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But Wald stood out in the crowd for his staggering cocaine habit.Hot-tempered and prone to fisticuffs, Wald told me he once cold-cocked Rod Stewart in a hotel lobby in Hawaii because Stewart had trashed the room that Wald was waiting to occupy.So there was a sort of lack of reality, shall we say? [Editor's note: Through his rep, Crosby disputes several elements of Wald's account, particularly the alleged events in Europe, and says the correct version is in his memoirs.] [pagebreak] THE CRASH In December 1985, I went to Stallone's wedding to Brigitte Nielsen, and I actually went on his honeymoon to Hawaii with him, came back, and two weeks later overdosed on Jan. I was supposed to have breakfast with Ali Mac Graw at Patrick's Roadhouse, and my son came in to wake me up and tell me I was going to be late. I had an infection behind my eyes -- you can see the scars where they literally had to remove the eyes to get at the infection. The first two weeks, I laid on top of the bed so I didn't have to make it.I had pus the size of a fist behind my eye, just about to eat my brain. When speakers talked about being sober, I thought, "How boring." Mary Tyler Moore's mother was there, and Mary came to visit her.When Wald and Reddy split in 1983, Wald's massive cocaine use was cited as one of the primary causes, and their vicious custody fight over their then-10-year-old son made the cover of magazine.Among other things, Wald was accused of punching Reddy's boyfriend at the time and attempting to run him over in a silver Maserati.I actually woke up in time to see the Challenger explode, that's the first thing I remember. I remember Jane Fonda coming over -- I think she was doing needlepoint or something -- she came over with her son Troy, who was about my son's age, about 11 years old, and I'm laying in the bed pontificating to him about how disgusting doing drugs is, and Jane said to me, "Want to see disgusting? They knew I smoked grass, but I wasn't doing coke in front of them." And as soon as I said that, my counselor Dan pulled out a letter that my older daughter had written, endorsed by my son, about how they knew I was getting high.I was telling them I had powdered sugar from doughnuts on my nose, or whatever. After two weeks, Betty Ford called me in, and I said, "I've only got two weeks left." She said, "You're going to start your four weeks now." I was f---ing furious. " She said, "Because you're suffering from terminal uniqueness." I went back to my room and thought about it.

In Wald's heyday, drug abuse was an accepted and arguably essential lubricant to doing business in Hollywood, where the boundary between work and play often blurs.

THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL I guess it started about the end of '84 -- it started to go negative on me. I remember Jim [Brolin] was doing the show , and we had a meeting set with Aaron Spelling. I was too busy getting high, and getting women, and not paying attention to business.

I got there an hour late, and Aaron was upset, and I got in his face: "I don't give a shit! The summer of '85 we did a European tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash, and David was really at his -- that whole year before we were sort of hiding him in different hotels and stuff, because there were warrants everywhere for him -- for drugs, for gun possession, for everything.

(He's also been happily married to wife Deborah for more than 20 years.) At 67, he is now CEO of Aria Multimedia Entertainment, which has produced outsized coffee-table books on Michael Jackson and hip-hop. We sent him over to [producer] George Schlatter, George put him on and they got thousands of pieces of mail. Just about anybody else -- senators, governors -- it didn't matter.

For many years now, I have exhorted Wald to write a memoir. We wound up with a deal at Caesars Palace for 60 grand a week. The only person I never got high near was [MCA chairman] Lew Wasserman. It was just very common to get up in the morning and get high. There would be 10 joints in the morning next to each breakfast plate, and for me, 3 grams of cocaine.

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