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March 12, 2010

Remembering Corey Haim

Posted: 02:58 PM ET

By Mayim Bialik, Ph.D.

Editor’s note: Mayim Bialik is best known for her lead role as Blossom Russo in the early-1990s NBC television sitcom 'Blossom.'  After the series ended, she earned a degree in Neuroscience and Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and later, a Ph.D. in Neuroscience.

Those who did not know Corey Haim may be shaking their heads today, dismissing him as just another troubled Hollywood actor who succumbed to the temptations of this industry (did they not feel the same way when Andrew Koenig passed away just weeks ago?); others will look for deeper meaning. Whatever the cause of his passing, anyone who knows what being a child actor is like knows that he received a lot of fame, a lot of money, and a lot of attention before he probably knew what to do with it. 

As someone who knew Corey if only at publicity events we both attended for several years in the 1980s, I feel personal sadness for his family and loved ones. I watched the tabloids in the years I knew him and in the years since we stopped doing publicity together, and even when I was just 12 years old and he was 16, I had a sense that Corey was suffering from something; too much of something or not enough? I could not say then nor can I say now.

I do not claim to be any sort of expert on Hollywood child stars or what leads some of us astray, while others walk the straight and narrow. Do I have the magic formula for how not to have someone do drugs and drink and sleep around? I'm afraid not.

After "Blossom" ended, I craved "normalcy" and I left the industry to go to college and graduate school and to eventually start a family. And I won't lie: I used the services of a trained therapist to deconstruct the insanity that being told you are incredible and not knowing if you can believe it brings. The money, the fame, the attention; it's really all way too much for a little person, no matter how mature or precocious they seem. Many of us become actors because we need more of something; be it approval, love, adoration, or attention. Perhaps the industry is not always the best or only place to get those needs met.


I wish I knew how to keep Hollywood kids (or any kids, for that matter) out of trouble, but I don't. I do know (as do many) that encouraging kids and teenagers to have varied interests, helping them engage in activities and skills that are not vanity-related, encouraging them to help those less fortunate, and fostering a sense of tremendous appreciation for the blessings in our world can be useful. But that's not always enough. As with the passing of Andrew Koenig, the reality of mental illness as significant in the life of any person who is struggling becomes very clear, actor or not.

I didn't really know Corey Haim. I didn't know what his home life was like. I don't know what his soul needed. But that's not what is important right now. What is important now is that his family gets the privacy and dignity that they need from the watchful eye of our industry to heal and grieve in private for the loss of their beloved son, brother, and friend. I wish them peace, and that his memory should only be for a blessing.

Filed under: Corey Haim • LKL Web Exclusive


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Gwen Marie   March 11th, 2010 9:42 pm ET

I WANT TO THANK YOU AND COREY FELDMAN FOR WHAT WAS SAID ON YOUR SHOW. I AGRESS PEOPLE ARE PUT DOWN WHEN THEY FEEL LIKE THEY REACH BOTTOM. THIS IS SO WRONG AND IT LETS THE WORLD KNOW WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE WE ARE. WHEN A PERSON DIES AND STILL THEY ARE BEING CUT DOWN LOOK AT THE FAMILY AND FREIND THEY ARE HURTING. WE GOT TO BE BETTER THAN THAT. LOOK AT MICHAEL JACKSON CHILDREN AND NOW LOOK AT COREY HAIM FAMILY. WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE ANYONE? WE SHOULD SEND OUR LOVE OUT TO THEM NOT HURT THEM FOR THEIR MISTAKES FOR WE ALL HAVE MAY THEM ONE KIND OR ANOTHER. THANK YOU LARRY KING AND COREY FELDMAN LOVE YOU BOTH


Dana   March 11th, 2010 10:57 pm ET

Thank you Corey Feldman so speaking the truth! No one knows what Corey Haim died from until the toxicology reports come back and the autopsy is complete. Everyone needs to STOP assuming anything. I watched several of the movies that both Corey's were in and watched several episodes of "The Two Corey's" and had high hopes that Corey Haim would be able to beat the addictions in the long run. No matter the outcome of the autopsy, I hope that his family and friends know not everyone automatically "hates" or is rude. I wish Corey Haim, family and friends much peace in the future.


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 12th, 2010 12:02 am ET

What an understanding and non-judgemental person this lady is. She tried to put things into perspective and did quite a good job of it. Thank you for trying to understand and not judge.


kelly   March 12th, 2010 8:57 am ET

It's unfair that the tabloids and shows like TMZ are allowed to make jokes of former child stars and I agree with Corey Feldman that things like TMZ have to go or get some class on how they go about reporting on celebrities lives. Things need to change,our society is becoming nothing but garbage and watching in enjoyment as peoples lives turn tragic.


Gerald Jolly   March 12th, 2010 9:34 am ET

So I ask you.

What's to remeber??

Oh! I know,

It's about remembering a "MORON" who wasted his no talent life on drugs.

While the country is in the worse state it's been in for the last 50 years, people are wasting their time whinning ove a DOPE ADDICT.

GEEEEEEZZZZZZZ!


Lori - Justice For Michael   March 12th, 2010 1:35 pm ET

Thank you for an insightful article. It should become very apparent that there is a high price for fame, especially for child actors, musicians and entertainers. Maybe there should be better guidelines? Maybe prescription drugs should be more closely regulated? Something needs to change, or this sad scenerio will continue. Again thanks Dr. Bialik for a thoughtful article from someone with inside the industry experience.


lola   March 12th, 2010 3:19 pm ET

Addiction is an illness. it is always a tragedy when one does not receive the help one obviously so desperately needed. It is a heart break for loved ones left behind to deal with the loss. The only blame here is on those that stood by and did nothing to help.


Iliana T.   March 12th, 2010 3:44 pm ET

I'm still so affected by this story and I don't know why. Maybe because we're almost the same age, and here is another story of an 80's child/teen actor thrown into the volcano of Hollywood Fame as some sort of a human sacrifice. Hollywood to me, a complete outsider, seems like such a cannibalistic place. To the Hollywood community who claim they have no part, I say I don't care. I plan to boycott every studio who had child/'teen stars in movies from my generation and developed a substance abuse or mental health problem. It's amazing to me that when a young person goes on to achieve great success adults are more their willing to acknowledge their contribution to this person's inevitable success, but never to their demise, and saying people are responsible for themselves ultimately. I think young people, especially children, are owed a debt of protection in their development (ie It Takes A Village). It's okay to fill the studios pockets, but not feel some compassion or sense of responsibility for the kids doing the work. I think there is no profession in this country where children are allowed to work, or that churns out more damaged goods than maybe prostitution, drug dealing, and other black market professions. It's amazing to me the hypocrisy of Hollywood to do so much for Haiti, when so many actors have never even met a Haitian person in their lives, nor befriended one, and yet with actors they turn their backs, do not lend support, nor help out their own. How can you advocate for the outcasts of this hemisphere, when you don't even take care of the ones in your backyard...in your own community. I'm done with the self-righteousness, the denial, the hypocrisy. Like I said before I'm gonna start doing a little boycotting until something is done to change things.


Jamie   March 12th, 2010 4:56 pm ET

Corey Haim struggled his entire life. That is what saddens me. He had happy moments...but did he ever find true happiness in his life?


dnj4mj   March 12th, 2010 5:06 pm ET

Corey Haim only wanted to please people, he was a wonderful soul, but was battling demons for many years. I was always routing for him and he did try. I believe he was getting his life together and people should not condemn him before they know the truth. He said in his tears in 2007 'I know there is a future for me somewhere' and i just know he was doing good. How unfair when he was getting his life together, getting clean, and caring for his very sick mother, that his life should so cruelly taken in a second. Corey was the last fragment of my youth, part of it went with the death of my other crush/hero River Phoenix. My world was robbed with the murder of Michael Jackson now my youth has been robbed with Corey gone from us forever.

Thankyou Corey Feldman for your heartfelt words for your best friend. Yes where was those people who cast him aside, because he loved them but where was the love from them to him after the cameras stopped rolling. In Hollywood they welcome you, then drop you without the batting of an eyelid or a feeling of remorse, but these are human feelings they are messing with, feelings of a child, that affect them for the rest of their lives.
Im completely and utterly heartbroken. I just ask people to remember Corey for his wonderful, kind soul, and not for the demons he struggled to fight.

My heartfelt condolensces go to his mother Judy , I truly hope you will beat the cancer that Corey was helping you fight, his father Bernie and his sister Cari. Thankyou for your truly loving, adorable Son, I will remember him always with a smile and a tear for what could have been.

RIP Corey.... I love you forever


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 13th, 2010 4:05 am ET

Yes, that was straight from the heart stuff interview Corey Feldman gave. He wants everybody to stop all the speculation until the reports come back.

Corey Haim looked such a nice, sensitive type of person. It is just so sad that his life ended this way. May he rest in peace and condolences to his family and friends. Celebrate his life and keep the memories of him in your hearts forever until you meet again.


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 13th, 2010 4:08 am ET

Hollywood sounds like a big monster machine, that sucks you in and spits you out again.


Dodie   March 14th, 2010 1:18 am ET

@ Jessie from Auckland, NZ

You are absolutely correct! My family worked in the industry. It was a nightmare for many! Jessie, you often have very good insight! You seem to view issues with clarity!


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