the big issue, you know? When are you going to say enough is enough? He has been to jail, he has been to prison, he might be headed back to jail or prison. How many second, third, fourth, fifth chances is Robert Downey going to get?

MICHAEL CHIKLIS, ACTOR: This final time that he got arrested here in the alley, it just made me go, Wow, you know, this is no pretense, this is no joke. This is not a guy, you know, screaming for attention. This is a guy who cannot help himself, he cannot stop. And I don't think anybody in the town wants to read that headline that he's died.

And he's going that way.

JAMES TOBACK, DIRECTOR: I think the best thing would be if he was just free to pursue his life as an artist, and if he has some habits that other people don't approve of, that's their problem. And if he hurts himself in some way, that's up to him.

COLLINS: But is it? His most recent arrest on April 24 outside a $45-a-night California motel, not only tanked Downey's career comeback but sent co-workers into panic mode. "Ally McBeal"'s executives ordered last-minute rewrites and reshoots to remove Downey from the series.

Before his abrupt departure, Downey did receive critical praise from the industry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS)

DOWNEY: I just want to share this with my fellow parolees -- I mean, nominees.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Clues to Downey's persistent battle with substance abuse may be found in his early years. Born in the Bohemian neighborhood of New York City, Greenwich Village, 1965, a time of free expression and experimentation. His father, Robert Downey Sr., was an underground film director, his mother, an actress. And from very early on, the younger of two siblings lived an actor's life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "POUND")

DOWNEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) going to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: This is Robert Downey Jr., making his film debut at age 5. He played a puppy in his father's 1970 movie, "Pound," in which the actors played dogs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1992)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have a choice in doing anything else besides going into acting?

DOWNEY: No, and I think it was supposed to be that way. I think that the very dynamics of what family I was born into played into what I was supposed to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "POUND")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The lights go out, the wind is blowing...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, he was right there on the edge as an actor even as a little boy. This is what his acting began as. You know, he wasn't doing, like, little commercials or whatever. He was on the cutting edge of filmmaking from a very young age.

COLLINS: A year later, after finishing the movie "Pound," Robert turned 6. It was at this tender age that he was given his first taste of marijuana -- by his father.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1997)

ROBERT DOWNEY SR., FILMMAKER: I never knew back then that these drugs were dangerous, as we all know now. I have nothing more to say. Sure, I regret it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the early '70s, late '60s, early '70s. He is surrounded by artists, he is surrounded by drugs, he is surrounded by the counterculture. This is the kind of home that he grew up in.

COLLINS: The home he grew up in would not stay intact. By 1978, his mother and father divorced, forcing the 13-year-old to move cross- country to Los Angeles to live with his director father.

Robert went to school at Santa Monica High with celebrity names like Penn, Lowe, and Estevez. The young actors all walked the same hallways as Downey. He wanted what they had -- early fame. HOWARD FINE, ACTING COACH: He started at an early age, and he came up as a member of the -- what we called then the Brat Pack and really separated himself because of his range of talent and depth and vulnerability.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's surrounded by industry people, actors, and these actors and these sons and daughters of actors recognized his talent. So he was talented among the talented.

COLLINS: But in 1982, after just two years at Santa Monica High School, Robert Downey Jr., dropped out. He decided to pursue an acting career full time. His drug use would follow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOWNEY: Well, for me, you know, growing up in school was just, you know, smoking pot all the time, you know, and then went to Samo (ph) High, loved -- the friends -- drugs in my family, drugs in a lot of my friends' families, you know, drugs in the '70s in general, at least from where I was at, and I started really young, you know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: This is Downey 10 years later in a documentary, "The Last Party." Candid talk, recalling what his childhood years were truly like.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LAST PARTY")

DOWNEY: My dad was an underground filmmaker, my mother was an actress.

ROBERT DOWNEY SR.: I'm just happy he's here, that's all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you ever worried that he wasn't going to be here?

ROBERT DOWNEY SR.: Many times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: When the story of Robert Downey Jr., continues, the role of a lifetime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CHAPLIN")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What do we do, Charlie?

DOWNEY: Smile.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: Ahead, a pivotal role for Robert Downey Jr.

But first we take a look at other celebrity names in this edition of "Passages."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER (voice-over): Fans of Eric Clapton: catch him in concert while you can. The legendary singer-guitarist says his current "Reptile" tour is his last. But Clapton is not putting his guitar in storage. He still plans to record and has a couple of projects in the works.

He liked the shaver so much, he bought the company.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, TV COMMERCIAL)

VICTOR KIAM, PRESIDENT, REMINGTON PRODUCTS, INC.: You've never seen a shaver like this before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Victor Kiam, Jr., who bought Remington products and became its leading pitchman, died last week. He was 74. The charismatic Kiam was a born salesman with a talent for turning around failing companies. About the only time he lost his winning touch was when he bought the New England Patriots.

Britney, Faith, and Pope John Paul II? Yes, a pontiff pop supergroup is coming together to record a CD of spoken prayers. The disk will accompany a series of prayer books written by His Holiness, along with Spears and Hill, 'NSync and members of Aerosmith pitch in on the recording. It's due out in time for the Christmas holiday.

No need to wait for Christmas for more celebrity news. Just pick up a copy of this week's "People" magazine.

We'll be right back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS (voice-over): At age 16, Robert Downey Jr., was a high school dropout looking for a job. He decided to return to New York to live with his mother. He remained focused on a career in acting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1990)

DOWNEY: I consider myself someone who needs to express himself creatively, and acting seems to be the most lucrative and attention- getting way of working it out right now. So, you know, let's see what happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: Back in New York, Robert Downey quickly found work and a girlfriend. In 1983, on the set of "Firstborn," he met a striking 18-year-old girl. Her name, Sarah Jessica Parker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FIRSTBORN")

DOWNEY: Hey, come on, Jake. An accident, Jake. An accident.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: They had a lot in common. Besides their lines together, they were both the same age and both new to acting. A romance sparked between the young couple off the set.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They lived together for several years in New York. He was a young struggling actor, she was a young struggling actress, and he said, amazingly, you know, they were able to get along despite his problems. He was using drugs at the time. I mean, he was still part of the party scene and everything.

COLLINS: But after making just one movie, Downey made a jump to the small screen and to comedy. In 1985, he joined NBC's "Saturday Night Live," the popular comedy sketch series. He was a regular cast member for one season.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

DOWNEY: Hey, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), a shotgun for my buddy here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Downey returned to films the following year, taking on a dramatic role in the 1987 movie "Less Than Zero."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LESS THAN ZERO")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And you did it. You did it to yourself, and you know it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: He played the troubled Julian, an out-of-control addict who fights to kick his drug habit.

FINE: How much of his personal life did he bring to that character? Probably quite a bit, you know. You root for him. It's the clown who suffers, and under the smile there's a pain, and you get that from him. So he's got a vulnerability that makes you like him, that makes you root for him.

COLLINS: Off screen, Downey had developed his own serious cocaine problem. Shortly after completing the movie, he entered a rehab facility for substance abuse. In addition to his drug addiction, Downey had to deal with the on again-off again relationship with Sarah Jessica Parker. But as his personal life was in limbo, his career was coming together. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PICKUP ARTIST")

DOWNEY: Hi. My name's Jack Jericho.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Later that year, Downey landed his first leading role, playing a charming womanizer in "The Pickup Artist," directed by James Toback.

JAMES TOBACK, DIRECTOR: And he walked into my office at Fox on 57th Street and literally a minute after we started talking, I said, "By the way, you want to play the lead in this movie?" And he said, "Sure."

He made you like him immensely without trying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SOAP DISH")

DOWNEY: So he wasn't killed, he was maimed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: He received praise for his role as the manic soap-opera producer in "Soap Dish."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SOAP DISH")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You do want me, don't you, David?

DOWNEY: In the weirdest way.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this close.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: As "Soap Dish" wrapped, so did his seven-year relationship with Sara Jessica Parker. He soon fell in love again, this time with model Deborah Falconer. The two married in May 1992 and had a son, Indio, a year later.

At age 27, with stability in his personal life, Robert Downey Jr., prepared for the role that propelled him to Hollywood's A-list, "Chaplin."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CHAPLIN")

DAN AKROYD, ACTOR: The guy I hired did the best comedy drunk I ever saw, but he was old. I don't pay 100 a week to juveniles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1992)

DOWNEY: He was supported by, you know, by something beyond. It's almost like, how do you play a better person than yourself? Not better, but let's just say a -- you know, someone who is -- who walked the walk for his whole life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH, DIRECTOR: We now have the opportunity of what Charlie introduced to little children...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Director Richard Attenborough hired Downey for the role.

ATTENBOROUGH: You had to have somebody who had this passion, this driving passion to do what he wanted to do, and you had to believe there was a mind behind the eyes. The camera, when it comes in close and it's in here, you can't deceive the camera.

COLLINS: Robert Downey Jr., was at the pinnacle of his career. He received an Academy Award nomination for best actor in "Chaplin." But away from the cheers and the cameras, he continued to be drawn to life in the fast lane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I read this article where you were quoted as being this bad boy of Hollywood and party-goer and this whole -- where is this guy?

DOWNEY: Oh, he's around, you know, and he'd be happy to jump back in at any time. I would just say that, you know, how long can danger work, you know? It ain't over till it's over. I hope it's over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: But, in fact, it wasn't.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you feeling, Robert?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: When we return to the story of Robert Downey Jr., drugs land the troubled actor in prison, and he reaches out to a psychiatrist for help.

DR. MANIJEH NIKAKHTAR, PSYCHIATRIST: I said that all the -- I believe that you have bipolar disorder. He said, Yes, I do have bipolar disorder. There are period of times that I just -- I am so hyper, and I spend a lot of money, I'm irritable, and there are period of times that I go down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. The late '90s saw actor Robert Downey Jr. in and out of trouble, in and out of rehab, in and out of jail. That is a pattern that Downey seemed unable to break. Here again is Sharon Collins.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN PENN, ACTOR: His particular case concerns me a great deal because he's somebody I know personally and care a great deal about. I think he is a poster boy for the fact that prison doesn't cure it.

ROBERT SHAPIRO, ATTORNEY: I am shocked and saddened by the sentence today. I think it is wrong. I do not think it meets the ends of justice. It does not serve the community. It certainly does not serve Mr. Downey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you characterize the mood and the state of Mr. Downey right now?

DANIEL BROOKMAN, ATTORNEY: Mr. Downey is very optimistic. He's upbeat about this. He's committed to moving on with his life.

COLLINS (voice-over): A life which, in recent years, has been plagued with deep personal problems. His 7-year-old son, Indio, born in 1993, is now the centerpiece of a bitter divorce between Downey and his estranged wife, Deborah Falconer. The two separated in 1996.

TOBACK: The relationship I saw with him and Indio is as good a father-son relationship of -- as I've ever seen. I mean, they have a great rapport, and he treats his son with respect.

Robert Downey is not ignorant of his life, of his habits, of who he is or what he is. No one can tell him stuff he doesn't know. It's a choice that he's making and that he's free to make and should be free to make, except as the law steps in and says, No.

COLLINS: The law has certainly been Downey's shadow. In 1996, the actor violated his probation when he fled from a detox center. His rehab stemming from several drug and weapons arrests, but a judge sent him back.

A year later, he skipped a court-ordered drug test and spent the next four months in the L.A. County Jail. In 1999, Downey skipped another drug test and was sent back to rehab, but this time a judge gave Downey hard time, state prison for nearly one year.

DR. MANIJEH NIKAKHTAR, PSYCHIATRIST: For the past several years, he's just going through the revolving door of rehab program and being arrested, which is too sad. Such a bright person and he's not a criminal. He is a victim of the drugs.

COLLINS: Downey wrote to Dr. Nikakhtar from prison, not as a patient, but to request information about her methods of treatment. Nikakhtar never became Downey's doctor, but she believes after three months in her care, he would have been clean. NIKAKHTAR: Nobody uses drugs just for sake of using drugs. Nobody's using drugs to be arrested or saying be proud that I'm using drugs. They usually hide using drugs. They feel bad about using drugs, but why they use drugs is not a good piece of chocolate or pastry that tastes good. They use it to change their feelings. They're self medicating.

COLLINS: Thanksgiving weekend 2000, just four months after his release from state prison, Downey was busted again, this time in Palm Springs for cocaine possession and being under the influence of drugs.

MICHAEL FLEEMAN, CORRESPONDENT, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: It gets very complicated after he gets to Palm Springs. Strip clubs are involved. Strippers are involved. Next thing we know, there's a 9-1-1 call, saying there's a guy with drugs and guns at the Merv Griffin Resort. You better, you know, check it out. They show up. They knock on the door. He opens it up. He lets the cops in and they find the drugs.

COLLINS: He pleaded not guilty to the charges. A July court date was set. Downey remained free awaiting trial. Despite all his legal problems, despite his repeated pattern of relapsing into drug use, Hollywood keeps taking Downey back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this town a forgiving sort of town, like will people continue to want him?

MICHAEL CHIKLIS, ACTOR: I wouldn't use the word forgiving as much as forgetful. Hollywood's got a real short memory, you know. Well, because, you know, to a degree, it lives up to its cliche, it's vacuous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Hollywood an enabler in all this, by giving him jobs, by telling him he's great and everything is fine and not using tough love? On the other hand, the guy's got to make a living. Maybe it's better that he's back doing what he does best, which is acting, and making some money, and getting back into a groove.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ALLY MCBEAL")

DOWNEY: Hey, how's it going?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The interesting thing is that he never really had a problem in terms of his career and the drugs. It was always between jobs that he would have the problem. This "Ally McBeal" thing was the first time that it let it affect his work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ALLY MCBEAL")

CALISTA FLOCKHART, ACTRESS: Hey.

DOWNEY: Hey. Ally, it's nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: The executives of "Ali McBeal" dismissed Downey the day after his latest arrest.

FLEEMAN: What were they going to do? They had no choice but to try to change things around and continue without him. I mean they just, they couldn't put it off. They had to complete the season.

COLLINS: On April 24, Robert Downey was arrested yet again, this time in an alley outside a Culver City, California motel, allegedly under the influence of a controlled substance. Results from a voluntary urine test found that Downey had cocaine in his system the night of his arrest.

CHIKLIS: I think there is a point of no return for some people. I think that sometimes people go so far and do so many things that they just feel like they can't come out. But in the case of Robert, I really don't think so. I think this guy probably has a lot of self hate about a lot of the things that he's done, but forgiveness is a huge thing.

COLLINS: July 13, Robert Downey Jr.'s day in court.

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Mr. Downey, I want to tell you, this is not a gift.

COLLINS: Days before the trial, the California legislature passed Proposition 36, a law calling for treatment rather than jail time for non-violent drug offenders.

TAMARA CAPONE, PROSECUTOR, RIVERSIDE, CA: A year ago, he would have gone to prison for something like this, but because of the new law, there's nothing else they could have done, no matter who he was.

COLLINS: Downey got three year's probation and was ordered to continue his treatment.

JAMES EPSTEIN, DOWNEY'S ATTORNEY: He's very motivated to overcome the problem he has and we're all very encouraged.

COLLINS: Court officials are also encouraged. At a probation hearing last month, the judge commended Downey for sticking with his regimen. Robert Downey's future seems to be looking up. He plans to have a limited role on "Ali McBeal" as he continues rehab. In April, he starts shooting a feature film, produced by Mel Gibson, once again taking the leading role on screen, and trying to take control of his own life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Coming up, he's taken extreme filmmaking to new heights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every little nugget or kernel in the film came through a lot of effort.

ANNOUNCER: From Everest to Kilimanjaro and placed in between, an IMAX icon ahead on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS with Paula Zahn.

ZAHN: One was the cigar-smoking comedian whose pioneering variety show changed the face of television. The other was the diminutive British actor who became an unlikely heartthrob. The lives and laughs of Milton Berle and Dudley Moore in this weeks Passages.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: He was the actor who played the lovable drunk, and the improbable love interest. He also played classical piano. Dudley Moore was born in 1935 in Dagenham, England, a working-class suburb of London. He began playing the piano at six. Music was a refuge for Moore, who was teased by neighborhood children for having a clubbed left foot.

After graduating from Oxford, Moore joined a comedy revue in 1960 called "Beyond the Fringe." The show would have a successful two-year run in London, and a Tony award winning run on Broadway.

After the stage, Moore and fellow "Fringe" cast member, Peter Cooke (ph), hit the big screen in movies like "Bedazzled." But his big break came in 1978 in the movie "10." After actor George Segal walked out of the Blake Edwards project, Edwards who had met Moore in a therapy group, would cast the diminutive actor opposite bombshell Bo Derek. "10" would make Moore a bona fide box office star. But it was his role as a billionaire drunk that would define his career.

ROGER EBERT, MOVIE CRITIC: Moore was not much of a drinker, but he was a great actor when it came to playing this man who's task everyday was to get as much scotch inside of him as he could.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: 1981's "Arthur" garnered Moore his first and only Oscar nomination. Moore would remain on screen throughout the '80s in less successful comedies, with roles in "Crazy People" and "Santa Claus, the Movie." He would also stay true to his musical roots, adding scores from movies like "Six Weeks."

SUSAN ANTON, FRIEND: Dudley truly wanted to know who you were, how you were and he really cared about what was best for you.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: In 1998, Moore was diagnosed with a rare and incurable brain disorder. He also suffered four strokes and had open-heart surgery in 1999. His failing health was evidenced this past November, when he received the Commander of the British Empire honor from Prince Charles.

LIZA MINNELLI, FRIEND: I'm so glad that he's not in pain anymore. That's the important thing.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Dudley Moore died, surrounded by friends in New Jersey. He was 66.

He was television's original superstar, making drag cool, and paving the way for future legends. Milton Berle was born in Harlem on July 12, 1908. He got his first break in show business at age 5, playing opposite Charlie Chaplin.

MILTON BERLE: That was me with Chaplin in the picture, where he slapped me. I never got a chance to slap him back though.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: In the 1930s, Berle was one of the most recognized members of the Vaudeville community, emceeing shows all across the country.

After the decline of Vaudeville, Berle took his rubber-faced act to the new medium of television on the "Texaco Star Theater." Although going up mostly against test patterns, Uncle Milty, as he would become known, would soon become the king and sometimes queen of television.

EBERT: That's why my family wanted to get a TV set, because all the kids at school were talking about what Uncle Milty said last night and we didn't have a TV. He was a phenomenon.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: With the popularity of his show, he was always able to retract big names, such as a young Elvis Presley. But success never went to his head.

JOEY BISHOP, COMEDIAN: Milton came and it was embarrassing because no matter what joke I did, whether it got a laugh or not, he jumped up and hollered "bravo, bravo, more, more."

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: He was one of the most honored stars in Hollywood, one of the first inductees into the television Hall of Fame. He won a lifetime achievement Emmy in 1979. He also had roles in movies like, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."

In his later years, he would make guest appearances on shows, like "Beverly Hills 90210." Milton Berle died in his Los Angeles home, with family and friends, after a year-long battle with colon cancer. He was 93.

For more celebrity news, pick up a copy of "People Magazine" this week. We'll be right back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAULA ZAHN: His landmark film "Everest" is one of the most popular IMAX productions in history. Now extreme filmmaker David Brashears is back with another IMAX offering, about another legendary mountain, making him one of our people to watch.

DAVID BRASHEARS, FILMMAKER: "Kilimanjaro" is a film I'm very proud of because I shot most of it and it's a spectacularly beautiful film. It's a poem really to a mountain, and to the people that climb it.

(VIDEO CLIP)

BRASHEARS: This isn't "Survivor." You know plunk a few people, set them down in some extraordinarily contrived situation and see how much they can offend each other. These people wanted to go.

Nicole Wineman Thompson (ph) is a 12-year-old girl in the film. Hanzi (ph) is a Tanzanian, a member of the Chaga (ph) tribe. Audrey Saukel, the 64-year-old writer in the film was a wonderful addition to the team. She's a mountain historian, but she'd never climbed the big mountain and mountains test people. So for me "Kilimanjaro" was going to be a film to tell a story of ordinary people doing something exceptional.

I first saw a picture of a man on top of Everest when I was 11 years old and it was such a pose of courage and determination that I wanted at that point to be a mountaineer and maybe to climb Everest.

This is what happens when it's 10 degrees below zero and flying at 80.

By the time I went to climb Everest with an IMAX camera in 1996, I'd already climbed Everest twice with fairly small sized video cameras. In fact, I had made the first live broadcast from the summit in 1983 for ABC Sports.

(VIDEO CLIP)

BRASHEARS: We set out in 1996 with our IMAX film to make a story about a fairly typical ascent of the world's highest mountain. Midway through that spring season, we were caught by surprise and we were in the midst of a terrible tragedy.

There on the trail above us lay dead our friends, Rob Hall and Scott Fisher. Similarly experienced if not more experienced climbers, climbing the ordinary route on Everest, now frozen and dead and you had to say to yourself "there but for the grace of God go I."

I had two very interesting experiences in Hollywood. One was purely Out of curiosity, how did they do it? And because of my climbing skills with a camera in the mountains, I was hired to work on the second unit of "Cliffhanger."

My camera was a side angle, when she finally falls, and I saw how it all worked and I saw the drudgery of sitting around and waiting hour after hour for shots, and it didn't interest me at all.

When the director of "Seven Years in Tibet" said how about taking a small crew, four people. He and his entire crew had been banned from filming since this film was going to be sympathetic to the Dalai Lama. And so, we roamed Tibet for a month shooting footage that he couldn't have got otherwise.

Out of high school, I was too rebellious and too much against any authority to properly attend college, so I went climbing. I got very, very good at climbing. I did not have any interest in filmmaking. It was work. And then I started to see that this work, hanging from ropes, setting up a camera, loading magazines, recording sound, ended up a year later on the TV screen and that interested me, and from there into here, producing and directing "Kilimanjaro" was a very long and difficult road.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me say first of all, good morning all of you, and secondly, welcome to my summit and welcome to Kilimanjaro.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRASHEARS: Kilimanjaro was many more times challenging for me and my crew than Everest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRASHEARS: Here on Kilimanjaro, I've intensely chosen a group of people that are very representative of the audience and the viewer. It wasn't a team of hardened mountain veterans. They were trekkers.

Let's do it as fast as we can, as fast as possible. Here we go. Really nice. Just what I need right now. All I need.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRASHEARS: They were like other people on the mountain. It took everything they could to get from one camp to the other, and so we had to always be in place for them and waiting for them.

And so, we set out to climb Kilimanjaro twice to make this film. We climbed it five times. We set out to go once for the aerials. We went four times. And every little nugget or kernel of beauty and mystery in the film came through a lot of effort.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: David Brashears' "Kilimanjaro, to the roof of Africa" is now playing in cities worldwide, including New York, Boston, Atlanta, Cape Town and Singapore. Coming up next week on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, as the Masters approaches, a look at a resurgent tiger, Tiger Woods that is.

I'm Paula Zahn, thanks so much for joining us and be sure to join me every weekday morning for "AMERICAN MORNING" right here on CNN. So long, have a great week.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com





 
 
 
 


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