As Scott Weinberg shared this morning, Corey Haim died last night from an apparent accidental overdose. He was 38.
This was, of course, no shock. The actor had been struggling with drugs for most of his life, having told the media that it all started when he smoked his first joint while working on The Lost Boys twenty-three years ago. Haim hit it big, fell into B-movie hell, spent all his cash on drugs, and then struggled to fight his way out of addiction and financial turmoil. Unfortunately, reuniting with buddy Corey Feldman in the last handful of years and allowing his life to become reality show fodder wasn't the best move, branding him as a desperate and emotionally tarnished actor past his prime.
But it wasn't always that way. Like Scott, Haim held a special place in my heart. He was the one young actor I followed beyond a project or two, although it's only now that I realized how short of a span it was -- Lucas, The Lost Boys, License to Drive, Watchers, Dream a Little Dream, and Prayer of the Rollerboys getting released in just four years. But Hollywood moved a lot more slowly back then, and I had a lot of time to relish in Haim appreciation. When a friend gifted me with a 2-inch thick binder full of Haim pictures, I wallpapered part of my bedroom with them, his spark camouflaging some truly dark and dreary '70s wallpaper. It was that same spark that made me follow my favorite Corey until he drowned into struggling obscurity through the '90s.
Corey Haim invoked an awkward-yet-cool vibe, able to slip from uber-nerd tyke after the pretty girl, to Californian comics geek, to cool menace on the road. While he may not have had a wide range of abilities that could usher him into the future land of Spaders and Downey Jr.'s, Haim's earnestness worked in his favor -- that spark making even the simplest performance seem a little more genuine and real. He wasn't the star who would seem ill-suited and out of place in school -- he was the real, flawed friend who could easily live down the road, or sit across from you in the cafeteria.
With news of his death, I prefer to remember the Corey Haim that I loved, the one who smiled at me every morning, and had not yet been crushed by the blow of '80s fame. That means, of course, that so-short span of six films from 1986-1990. The football, the vampires, the licenses, the smart research animals, the wild dreams, and the roller blades. I've included clips below, and please share your favorite Haim moments in the comments.
Warning: Some of the scenes contain strong language.
The Lost Boys
License to Drive
Dream a Little Dream
Embedding disabled. Go here, and click for the Haim car scene at roughly 7:15. "Hello hunny!"
Prayer of the Rollerboys