'21 Jump Street' Star Richard Grieco Breaks Down While Being Arrested For Public Intoxication

He was not in good shape.

Who Is Richard Grieco? New Details On '21 Jump Street' Star Who Broke Down After Arrest For Public Intoxication Getty

Who is Richard Grieco? Back in the late 80s and early 90s, Grieco was a bonafide heartthrob. He starred in 21 Jump StreetBooker, and in the '00s on Veronica Mars. 

On Thursday, December 5, Grieco, 54, was arrested at DFW Airport in Dallas for public intoxication. 

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Police bodycam footage reveals that Grieco stormed away from the officer who confronted him at the American Airlines counter at DFW. In true Hollywood fashion, Grieco said, "You guys know who I am?"

He tried to drunkenly talk himself out of the situation but it didn't work. He was arrested led away in handcuffs crying while repeatedly saying, "But I did nothing wrong."

When Grieco was at the police station he complained that he had been singled out because he's famous. He took a breathalyzer test that revealed his blood-alcohol level was .17, more than twice the legal limit. 

If you're confused about his "famous" comment, you're not alone. Though Grieco has worked consistently over the years, his last "mainstream" role was a one-off episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia back in 2016.


Let's take a look at the life and career of Richard Grieco.

1. Who is Richard Grieco? 

Grieco was born March 23, 1965, in Watertown, New York. His family moved to Franklin, Massachusetts when he was a teenager. In high school, he played football, hockey and lacrosse and was "All-State" in all three sports.

Grieco went on to Central Connecticut University on a football scholarship. He started thinking about a career outside of football about a year and a half into his college career when he'd already had four knee surgeries. 

2. He was a fashion model and soap opera star.

During his sophomore year in college, a modeling agency persuaded Grieco to come to New York. He spent five months with the Elite Modeling Agency modeling for Chanel, Calvin Klein, Gianni Versace, and Richard Avedon. He didn't like modeling, so he spent two years studying acting.


Eventually, he landed a role on the soap opera One Life to Live. It was his very first audition. He played ski instructor Rick Gardner for eight months. That role gave him the confidence to move to Los Angeles. 

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3. He played Detective Dennis Booker on 21 Jump Street.

Grieco moved to Los Angeles in 1987 and booked a string of guest appearances on shows including Facts of Life, Rags to Riches and Who's the Boss? Then, in 1988, he joined the cast of the Fox hit 21 Jump Street.

The show featured Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson Peete, Peter Deluise and Dustin Nguyen as young-looking undercover police officers that posed as high school students to bust youth crime. Grieco played Detective Dennis Booker for 18 episodes in 1988 and 1989. 



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Grieco on the far left with the '21 Jump Street' cast.

4. Greico got his own spin-off. 

He was so popular on 21 Jump Street that he got his own spin-off show after one season. Booker ran for one season of 22 episodes in 1989-1990.


In the show, Grieco reprised his role as Detective Dennis Booker. This time, Detective Booker was hired by the U.S. office of a large Japanese company to look into insurance claims the company suspected were fraudulent. 

5. He's an artist who has been painting since the early 90s.

Grieco has been painting since 1991, though he didn't reveal this publicly until 2009 after being encouraged to do so by actor Dennis Hopper.

His bio on his website says, "At the start of his career he began painting to capture underlining emotions he couldn't quite express throughout his other talents." His art is best described as expressionism. In his own words: "My work is capturing lightning in a bottle, it's a pure unbridled emotion. I am a painter who puts his emotions on canvas and honestly my work is as much part of my life as breathing."


6. What happened at DFW Airport?

So, back to the incident at the airport in Dallas earlier this month. Grieco allegedly was slumped over the American Airlines counter, reeking of booze and slurring his words as he yelled at the airline employees. Because of this, he wasn't allowed to board the plane.

When police arrived at the gate, Grieco said he had two cranberry and vodkas before his flight. Klonopin was found in his bag and he told the cops he took that to help him with flying. 

Grieco's publicist called the entire incident a "big misunderstanding that got blown way out of proportion."

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Amy Lamare is a writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.