Is Charlie Sheen Insurable? His Career May Depend on It

Charlie SheenCharlie Sheen, whose bizarre antics have become the stuff of tabloid legend, may find his toughest audience may be in the insurance business, if he wants to work in Hollywood again.

The 45-year-old star of Two and a Half Men wants to restart production on the sitcom, which has been suspended for the season by CBS (CBS) because of his troubling behavior. Sheen has said he wants to do movies including Major League 3, a sequel to his hit 1989 comedy. He even mentioned to a TV interviewer that Sylvester Stallone wanted to do a movie with him. Whether Sheen can resurrect his faltering career may depend on something as mundane as an insurance physical.

Hollywood producers won't shoot a frame of film nor a second of video without insurance policies on their cast members in case they can't do their jobs because of accidental death, illness or injury. The coverage is critical given the huge amount of money that's sunk into a feature film or TV show. Insurance can cost as much as 2% of a production budget, with premiums that range from $35,000 to $250,000. Rates for TV stars are set at the start of each season.

Like other types of insurance, prices for premiums depend on the level of risk involved. Healthy actors are less expensive to insure than those like Sheen, whose lifestyle echoes the depravity of partiers of yesteryear such as Keith Richards and Caligula.

Worth the Trouble?

"Is Charlie Sheen insurable?" asks Dennis Reiff, owner of Reiff & Associates, a New York-based insurance brokerage that has served the entertainment industry for 50 years in an interview. "The answer is, probably yes."

Of course, producers will have to decide whether Sheen is worth the trouble despite his obvious talents. James G. Robinson -- CEO of Morgan Creek Productions -- recently told TMZ that he wouldn't stand for Sheen's antics if he gets hired for Major League 3, actually the fourth installment in the series. He speaks from experience having survived Lindsay Lohan's behavior on the movie Georgia Rule. Morgan Creek didn't respond to a request for comment.

Though Sheen's carrying on has raised eyebrows and the occasional call to the police, insurers are most concerned about whether his problems will affect his ability to work, which it usually has not. There were tabloid reports in January that he was partying in Las Vegas with porn stars instead of shooting his sitcom. The actor later went into rehab and has been carrying around drug test results that show he's clean, which he shows at every opportunity to TV interviewers.

Sheen would be asked by the doctor administering the physical exam for insurance what types of drugs -- both legal and illegal -- the actor is taking. For instance, a Sheen policy may include a high deductible or exclude certain types of claims related to illicit drugs, he says.

A Forgiving Place

Actors with a troubled past have at times had to agree to be watched by "babysitters" who are hired by the studios to make sure that the actor stays sober and shows up to work on time. Occasionally, these stars have had to place most of their salaries, except for the union minimums, in an escrow account to guarantee that they'll finish the production.

"That's typically the last option because actors don't like to do that," says Lorrie McNaught, vice president at Aon/Albert G. Ruben Insurance, adding that actors with issues like Sheen's are able to find work in Hollywood all the time. "Almost every artist that we run into has an issue. We run into that all day every day. There are people who have depression, bipolar disease. They have some kind of cancer."

Hollywood, indeed, can be a forgiving place. Robert Downey Jr.'s reputation was in tatters a few years ago because of his repeated arrests for drug abuse, but now that he has gotten sober, he's a big star. The same fate may await Sheen if he can get his act together, which is a big "if" since his latest ex-wife Brooke Mueller took out a restraining order against him and had their twin sons removed from his house.

One prod for Sheen to stay out of trouble may the potential for lower insurance rates, though that might not be much of an incentive these days for the troubled star.

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Anne Lawrence

I can't believe he's only 45! He looks twenty years older than that. Must be all the drugs, right? Man, he is disgusting!

January 30 2014 at 4:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With all the disasters going on in the world, is Charlie Sheen that important and the public is sick and tired of hearing about him and Lindsay Lohan. Cut it out and stop giving these people this type of coverage. It's insulting and outrageous that they deserve to be glorified because of their insanity and stupidity. Enough is enough!!!!!

March 12 2011 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Its a shame that another messed up Hollywood weirdo yet again grabs the headlines. While how many American soldiers lost thier lives this week without so much as a blurb in print. To bad Sheen cannot see his actions from this side. If he could he would realize that hes just another loud mouthed a-hole worthy only of a Jerry Springer episode. When the press and public get tired of his tantrums he will begin his "poor me" phase. Wake up and get a clue Charlie-your no one special.

March 11 2011 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is Charlie insurable? That's a good question.

On the one hand he's clearly not normal by any stretch of the imagination. On the other hand he still has a rare lucid moment, like when he told the press he was losing his mind today.

Froml an insurance company standpoint though, I'll bet they'd hesitate to insure anyone who admits he's a risk!

March 10 2011 at 9:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Walter Seltzer

I will bet dollars to donuts that if all news about Charlie Sheen is taken off the air and out of the newspaper for 7 days, within a month, nobody will remember who he is until news of his drug or alcohol related death.

March 10 2011 at 11:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I love the show but I have no sympathy for his BS. Sheen got paid millions to be himself on tv. If he cant keep from acting like a spoiled dumbass then lets get another show going. What writers will have to create?

March 09 2011 at 10:56 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Imagine Works

I agree no one can save him but himself & are people going to profit during his meltdown, you bet. It's a shame we idolize such an idiot. Hopefully his 15 minutes will be up soon. He really is just too much and if his family cared they would intervene with help as opposed to supporting his tyrants. Does Michael Jackson ring a bell.

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March 09 2011 at 9:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

He got phoked over.

March 09 2011 at 2:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

People, please: addiction is a very serious, deadly disease. There's nothing laughable about Sheen. No one can save him but himself & he has surrounded himself with enablers who just take, take, take. When he's dead everyone will think of ways they could've helped him. In the end, he is just a man - a very sick man who needs longterm treatment and lots of prayer....

March 08 2011 at 6:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I could care less what this freak does but, look at all the other people he put out of work. I'm not talking about the other actors its everyone else that works on the show. He could have kept his mouth shut. And he is replaceable.

March 08 2011 at 5:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply