Edward Furlong: The unknown Latino badboy of Hollywood

There was a time when teen actor Edward Furlong, who played the heroic young savior John Connor in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” was being called…
Edward Furlong: The unknown Latino badboy of Hollywood

Actor Edward Furlong attends a court hearing after being charged with assaulting his girlfriend July 1, 2013 in Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles, California. If convicted on all charges Furlong could face up to four years in prison. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

There was a time when teen actor Edward Furlong, who played the heroic young savior John Connor in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” was being called one of Hollywood’s future leading men, the likes of a Leonardo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt.

He was 15, a teen heartthrob, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s younger half in a billion-dollar action movie franchise of mankind’s war against machines, and celebrated with a slew of awards attesting to his precocious brilliance and tremendous promise.

Had it been common knowledge that the dreamy-eyed Furlong was Mexican on his mother’s side, Hispanics who helped make the “Terminator” franchise a worldwide blockbuster would have been hailing him as the American Latino major Hollywood star who might open the gates in Tinseltown.

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Sadly, in the coming years, instead of developing into the king of Hollywood, Furlong became another cliché of trouble and drug addiction off the Sunset Strip, getting as much attention for his police mug shots on arrests for domestic violence against girlfriends and his ex-wife as for anything he filmed.

Today, now 37, Edward Furlong has become the classic cautionary tale of the downside of young success in Hollywood.

“Edward continued to make films but not the kinds of films with the kinds of major roles he once might have seemed destined for,” says Hollywood producer Thomas Davis, who has known a number of young rising films stars and the hurdles they have faced.

“This is a town of second, third and fourth chances. We’ve seen it in the past. But with each chance, the patience gets shorter, and sooner or later the patience and the chances run out.”

Furlong’s roles dimished to what he himself in a 2012 interview called “the crappiest movies,” including a handful of small-budget films this year, but the big roles appear to be gone – and he has been passed over or dropped from films, starting with “Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines” all because of his troubles.

By 2011, he told a Los Angeles court that he was “completely broke” and could no longer afford to pay child support.

Such a steep fall after so promising a rise.

Some could argue that Furlong’s tragic life itself has been like something out of a Hollywood movie script.

He never met his father, and he was such a handful for his single mom Elenor Torres that an aunt and uncle sued for custody and raised him into early teens when he did a lot of hanging out at the Pasadena Boys & Girls Club.

It was there, at the age of 12, that a casting director “discovered” Furlong and asked him to audition for the John Connor role in what became a hit film in 1991.

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Then young Furlong’s life hit a whirlwind with no one apparently there to control him. He sued for his emancipation and soon — at he age of 15 — took up with his on-set tutor, a 29-year-old woman who became his manager and his fiancé.

When the relationship soured, it apparently began his cycle of domestic abuse problems.

In a 2006 interview with People magazine, Furlong perhaps best summed up his fall from grace as well as his insistence that he has his problems under control.

“I don’t even think about (partying) anymore,” he said. “It seems lonely now: running and clubbing and doing coke. I have nightmares about doing hard drugs. I’ll wake up and I’m like, ‘Did I relapse?’”

A year ago Furlong was replaced as the star of a new romantic comedy after being arrested a third time on suspicion of domestic abuse after being detained by police in Los Angeles an alleged incident of violence towards his girlfriend.

Producers for the film “Other Plan” terminated his contract in a letter stating: “Given Edward’s current status as being in jail awaiting arraignment on two charges of criminal domestic violence… we are no longer able to engage his services for the film as per our agreement.”

He was sentenced to six months in jail for a probation violation after that offense.

Furlong’s ex-wife Rachael Kneeland had already been granted a court mandate stipulating that the actor could only have supervised visits with the couple’s seven-year-old son, Ethan, in November 2012.

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Today Furlong is barely recognizable, his once good looks blown out by admitted addictions to alcohol and drug addictions that were always bandied in news reports of arrests for repeated domestic violence against girlfriends and his ex-wife.

And his once promising career is now relegated to films few people will see, like this year’s widely-pannned thriller “Aftermath.”

“I shot Ed Furlong when he wasn’t even aware that we were filming,” says the film’s Hungarian director Peter Engert. “He’s a very unpredictable and a brilliant actor when he wants to.”

The director then laughed.

“It was a challenge.”