Rayce Newman Interview
(The Hollywood Connection)
He's written the most explosive book on Hollywood to come along in some time.
We're talking of course about Author — Rayce Newman.
Rayce Newman is candid about what it takes for a man or woman to be successful
in today's Hollywood — and talent is rarely part of the equation.
Rayce Newman is an ex-cocaine dealer who sold drugs to the biggest of Hollywood's
He details his experiences in "The Hollywood Connection: The Drug Supplier
To The Stars Tells All" (Shapolsky Books).
We spoke with Rayce Newman about his book.
Q. Rayce, why does someone in Hollywood who has it all - the fame, the money,
the status, need drugs?
A. Well, first of all, in Hollywood, it's mainly a social thing. People ask
me all the time, "Rayce, don't you know anyone in Hollywood who doesn't
do drugs?" I say, "Look, if they didn't do drugs, they wouldn't be
out in a nightclub. They wouldn't be in my book. They wouldn't be partyin'." If
they didn't do drugs, they would be at home with their wife and kids, not goin'
Q. Are you saying then, that based on your own personal experience, many
or most Hollywood entertainers are constantly drunk or stoned? And the key
word here would be constantly.
A. Actually — no. A lot of people aren't wasted. (Jack) Nicholson was
wasted during "Batman." He'd be up all night. That's the time I spent
most with him. In fact, "The Joker" — the smile didn't even
have to be painted on most times. Basically, that's the way it was. A lot of
people aren't constantly stoned, but, when they get off work... They do
work hard. Actors, actresses, and singers do work hard. They get up at 5 in
the morning; get off at 8, 9, 10 at night. Ninety per cent of that time is
sitting around playing cards, doing nothing. It is hard work, sometimes seven
days a week. When actors and singers work hard, they work hard. When they play,
they play hard. That's true. They exceed everything.
Q. I would imagine that the hardest thing for you to do is probably something
that most people take for granted, and that's the simple enjoyment of a movie.
While most people can sit back and admire Jack Nicholson's performances and
acting ability, you probably remember the times you sold him cocaine. Am I
right about that?
A. Exactly. That's very true.
Q. That's terrible isn't it?
A. It is, especially on an Awards Show when I see everybody getting accolades.
I'm looked upon as scum for telling on my friends and these are the same people
that do drugs that the President is giving awards to. It's kind of funny, but
there's nothing you can do.
Q. You say it will be worth it (the writing of the book) if you can get the
attention of some people who might be going down a similar path of drugs.
Q. We've never had such a campaign against drugs as we've had in the last
few years, yet drug usage is higher than ever. Has this book gotten through
A. As a matter of fact it has. I've gotten letters from about 150 people
all over the world. On one occasion a wife wrote and said her husband was heavy
into coke and he bought the book for a totally different reason. But, after
he read the book, something clicked and he changed. I didn't equate it with
anything until I realized it happened after he read the book. She thanked me
for it. I got another letter from a father who said he read the book and he
bought the book for his daughter who wanted to be an actress and wanted
to go to Hollywood in a couple of months. After she read the book, she said, "Dad,
I don't want to go to Hollywood." He thanked me for that. Out of the 150
letters I’ve gotten, only one has been negative. There have been some
girls that have asked me to introduce them to Axl Rose (Guns 'n' Roses lead
singer). But, the majority have been an excellent feedback, which I'm surprised
at. I wouldn't have thought I'd get that good of a feedback. I'm realistic
and know that I wouldn't have changed no matter what book I read, no matter
what someone told me. But, this book has affected some people's life and that's
just the people I've heard from. And, that's what I wanted to do. In order
to sell the book, it has to be sensational. You read the book. There are underlying
messages why I was a jerk. This is how it happened. This is why I stopped.
This is what I thought at the time.
Q. Your book is really not sensational. It's pretty
much down to earth reporting. The only way someone could call it sensational
is if they don't believe what you've written.
Q. So over all, you wrote the book because you thought
you could change someone's life in a positive way.
A. That's one of the reasons. To be honest, that wasn’t the main reason.
The main reason was money. I'm not Faye Resnick and say, Nicole talked to me
from Heaven and say I needed to write this. I wrote the book for money. If
I could make as much money as I did being a busboy, I would've been a busboy.
I was hoping also it changes some peoples minds about these stars. These guys
aren't gods to be idolized and worshipped, they're humans who are good and
bad and they have faults and make mistakes just like you and I do. So you don't
want to be like these stars. Don't worship these stars. Take them for what
they are as humans. That's hopefully what I tried to get across.
Q. Is Rayce Newman basically a good guy who got mixed up with the wrong crowd
and made a mistake?
A. Well, I don't know if it was mixed up, something was wrong before I got
to Hollywood because I was doing drugs before I even got involved in the whole
party scene. I can't blame them. It's not their fault that I did drugs or sold
drugs. It's not my parents fault. They didn't raise me to do drugs. Something
happened in me which I still don't know. All I know is, now I choose not to
do it. I’ve been around it since then. I’ve been at parties where
people are doing coke and they say, “Oh shoot, there’s Rayce. He
doesn’t do it.” I say, “Look, I don’t care if you do
it. That doesn’t affect me. I choose not to do it. It’s up to you.
You gotta make your own decisions.” I don’t judge anybody now,
Q. I suppose you’re an outcast in Hollywood if you don’t
A. Actually, it’s very true. There are a lot of people now that say
they don’t do drugs that still do drugs. In the 80’s, nothing got
done without drugs in Hollywood. No movie got made. No contract got signed.
Hardly a car got sold if drugs weren’t involved. That’s just the
way it was back then when I was there for ten years, in the 80’s. Now
in the 90’s it’s changed, but it’s just gone underground.
It hasn’t stopped. In my book I say Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer,
prolific producers, who produced “Top Gun” and “Beverly Hills
Cop” have a party every Christmas and New Year’s at a chateau in
Aspen where drugs flow freely among Michael Douglas, Jack Nicholson, and everybody
who’s listed in the book. That’s one way to grease the wheels.
Jack Nicholson would be the first one to tell you he doesn’t care what
people think-----if he does it or not. He’s been doing it for 30 years.
He’ll be doing it for 30 more. It’s just Jack. When someone told
him about the book, he said, “What’d the kid write now?” He
just didn’t care. Another thing is the book has been out for awhile now
and I haven’t been sued. You know, if you sneeze wrong in Hollywood,
you can be sued.
Q. Maybe one of the reasons you haven't been sued is it would call even more
attention to your book and the people in it, resulting in more sales, which
I'm sure no one in the book wants.
A. That's true. But, that's not a reason why they don't sue. Julia Roberts
would be the most likely one to sue because she states to this day she's never
even tried coke. Just look who she hung out with, Kiefer Sutherland, Jason
Patric. She denies it to this day. She wouldn't care about the publicity for
the book. She would just want to clear her own name if it wasn't true. If someone
wants to clear their name, they would definitely take me to court. They're
guilty, there's no sense in filing a nuisance lawsuit which they do a lot of
times, just to rattle people. I was threatened with lawsuits. I got letters
from Don Henley's lawyers and publicists saying he'll sue if the book comes
out. I got his publicist on tape offering me $30,000 not to put his name in
Q. You talk about Hollywood actresses in your book. "Sharon Stone and
other big stars wouldn't be where they are today if they hadn't put out for
a certain well known producer. Everyone knows that's just how it's done here." In
all fairness to Sharon Stone, she was in her 30's before her big break came
along. The idea of using sex as a bargaining tool for overnight success
doesn't seem to square in this case.
A. This is the way it's done in Hollywood, she's a struggling actress. She's
been trying to get that big part for years and years and years. When you're
a struggling actress that's just what you do, and you end up with little
parts. A director says, "I'll get you your SAG Card." That means
you have to say a line in a movie, or "I can get you a bit part here or
there." No director for any amount of sex is going to put a woman in a
star part just because she's great in bed. He's going to put her in small parts
where she walks behind the actor or she says, "Hi, how are you?" or "I'll
take your order please." That's what Sharon Stone did. She's been in about
10 movies before that, so that's why. And, then she got lucky with this other
one. She knew the right people, and she got the good part.
Q. How about Jane Seymour, Meryl Streep, Meg Ryan, Jodi
Foster, and even Liz Taylor, you mean to tell me they all had to go the route
of the “Casting
A. No. When you look at those people they all started out as kids. Even Meryl
Streep had been acting. When I said that I meant mostly the sexy women. Did
you say Melanie Griffith?
A. I was gonna say she was in a kind of thing like Sharon Stone. She was
a Party Girl. When she met Don Johnson, they only had bit parts, when they
married the first time. They were on the party scene, just like I was, like
everybody else in 1981. Then, they got married. After they got divorced, Don
hit it big and then Melanie got a couple of good parts. Then they got re-married
again. But, they both still partied during that time. They both partied recently
until Don went to re-hab.
Q. So you're saying that both Don Johnson and Melanie
Griffith went the way of the "Casting Couch?'
A. I know Don Johnson admitted one time on a talk show that he'd been approached
by men producers which happens too. Melanie Griffith, certainly. I'm not just
saying "Casting Couch." I'm just saying you go out with the
producer or you go over to the producer's party and are "friendly" with
the producer's friends or with other people. Joel Silver produced "Die
Hard." He's a short, fat guy with a bald head. Ugly. But, he always has
prostitutes around him all the time and young starlets. That's what I
mean. That's the way it was done in the 80's. But, there are exceptions.
Q. Like Jodi Foster.
A. Yeah, because she started out so young. She was ingratiated in Hollywood
when she was four.
Q. And Meg Ryan?
A. I don't know much about her. I know there's a lot of stuff that she's
keeping secret, like her parents sexually abused her. But, I've never met Meg
Ryan, so I really couldn't comment. The only thing I could comment on is people
that I met. Remember, I cleaned up in '91, so all I can speak about is what
happened from '81 to '91, when I was actually there.
Q. You put something in your book that is rather personal about Sylvester
Stallone. How do you know that information is true?
A. It would've been different if I would've heard it from one person. I heard
it from one person who was my sister, because she dated Stallone. Then I heard
it from another girl. Then I brought it up to another girl. Stallone sleeps
around a lot, especially with prostitutes. He doesn't have to get involved
with them. He just sleeps with them and that's it. Then they see him at a club
or he's sitting at the Roxbury with 4 or 5 beautiful girls with a guy named
Billy Akins, who gets his girls for him. Then, I asked Jennifer Flavin who
was engaged to Stallone, because she's a friend of mine and was a party girl.
She told me what Stallone told her.
Q. I recall reading about one Hollywood cocaine dealer who dealt with celebrities,
but strictly on a referral basis only. He went out of his way not to call attention
to himself. He wore 3 piece suits and was chauffeured around in a limo. Isn't
that the way most coke dealers operation in Hollywood?
A. Yeah. They're businessmen. I know a bunch of them. Selling drugs was never
a business to me, it was a social thing. That's how doors opened for me. That's
how I could walk into any club and no matter how big the line was, I would
just walk up to the front, and the doorman would part the ropes for me, like
the Red Sea. I would say "Hi" to every table. I spend more than I
ever made doing drugs and I gave more drugs away. I was in it for the social
aspect. It filled the need to be wanted whether it was for drugs or whatever.
A lot of times I kidded myself and said these people really, really like me,
which they never did.
Q. Would you buy large quantities of coke, like kilos, or were you dealing
A. The most I ever bought at one time was 6 ounces. I didn't move kilos.
I carried two ounces on me at all times. I would usually sell one ounce and
keep one ounce to party with. I drink now, but I haven't done a drug in four
years. I don't think about it now. I don't put myself around it. I just choose
not to. I got a 15 month old daughter. I got another baby on the way. I'm at
a point in my life where unfortunately it took me 33 years to get here, and
ten years of almost killing myself. I'm here now, and I'm just gonna make the
best of it. I talk to kids. I gave a talk at a high school assembly for a thousand
kids two weeks ago. I say use me for a role model. I've been there. I'm not
your parents telling you what to do and telling you, you shouldn't do this.
They've never tried it. I lived it. Look, I could still be down there, but
I choose not to be. Hollywood is very forgiving. I could take an ounce down
there tomorrow and everybody would laugh about the book. But, I choose not
to and make it known to the kids that that's not where it's at.
Q. How come you had to go to jail for two years and eight months?
A. Well, I got arrested with four ounces of coke coming out of a nightclub.
Q. Didn't you have a high-powered attorney?
A. No. I didn't have any money. I always had a lot of cash on me. I always
leased cars. I took cars in on trade from people that owed me. One guy owed
me $4,000 so I used his jeep, 'til he paid me back which he never did. I never
had an apartment. I lived out of hotels. I had a penthouse one time, but it
was all leased furniture. So, I never owned anything of worth. I spent the
money as fast as I got it. Sometimes I would have $8,000 or $9,000 cash on
me. Two days later I wouldn't have any. I'd have to have someone front me some
cash 'til I got more. So when I got arrested with the four ounces that was
it. I did have a lawyer, but he wasn't a high-powered lawyer. It was a lawyer
from that town that I could afford and a friend of mine helped me afford. I
was coming out of a nightclub and someone told in the nightclub. I never got
arrested in Los Angeles, but the LAPD knew exactly what I was doing.
Q. How do you know that?
A. I've heard from a bunch of people. Two cop friends who were Stallone's
bodyguards told me. I was kidding 'em one time and they said, "Rayce,
we knew about you for two years now! The time I got arrested I was in Ventura,
showing off my 560 SL convertible I was driving, showing off the cash
in my pocket and the drugs I had. I was in a club and I was drunk. I was freely
giving it out, going into a bathroom with four or five people doing lines.
Someone called the police and said there's a guy named Rayce dealing drugs.
So as the club closes, I’m walking down the stairs to my car. Right before
I get into my car, four or five cop cars surround me, pull shotguns, and
say, "Get down on the ground." People are looking and I get up. They
search me and find four ounces in my jacket. They caught me. I got sentenced
to four years. I did two years, eight months at Chino. I got stabbed twice.
I got arrested in '86 and paroled in '88. I was supposed to go to my parole
officer, but I never did. I went back to Hollywood. The cocaine wasn't mine.
It was the Columbians. The Columbians were friends of mine. I had a lot of
great friends that were Columbians. They liked the fact that I was funny and
that I dealt to the stars. So, they would front me drugs and I would pay them
back. The four ounces I had was just fronted to me. So, I lost it. I thought
these Columbians would be mad. There was a bunch of times; I didn't have to
do any time. I could've just told or set these people up and I wouldn't have
had to do any time. But, I kept my mouth shut like I was supposed to. Then
I went to my friend Tony, the Columbian's house. His bodyguards brought me
in and sat me down. I said, "Tony, look. I am so sorry about the four
ounces." He said, "Hold on, hold on." He brought out a tray
and it had eight baggies on it. It was eight ounces of coke. He said, "This
is for you. You don't know how much we appreciate you not giving us up or not
saying anything to anybody. This is our gift to you. You don't owe us anything." I
said, "Thanks." I went back and. everybody said, "Where you
been for two years Rayce?" I said I was in Florida. They said, "Great.
Oh, by the way, you got anything?" I said as a matter of fact I do. Right
back in the scene. In fact, that's when I really started going full-force.
I rented a hotel suite at the Madrina Hotel for six months and partied there
every night. I ended up staying with Rick James for six months. In '91 I weighed
139 pounds and I'm 6' 3". Herbie Hancock played at my wedding. He never
did drugs. He's a Buddhist. He told me, "Rayce, you gotta clean your act
up. You're killing yourself. Look at yourself. You got too much to live for." So,
I went down to Florida with some friends of mine for a couple of months. I
didn't answer pagers. I didn't call anybody. I didn't let anybody know where
I was. I came back to Ventura and I had to make a choice. I didn't have any
money. No friends. My parents had disowned me. I had no family to stay
with. I slept on a couch behind Goodwill for three nights. So, I borrowed $100
off my brother, rented a room in a flea bag motel for $20 a night, and got
a job refinishing furniture. That was in '91, until it brought me up to
where I am today.
© Gary James All Rights Reserved