We sort through the details of the ''Newsradio'' star's up-and-down career

By Betty Cortina
Updated May 28, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

The wildly careening roller-coaster ride of Andy Dick’s life just took another eye-opening twist: On May 15, two days before his show NewsRadio was canceled, the 33-year-old actor was arrested on drunk-driving and drug-possession charges in L.A. Police say Dick was driving in Hollywood when he crashed into a utility pole, narrowly missing a pedestrian. Dick, they say, then fled the scene, but the nimble near victim chased him down. Afterward, cops allegedly found marijuana and cocaine in the actor’s car. Dick was released on $10,000 bail. According to his publicist, Brigid Walsh, the actor entered a 30-day drug-rehab program in L.A. three days after the arrest. ”He’s excited about getting better,” says Walsh, ”and putting this sort of behavior behind him.” Because of the rehab stint, she adds, Dick will reschedule scenes he was to shoot for his next project, an indie comedy that director Alfonso Arau is currently filming, ironically titled Picking Up the Pieces. Some of the more trippy details of Dick’s up-and-down career:

APRIL 1996: At an ”I Love a Clean San Diego” benefit, Dick stages a fight with an assistant who vomits on him, then does an impression of Don Knotts being raped. Organizers stop the show and refuse to pay his $4,000 fee, giving him $1,500 instead.

SEPTEMBER 1997: A daughter is born to Dick and his girlfriend, Lina; it’s their second child. At the time, Dick shares a duplex with Lina, their children, his ex-wife, Ivone, and a son he had with Ivone. A month later, Dick reveals he is bisexual.

APRIL 1998: Dick gives a rambling interview on Howard Stern’s radio show. A week later he checks into Promises Malibu, a rehab center in L.A., for a month.

MAY 1998: A few days after he emerges from rehab, Dick’s NewsRadio costar Phil Hartman is shot to death by his wife, Brynn. A devastated Dick tells EW: ”I’m paralyzed with sadness and deep sorrow. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this one.”

MARCH 1999: Suddenly Susan costar David Strickland hangs himself in Las Vegas after a weekend of partying with Dick. ”Although I knew David for only a brief time, I very much enjoyed his company,” Dick said in a statement. ”His death comes as a tragic shock to me.”