|Famous For: Beverly Hills Cop, Ruthless People, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Gremlins and The Santa Clause trilogy||Currently Known For: 2016 Arrest at Dallas Love Field Airport|
Currently Known For 2016 Arrest at Dallas Love Field Airport
“There was an embarrassing moment for me at LAX soon after Fast Times at Ridgemont High came out. Two guys recognized me and one of them started screaming really loudly, ‘Look, there’s the guy who was jerking off!’—you know, like they’d just caught me in the men’s room.” With over 75 acting credits to his name over the course of nearly four decades in Hollywood, Judge Reinhold might not be an A-list actor or one of Tinsel Town’s hottest leading men, but he is certainly among the most employed. Best known for his performances in Beverly Hills Cop, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and The Santa Clause trilogy, the 60-year-old Reinhold is still working today even after a 2016 arrest landed him in headlines and handcuffs when he was charged with disorderly conduct at Dallas Love Field Airport. Later releasing an apology, let’s take a look at Reinhold’s early career all the way up to his recent run-in with the law!
The son of a trial lawyer and a homemaker, Edward Ernest Reinhold Jr. was born on May 21, 1957 in Wilmington, Delaware where, at only two weeks old, he was quickly dubbed “Judge” by his father as a nod to the stern look on the newborn’s face. Spending much of his childhood in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Reinhold was in his teens when the family settled down in Martin County, Florida, which is where his interests in acting grew thanks to the school’s theater department. Expanding his talents by working in regional theaters like Burt Reynolds’ Dinner Theatre in Florida, Reinhold had little doubt that acting was his true passion as he enrolled at Mary Washington College and the North Carolina School of the Arts before heading to Los Angeles.
“I was just a step from getting on stage my sophomore year in high school and having this weird feeling that I was more comfortable on stage than I was in my normal life,” Reinhold recalled. “I was about 15, I’d still be acting on a street corner I guess if they didn’t have such a great outlet for it, that eventually led me to LA in 1979. The movie Animal House had just opened and did well the year before, so suddenly, there was the whole new genre of youth oriented comedies….”
Making his debut in an episode of Wonder Woman in 1979, Reinhold appeared in Stripes in 1980 and almost snagged a part in Caddyshack before he was cast in his first feature film—Fast Times at Ridgemont High—in 1982 alongside aspiring actors Nicolas Cage, Forest Whitaker and Sean Penn. The film became a cult classic and boosted Reinhold’s fame but even that was overshadowed by Sean Penn’s overnight stardom until Reinhold finally caught a major break in 1984 when he was cast opposite Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop. Waiting two years for stardom, however, wasn’t exactly easy as Reinhold admitted, “I had to wait another two years to do Beverly Hills Cop. It was a tough time because I expected more right away…”
If Fast Times didn’t put Reinhold on the map, Beverly Hills Cop certainly did. He added credits in Roadhouse 66, Head Office, Off Beat and Ruthless People before reprising his role as Detective Billy Rosewood in Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987 and Beverly Hills Cop III in 1994. The same year, he exchanged his detective’s badge for a holiday sweater when he joined Tim Allen in The Santa Clause, another role he would reprise in Santa Clause 2 in 2002 and Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause in 2006.
Although much of his credits were in film throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Reinhold also starred in a string of television films but his biggest primetime performance came in 1994 when he earned an Emmy Award nomination for his role as a “close talker” in an episode of Seinfeld. By then, Reinhold was well-known for being difficult to work with and finally realized that his growing alcoholism was interfering with his work. After wrapping up the film, Over Her Dead Body, Reinhold moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he took time to confront his past. “I’ve got to do something, I’ve got to turn around and confront what’s been pursuing me,” Reinhold said of his realization as he entered therapy and made only sporadic appearances on camera while spending the rest of his time confronting his demons.
“The hardest person for me to forgive was myself,” he admitted. “But when I looked at my life with compassion, I realized it was easier to forgive myself than I ever imagined… So, in the 90s, I didn’t chase after work. I worked to support myself. I worked for travel. Sometimes, I really wasn’t that concerned with the content of what I did. I refer to this among friends and I don’t mind saying it was my ‘Underground Film Period.’ And that doesn’t necessarily mean films that were avant-garde, but instead they were films that should have been buried. But this was a time of tremendous value and redemption for me. Santa Fe was a time of reckoning for me.”
Returning to film for The Santa Clause trilogy, the direct-to-video Beethoven sequels, Swing Vote, Dr. Doolittle: Million Dollar Mutts and My Many Sons, Reinhold settled into his career and no longer chased stardom. He ventured back to television with a recurring role in Easy Money and was thrilled in 2016 when he was invited to join the cast of The Detour, which marks his most recent acting credit. Of course, the 60-year-old has made plenty of headlines since then especially after he was arrested at Dallas Love Field Airport in 2016.
“I have to say that the past 48 hours have been the most unusual, hair-raising and regrettable two days of my life. At best, it’s a cautionary tale,” Reinhold said. “I successfully walked through the TSA scanner only to be told by a trainee that it looked like I had a mysterious shape in my backpack. This turned out to be a dense stack of DVD and CDs I always carry without incident. Two Dallas police officers came over and gave me every opportunity to keep my mouth shut. I didn’t comply with the pat down or their suggestions. This led to my arrest. I knew better, I just didn’t do the right thing.”
Having since issued an apology to Dallas Police, Reinhold hasn’t had any further incidents but he’s also been laying low over the last year, which leaves us to wonder if he’s considering retirement or if he’s taking another hiatus. It looks like we’ll just have to wait and see!