I was watching a rerun of Friends last night and saw Max Wright giving Rachel the third degree about her job, and wondered what ever happened to one of my favorite TV dads of the 80s?
From 1986 to 2004 Max Wright played Willie Tanner on the hit TV series ALF, and he soon rose to be one of our favorite TV dads of the 80s. He had a powerful career when we were growing up, including roles in Who's The Boss, Ghostwriter and Murphy Brown.
But after 2005 Wright seemed to have disappeared from acting. So where has his life taken him? Well the answer to that takes us down a deep, dark hole.
Wright's life has come a long way in two decades, from the bright lights of Hollywood.
While ALF may have brought him his greatest fame, he has admitted to hating the sitcom that he described as "grueling and idiosyncratic."
"I was hugely eager to have it over with," he said, although he admitted that ALF "brought people a lot of joy."
The unsuspecting show about a furry, candy-eating alien named Gordon Shumway, was a surprising hit for the NBC network. It became the fifth most-watched show on TV during its second season.
What was even more surprising was the cancellation of the comedy in its fourth season. Reported dissatisfaction from most of the actors and declining ratings, caused the network to pull the series we once loved.
The 74-year-old actor has been pictured outside of his modest California apartment looking in pretty rough shape.
Since his career peak, he has lead a challenging life that included cancer, legal issues and even a sex and drugs scandal. A far cry from how we remember him on TV.
Wright reportedly was held captive by alcoholism and drugs, which caused him to become a shut-in who spent his days watching TV and smoking on his balcony of his LA home.
"Max has become a shadow of his former self," a source shared to Radar. "It's sad what's happened."
Only five years after ALF ended, in 1995, the actor was diagnosed with lymphoma.
In the April 2001 issue of the National Enquirer, Wright was reportedly part of a drug-fueled sex video with two other men. That's when his former male lover came forward saying that he and the actor would pick up homeless men twice a week and pay them $100 for sex. Drugs were typically involved, which appeared in the video.
“We would meet twice a week and pick up homeless guys. He did drugs with me and the homeless men. Max even agreed to let me film two gay sex videos with him. They’re with homeless guys we picked up on the street,” the former lover reported.
With his life clearly spinning out of control, he was arrested in 2000 and 2003 for drunk driving.
In an effort to bring his life back on track, he entered a rehab program.
In 2003, Wright vowed that he was drug-free.
Even through all of these life events, he remained married to his wife of 50 years, Linda. The couple has two adult children together, Ben and Daisy. In 2003, Linda apparently had enough and they dissolved their relationship.
“Max appears completely alone,” a neighbor told The ENQUIRER. “He seldom leaves his place, except to take out the trash or pick up groceries. You’d have no idea he was once a big star on prime-time TV.”
“He still wears his trademark spectacles, but he’s withered away and thin, and sometimes wears the same outfit for a few days in a row!”
"He's pretty much an outcast," a source told Radar.