Billy Gray is opening up about the downfall of his acting career. The former child star shot to fame after he was cast in the 1950s sitcom "Father Knows Best," but things came to an end in 1962, when he was arrested for possession of marijuana. In an interview with Fox News, Gray shared details of the pot bust and how it derailed his career.
"I was parking and a cop came to the window," Gray recalled of the incident. "He smelled an odor of marijuana and asked me to get out. He found a little bag of seeds and stems under the seat of my car. I got arrested for possession and pleaded nolo contendere, which is basically you're guilty without officially admitting your guilty somehow. I was sentenced to a prison term of between one and 10 years. I did 45 days."
Gray explained that the media had a field day with the bust, which tainted his image. He was painted as an "all-American boy turned dope fiend," which damaged his career. After Gray had served his time, he was dropped by his agent.
"I got a few acting jobs after that, but nothing interesting," he said of the years that ensued. "It was basically the end."
Speaking about how he coped with the media scrutiny, Gray admitted he was not too bothered by it.
"I've been getting high since I was 15, before 'Father Knows Best.' And I was getting loaded all the way through that. It didn't feel like a big deal," he said. "I didn't feel like I was doing anything wrong. I wasn't embarrassed or ashamed of it or anything. But being known as the all-American boy dope fiend certainly hurt my career. And I guess I could understand why it did at the time."
In a July interview with Next Avenue, Gray admitted he had grown tired of playing the character of Bud in "Father Knows Best." He had been typecast and was not receiving offers for any other parts except ones similar to that role.
Looking back, Gray admitted the entire ordeal was a blessing in disguise. After his acting career, the star became a Class A Speedway motorcycle racer. He pursued this from 1970 to 1995 and did not regret any second of it.
"It also opened up a whole other chapter in my life," he told Fox News of his arrest. "And I don't think that would have happened if I didn't go through that first."
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