Today I Learned that Hooch, of "Hooch is Crazy" Fame, Was Once Convicted of Manslaughter
I honestly cannot tell you how I stumbled upon this information, and I'm certainly not mentioning it to make light or to shame Phill Lewis, the man who played Hooch on "Scrubs." (He's an obscure enough actor that this post might trip his Google News alert, and if that were to happen, I apologize Mr. Lewis for bringing this up, and I have only the fondest regard for you). I will say this: The person on the Internet who imparted this information doesn't know Lewis from "Scrubs," but rather from the Disney channel's The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, where he played a teacher, Mr. Moseby, a fan favorite among that show's viewers. I also did not know that Phill Lewis was born Uganda, where his father was serving in the Peace Corp.
Honestly, I didn't even know what Hooch's real name was until last night, when I was stumbling around on the Internet during the debate, which is why the Internet is such an awesome place: I now know a ton of trivia about a guy I adored on "Scrubs," but never really gave much thought to, otherwise, and no one loves minutia more than I.
Anyway, we all make mistakes, and unfortunately for some of us, those mistakes have grave consequences, and I have no doubt that Mr. Lewis -- like Laura Bush, like Brandy, and like Matthew Broderick, all of whom have been in car accidents that resulted in the death of someone else -- is suffering the emotional toll of those mistakes. In this case, Mr. Lewis unfortunately was drunk when his car crossed the center line and crashed, head first, into another car, resulting in the death of 21 year-old Isabel Duarte.
Lewis, who was very apologetic, was sentenced to five years in prison, but all but the first year was suspended after he displayed excellent behavior by working with a prison-based theater group aimed at making audiences aware of the tragedy of drug abuse at schools, churches and jails.
Here is something else fascinating: Over the course of four years, Phill Lewis only appeared on "Scrubs" five times, and yet he remains one of the shows most beloved -- and memorable -- characters.
Rest in peace, Isabel Duarte. Let this be another reminder to you all never to drive while intoxicated.