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Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK
Downey Jr court hearing delayed
Robert Downey Jr and Calista Flockhart
Downey with Ally McBeal co-star Calista Flockhart
A court hearing involving Ally McBeal actor Robert Downey Jr has been delayed by three weeks to 24 May.

The 36-year-old was due to appear in court following a drugs arrest in Palm Springs on 25 November last year.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Randall White postponed his appearance on charges of possessing cocaine and valium because the actor is currently in a drug rehabilitation centre after another drugs arrest.

Robert Downey Jr
Downey won a Screen Actors Guild award for best actor in January
Last week Downey Jr was arrested for being under the influence of drugs and is set to appear in court on 15 May for that charge.

He was later dropped from the hit TV show Ally McBeal, in which he plays actress Calista Flockhart's boyfriend.

'No plans'

Ally McBeal creator David E Kelley is reported to be "furious" that the actor cannot complete the current series of the hit show.

Within hours of his arrest Kelley released a statement saying that he would not have the actor continue in the series as planned.

Fox, which co-produces the show, later said that it was not a matter of Downey being fired, but that he was not available for shooting.

But a spokesman added there were no plans to include Downey Jr in next season's series of Ally McBeal.

A reported marriage proposal from Downey Jr's character to McBeal had never been planned, he said.

These are the latest in a string of setbacks for the actor.

Supportive

In 1996 he was stopped for speeding and police found cocaine, heroin and a pistol in the vehicle.

Robert Downey Jr
Robert Downey Jr following his arrest on drugs charges
A month later he was found unconscious and hospitalised at a drugs treatment centre.

In August 1999 he was sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation by missing scheduled drugs tests.

He spent a year in prison until August 2000.

Downey Jr's producers on Ally McBeal had been supportive of him until his latest arrest.

The role in the show had won him a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors' Guild award.

The son of film director Robert Downey, his film credits include Less Than Zero, Natural Born Killers and Wonder Boys.

He was fired from the film America's Sweethearts, starring Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta Jones, after his November arrest.

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