Too Much Too Soon, Too Little Too Late ~ The Middle-Aged Life of Corey Haim

Filed in Gather Celeb News Channel by on May 11, 2010 0 Comments

Lots of folks are talking about the sudden death of Corey Haim, but no one is really surprised.  When you spend most of your adult career trying to convince the people that matter, the people that give you a part in a film or TV show, that you have indeed conquered your demons and are ready to work, but you really are still addicted than it is no surprise that you are dead (be it an alleged overdose of prescription meds or pulmonary congestion) at too early an age.  I suppose this might be more often the lot of teen sensations who hit the peak of their fame just as they are getting their ‘License to Drive’. 


                I don’t imagine many who saw ‘Lost Boys’ in the theater (1987) didn’t fall in love with it.  You had vampires, a struggling divorced mom with two kids, weird granola grandpa, and that creepy carnival on the edge of the ocean in Santa Cruz, and a rockin’ soundtrack – here’s a shout out to ‘Echo and the Bunnymen’.  The heartthrob in the movie was Jason Patric as the oldest son trying to do right by his mama and the girl he bumped into.  Before he was Jack Bauer having long bad day after long bad day (rumored to soon be relieved of the daily grind due to cancellation and a possible film adaptation) Kiefer Sutherland was a vampire and a pretty bad ass one at that.  In supporting roles were Corey Haim as the metrosexual younger brother (although that term had yet to be coined) and Corey Feldman as a comic reading vampire hunter.  Thus began a collaboration of what was to be known in ‘Tiger Beat’ history as the ‘Two Coreys’ phenomena. 


                I wonder if I’m the only one who looks at publicity photos of Haim when he was at the top of his popularity and think; that kid looks like he is a brat?  There is a saying in my family, “you have the world by the balls until you don’t anymore.”  It basically means that when you feel you are on top of the world you just might be, but don’t trust that feeling to be permanent because chances are it won’t last.  I’m guessing as a teen star Haim was offered drugs, sex, and an illusion of power (folks twice his age running around getting a straw for his Pepsi) a bunch of things that was probably outside his maturity to level to handle.  If anything cripples former child stars as adults, I imagine that is it.  I don’t care how fluffy half hour entertainment shows paint it, if your mom is your manager (momager) and is living off a percentage of what you make, it can’t be the healthiest of relationships.  “If you don’t make your bed you are grounded and I don’t care if you aren’t feeling well, you can’t hold up production of a multi-million dollar film because your tummy hurts!”


                I believe it is a double-edged sword for actors who find themselves to be teen sensations.  More so that the so-called ‘It’ girls, because these teeny bop stars find that for a time they almost have to go into witness protection if they want even a shred of a private life…that is until something happens.  When their core group of fans enter another stage of their lives and all the things that they adored when they were eleven to fourteen seem passé, which means that the sensation of yesteryear can now walk un-accosted down the street.  It also means that their careers in the spotlight might be over.   For every Justin Timberlake that is able to push through to enjoy adult success, there are the bodies of those young studs that weren’t able to make an older cohort of women’s hearts flutter.  They then litter mostly cable reality TV hoping for a second chance.  God knows that Corey Haim went that route, along with his cinematic best bud Corey Feldman.


                The Coreys reunited in December of 2006 to August of 2008 for a show called ‘The Two Coreys’, which was shown on the ‘A & E’ cable channel.  I didn’t see the show except for clips of it on ‘E’ channel’s ‘The Soup’, but it was pretty clear that a large part of the program was suppose to be about two these men trying to reclaim careers that got derailed, but ended up feeling like a year and a half intervention for Haim.


                If Haim hadn’t died on March 10th, who knows if he would have ever really made a comeback.  Chances are that he wouldn’t, but stranger things have happened.  Although I am not an expert, some of the photos I have seen that were taken in this last year of his life look like he should have had a spot on ‘Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab’ – he has those lost in space eyes. 


                We live in a culture that likes to have lessons learned from tragedy, and I think a death at the age of 38 would qualify, but I believe the lessons here are more of a collective unconscious…or even a collective consciousness.  Despite how screwed up teen idols are as adults there will always be a place in the hearts of fans who grew up with them.  No matter if they were the proverbial ‘flash in a pan’, there is still a shock and an emotional pause when you learn that someone who seemed to live a reckless life died too young.  So kids, here is a lesson plan; when you are more defined by the substances you take over the substance of work you produce, you have a problem.  When your moment in the sun is gone don’t despair, there is much more in life than the fleeting glory – live your dignity, don’t beg for it.    


Westerfield © 2010                              



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