The former “Roseanne” star told Howard Stern last week that “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels approached him about helping Farley, the magnetic “SNL” comedian who was losing his battle with substance abuse.
“He wanted to be sober and I think Lorne really worried about that, so I was his sponsor for a few years,” Arnold said.
Estimating that Farley had already been on his 17th rehab stint, Arnold quickly discovered that the comic “liked to have fun and he had too much fun. Very sad when he died.”
Stern noted the frustration of keeping Farley “from abusing himself.”
“It’s also frustrating because at certain points he’d be like, ’I’m not going to be around Tom because I don’t want him to see,’” Arnold said.
The “True Lies” star said he told Farley: “You can’t be fat and do drugs, you just can’t. You gotta pick one. I can speak from experience.”
Arnold and the “Tommy Boy” actor grew close enough that Farley served as best man at Arnold’s wedding to Julie Lynn Champnella in 1995. The bachelor party went off the rails when Farley walked on stage naked at the famous Scores strip club. Party over. They all got tossed out.
“He was naked a lot,” Arnold said. “There was no shame in his game.”
Farley died in December 1997 of a drug overdose at age 33.
Need help with substance use disorder or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.