Before Zac Efron, another Jewish actor was known all over the world as a teenage heartthrob. Corey Haim, star of Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys, Lucas and License To Drive.
Born in Toronto, Canada, the actor had an Israeli mother, Judy, and a Canadian-Jewish father Bernie. He was raised Jewish, although his parents divorced when he was eleven.
At the age of ten he won his first role in a Canadian sitcom, before starring alongside Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr in the 1984 film Firstborn. Parker later said she “adored” her young co-star, calling him “naturally gifted and a real charmer.”
By the late 1980s, Haim’s name had international recognition and he became part of a celebrity duo – the other of the pairing being his Lost Boys co-star Corey Feldman. At one point he briefly dated Spice Girl Victoria Beckham; he was also linked with actresses Drew Barrymore and Alyssa Milano. He never married.
His later life saw his earlier celebrity wane, as he found it difficult to move from teenage stardom to adult film and musical success. Scandal followed him; in 1993 he was arrested for threatening a friend and from his youth he struggled with a well-publicised drug problem in the form of a prescription drug addiction.
Despite regular stays in rehab, by the early noughties he was a virtual recluse and believed to be near penniless.
In 2004 he said publicly: “I'm clean, sober, humble and happy," and two years later began work on reality TV show The Two Coreys with his old friend, but the two seasons were marred by drama and argument, and his career and personal rehabilitation remained stalled.
In March 2010 his mother Judy found him lying dead in his Los Angeles apartment. A coroner later ruled that it was a natural death despite speculation that drugs were involved. He was just 38-years-old.
After his death, Corey Feldman told broadcaster Larry King: “He was his own enemy,” but added: “He’s been, honestly, in the best frame of mind that he's ever been in, in the past year.”
Later, director Joel Schumacher said: “He was so good-looking and so funny and so charming. There was no way in the world that that fantastic thirteen year-old kid's life could have turned out the way that it did. It's just horrible.”
Haim had a Jewish funeral service and was buried at Pardes Shalom Cemetery in Ontario.
What the JC said:The bad news from the Hollywood front is that Vietnam is being supplanted by vampires. And not good, old fashioned vampires either, with opera-cloaks and gentlemanly manners, but horrible young-punk vampires on motor-bikes, who corrupt nice kids.
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