Parents have role in determining if child stars have successful lives

The Baltimore Sun

DON'T PUT your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington. The profession's overcrowded and the competition's tough."

That was Noel Coward's lighthearted warning for parents seeking the limelight for their children. This often falls on deaf ears, especially when the child is really a child and can't object or understand the consequences.

And so I was sad to read about the latest troubles for Tatum O'Neal, arrested on a drug bust in New York City. It seemed to me, and to others who know her, that after a long struggle, this talented girl had made peace with her demons. She gave an interview recently to Chaunce Hayden at Steppin' Out magazine, in which she described herself as "very peaceful and in a good place. I feel good, comfortable and clear."

She also spoke of trying to re-establish her reputation and career. "I do think I've gotten some respect back. At least I hope so." Tatum, 44, spoke of working well into her 60s "like Vanessa Redgrave."

I have written about Tatum often. I never thought she should have won that Oscar for Paper Moon, at age 10. (Child actors are too special for such competition.) And to then be subjected to all that "Hollywood glamour." Her parents, actress Joanna Moore and actor Ryan O'Neal, fell short as ideal role models. Moore was abusive, neglectful and drug-addicted. Ryan was an overpowering bully, and less interested in raising a daughter (or his sons) than pursuing his private life - mostly with Farrah Fawcett, with whom Tatum had an acrimonious relationship before she grew up. They reconciled in the wake of Farrah's battle with cancer. (A few years back, while working with Alicia Silverstone, Tatum's famous pop said Alicia was the kind of daughter he wished he'd had. I have always liked Ryan but that cruel public statement was just too much!)

When Tatum married tennis ace John McEnroe, it seemed as if she was dealing with dear old dad all over again. She fell into drugs. The couple divorced and her children were taken from her. She has been up and down, recently up, with her role in Rescue Me. But whenever I see her, I find so much pain in her face, even as she insists that things are improving.

With good will toward one who has had a tough time, let's hope this is just a slip backward. Drug addiction is an illness and here's hoping Tatum will get the help she needs. Given the acute circumstances of her childhood, Tatum has to be agonized, knowing the effect on her own three children.

Don't put your daughter on the stage Mrs. Spears ... Mrs. Lohan ... Mrs. Whoever You Are.

Not horsin' around

I see my old acquaintance Kelly Klein has decided to take her mania for horses to its logical conclusion.

The former wife of designer Calvin Klein is a well-known equestrian who graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She did a popular coffee table book on Pools, covering swimming "holes" around the world.

Now she has put together a beautiful work for Rizzoli. Herein is the equine photography of many famous people, as well as herself. She includes Helmut Newton, Bruce Webber, Steven Klein, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sheila Rock, Chris Makos, Richard Prince, Bob Richardson and Ellen von Unwerth.

This handsome volume costs $150 but is worth it for the horse lover you know for Christmas, a birthday or Father's Day coming up in a couple weeks.

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