Lohan’s arrest gives Hollywood a headache

Times Staff Writers

Johnny Grant, the longtime Hollywood showman and Tinseltown’s unofficial mayor, has seen a lot of star antics over the decades.

But from his penthouse apartment atop the trendy Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Grant, 84, said he’s not happy about what he’s seeing today -- especially amid investigations focusing on underage starlets partying at Hollywood hot spots.

“They’re out of hand today,” Grant said. “They used to be much more discreet. Studios used to control their images. Each studio had somebody who sat by the phone in case people got in trouble.”


So went the finger-pointing Wednesday on Hollywood Boulevard and the Sunset Strip as the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board was poised to investigate the case of actress Lindsay Lohan, who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after what tabloids and paparazzi said was a night of partying.

ABC spokesman John Carr said that after the Beverly Hills Police Department provides evidence that alcohol was in Lohan’s system, the agency would try to determine whether the 20-year-old actress was illegally served liquor. Police have only said that Lohan’s blood-alcohol level was over the .08 legal limit after her arrest early Saturday.

“ABC’s protocol is to look at where the alcohol came from,” Carr said. “From our standpoint, we have to regulate whoever sells alcohol. Underage drinking is a huge priority of ours.”

ABC is seeking a 15-day closure of the club Mood on Hollywood Boulevard after photos last year showed several underage stars, including Lohan and singer Jesse McCartney, partying there.

An attorney for Mood said the bar has become a scapegoat and that more focus should be given to how underage patrons get fake identifications and why their parents don’t better monitor their behavior.

“Put the blame where blame should be, with the minor,” said attorney Stephen Solomon, adding the club diligently checks the IDs of all young-looking patrons. “That’s the person you should worry about going after.”


Officials in West Hollywood said they hope the Lohan case serves as a cautionary tale for bars.

Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Prang said businesses roll the dice if they allow underage celebrities to drink in their establishments.

“Their cachet comes with having 18-year-old celebrities in their bar,” Prang said. “The problem is it’s a really bad business plan.”

Grant, a longtime L.A. television personality who for years ran the now-defunct Hollywood Christmas Parade, said he’s been shaking his head over Lohan and the behavior of other young celebrities.

“I really think that these young people should abide by the same laws as regular people and should not be able to get into these clubs just because they have a name,” Grant said. “Club owners are responsible too. There’s so many clubs on the boulevard and strip now catering to these young stars and starlets and giving them special favors. What they’re really doing is helping ruin their lives.”

Grant said he agrees with bar owners that parents -- or their handlers -- should supervise the teens. But in Hollywood that’s always been difficult, he acknowledged.


“It’s kind of hard when your youngster is bringing in as much money as a Lindsay Lohan,” he said.

Grant, whose penthouse is filled with photos of Hollywood stars and memorabilia, including pillows that belonged to Marilyn Monroe, offered advice to this generation of starlets.

“Maybe these young people should have a talk with Drew Barrymore. She was very public with her drinking and straightened herself out to become a star, a very smart woman and a talented producer.”