Image by Matt Graves
With the death of Corey Haim the other week, the Two Coreys became just one. This is tragic not only because it puts the final nail in the coffin of Corey Feldman’s languishing career, but also because it puts another celebrity in a coffin. We’ve seen plenty die over the years — child actors as well as the adults — due to drug abuse, their own recklessness and sometimes suicide (RIP Boner). If they manage to stay alive, they are bound to suffer the short and long term effects of drug addiction, especially if they never stop using.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that being a celebrity is a hard life. All those premieres and awards ceremonies, the endless fawning, the traveling around the world, the fame and fortune, the cars and houses, the nutritionists and personal trainers, the designer clothes and expensive jewelry. It sounds painfully stressful. It’s no wonder so many celebs turn to drugs.
Sure, there is also some work squeezed in between those massages, manicures and facials. And sometimes, the work is actually hard and lasts many hours. But it’s never thankless work. Few jobs are compensated as well — not just with money, but with adoring fans who think you can do no wrong. It’s enough to keep most people pretty high on life.
Yet every other month, it seems another story comes out about a celebrity who has it all and throws it all away. It’s become a well-worn cliché as ubiquitous and uninspired as Starbucks. Haim is just the latest in a string of overdosing stars, who, in the past year, have included Brittany Murphy, Billy Mays, DJ AM and Michael Jackson. And like those who came before him, he will be remembered more for being a pill-popping junkie than a talented actor.
It might be sad if it weren’t so stupid. But sadly, it’s pretty damn stupid. I can’t muster a shred of sympathy for Haim or any other celebrity crybaby who does drugs to escape the hard Hollywood life. Though I’m sure it must be hard — all that diamond jewelry must be so heavy! — especially when you are never offered good parts because you are too beautiful to be taken seriously (*cough cough* Megan Fox), even though beauties like Natalie Portman do just fine landing plum roles.
And I know there is a lot of pressure to look a certain way in Hollywood, as evidenced by the rampant plastic surgery. It’s a miracle that stars like Whoopi Goldberg have managed to stay their frumpy selves in the public eye instead of succumbing to the fake tits, bleached hair, rail thin and plumped lips phenomenon that has turned every other Hollywood harlot into a clone of Pamela Anderson.
Of course, those paparazzi are also relentless — the way they camp outside popular clubs and snap upskirt photos of you without underwear on as you fall out of limos and stumble around drunk. I know Meryl Streep has had her share of problems with this in the past. It’s a tragedy because it’s not like celebs should be expected to sit their asses at home every night to avoid making a spectacle of themselves. They are creative types who cannot be caged. They gotta be free and club going is the way.
And, as Corey Haim reminded us, child stardom is no trip to Disneyland. To peak at eight years old is almost as bad as accomplishing nothing in life. Having all those toys to play with must be so exhausting. It’s a mystery such former child stars as Jodie Foster and Brooke Shields survived their teens and went on to graduate from Ivy League universities instead of ingesting up to 85 Valium a day as Haim reportedly did.
But who can blame him? Getting to live your dream by doing something you love must surely be a nightmare.