Evidently, all the world’s a stage for actor Fred Willard, even for what should be the most private moments.
Taking a page from the Pee Wee Herman playbook, Willard, the 72-year-old actor, was arrested on Wednesday evening for allegedly engaging in a lewd act in a Hollywood adult theatre. He was taken to a Los Angeles Police Department and released shortly after.
Willard is known primarily for his comedic roles in “Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy,” Christopher Guest films, such as “A Mighty Wind” and “Best in Show,” numerous televisions series, and voice-overs for television advertisements. According to the Internet Movie Database, Willard is rumored to be in pre-production of the appropriately titled film, “The Yank.”
Whether celebrities are accused of soliciting sex acts from massage parlor employees, prostitutes on Hollywood Boulevard, or spending “quality time” alone in a public theater, when it comes to matters of the heart (or lower down) famous people have the same desires and vices as the rest of us.
Or do they? In the age of Internet when these acts could easily be conducted much more privately, is the draw of the spotlight just too bright for these moths? With the proliferation paparazzi, celebrity gossip sites like TMZ and Perez Hilton, celebrities SHOULD know better. Perhaps the danger of being caught is part of the game for those who live their lives in the public eye.
When Paul Reubens, the actor famous for his role as children’s TV show host Pee Wee Herman, was arrested in 1991 for exposing himself in an adult theater, the young star saw his career plummet. Over the last 20 years, he made cameo appearances, animation voices and has reprised his role as Pee Wee on stage for an albeit much more mature audience. Reubens’ transgressions happened before the era of widespread Internet penetration. So, what’s Willard’s excuse?
Perhaps a little self love in a dark room won’t be as taboo in the 21st century as it was for Reubens. At his age, what does Fred Willard have to lose? A TV commercial deal or two? Maybe audiences will be more forgiving to a more established, older actor, or maybe they will just be grossed out, and move on to the next bit of celebrity gossip. And again, maybe they will just wonder, “Hasn’t Fred Willard heard of the Internet?”
Follow Elise Rambaud Marrion on Twitter @emarrion_cmn.