Top 10 Infamous Hollywood Drunks
#10 - Mel Gibson [1958- ]
Mel Gibson [1958- ] Image

Gibson catapulted into the list of infamous Hollywood drunks with his July 28, 2006, DUI arrest, complete with anti-Semitic remarks. During a TV interview later that year, Gibson spoke about his struggles with alcohol abuse over the years: "The risk of everything—life, limb, family—is not enough to keep you from it . . . sometimes you need a cold bucket of water in the face to sort of snap to because you're dealing with a sort of a malady of the soul, an obsession of the mind and a physical allergy. And some people need a big tap on the shoulder. In my case, public humiliation on a global scale seems to be what was required . . ."

#09 - Peter O'Toole [1932- ]
Peter O'Toole [1932- ] Image

"Let us drink, gentlemen. Let us drink, till we roll under the table in vomit and oblivion."
—Peter O'Toole as Henry II in Becket [1964], which costarred another infamous Hollywood drunk, Richard Burton (see No. 5)

#08 - William Holden [1918-81]
William Holden [1918-81] Image

After an extended drinking bout, Holden (Sunset Boulevard) fell down, hit his head on an end table and bled to death at his apartment in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 63.

#07 - Spencer Tracy [1900-1967]
Spencer Tracy [1900-1967] Image

Spencer Tracy with Ernest and Mary Hemingway at the El Floridita in Havana, Cuba, ca. 1955.

#06 - Fatty Arbuckle [1887-1933]
Fatty Arbuckle [1887-1933] Image

After a boozy all-night revel in 1921, silent film comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was accused of raping and murdering a young model named Virginia Rappe. Rumor has it that an impotent Arbuckle ravaged Rappe with a Coke bottle and she died of internal injuries (although many film historians believe Arbuckle was totally innocent of all charges). Although he was acquitted after three trials, the rotund actor (320 pounds, give or take 20 pounds) kissed his career goodbye, started drinking heavily and died in 1933 at the age of 46.

#05 - Richard Burton [1925-84]
Richard Burton [1925-84] Image

"I have to think hard to name an interesting man who does not drink."
—Richard Burton

#04 - John Barrymore [1882-1942]
John Barrymore [1882-1942] Image

"John Barrymore was a serious actor who did a great deal of research for all his parts, until, I guess, he was around 50. Then he started drinking heavily . . . So he drank himself to death. It took him 10 years."
—John Carradine

#03 - Errol Flynn [1909-59]
Errol Flynn [1909-59] Image

Flynn died of a "heart attack" in Vancouver, Canada, after years of alcohol abuse. According to rumor, he was banging his teenage lover at the time. "The autopsy revealed a combination of body-ravaging afflictions, which caused the coroner to believe he was examining the body of a much older man," according to Ephraim Katz in The Film Encyclopedia. Flynn’s drinking buddies placed six bottles of whiskey in his casket.

#02 - Humphrey Bogart [1899-1957] - READERS' CHOICE!
Humphrey Bogart [1899-1957] - READERS' CHOICE! Image

“The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
—Humphrey Bogart

#01 - W. C. Fields [1880-1946]
W. C. Fields [1880-1946] Image

"I exercise extreme self control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast."
—W. C. Fields

User Comments - Add a Comment
Jean - 2008-01-11 21:07:44
Not to quibble, but Dean Martin wasn't a drunk, he just did a great "drunk" act. Johnny Carson said once that the "bottle of whiskey" that Dino used in his act was indeed warm tea.
Old Geezer - 2008-01-12 21:21:51
Spencer Tracy?
Darrell Kern - 2008-01-15 23:04:22
The actor Rock Hudson drank more than three bottles of scotch in one night. I saw it and was more than impressed!
DT twins - 2008-01-19 12:27:59
What the hell happened to Robert Mitchum? Shouldn't he be near the top of the list? Or is it because he also smoked the occasional spliff back in the day? But it was always the alcohol that got him into fisticuffs. And more recently, how about Harry Dean Stanton?
dunky mc drunkington - 2008-04-12 22:16:52
who are these people?
Kyle Leighton - 2008-10-03 07:59:38

Wasn't it originally WC Fields who said the number 2 quote? Not Dean Martin?

Rachael - 2008-10-04 15:13:35

What about Humphrey Bogart? Didn't he allegedly say "I should never have switched from scotch to martinis"?

Noalie - 2009-01-09 15:41:50

They're all men? Couldn't u find any woman at all, or is your mind so sexist that you automaticaly think "malin" when thinking "alcoholic"?

Sammie - 2010-05-03 17:15:19

Humphrey Bogart should be near the top, let alone in the list. That guy died from drinking/smoking.

chancevought - 2010-06-28 06:43:48

Robert Mitchum, Rock Hudson, Peter O'Toole and Richard Harris all quit before they died. I don't think Deano was a drunk, but Bogart is a great pick. I believe "drinking to death" would give us a proper list. Bogart, Oliver Reed, Lee Marvin and Orson Welles for your consideration.

Jill - 2011-05-28 13:11:24

Dean Martin wasn't a drunk. His name should be replaced with Oliver Reed's. Sweet when sober, dangerous when drunk.

eMuse - 2012-04-04 20:12:14
Keaton's drinking problem only lasted a short time (for an alcoholic). Some say it was only a year and half until he was able to quit. He rarely had problems with alcohol after that.
vic K. - 2012-11-10 06:03:31

Robert Shaw

Anonymous - 2012-11-26 05:03:34

Errol Flynn wasn't banging a teenager when he died. He was visiting a doctor in Vancouver because of severe back pain. He wanted to be able to fly back to L.A., and was in too much pain to fly. The doctor gave him a shot of demerol and he collapsed shortly after, and couldn't be revived.

HELLO?! - 2012-12-05 07:29:25

Oliver Reed could drink ALL OF THEM COMBINED under the table. He should be #1 and isn't even on the list.

Susanna Dolan - 2012-12-07 23:19:58

Patrick Swayze and Michael Landon were drunks also. Perhaps both would have lived longer had they not inbibed so much alcohol.

alyo - 2013-07-16 06:03:20

You could also add Lon Chaney Jr, who once botched a "Frankenstein" teleplay because he got bombed and mistook the live broadcast for a dress rehearsal. During the early '40's, Chaney, Broderick Crawford and Andy Devine would all pound down copious amounts of booze and have 'chin kicking' contests. A forgot drunken actor is early talkies star Lee Tracy, who caused an international incident in 1934 when he drunkenly urinated from his hotel balcony onto passersby while filming in Mexico. Around that time, 1920's heartthrob John Gilbert was making his last films, his life and career destroyed partially by boozing; his final film role featured him as a writer who can't stop drinking. Aside from Fields and Keaton, other comics who took to the bottle include Bud Abbott, Stan Laurel, Leon Errol, and Curly Howard (of the Three Stooges).

Ernie - 2013-09-23 02:38:11

What? No Lee Marvin?????

Sam - 2013-10-24 12:54:22

Louise Brooks

Gedeon... - 2014-05-12 18:14:54

Ted Healy..His drinking was the main reason Shemp Howard, left the act..Healy's premature death was the result of a fight during a bender..

Liz - 2014-09-24 20:25:11

Thought perhaps not as infamous as some of the others mentioned, right now, I can't think of a sadder Hollywood alcoholic than Jan Michael Vincent.

rolland amos - 2015-04-15 16:52:28

(from one of Flynn's bios). Flynn (who lived together with John Barrymore) chastised B. for pissing out the window and frequently missing the window. The next time he had to go, B. didn't piss out the window, he pissed into the fireplace.

ClaudeMilanese - 2015-05-05 04:45:49

Who left out David Hasselhoff? The Hoff's binge drinking is legendary since the late '70s and went straight on untill today. While filming some episodes of Baywatch they literally had to save him from falling asleep and drowing because of horrid hangovers.

[Editor's Note: Don't hassle the Hoff!]

Anonymous - 2015-10-29 04:52:14

Ummm. Richard Harris anyone?

Anonymous - 2018-01-22 00:27:37
Errol Flynn was a massive drinker as was his hero Douglas Fairbanks