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Arrest Costs Ray Sharkey Role in Series : Narcotics: Canadian police charge the actor with drug possession. His part is recast "due to his unavailability."

August 01, 1992|GREG BRAXTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Actor Ray Sharkey, who said last year that he had recovered from years of drug abuse, has been charged with narcotics possession in Canada, where he had been guest-starring on an upcoming CBS series, officials said.

Following the arrest on Wednesday, Sharkey, 40, was removed from "The Hat Squad," and his part was recast, said Diane Passarelli, the show's publicist.

"Ray Sharkey was recast due to his unavailability," said Passarelli, who refused to elaborate further on Sharkey's dismissal.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police officials said Friday that the agency's drug squad was conducting routine cargo inspections at Vancouver International Airport when they examined a package addressed to Sharkey from Los Angeles.

Officials alleged that the package contained narcotics, but declined to say how much. Officers obtained a search warrant and arrested Sharkey at his residence, where they said they found a small amount of heroin and cocaine, said Inspector Paul Brown.

Sharkey was arrested and then released after being ordered to appear in Richmond Court on Aug. 13, officials said. He returned to Los Angeles Thursday, according to his manager.

Sharkey had completed two days of filming on an episode called "Widow Maker." He was playing a former policeman-turned-assassin in the series, which will make its debut on CBS this fall.

He was replaced by Canadian actor Kim Coates, Passarelli said.

The show was created by Stephen J. Cannell, who also created CBS' "Wiseguy," in which Sharkey drew praise in 1987 for his portrayal of mobster Sonny Steelgrave.

Sharkey said in an interview last year that his recovery four years earlier from a $400-a-day heroin habit had put his acting career back on track. He had starred in the early 1980s in "Willie and Phil" and "The Idolmaker," for which he won a Golden Globe award.

Herb Nanas, Sharkey's manager, said of the arrest: "This is not a story I relish. It's a sad turn of events. He's been my friend for 18 years. I wish his life were more peaceful than it has been."

Sharkey could not be reached for comment.

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