Remembering Corey Haim, Eighties Teen Dream, 1971-2010

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Ed. Note: To honor Corey Haim, we’ve invited friend and blogger Mark Graham to share his thoughts on the actor’s untimely passing. — M. Collins

Just because we all knew this day was coming doesn’t make the news any easier to swallow: Corey Haim, eighties teen icon and the Canadian half of the Two Coreys, finally lost the 20-plus year war he waged against substance abuse. Haim collapsed in his North Hollywood apartment in the early hours of this morning after suffering what appears to be an accidental, prescription pill overdose; coincidentally enough, he was living in the very same apartment building where Rick James died back in 2004. Sadly, he never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at 2:15 a.m. this morning.

After working as a child actor in Canada, Haim rose to fame Stateside in 1986 when he starred as a bookshy, nerdy teen from the wrong side of the tracks in Lucas. While it initially looked as if Haim could carve out a niche for himself as a lovable geek in the Anthony Michael Hall vein, he promptly did a 180 and turned himself into a veritable teen dream love machine with roles in The Lost Boys and License To Drive. His successes paved the way for cocksure teens like Kirk Cameron (a fellow Canadian!) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar to gain a foothold in pop culture, but sadly, the fame went to his head and he got himself caught up in the excesses of the decade, snorting his way out of the rolodexes of everyone in Hollywood by the year 1990.

Haim went on to work fairly consistently throughout the nineties, but substance abuse issues prevented him from getting work in anything other than lowly regarded straight-to-VHS thrillers. After suffering from a drug-induced stroke in the early aughts, he staged a minor comeback in the last few years after reuniting with his partner-in-crime, Corey Feldman, for a reality show that aired for two seasons on A&E. However, during the course of that show, his erratic behavior and constant sweating were two telltale signs that even if he had stopped doing cocaine on the regular, he still had some significant issues with prescription drug abuse. To wit, the show was canceled after Feldman told producers that he would no longer do the show until his old friend Haim got “the help he truly needs.” Sadly, as the news of this morning teaches us, Haim was clearly never able to get that help.

Although history will almost certainly remember Haim as a cautionary tale, another in a long line of child actors who epitomized the dangers of growing up too fast in Hollywood, we prefer to remember him this way: sitting in a bubble bath, singing along with his not-quite-broken voice to Clarence “Frogman” Henry’s mournful “Ain’t Got No Home,” preparing to do battle with vampires. Rest in peace, Corey.

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