Nick Stahl, the actor best known for his role as John Connor in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, has been reported missing by his estranged wife, Rose. Rose Stahl filed a missing persons report with the Los Angeles Police Department on Monday, May 14, 2012, five days after last having contact with her husband. The 32 year-old actor has had a long history of substance abuse and was known to frequent Skid Row, an area of Los Angeles popular with drug dealers and their clientele. It is suspected that drugs may have played a role in his disappearance, and LAPD investigators are combing the area for possible information. Foul play is not suspected.
According to People magazine, Mrs. Stahl filed a court petition in February 2012 requesting child support for the couple’s two-year old daughter, Marlo. She also asked that her husband be restricted to eight hours of supervised visitations per-week and that Mr. Stahl be required to take and pass a drug test within 24 hours of each visit. In those papers, Rose Stahl stated that the couple had been separated since January 2012. That same month, the actor was arrested and spent a day in jail for defrauding a taxi driver after failing to pay for a long cab ride to Hollywood.
Stahl rose to fame in 2003 with his role in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, ten years after landing his breakthrough role in the Mel Gibson vehicle The Man without a Face. In 2001, he co-starred with Brad Renfro in the indie drama Bully. When the 25 year-old Renfro was found dead of a heroin overdose in January 2008, exactly one week before the death of Heath Ledger from prescription drugs, Stahl told The San Francisco Chronicle he had seen warning signs of substance abuse problems in his co-star during filming, stating that “there was a lot of recreational drinking and things like that going on during the shoot. For someone like me, who has been through drugs and drinking, it was pretty easy to spot that Brad had problems.”
This appears to be the latest in a long series of incidents attributed to the so-called “John Connor Curse,” also known as the “Terminator Curse.” Nick Stahl was the second actor to portray the John Connor character in the Terminator series of films and television shows. Most of the other actors to take on the role have struggled with drug, alcohol, and legal problems, both before and after playing the John Connor character.
The first actor to inhabit the role was Edward Furlong, who has had a long history of substance abuse and violent behavior. In 2001, he was found lying in a pool of his own vomit following a suspected heroin overdose. Later that year he was arrested twice in one day: first for driving without a license, four hours later for driving under the influence. In 2004, following stints in rehab, Furlong was arrested for public intoxication in a Kentucky Meijier supercenter. Most recently, he was taken into custody in January 2011 just hours after attending the premiere of The Green Hornet, which was to be his comeback film. A judge ruled he had violated a restraining order against his estranged wife Rachael Kneeland, who stated in court documents that her husband’s drug use had “escalated along with attacking me and threatening my life.”
Thomas Dekker, who took on the role in the television spinoff of the Terminator series that aired from 2008 to 2009, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after striking a 17 year-old bicyclist with his car. After initially being placed on $10,000 bail and charged with two misdemeanor counts of DUI, Dekker was placed on two years informal probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine and take a 12-hour alcohol education class when it was determined the bicyclist was at fault.
The third actor to portray John Connor in the film franchise was Christian Bale, star of Terminator: Salvation and the lone actor in that role of the series who seems to have escaped the supposed curse. In February 2009, three months before the movie’s release, controversy surrounding Bale’s behavior on the set during filming erupted when an audio recording of a tirade surfaced in February 2009. Bale later apologized, telling KROQ’s Kevin & Bean that he “acted like a punk.” The controversy was not enough to propel the film to the commercial heights of its three predecessors, becoming the lone installment in the Terminator franchise to disappoint at the box office.
In his most recent film, 388 Arletta Avenue, Stahl played a man searching for his missing wife.