Feature

Lyonne’s troubled ascent

Natasha Lyonne almost didn’t survive to adulthood, says Robert Simonson in The New York Times. At age 7, her parents turned her into a child actor, and she began her career on Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Later, she landed parts in several movies, and now, at 28,

Natasha Lyonne almost didn’t survive to adulthood, says Robert Simonson in The New York Times. At age 7, her parents turned her into a child actor, and she began her career on Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Later, she landed parts in several movies, and now, at 28, is appearing on Broadway. Along the way, she spent a good chunk of time in jail, hospitals, and rehab. “I definitely felt like I was on a mission,” she says, “and working was not high on my priority list.” Starting in 2001, Lyonne was arrested on a variety of charges, ranging from drunken driving to threatening her neighbor and his dog. Lyonne says she was addicted to “opiates,” a habit that landed her in the intensive care unit two years ago with hepatitis C and a host of other ailments. “I remember being in pain a lot. I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, could hardly talk, could barely walk.” But now she’s clean and determined to stay that way. “I didn’t die, so I decided to live, basically. Obviously it’s complicated, but it’s also very simple. I wasn’t dead at 27, so I might as well be 30. You’re already in it. You may as well be in a rocking chair some day eating a lobster club.”

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