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Celebrity Kids Gone Bad: Natasha Lyonne

Natasha-Lyonne-Mugshot-thumbWho among us didn't enjoy the movie American Pie? At the time, I thought it was the funniest movie I had ever seen. Natasha Lyonne played the role of Jessica, the brash, sarcastic gal who seemed to accept that she'd always be the sidekick.

So what happened?  Where did she go?

First, the backstory.  Lyonne was born Natasha Braunstein in New York City and, as she and her family are Natasha-Lyonne-American-Pie Orthodox Jewish, lived in Israel for some time.  Lyonne began acting at an early age with her first role as "Opal" on Pee-wee's Playhouse. She appeared in the 1990 film A Man Called Sarge during the time her family lived in Israel.

 Lyonne is perhaps best known for her roles in the first two American Pie films as the sarcastic, funny sidekick, Jessica. She has also appeared in more than 30 other movies, including starring roles in the independent films Slums of Beverly Hills and But I'm a Cheerleader. Lyonne also appeared with Macaulay Culkin in Party Monster in 2003, a dramatization of the Michael Alig story. She also played a blind biologist in Blade: Trinity.

After an extended hiatus, Lyonne filmed Goyband in New York City with Adam Pascal, Amy Davidson, Cris Judd, Dean Edwards, Tibor Feldman, and Tovah Feldshuh.  In January 2008, she appeared in a Broadway play, Two Thousand Years.

Lyonne worked on the thriller 13, apparently appearing at the South By Southwest film festival this past March. Other cast members of 13 include Mickey Rourke, Ray Liotta and Jason Statham.  Lyonne is currently filming the dark comedy/horror film All About Evil in San Francisco.Natasha-Lyonne-Drugs

Has her star faded?  We shall see.  I hope not; I hope she can serve as a model for other troubled stars, but I'm not a moron.  I just hope the best for her after living such a wrecked life.

She has been linked most notably to once-troubled actor and fellow child star Edward Furlong for two  years. She was also good friends with actor Michael Rapaport, from whom she rented an apartment in New York City. That friendship didn't turn out so well, as he evicted her and wrote a letter to Jane Magazine describing the events that led up to his evicting Natasha.  

Rapaport says, "She really was one of the smartest, most insightful people I have ever known. She remained very peaceful until the fall of 2003. "Reports kept coming in - people were going in and out of the apartment, (one of the tenants) was telling me about the late-night parties, and 'random dudes'  sprawled out on her sofa at all times. (Another tenant) had a little dinner party. Natasha was screaming up at them throughout the party."

The complaints became so frequent, Rapaport flew from Los Angeles to confront his troubled tenant, but on arrival, he was so disgusted by what he saw, he evicted Lyonne from the apartment.

He continues, "I felt sick to my stomach the moment she touched me. Her body was so skinny.  [In the apartment, it] looked like a grenade had gone off. There was garbage everywhere. There were glasses smashed in the kitchen and standing water in the clogged tub with flies hovering over it.  I know that girl needs help, and I tried to help her--a lot of my friends did. But she screwed me. She can kiss my ass."

Natasha-lyonne-2009Friend Rufus Wainwright a song for her, "Natasha," which includes the lyrics, "Does anybody know how scary/ This is for you and is for me."

It was reported the actress went missing in 2005, but she was later found at a Manhattan hospital being treated for hepatitis C, a heart infection and a collapsed lung.  There have also been many claims she was receiving methadone treatment for a heroin addiction and that she'd been homeless after Rapaport evicted her.

 After all the drug use and legal trouble, plus getting clean, it seems that Lyonne is comfortably easing her way back into Hollywood. She returned to the screen in 2007, choosing independent films and theater work.  In a 2008 interview, three years sober Lyonne said, "It is kind of a wacky idea to put your child in business at six years old. I had to become coherent and a businesswoman at six. By 10, I was a jaded professional. By 16, my youth was over and my goose cooked. I don't think [my parents] knew better. It was a decision of my parents' built on hopeful ignorance."

With three years of sobriety under her belt, she has proven herself a fighter and a girl who is ready for whatever the world may throw at her. 

Happy endings rule when they're not annoying.

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Katie L.

I adore her. Slums of Beverly Hills is one of my favorite movies- she's so cute and funny in it. Hopefully the really crummy stuff is behind her for good. I also like a good ole' happy ending devoid of saccharine.


I loved her in Everyone Says I Love You.


Love her. So glad to hear she's clean and working again. Would love to see her in some new stuff. Have always adored her complexity and characters.


Love her. So glad to hear she's clean and working again. Would love to see her in some new stuff. Have always adored her complexity and characters.

Bitchin' Amy

I love second chances and am so glad that she is taking advantage of hers.


I've always really liked her, too. 'But I'm a Cheerleader' was great, high camp fun. I had wondered what happened to her too and didn't know anything about all of this, so thanks for the update. Let's hope she does take these hard lessons to heart, and stay sober.

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