Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Laredo Tribune. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
The Lost Boys
Currently Known For:
December 23, 1971
The Lost Boys
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“It’s a business like any other. Except we create a character and stay in that character for a certain amount of time. I mean, I’m working. I’m happy to be working. My mantra is like, whenever I’m working, “It’s Now Time.” When you’re on downtime, you try to keep working. My mantra is to keep moving, keep working. Me working, that’s a good thing.” Canadian actor Corey Haim made it big in the 1980s in films including Lucas, License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream. It was The Lost Boys, however, that made Haim a household name.
Haim found fame and fortune at an early age. Unfortunately, he was also chased by demons, including drug addiction. He died of natural causes in Burbank, California in 2010 at the age of 38. Here’s a closer look at the iconic career and tragic death of this one-time teen star.
From Toronto Ice Rinks to Hollywood Star
Corey Ian Haim was born on December 23, 1971 in Toronto, Ontario. His early years were spent in Montreal, but he later moved with his family to Toronto. Haim struggled with shyness in his youth, prompting his mother to enroll him in drama classes. Still, acting was not high on his list of favorite things to do. Rather, Haim spent his childhood playing ice hockey, performing music, and collecting comic books. He was reportedly so talented on the ice that he was scouted for an elite AA hockey team.
Haim’s sister, Carol, was into acting, and he was discovered one day while tagging along with her to an audition. He landed his first television role in 1982 on the long-running Canadian children’s program, The Edison Twins. Two years later, he made his feature film debut in the 1984 thriller Firstborn. Said Haim’s co-star Sarah Jessica Parker of working with him on the movie, “He was naturally gifted and a real charmer -- I adored him.”
Haim suddenly found himself on the fast-track to stardom with roles in movies like Secret Admirer, Murphy’s Romance, and Silver Bullet. His first taste of real success, however, came when he won a Young Artist Award for his work in the television movie, A Time to Live.
Haim’s first career-making role came in 1986 when he was cast in the titular role in the coming-of-age movie Lucas. He was just 14 at the time, and later said his unrequited love for his costar, Kerri Green, helped with the authenticity of his performance.
Lucas also turned Haim into bona fide heartthrob with the teen set. Director David Seltzer later said of the young actor's attitude, “He took it in stride. Not in a negative way, but he was something of a magnet and he knew it.”
Haim earned a Young Artist Award nomination for his work in Lucas, along with rave reviews. Enthused film critic Roger Ebert of his performance, "He creates one of the most three-dimensional, complicated, interesting characters of any age in any recent movie. If he can continue to act this well, he will never become a half-forgotten child star, but will continue to grow into an important actor. He is that good.”
Becoming a Lost Boy
Still flying high on the heels of Lucas, Haim relocated to Hollywood and soon got another huge break: the career-making role of Sam Emerson in Joel Schumacher’s iconic vampire movie, The Lost Boys. The movie became an instead 80s classic, earning Haim yet another Young Artist Award nod for Best Young Male Superstar in a Motion Picture. The Lost Boys was also meaningful to Haim for another reason: It brought him together with his future best friend Corey Feldman. Haim later referred to the shoot as “one of the greatest personal times in my life.”
After The Lost Boys, “the two Coreys” blew up, becoming the highest-paid teen stars of the time. When they weren’t making movies like License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream, they were partying at the underage hotspot Alphy’s Soda Pop Club and gracing the covers of teen magazines like Tiger Beat and Bop. At the height of his career, Haim was rumored to receive as many as 2,000 fan letters a week. Said License to Drive director Greg Beeman of the Coreys’ antics during their heyday, “They would disappear sometimes, but they always showed up for work.”
Haim, however, was already on a path to self-destruction. He’d started drinking as a young teen during the filming of Lucas, and started experimenting with marijuana during The Lost Boys. Harder drugs soon followed. “I lived in LA in the 1980s, which was not the best place to be. I did cocaine for about a year and a half, then it led to crack,” he revealed.
In 1989, Haim returned home from a family vacation newly sober. “I wanted to be clean for me, not for anyone else,” he said of giving up his vices without outside intervention. Unfortunately, his recovery did not last long and over the course of his short life Haim would do more than 15 stints in rehab.
As Haim battled addiction, his performances suffered and his fan base dwindled. Recalled Jon Hess, who’d directed Haim in the film Watchers, “Certainly people knew about his addiction. To see somebody so young and with so much talent already be chased by those demons was hard.”
Over the next few decades, Haim continued to be handicapped by substance abuse. He also fell in with the wrong crowd, and got arrested after being accused of threatening a party promoter with whom he shared a home. His $250 bail was posted by none other than Feldman. Even that relationship eventually soured when Feldman was forced to fire Haim from a film he was directing because of his drug use and unreliability. Feldman later said it was one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do.
As Haim’s addiction worsened, so did his financial situation. In 1997, he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A few years later, Haim’s mother found him unconscious at his Los Angeles home. A subsequent stay at Sherman Oaks Hospital left him debilitated and penniless.
Despite their issues, Feldman tried to help Haim as he bottomed out. "He made so many attempts at suicide. He's OD'd so many times. I mean, I can't begin to tell you, having him foaming at the mouth, coming downstairs and finding him that way and drooling and not able to speak, and me, having to put charcoal down his throat so that he could breathe,” Feldman said at the time.
In 2004, Haim appeared to have conquered his addiction once and for all. He returned with his mother with Toronto and announced, “I’m clean, sober, humble and happy.”
A few years later, an exciting new opportunity opening up for Haim when he was reunited with Feldman on the reality show, The Two Coreys. In addition to starring on the show, both were credited as executive directors. Despite Haim’s high hopes, things took a darker turn when Haim relapsed and had a fallout with Feldman. Feldman went public in cutting ties with his friend. "I am not going to watch him destroy himself," he announced. The show was canceled halfway through its second season in 2008. Shortly after, Haim was once again destitute and on the street.
In yet another attempt to get clean, Haim sought medical help to wean off the prescription pills to which he’d become addicted. A few days later, he was dead. But while many people assumed Haim's death was caused by an overdose, he was determined to have died from natural causes with pneumonia and heart disease as contributing factors. Still, the California Attorney General would later investigate Haim's death and eventually made an arrest involving identity theft and a staggering 5,000 illegal prescriptions.
For many fans, it offers some consolation to know that "the two Coreys" had reconciled in Haim's last days, and were developing a sequel to License to Drive called License to Fly.
Certainly, Corey Haim’s story is a cautionary tale of the perils of finding fame and fortune at such a young age. Still, he’ll forever be remembered for his contributions to some of the most beloved films of his time.