After a meteoric rise to the top after only a few film and television roles, actor Corey Haim found himself one of many child stars to struggle with the legacy of his work and his changing career. Though he had his start on Canadian television, Haim made his breakthrough with an award-worthy performance as the bespectacled, bug-collecting kid in the refreshing teen comedy, "Lucas" (1986). The next year, Haim reached the height of his career with a starring role in the Gen-X hit "The Lost Boys" (1987), immediately joining Corey Feldman - later dubbed "The Coreys" - as one of the most popular teen stars of his time. He and Feldman also had further success with the teen comedies "License to Drive" (1988) and "Dream a Little Dream (1989). Haim would later struggle with addiction. Feldman remained a strong source of support for him during this time, and the two appeared together as adults in the reality show "The Two Coreys" (A&E, 2007-08). Haim achieved sobriety and began to regain a foothold in Hollywood by landing roles in bigger budget films like "Crank: High Voltage" (2009) with Jason Statham and in indies like "American Sunset" (2010) and "Shark City" (2009). Fans and fellow actors were shocked and saddened at Haim's untimely end on March 10, 2010, just as it appeared the actor was making his long wished for comeback.
Born on Dec. 23, 1971 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Haim was raised by his father, Bernie, a salesman, and his Israeli-born mother, Judy, a computer operator. A shy child growing up, Haim was introduced to acting by his mother, who thought the experience would help him break out of his shell as it had his older sister, Cari, who showed acting promise herself. Though more interested at the time in playing music and sports, particularly hockey, he nonetheless went forth into acting, first appearing in Canadian commercials when he was 11 years old, followed by a regular role as Larry on the family-oriented Canadian television series, "The Edison Twins" (CBC, 1982-86). Meanwhile, Haim made his American feature debut as Teri Garr's younger son who begins to act up in school when his mother becomes involved with a drug dealer in the psychological thriller, "Firstborn" (1984), also starring newcomers Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey, Jr. After a co-starring role as Liza Minnelli's son who struggles with muscular dystrophy in the made-for-television movie "A Time to Live" (NBC, 1985), Haim went on to play a wheelchair-bound boy who saves his town from a werewolf in the adaptation of a Stephen King novella, "Silver Bullet" (1985), followed by Sally Field's son in the May-December romantic comedy, "Murphy's Romance (1985).
In 1986, Haim had his breakthrough role, winning over critics and audiences with his sensitive performance in "Lucas," in which he played an academically gifted 13-year-old high school student who loves a girl (Kerri Green) who only wants to be his friend. Filled with fresh-faced performances from the likes of Winona Ryder and Charlie Sheen, the sleeper hit helped propel Haim's career to the next level. So good was the youngster that critic Roger Ebert said 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." Sensing big things to come, the entire Haim family packed up and moved to Los Angeles to better improve the youngster's odds of continued film success. The following year, Haim returned to TV on the short-lived sitcom "Roomies" (NBC, 1987), playing a 14-year-old genius college student rooming with a middle-aged man (Burt Young) before landing the movie that should have been a sign for greater things to come, but in retrospect, turned out to be the high watermark of his career.
In director J l Schumacher's "The Lost Boys" (1987), Haim was Sam Emerson, the younger of two sons - the other played by Jason Patric - who tries to warn his recently-divorced mother (Dianne Wiest) and a sleepy Northern California town about a pack of teenage vampires who roam the night, led by the rough-and-tumble David (Kiefer Sutherland). A successful blend of vampire horror movie and teen comedy flick, "The Lost Boys" was a hit with critics and audiences, marking a cultural milestone for teen-oriented movies in the 1980s. It was also Haim's first screen collaboration with Corey Feldman, who appeared as sworn vampire killer, Edgar Frog. Their chemistry onscreen - a perfect combination of Haim's sweetness and Feldman's snarkiness - was noticeable to all who worked on or watched the cult film. Later dubbed "The Coreys," both Haim and Feldman went on to define teen popularity in the 1980s and to forge an extraordinary real-life friendship for over 20 years. So popular and intertwined were the two actors during their three-year reign that even their own nicknames for one another -"Haimster" and "Feldog" - entered the pop cultural lexicon.
Reuniting with Feldman a year later, Haim played Les Anderson, a teen who embarrassingly fails his motor vehicle test in "License to Drive" (1988), perhaps the only other collaboration between The Coreys that was worthy of the hype, with Feldman playing his troublemaking best buddy along for the wild ride. Coreys mania hit its peak in 1988, with their posters being plastered in every teen girl's locker and fights breaking out between BFFs over who was the hotter Corey. After starring in the misfire horror flick, "Watchers" (1988), Haim joined Feldman again for "Dream a Little Dream" (1989), a body-switching comedy in which Feldman (in a rare lead role over Haim) played a teen who becomes possessed by the spirit of a much older man (Jason Robards) while Haim plays his wacky friend, Dinger and steals every scene he is in. Haim and Feldman later reprised their roles in 1995 for an unnecessary direct-to-video sequel. Meanwhile, at the time The Coreys ruled the teen movie niche, Haim and Feldman were living the fast life off the screen. After a period of using illegal narcotics like cocaine and heroin - Feldman would, in fact, be busted for heroin possession twice around this time - Haim was placed on Valium by his doctor to wean him off the hard stuff. Unfortunately, this medical misstep caused the obvious addict to instead begin devouring prescription drugs, including handfuls of Vicodin, Valium and Percodan before such practice became en vogue years later. So alarming was his pill consumption that stories began popping up in the media about his dangerous flirtation.
Haim responded to the negative publicity with a self-promoting documentary, "Corey Haim: Me, Myself and I" (1989), which was filmed at his home and set out to prove that he was healthy. Instead, an obviously high Haim only reaffirmed people's suspicions that he was hopelessly hooked on drugs, particularly when he admitted to "[feeling] like Einstein" while playing some run-of-the-mill pop music on keyboards and wanting to retire to Tahiti to watch sharks and sea horses swim by. He continued working, though now in low-budget, independent movies, rather than the studio films he had been accustomed to. The roles he played also switched from middle-class suburban kids to those from the wrong side of the tracks. In "Fast Getaway" (1991), Haim played a bank robber who first worked in tandem with his father (Leo Rossi) before striking out on his own, a role he reprised in a 1994 sequel. After taking on white supremacist rollerbladers in the futuristic "Prayer of the Rollerboys" (1991), Haim tried to recapture his popularity by playing a well-to-do college student in over his head in the w ful comedy, "The Dream Machine" (1991).
In the Canadian-made coming-of-age story, "Oh, What a Night" (1992), Haim was a farm boy who learns about life through a dalliance with a neighbor's wife, while he teamed with teen star and then real-life girlfriend Nicole Eggert in the direct-to-video erotic thriller, "Blown Away" (1992) and the espionage-themed "The Double O Kid" (1992). Though he tried his hand at the small screen with a comic role in drag for "Just One of the Girls" (Fox, 1993), Haim began drifting away into obscurity, where he stayed for a number of years. He reunited with Feldman for the miserable comedy, "National Lampoon's Last Resort" (1994), which became the first Lampoon film to head straight to video. Though he remained active in a number of direct-to-video projects like "Snowboard Academy" (1996), "Fever Lake" (1996) and the thriller "Never Too Late" (1997), it was clear to most that Haim's bright star had collapsed into darkness. Following "Demolition University" (1997), a direct-to-video sequel to "Demolition High" (1996), Haim reached a low point in his life and career when he was forced to file bankruptcy that year.
Following a three-year stint out of the public eye, and reportedly trying his hand at sobriety through recovery at a rehabilitation center, Haim returned with another direct-to-video release, "Without Malice" (2000), which starred Jennifer Beals and Craig Sheffer. He later came clean about his past drug use, admitting in The Sun that his addiction started with cocaine and crack, then worsened when doctors put him on prescription drugs to help his narcotics problem. At his worst, Haim claimed to be taking upwards of 85 Valium a day, leading to a rapid physical deterioration that almost led to his death. After being the subject of an "E! True Hollywood Story" in 2001 - in which the actor was noticeably high to the point of being incoherent during one of his on-camera interviews - Haim continued his attempted comeback with the campy horror flick, "The Back Lot Murders" (2002). He landed a cameo role in "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" (2003), which also featured Corey Feldman, while making a guest appearance on the Canadian series "Big Wolf on Campus" (YTV, 1999-2002).
In 2004, the band The Thrills released a song that became a minor radio hit and, at the same time, begged the serious question, "Whatever Happened to Corey Haim?" The actor, back living in Canada at this time, resurfaced, replying "I'm clean, humble and happy." He appeared to have finally kicked his drug habit for good, but Feldman later claimed the year 2005 was the worst he had ever seen his friend. Overweight to the max of 300 pounds, Haim was clearly in a bad way and even made several suicide attempts. Two years later and over a hundred pounds skinnier, he began taping a reality show alongside Feldman appropriately called "The Two Coreys" (A&E, 2007-08), which depicted the polar opposite friends living together in "Odd Couple"-like fashion. While Feldman had completely revamped his life, becoming a vegetarian, neat freak and happily married man, Haim was a scatter-brained, meat-eating slob who drove both Feldman and his wife, Susie Sprague, nuts. Though the situations on the show were scripted, giving rise to the idea that much of what went on was an exaggeration, Haim and Feldman were free to improvise their dialogue. Much of the noticeably darker second season consisted of the two filming "Lost Boys: The Tribe" (2008), a direct-to-video sequel that focused more on Feldman's character, with Haim appearing briefly in his Sam Emerson role near the end - the exact opposite of the original film. "The Two Coreys" captured quite a bit of confrontation between Haim and Feldman over the making of the sequel, with the former initially considering not making an appearance in the film, only to have a drug-induced meltdown on set when he finally d s agree. After only two seasons and despite the show's popularity, A&E decided to cancel the show amidst rumors of real-life tension between the two actors, due largely to Haim's continued addiction which Feldman attempted numerous times to help him with. Feldman went so far as to say he would not speak to nor work with his friend until he got himself clean from prescription drugs, something audiences could clearly see was an ongoing issue for Haim throughout much of season two.
As he did in the late 1980s, Haim sought to counter the negative publicity, taking out a full-page ad in Variety that said: "This is not a stunt. I'm back. I'm ready to work. I'm ready to make amends." He continued working when he could, joining the cast of the Canadian-made comedy "Shark City" (2009) and the Jason Statham actioner "Crank: High Voltage" (2009) while starring in several more direct-to-video projects set for release in 2010. Then sadly, Haim became the latest casualty on a long list of troubled child stars who succumb to their demons at an all-too-early age. On March 10, 2010, reports surfaced that he had died from a possible accidental prescription drug overdose after suffering from flu-like symptoms the day before, collapsing in his apartment in front of his cancer-stricken mother. Police said that his mother had called 911 after finding her son unresponsive in his Los Angeles apartment. Haim was just 38 years old. In the wake of his shocking death, Feldman appeared on "Larry King Live" as well as other news outlets to defend and honor his lost friend and to condemn doctors for their often irresponsible prescribing of prescription medication to known addicts. In the end, after the majority of press, public and even the LAPD automatically assumed the troubled actor died from an overdose, toxicology reports released in May confirmed that the actor did NOT die from drugs, but rather community-acquired pneumonia complicated by a genetic heart condition he had suffered from for years, bad lungs and narrowed blood vessels. The Los Angeles County coroner ruled Haim's tragic and preventable death a result of "natural causes."
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast on Canadian series "The Edison Twins"
Began working in TV commercials in Canada
Made film debut in "Firstborn" opposite Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey, Jr.
Played victim of muscular dystrophy in the NBC TV movie "A Time to Live"
Appeared in minor roles in "Secret Admirer" and "Murphy's Romance"
Breakthrough role, playing the title role in "Lucas"
Cast in the short-lived series "Roomies" (NBC)
Had a featured role in Joel Schumacher's vampire film, "The Lost Boys"; first collaboration with Corey Feldman
Again collaborated with Corey Feldman for the teen comedy "License to Drive"
Appeared opposite Feldman in the film "Dream a Little Dream"; film spawned the number one single "Rock On" for Michael Damian, with the pair appearing in the video
Released a self-promotional video documentary entitled "Corey Haim: Me, Myself, and I"
Starred in the direct-to-video release "The Dream Machine"
Co-starred with Patricia Arquette in the indie feature "Prayer of the Rollerboys"
Again collaborated with Feldman for the direct-to-video "Blown Away"
Starred in a full motion video game called "Double Switch"
Appeared in the sequel "Dream a Little Dream 2" with Feldman
Starred in and produced the direct-to-video "Demolition University"
Had a minor role in a television version of "Merlin"
Returned to acting with the direct-to-video "Without Malice"
Was the subject of an "E! True Hollywood Story"
Appeared in "The Back Lot Murders" alongside Priscilla Barnes
Had a cameo role appearance in "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star"
Appeared with Corey Feldman in the reality series "The Two Coreys" on the A&E Network