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The_Hollywood_Reporter__February_07_2018

Lenny Dykstra, the

Lenny Dykstra, the ex-con and former major league center fielder, relishes his wild man reputation, and relishes running his mouth about it even more. With roughly Pete Rose’s chance of making it to Cooperstown, he’ll talk about gobbling Human Growth Hormone with his cereal during his playing days just as easily as he’ll open up about how, in his mid-50s, he’s developed a post-prison side gig as a silverhaired gigolo to Beverly Hills grandmothers. But over lunch in a corner booth at The Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge, it’s another wild man, more famous and even more hard living, once his best buddy but with whom he no longer speaks, who has him gabbing. Dykstra explains that he believes his onetime friend Charlie Sheen is on the verge of being prosecuted, in a roundabout way, for knowingly spreading his HIV — and that the actor is under federal investigation for tax and wire fraud. What’s more, Dykstra claims to know this because it was his own semi-accidental whistle-blowing to the government that got the Internal Revenue Service sniffing around in the first place. “I don’t know why Charlie doesn’t try to leave the country,” he says. Dykstra, 54, nicknamed “Nails” decades ago for his relentlessness on the field — parts of five seasons with the New York Mets and eight with the Philadelphia Phillies — isn’t done. He goes on to float that Sheen was involved in the sudden death of a member of his own inner circle and beat his pregnant ex-fiancee. The 52-yearold Sheen, says Dykstra, is not simply the drug-addled clown the tabloids have been feasting on for years but is truly dangerous. Dykstra is going public now with this new info about Sheen, he says, because he’s genuinely sickened by the worst of the actor’s behavior. “I am not a saint, but I will not tolerate a man beating a woman,” he says. Still, under questioning, another motive emerges. Dykstra was friendly with Sheen for more than two decades, eventually joining his core clique. Now he’s excommunicated. His allegations against Sheen are telling; his willingness to share them even more so. The doomed bromance of Lenny and Charlie is a glimpse into the hedonistic lure of a real-life Entourage, only sadder, more desperate and ultimately damned — a cautionary tale about Hollywood alpha-male bonding at its most decadent and damaging. The industry has always been a magnet for guys like Dykstra: confident outsider-hustlers who see opportunity in its chaos, imagining that their accomplishments in other fields mean they must have the wits, guts and guile to conquer the gilded mayhem. But with Sheen and his all-star team of professional handlers, Nails met his match. Like his ex-pal, Dykstra has a public reputation so sullied that Newsweek referred to him as a “scumbag” after he had a Twitter dustup with Lena Dunham. Yet Nails, who speaks with a lisp due to a jailhouse beating that left him with many missing teeth, is self-aware enough of his notoriety (and so eager to instill confidence in his tale) that he insists on providing the password to his personal email account for full disclosure. “Look at whatever you want,” he says. “I’ve got nothing to hide.” Press Dykstra about his rationalization for selling out his former friend, and he’ll tell you that Sheen took his wise counsel for granted, ignored it and left him with nothing to show for it. No surprise, Dykstra is hoping to drum up interest in a possible stand-alone Sheen documentary project as well as a multipart docuseries about his own over-the-top life — he envisions it in the sweeping, kaleidoscopic terms of O.J.: Made in America. “There are so 1 many people to interview, from prison guards to my [private plane] pilots to pussy,” he says. If Dykstra’s actions mean Sheen gets burned, so be it. “Charlie is getting what he deserves,” he says. Sheen declined to speak for this story. But Dykstra doesn’t appear at all conflicted about publicly crossing his ex-friend, even one who once warned him to “watch your front side, watch your backside, watch both sides.” Dykstra takes a swig of Irish coffee, settles into his booth and alludes to his time at the federal penitentiary in Victorville, California. “When you’ve been where I’ve been, I’m not afraid of anything.” T he bad-boy pair first hung out when Dykstra’s Phillies were in Los Angeles playing the Dodgers during the 1993 season. Sheen — who dreamed of being a big leaguer as a kid and was then reprising his role as reliever Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn for Major League II — cold called him at the clubhouse with an invitation to his Malibu home. “I was a huge fan of Wall Street,” says Dykstra. “Turns out he’s a serious baseball guy: He has a cage lit up like a pro stadium. I told him, ‘Dude, you can hit!’ He could.” That first evening, Sheen uncorked a $3,000 bottle of red wine (“I spilled half”) and then, once “hammered,” showed off what Dykstra describes as his “legitimate fucking gunnery” and suggested they fire off automatic weapons together. Dykstra passed, but the two became buddies. “He’s funny, he’s smart, he knows about everything,” says Dykstra. Dykstra, who last played in the majors in 1996, retired at age 33 to a notoriously checkered business career. He was involved in car-wash dealerships, quick-lube centers, jet charters and stock picking. By 2008, he was worth $58 million. The following year, he 2 had filed for Chapter 11 and was reportedly forced to sell his Mets 1986 World Series ring to help pay off more than $31 million in debt. His problems weren’t merely financial. Between 2009 and 2011, Dykstra was accused by a former employee of making racist and homophobic remarks, writing a bad check to an escort and sexually assaulting his housekeeper. He also was charged with indecent exposure, drug possession, grand theft auto, identity theft and filing false financial statements — and eventually sentenced to three years. Before going to prison, Dykstra reconnected with Sheen in February 2011 after having lost touch for some time. Fittingly, they ran into each other at the UCLA baseball field, as Dykstra helped his son Cutter, then a minor league player (and husband of Sopranos actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler), practice for the upcoming season. “Charlie came running up to me, DYKSTRA GROOMING BY LAURA COSTA AT ENNIS INC. SHEEN: GEORGE PIMENTEL/WIREIMAGE. HOUSE: SPLASH NEWS. COURTHOUSE: MICHAEL ROBINSON CHAVEZ/LA TIMES/GETTY IMAGES. METS: AP PHOTO. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 66 FEBRUARY 7, 2018

hugging me, telling me how much he missed me,” explains Dykstra. “I could tell he was lit up but in good spirits.” Over just a few frenzied months that spring, before being taken into custody in June, Dykstra found himself operating as a Thomas Cromwell-style fixer in the erratic Beverly Hills court of King Charles. When the actor ended up in an embarrassing cash crunch while attempting to purchase film producer Mike Medavoy’s Mulholland Estate house for nearly $7 million, Dykstra claims to have secured a hard-money lender at the last minute. After Sheen went on Alex Jones’ Infowars radio show and disparaged his Two and a Half Men showrunner Chuck Lorre as “Chaim Levine,” Dykstra begged him to apologize. Sheen didn’t, and Warner Bros. Television fired him soon after. Despite his best intentions, Dykstra says most of his efforts to act as the star’s 3 unofficial manager were met with resistance. He says Sheen, despite his urging, snubbed a $2 million cameo on the Australian iteration of Big Brother and could not be persuaded to perform his infamous “Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option” speaking spectacle as a Las Vegas residency. “He turns it down to go play a bunch of fucking rinkydink cities. It was crazy.” Dykstra also cooked up a series of licensing deals, including a vaping product called Nico- Sheen and a caffeinated liquor, Sheen Vodka, which were to be hawked on an umbrella web portal titled Planet Sheen. He says that Sheen’s personal manager at the time, Mark Burg, and former business manager, Barry Klarberg, kiboshed the whole thing. “Lenny was a friend of Charlie’s who tried to get more involved in his life, and I don’t think he ever wanted that,” explains Burg. Klarberg did not respond to requests for comment. In a March 21 email to Dykstra reviewed by THR, the actor pulled the plug on Planet Sheen: “The pressure I’m under from my business team to NOT pursue this with you, is tsunami-esque.” Dykstra’s tussles with Sheen’s circle continued after he returned from serving out his three-year stint. He asserts that Burg, Klarberg and Sheen’s then-attorney Marty Singer put the brakes on Dykstra’s most audacious gambit of all: a complex $85 million play to sell the note on what remained of the actor’s Warner Bros. financial package to solve Sheen’s cash crunch. He insists it was sabotaged late in the game when they realized what the document-review process might expose. Before he could bring anyone in on the details, “Marty put an NDA together that was so vicious, so stacked, that no one would sign it,” explains Dykstra, still fuming. 1 Sheen and his ex-fiancee, porn star Scottine Rossi, in 2014. 2 The actor bought this estate from Medavoy in 2011. 3 Dykstra was arraigned June 6, 2011, at the San Fernando Courthouse on felony charges, including grand theft auto and possession of a controlled substance. 4 Dykstra played center field and hit leadoff for the world champion Mets. 4 “I finally get one [potential investor] to sign it and what do they send him? Dick. Nothing relevant.” Singer disputes the claim as “absurd and ridiculous. The NDAs were appropriate,” adding, “As far as I understand it, Lenny likely had an NDA, too, and I don’t believe he’s living up to it.” Dykstra responds that he doesn’t “give a shit” about breaking its terms “because I was saving Charlie’s fucking life.” All of this time, Sheen’s drug use was worsening. During the manically loquacious interview spree in early 2011 that bequeathed pop culture the catchphrase “Winning!” Dykstra claims the actor was high on OxyContin: “When [the pills] are at their peak, it’s a euphoria, where you’re smart and you’re creative and you’re quick and you’re invincible.” But by summer 2014, Sheen had locked himself in a crack den hidden in his mansion for nine days. Sheen warned Dykstra to “watch your front side, watch your backside, watch both sides.” “It was right out of a mystery spy thriller, with a sliding bookcase,” says Dykstra. “I walked in and Charlie was standing there with a glass dick — a crack pipe — in one hand and his phone in the other. I took one look around, there’s all this stuff, cool paintings and Babe Ruth’s ring, and I said, ‘Charlie, I have to admit, if you’re going to smoke crack, this has got to be the best crack den on the planet!’ That broke the ice.” By Dykstra’s account, Sheen soon confessed to him that he had HIV, which he believed he’d contracted from a transsexual partner, and that he was being extorted for millions over the secret. Dykstra urged the star to go public about his health, as Sheen’s parents, Martin and Janet, had already been urging. “I said, ‘You can’t live like this anymore — this isn’t even living.’ ” Dykstra contends that he was crushed by Sheen’s last-minute decision to pull out of a news conference he’d helped arrange that November for his friend to get out in front of the diagnosis — a full year before the National Enquirer would finally force the issue. It was to be held at Sheen’s parents’ house, with Hollywood publicist Larry Winokur brought in by Dykstra to orchestrate the crisis management. Winokur, whose casting-director wife had hired Sheen on Major League and Lucas, confirms Dykstra and Sheen reached out to him about the plan, noting the sincerity with which Dykstra approached the endeavor. “Lenny played team sports very successfully, and if you’re on Lenny’s team, I think he’d give you the shirt off his back,” he says. By the end of that year, Dykstra had come to believe Sheen was suicidal. Dykstra was reduced to attempting to rein in his buddy via desperate, all-caps-laden text messages. “Charlie, you are a fucking winner!” Dykstra typed during an exchange on the evening of Dec. 21. “Do not quit on me bro! I KNOW YOU ARE NOT A PUSSY!” Sheen replied, “I’m too tired bro going away now where no one can THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 67 FEBRUARY 7, 2018

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