Troubled star of ‘Mean Girls’ battles her demons and critics in the public eye
Lindsay Lohan was born on 2nd July 1986 into a wealthy family. Her father, Michael, had inherited her grandfather’s multi-million dollar pasta enterprise after previously working as a trader on Wall Street. But her mother, Dina, was the likely inspiration behind Lindsay’s future career, she’d been a TV actress and a member of the Radio City Rockettes (the Rockettes were a well-known dance company in their native New York, famous for performing four shows a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for more than 50 years).
It came as no surprise that Lohan’s parents saw the ‘star potential’ in their red-haired daughter. At three, Lohan was signed to the Ford Modelling Agency (indeed, she was the first redhead to be signed by the agency) and appeared in more than 100 advertisements and campaigns for the likes of Calvin Klein and Abercrombie Kids.
Home life wasn’t so promising, a year after Lohan began with Ford, her father was sentenced to four years in prison for fraudulent trading.
At the age of seven she made her TV debut playing a piece of rubbish for a sketch on the ‘David Letterman Show’. By the time she was 10-years-old she had her first major part as Alexandra ‘Ali’ Fowler in the Emmy award-winning soap ‘Another World’.
In 1997, acclaimed director Nancy Myers gave Lohan her first big-screen break when she chose to cast her as estranged twin sisters in the Disney remake of ‘The Parent Trap’. Hayley Mills had set the benchmark for the role in the 1961 original but Lohan pulled it off. ‘The Parent Trap’ marked Lohan’s arrival and the success of the film led Disney to offer Lohan a three-film contract.
Despite having given up her part in ‘Another World’ to make ‘The Parent Trap’, Lohan also chose to turn down the role of Penny in ‘Inspector Gadget’ to attend Cold Spring Harbour junior and senior high schools where she excelled as a straight-A student, notably in science and maths.
After high school she starred in the Disney TV-channel films, ‘Life-Size’ (2000) and ‘Get a Clue’ (2002). She also appeared as Rose in the pilot episode of the short-lived comedy series ‘Bette’ (2000) featuring the world-famous Bette Midler. She resigned from the role when production moved from New York to Los Angeles.
Next came another big-budget Disney remake, this time stepping into a previous Jodie Foster role in ‘Freaky Friday’ (2003). The part of Anna Coleman saw Lohan swap bodies with her mother, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, in what transpired to be an international box office hit, breaking the $100 million mark. In parallel with her acting career, Lohan began to showcase her singing talents. In 2002, she was signed to a five-album deal by Estefan Enterprises (owned by Gloria Estefan’s husband, Emilio Jnr), and sang the closing theme on the ‘Freaky Friday’ soundtrack, ‘Ultimate’.
In 2004, Lohan starred in two major films. The first, ‘Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen’ (the first non-remake script she’d undertaken) was reasonably successful but failed to set the critic’s alight.
Lohan’s first major starring role as Cady Heron in Paramount’s ‘Mean Girls’ was a box office smash, beating the personal record she’d set with ‘Freaky Friday’. The film took $128 million internationally and propelled Lohan onto the front cover of magazines worldwide.
Meanwhile, Michael Lohan was yet to see the end of his problems with the law. At the latter half of 2003, Lohan’s father faced charges of assault after punching a sanitation worker who had inadvertently parked his truck in his way and, by 2004, pleaded guilty to putting his brother-in-law in hospital after a fight at Dakota Lohan’s (Lindsay’s youngest sibling) communion party.
The same year, Michael Lohan was arrested for allegedly failing to pay a $3,800 hotel bill and in early February 2005 crashed his car into a utility pole -his vehicle wasn’t properly licensed and Lohan way over the alcohol limit. He eventually pleaded guilty to drink driving, attempted assault, aggravated harassment (for threatening another brother-in-law over the phone) and criminal contempt. It was requested that he be sent to drug rehabilitation rather than prison, but the plea was denied and Michael faced up to four more years in prison.
In 2005, Lohan reunited with Disney for ‘Herbie: Fully Loaded’, the fifth in the Herbie franchise. In the same year, Lohan’s musical career was getting some recognition. After signing a recording contract with Casablanca Records the previous year, Lohan made her debut album, ‘Speak’.
When ‘Herbie: Fully Loaded’ was released, ‘Speak’ was sitting high at number four in the charts, soon scoring Platinum status and establishing Lohan as a true cross-platform star. Lohan’s second album, ‘A Little More Personal’, didn’t quite live up to expectations and, after remaining in the chart at position 20, it soon fell out of the top 100. The video for the album’s first single, ‘Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father)’ was directed by Lohan and featured her little sister Ali.
In May 2006, Lohan starred in ‘Just My Luck’. The film wasn’t a success and only took $33 million worldwide. In June that year, Lohan put her acting skills to the test by taking a part that saw a departure from her previous teen roles. A ‘Prairie Home Companion’ directed by Oscar-nominated Robert Altman (Gosford Park) was received warmly by critics and audiences alike. Starring big names such as Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson, the film heralded a change of direction for Lohan.
To add weight to her new ‘grown-up’ roles, Lohan ended 2006 in the film ‘Bobby’ opposite Elijah Wood. Bobby, the fictional story of the lives of several people in the final hours before Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s life, featured an all-star cast that included Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore and Sharon Stone and went on to be nominated for a Best Picture award at the Golden Globes.
Despite Lohan’s successful career, she’s frequently made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Unsurprisingly, Lohan has been the subject of many gossip columns thanks to her wild behaviour. She got tongues wagging in 2005 when she suddenly lost a significant amount of weight, which she explained-away as “old-school working out.” In 2006, Lohan was snapped attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Los Angeles and was later reported to have checked into a rehabilitation clinic after a hefty spell of all-night partying.
Her next on-screen appearance was in ‘Chapter 27’, in which she played a John Lennon fan who makes friends with Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman. Next up was a role in the comedy drama, ‘Georgia Rule’, from director Garry Marshall of ‘Beaches’ and ‘Pretty Woman’ fame. Unfortunately for Lohan, the film wasn’t as commercially successful as the director’s previous hits.
In 2008, Lohan made an appearance on the small screen when she was cast as ‘Kimmy Keegan’, an old school friend of the show’s protagonist. At the time the actress said (in an interview with hollywoodtoday.net) that she was “having fun” on set and described the cast and crew as “great”, going on, “It’s nice to be at work, doing what I love to do!” But her run in the show came to an abrupt end amid unsubstantiated rumours that the star had been cut due to her on-set [mis]behaviour.
Her relationship with DJ Samantha Ronson in 2008 and 2009 generated more headlines than her work. When asked about her sexuality in an interview with Harpers Bazaar, the actress said that she would “maybe” describe herself as bisexual.
After starring in ‘Labor Pains’ (2009) and ‘Machete’ 2010, Lohan made headlines again in 2011 when she charged with the theft of a necklace, reported to have been stolen from a jewellery store. The charge was later knocked down to a misdemeanour.
In 2012 she appeared in Playboy prior to starring as Elizabeth Taylor in made-for-TV movie ‘Liz and Dick’ to poor critical reviews. Off screen there was more trouble when Lohan was sentenced to community service and rehabilitation for reckless driving.
In August 2013 her latest movie ‘The Canyons’ was released. Directed by Paul Schrader the low-budget erotic thriller received, generally, poor reviews but it wasn’t a complete disaster. Variety called her “very affecting” and Salon as “almost incandescent”.
Armed with some positives, can Lohan finally turn things around?