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Thursday, 15 February, 2001, 11:29 GMT
Downey Jr signs McBeal deal

Robert Downey Jr, who has a court case for drug possession pending, has signed up to return to the TV show Ally McBeal for the rest of the current series.

Downey Jr, who won a Golden Globe for his role in the series, was charged last November and faces a court hearing next week.

The 35-year-old actor has already appeared in 10 episodes of the show and has agreed to do eight more, his publicist confirmed.

If convicted on the current charges, he could face a prison sentence of up to four years and eight months.

Any sentence would affect his future availability and the production schedule for the rest of the series runs until the beginning of May.

Robert Downey Jr and Calista Flockhart
The actor plays Ally McBeal's love interest
But the actor's lawyer says that no plea bargain has been struck with prosecutors.

Downey Jr was arrested on 25 November at a hotel in Palm Springs, four months after he was released from prison after serving less than a third of a previous sentence for cocaine possession.

The son of film director Robert Downey, he won an Oscar nomination for his role as Charlie Chaplin, in the comedian's 1992 screen biography.

He plays Ally Mc Beal's love interest in the series, helping spice up the storyline about the US lawyers' practice.

His other credits include Less Than Zero, Natural Born Killers and Wonder Boys.

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See also:

30 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Downey Jr case postponed
22 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Downey Jr's Golden acting career
11 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Downey Jr lands McBeal role
29 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Downey Jr arrest boosts ratings
14 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Gibson determined to work with Downey
20 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Downey Jr's parole confirmed
12 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Further drugs charge for Downey Jr
03 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Downey Jr freed from prison
06 Aug 99 | Americas
Addicted Downey Jnr jailed
28 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Downey Jr pleads not guilty
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