10 Actors/Characters Whose Performances Might Have Been Tainted by Steroids
A story came out last week in which Charlie Sheen admitted to taking steroids during the filming of Major League. Which really makes you wonder if that scene where Wild Thing goes into the manager’s office and flips out was really good acting or just a fit of roid rage?
The truth is, it doesn’t really matter if any of these actors took performance enhancing drugs, because it’s just a movie and the whole "purity of the game" angle that people like to bring up doesn’t apply.
But it made me wonder about other actors/characters in sports movies and which of their performances might have been “tainted” by the use of PED’s.
Let me make it clear that this is all for entertainment purposes, not all of these actors have admitted to using steroids, and a few of these people are on the list based on the characters they play being “juiced” more so than the actor himself actually being on steroids.
10. Will Smith as Muhammad Ali in Ali
I'd like to see that guy from the basketball court try to put Will in an airplane spin nowadays.
I'm a Baaaaaadddd Mannnnn!!! That's right folks, I'm coming out swinging with one of the biggest names in Hollywood playing one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Now I’ve got to admit that it was a tough call on whether to put this one on the list. I mean it’s a story about Muhammad Ali, who was never suspected of being on steroids. Also, Will Smith has such a clean-cut good guy image that most people would never throw any allegations his way.
But the guy did put on 35 pounds of muscle for this role. I’m sure he worked out hard and put down his fair share of protein shakes and all but come on.
He might have been floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee but it wouldn’t surprise me if he had a little help from his friend with two H’s and a G.
Sorry, I know that was a bit of a stretch but in honor of Will’s rapping origins I wanted to slip a rhyme in there somewhere.
9. Omar Epps as Willie Mays Hayes in Major League 2
The old Willie Mays Hayes would never of worn that much jewelry
First off, can I just say that Omar Epps is quite the fictional athlete when you consider that he’s a four-sport star taking into account, The Program, Major League 2, Higher Learning (not necessarily a sports movie but he played a track star), and Love & Basketball.
But for the No. 9 spot I’m singling out his performance as Willie Mays Hayes in Major League 2. In the movie, he admits to teammates that he packed on about 20-25 pounds of muscle in the offseason to become a power hitter.
Willie also spent a lot of time hanging out with Jesse “The Body” Ventura while making the action packed movie Black Hammer and White Lightning. The same Jesse Ventura who has admitted to using steroids when he was a professional wrestler.
Those two facts combine to make me believe that while he may have hit like Mays and run like Hayes, he probably juiced like Bonds.
As far as Omar Epps is concerned, it seems unlikely that he’s used steroids.
8. Wesley Snipes as Bobby Rayburn in the Fan
Quick somebody get that man a bigger helmet, he's gonna need it.
I’m bringing it full circle with the original Willie Mays Hayes. Which reminds me of a quick tangent I'd like to go off on. I’ve always wondered whose version of Hayes would’ve had the better career, Snipes or Epps.
I think Snipes' version would’ve had a longer Kenny Lofton-like career, whereas Epps version reminds me of a Carlos Beltran or Alfonso Soriano who had a few big years but then fell off.
Anyways, in this case we’re talking about Wesley Snipes in The Fan. Where he plays Bobby Rayburn, a three-time MVP outfielder who plays for the San Francisco Giants, sound like anyone you might know?
In fact, I think Barry Bonds even complained when this movie came out that he thought the character was modeled after him.
The Bonds comparison is really all I need to bring up in terms of why it’s on this list. When it comes to Wesley Snipes himself, I could see him having used steroids. Comparing the young Snipes to the one we’ve seen in the Blade movies does raise some suspicion.
I’ll end on an interesting side note that’s not related to steroids. Did you know that Cal Ripken Jr. was Snipes’ personal batting instructor for The Fan?
7. Sam Horrigan as Spike Hammersmith in Little Giants
If Spike was juicing then what was the Icebox on?
Okay this one is a bit of a joke, I mean the kid was like 12 or 13 when he made the movie so I don’t think he was actually on steroids, but like I said earlier this is just for entertainment, so hear me out.
First off, Spike Hammersmith is the coolest name for a running back since Iron Head Hayward.
But in terms of possible foul play, I look to Spike’s father. When we first see Spike in the movie he is carrying a refrigerator on his back.
Then Spike’s dad tells the coach that he’s been grooming him to be a football player ever since he was born and massaging his calves every night with evaporated milk, which might be slang for the cream and the clear.
All in all, that story sounds a little funny to me, Annexation of Puerto Rico funny, if you know what I mean.
Well, Sam Horrigan is all grown up now and looks like your average joe, so I’m clearing him of any suspected steroid use.
6. Andrew Bryniarski as Steve Lattimer in The Program
They could've used this picture for steroids PSA's
You’ve probably never heard of this actor but he essentially plays the same insane looking football player in this movie and Any Given Sunday.
In The Program, his character was just a special teams player who shows up for the new season 35 pounds heavier with a new mean streak that results in a starting spot on defense.
They actually show him using steroids in the movie as well as several roid raging moments where he proceeds to smash multiple car windows with his head and later he almost rapes a college coed.
It had the makings of being a redemption story as he kicks the steroids and later comes back to the team, but after getting steamrolled by an opposing running back in one of the games he injects himself at halftime.
Oh well, like I said he basically plays the same character in Any Given Sunday so I guess it does have a happy ending because he ends up in the NFL.
Andrew Bryniarski is definitely a big dude, but he’s been that way in every movie of his that I’ve seen. So it’s hard for me to say whether the man has used steroids.
5. Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV
I must break you...just don't test my pee.
This one isn’t too hard to figure out. Hell, I think there were more scenes of Drago getting injected by a needle, than there were of him actually speaking a line.
Of course, if you were too listen to his wife in the movie, it had less to do with steroids and more to do with the fact that while growing up, he ate his spinach.
In real life, Dolph Lundgren was a kick-boxer and also served in the military, so he does have an athletic background that could account for his size and the shape that he was in.
Then again, the case against Dolph would be that he spent most of his time on Rocky IV training with Sylvester Stallone, who’s had his own run-ins with steroid allegations.
4. Mickey Rourke as Randy “The Ram” Robinson in The Wrestler
Its a bird, it's a plane, it's a formally washed up actor returning to prominence
Well if you’re going to be playing the part of a professional wrestler, you might as well go for the full effect and take some steroids.
I was amused to find out that the actor who sold “The Ram” steroids in the movie was busted about a year later for selling steroids in real life.
The ending of the movie is kind of left up to the viewers to decide what happens to Randy but spoiler alert, his heart probably blows up due to years of steroid abuse.
When filming began on the Wrestler, Mickey Rourke was 56 years old and managed to gain around 45 pounds of muscle for the role. In interviews about the film Rourke was quoted as saying that “When I’m a wrestler, I behave like a wrestler.”
It's a vague statement sure, but if you want to be a Method actor, then it only makes sense that Rourke did what he had to do to look the part.
3. Charlie Sheen as Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in Major League
We wear caps and sleeves in this league son
It was his recent interview with Sports Illustrated that gave me the idea for this list. In it, Sheen admits that he took steroids for six to eight weeks while filming Major League and that it helped his fastball go from 79 to 85 mph. I guess the fact that Charlie Sheen took drugs shouldn't come as a big surprise
I wonder if Rick Vaughn met his steroids supplier in the California Penal Leagues. It's a little disappointing though because I always thought it was the goofy glasses that gave Vaughn the extra edge to blow away Clu Haywood, not steroids.
By the way, did you know that Clu Haywood was played by ex Major Leaguer Pete Vuckovich? He was actually a pitcher with a total of 33 hits in his entire career without a single home-run, kind of diminishes the Wild Thing's big strikeout, doesn’t it?
Also in doing a little research for this piece I was interested to learn that Charlie Sheen is friends with ex-MLB’er and admitted steroid user, Lenny Dykstra.
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Ben Richards in the Running Man
Schwarzenegger, loosely translated, means back acne.
All right, I know it was a bit of a stretch to consider the Running Man as a sports movie but what would a list of suspected steroids using actors be without Arnold Schwarzenegger. While it wasn’t quite a sport, it was definitely a competition so Arnie’s on the list.
Actually, I could have used his 1977 film Pumping Iron about bodybuilding, which is technically a sport, but I’ve never actually seen the movie.
In the Running Man there are actually references to steroids but they're made by the game-show host who asks his bodyguard if steroids have made him deaf.
It comes back to haunt him when he looks to his bodyguard to protect him from Richards only to have his bodyguard walk away mentioning how he’s going to go score some steroids.
In real life, Arnold has admitted to using steroids back in his bodybuilding days, so I’m not going out on a limb by saying that he could easily have been on steroids during any of his movies.
1. Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in Rocky III and beyond
The Italian Stero..I mean Stallion, Rocky Balboa!!!
This one hurts a little being that I’m a Philly guy and Rocky is such an icon here. But I take some solace in the fact that I think his performance in the first two movies was pure.
However, by the time the third and especially the fourth movie rolled around I’ve got to believe he was on something. Maybe there was a little more to that Hulk Hogan appearance as Thunderlips than it just being an entertaining cameo.
This is one of the few cases where there is actually documented evidence against the actor, as Stallone was busted a few years back in Australia for importing steroids. In that case he was on a promotional tour for Rocky Balboa and customs officials found 48 vials of HGH in his luggage.
In the end, I really don’t care if any of these actors used any sort of performance enhancing drugs in these films. If it helped them feel like they looked the part and allowed them to give a better performance, then more power to them.