Laila Tov, Corey Haim

I was amongst thousands who learned of the untimely & tragic passing of actor Corey Haim yesterday morning.

As a 35 year-old woman and product of the 80’s, Corey Haim was as much a part of my preteen and teenage years as the Brat Pack and the late John Hughes. I’m pretty sure that at one point, the odd poster of Haim adorned my bedroom walls, too (before Donnie Wahlberg swept me off my chubby, nerdy, virginal feet in 1988). Haim was cute, funny, a fellow Canadian, and his films catered to my then less-sophisticated film palate.

Without malice or criticism: as an adult, he wasn’t my cup of tea. Quite frankly, I often found his whining annoying, and on the rare occasion that I watched locally shot The Two Coreys, felt embarrassed for him. It was pretty obvious (to myself) that he was still struggling, and beating a dead horse with his attempts to revive his career. Painful to watch, though he ought to be admired for making the effort.

In my opinion, Haim also ought to have been commended for his honesty & humility. I’m certain that it couldn’t have been easy to achieve his success at such a young age, thrust into the spotlight, amongst the temptations which lured a naïve, seemingly invincible young man in Los Angeles.

When he fell from grace, he fell hard, and never recovered. Humiliating. Furthermore, it couldn’t have been easy for him to speak so frankly of his illnesses: drug addiction & alcoholism.

Not everyone is brave enough to admit to their struggles, and even fewer people are willing to discuss the difficult roads they travel on their journey(s) to sobriety. Anyone who does so — be they sober, in the throes of addiction, in recovery, or recovered — ought be applauded for the admirable COURAGE it takes to discuss the misunderstood & socially unacceptable disease of addiction.

The shame surrounding addiction perpetuates ignorance. (Kudos to you, Corey, for stepping up to the plate, and your heart-felt honesty.)

Having lost my dad to alcoholism, understanding the shame which plagues families of addicts, and knowing the pain of such tragic loss, I empathize with what the family & friends of Corey Haim have experienced in the past, are at present, and shall continue to feel in the future.

Imagine a heksenketel of shame, guilt, anger, rage, excruciating sadness, regret, and blame, with moments of disbelief, emptiness, and discombobulation. A toxic brew of grief, which many people choose to exacerbate by passing self-righteous judgment, contributing to gossip & allegations, sensationalizing the death of a stranger for profit, or reaping a sense of greater self-worth upon spewing such toxic vitriol to others.

I know all too well what it’s like to be on the receiving end of inaccurate, vicious gossip. During the final years of my dad’s life, but more so in the wake of his death, many people were quick to make suppositions, jump to conclusions, contribute to unfounded tales, pass unnecessary judgment on my dad, and fuel rumours surrounding the nature of his tragic death. Some of my favourites:

  • he’d committed suicide by drinking himself to death.
  • it was “his own fault” that he died; he was the one who ordered the booze, and chose to drink it in excess.
  • my parents were no longer married. apparently, my mother had left my dad, and was having an affair.
  • my dad was a homosexual.
  • my dad died, “covered in puke, and his face was smashed-up”.
  • my dad hung himself in a park near our family’s home.


None of those rumours were true, but I hope those whom contributed to their fabrication & suppositions are happy for the upset & embarrassment that they caused my family & I!   Clearly, such individuals didn’t know my dad for the kind & honorable man, loving father, delighted first-time grandfather, and friend to many that he was.  Instead of regarding him as a talented man who helped & cared for many, to whom hundreds of people owe thanks for saving their lives & the lives of others, and who suffered tremendously for doing-so … many people seemed to find it more gratifying to contribute to fallacies.

When some conveyed to myself what they’d heard, or did me the “favour” of letting me know, part of me wondered if they felt a sadistic sense of empowerment for sharing information with me, hearing my reaction & response, and couldn’t wait to put me on the spot.  Some, to my face, in public, mere days after my dad had died.


As in the instance of most sudden deaths of those in the public eye, the media is having a field day with Haim’s death, and members of the know-it-all public buy into it. Everyone’s got an opinion, but no one’s affected for sharing their nasty words. That is, no one but Haim’s reeling family & friends are affected by the words of others.

Shame on those whom contribute to their grief.

This includes local Vancouver media. Up reading the website of THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT today, I was appalled by the gross unfounded allegations written by one of their Editorial Assistants.

Actor Corey Haim dead at 38

By Shadi Elien
Sad news, children of the 1980s—teen heartthrob Corey Haim has died of a drug overdose at the age of 38.

Several news sites are reporting that the Toronto-born actor passed away early Wednesday morning (March 10) at a hospital in Burbank, California.

Haim’s acting career began at a young age with a role in the Canadian-made series The Edison Twins, which led to his breakthrough role as Lucas in the 1986 romantic comedy of the same name.

Haim’s boyish good looks and sweet demeanour attracted the likes of Hollywood moguls, and the shy boy from Toronto found himself with roles in ’80s hits like The Lost Boys and License to Drive.

Both films also starred Corey Feldman, who became a frequent costar of Haim’s. The pair became known as the “two Coreys”, providing endless swooning for teenage girls.

Haim has admitted to using drugs early in his career, and in a 2004 interview with Britain’s Sun newspaper, he said he smoked his first joint on the set of The Lost Boys. Haim struggled with substance abuse throughout his adult life and was constantly in and out of rehab.

Despite several attempts to resurrect his once bright star, Haim wasn’t successful in making his comeback. The actor’s hard and fast lifestyle was never more apparent than in the tragic A&E reality show The Two Coreys, filmed in Vancouver and starring his former costar Feldman. But Haim’s continuous drug problems caused the show to be cancelled in 2008.

The news of his death is confirmed on Haim’s Web site, which also directs people who want to leave a message to his MySpace page.


Not only did the author of that article decide what killed Haim, but wasn’t 100% accurate in her comment about the cancellation of The Two Coreys. (perhaps she ought contact some of the local crew about the latter)

As per my response:

Kate R.
Thu, 2010-03-11 15:35

RE: teen heartthrob Corey Haim has died of a drug overdose at age 38.

May I remind the author that the cause of death has yet to be determined? It shall take weeks for toxicology results to indicate the cause of Haim’s death. Until then, publishing unfounded conclusions & suppositions is not only irresponsible journalism, but borders on libel.

Yes, Haim was an addict who long-struggled with addiction. Yes, it is possible that his death was the result of accidental overdose. However, until such time as toxicology results prove the cause of death, it is unethical to assume the role of coroner, pathologist, and lab technician.

Kindly note that Haim’s mother was contacted today, and was informed that her son suffered from pulmonary edema. Yes, pulmonary edema can result from heroin overdose, but the author (and other fly-by-night pathologists) do not know Haim’s medical history, the status of his health before death, nor whether he’d suffered a relapse.

Regardless of the cause of death, his struggles in life were sad, and his death at 38, tragic. He was a son, a brother, a friend, and important to many people. Please don’t define his character by his illness.

The Editor is to be acknowledged for a publishing an apology and revising the unfounded cause of Haim’s death.

It is my sincere hope that — out of respect for those who loved & now mourn Corey Haim, editors of other publications shall also exhibit professionalism & integrity.

However, just as Corey Haim had hoped to resurrect his acting career, it is unlikely that the media or gossip-hungry public shall exhibit such integrity. Integrity doesn’t sell as many headlines, nor reap as many hits to fodder-filled blogs.

Shalom, Corey Haim, and may you revel in your new-found peace that you had fought so hard to achieve in this life. And may peace be with your family & friends, too.

Addendum @ 1:00 a.m.

CORRECTION: I had written that Haim’s mother was informed that he’d suffered from pulmonary edema; the pathologist found pulmonary congestion. Difference:

  1. Pulmonary edema is the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, because the left side of the heart cannot pump properly.  i.e. left sided heart failure. The fluid backs up into the lungs and seeps into the lung tissue.
  2. Pulmonary CONGESTION is from an inflammatory process in the lungs — either allergic, viral, or bacterial — causing the lung tissue to secrete fluid. This fluid can become purulent (pus), thicker based on the causative culprit.

You can be “congested” when you have pulmonary edema, but it isn’t usually referred to as pulmonary congestion. Edema is edema; congestion is congestion. Both decrease the ability to exchange oxygen in the lungs; both cause coughing, crackles and sometimes wheezes.

Haim had apparently been experiencing flu-like symptoms prior to his death.

8 thoughts on “Laila Tov, Corey Haim

  1. Layla, thank you so much for those kind words. My daughter’s favourite movie was”Lost Boys” and I must admit, one of mine as well. I felt so very sad at Corey’s downward spiral, because I knew he had so much potential. I believe that young people have such a difficult transition when they suddenly become stars and earn obscene amounts of money. He isn’t the first to succumb, and certainly won’t be the last.
    He will be forever in my mind, sitting in the bathtub singing ” I ain’t got a friend” with Nanook by his side.
    R.I.P. Corey. Your death weighs heavily on my heart.

  2. “Laila tov”, when translated from Hebrew into English, means simply “good night”. Just an acknowledgment to the Haim (and Feldman) family’s Jewish faith. Something that they’re all going to need for support in the wake of their loss (and Judy Haim’s battle against breast cancer).

    My name isn’t Layla, but Kate — a nice schiksa girl from Vancouver.

  3. When did it end up the norm for actors, performers, you know famous people in general, to need to take substances? And I’m not even necessarily talking about illegal substances, but prescriptions in general. Exactly how many accomplished people are likely to die young simply because of this kind of practices. I mean what person wants to be a super star these days? Certainly you will find fame along with fortune, nonetheless you might pretty much knock around 40 yrs from your lifetime!

  4. I have been searching for understanding. Your blog was respectful and honest. Thank you. I look forward to reading more.

  5. FYI: Haim’s toxicology results were publicly released over a month ago, and stated that drug overdose was NOT the cause of death, but was due to natural causes, relative to PNEUMONIA (a.k.a. pulmonary CONGESTION!) and otherwise.

    I hope that those whom sensationalized & profited from hurtful gossip & suppositions (as well as those who bought into & supported irresponsible media) feel a sense of remorse for their inaccurate judgment & fallacies. But I doubt it, because like Haim’s one time popularity & fame, news of his death is old news, and people have forgotten about or moved-on to the next victim.

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