The Top 10 Celebrities Who Have Done Hard Time
5. James Brown – Three Years
Source: Smoking Gun
The Godfather of Soul may have found his voice singing in church, but that didn’t mean he was a saint. The singer had a long history of run-ins with the law. At age 16 he was arrested for theft and spent three years in reform school. Brown found himself locked up again in 1988 after a bizarre crime spree that can only be described as his inner demons getting the better of him. On September 24 he stormed into an insurance seminar high on PCP and carrying a shotgun. This resulted in a half-hour police chase that saw Brown drive across state lines from Georgia to South Carolina and back again. To end the chase police had to shoot out three of Brown’s tires. The “hardest working man in show business” was charged with failing to stop for a police officer and aggravated assault. He was sentenced to six and a half years in prison and ended up serving three years. In 2003 he was pardoned by the South Carolina parole board for his crime.
4. Don King – Four Years
Source: Smoking Gun
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
Though King has been accused of more crimes than the clients he allegedly (and routinely) steals from, the only legal miscue that earned him a stint in prison came in 1966. Following an earlier murder charge 12 years prior (which he beat by claiming self defense), King was found guilty of second degree murder for “stomping” an employee to death over a $600 dispute. The would-be promoting icon would only serve four years in prison, though, as his lawyer worked out a deal to have the murder charge altered to a non-negligent manslaughter conviction. His haircut, however, continues to go unpunished.
3. Danny Trejo – 11 Years
Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Some actors start out as child stars, Danny Trejo started out as a child drug dealer. The 66- year-old Hispanic tough man spent much of his youth in and out of jail. He was once a promising boxer with dreams of fighting professionally, but ended up spending much of the '60s serving time in some of America’s most notorious prisons. He did stints in Tracy Prison (1963-65), San Quentin State Prison (1965-68), and Soledad Prison (1968-69) on armed robbery charges and drug offenses. In a sense prison was the making of Trejo. He became the California State prison lightweight and welterweight champion and entered a 12 Step program. In 1985 while attending a recovering program he met a man who invited him to a film set, where he was offered a role as an extra. From there a career was born and he just recently nailed down the lead role in Machete.
2. Phil Spector – 19 Years
Photo: Handout/Getty Images
Phil Spector’s penchant for guns and rough housing women finally caught up with him when he was found guilty of murdering bit-part actress Lana Clarkson. His path to conviction was long and his numerous murder trials where a media sensation and one of the biggest celebrity criminal cases in the last 10 years. Spector’s first television trial ended in a mistrial because of a hung jury. His second ended with Spector being sentenced to 19 years hard time. The legendary music producer is currently serving time in the notorious Corcoran State Prison, where fellow inmates include Charles Manson. Spector has already become a victim of prison brutality and was severely beaten early this year. The assault left him with a bruised nose, black eye, and some missing teeth. Obviously someone didn’t take kindly to his array of big wigs.
1. O.J. Simpson – 33 Years
Photo: Handout/Getty Images
Karma finally caught up with The Juice. While once known as “that guy who literally got away with murder” O.J. Simpson finally got his just desserts and ended up in lockup. While acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1995, a cloud of suspicion formed over the NFL star that never dissipated. Simpson was later found responsible for the pair’s wrongful death in a 1997 civil suit. A 2006 book he wrote titled If I Did It didn’t help his reputation. With all that, none would have expected a botched armed robbery to be Simpson’s undoing, but it was and it was spectacular.
In 2007 O.J. led a team of petty armed criminals as they stormed a Las Vegas hotel room in search of sports memorabilia which Simpson claimed to be his. The owner of the memorabilia said likewise. O.J. was charged with multiple felonies, including criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and using a deadly weapon. Members of his so-called gang quickly turned on him and testified against him. Simpson ended up being found guilty of all 12 charges and sentenced to a whopping 33 years in prison. Ironically, O.J. received his sentence 13 years to the day he was acquitted of killing Nicole and Ronald (I think someone was trying to tell him something). O.J is currently serving his time in the Lovelock Correctional Center where he is known as inmate #1027820. He will be eligible for parole after serving about 9 years.