The Tragic Story Of Corey Haim, The Child Star Who Died After A Long Battle With Drug Addiction

Published August 29, 2023
Updated August 30, 2023

Corey Haim struggled with drug addiction throughout most of his life, but an autopsy revealed that pneumonia was the true cause of his death.

Corey Haim Death

MediaPunch Inc/Alamy Stock PhotoAs a teenager, Corey Haim was one of the biggest actors in the world, but he later struggled with addiction.

Two of the biggest teenage actors of the 1980s, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim shared the same first name, were lifelong friends, and co-starred together in a number of hit films, including The Lost Boys. But “the Coreys” shared more than just credits. They also bonded over a shared history with the dark side of Hollywood — and allegedly, as victims of its supposed ring of pedophiles.

As teens, both Coreys turned to drugs, but Corey Haim’s addictions were particularly prominent in his life. When he was just 18 years old, he went to rehab to tackle a crack cocaine addiction, but he struggled to remain sober. As he got older and his work tapered off, Haim fell back into his addictions and overdosed multiple times.

By the mid-2000s, he was living in an apartment near Burbank with his mother, and it was here that Haim would ultimately die in 2010. Corey Haim’s death was ultimately ruled to be the result of natural causes, but his long history with drug addiction certainly cast a dark and ominous shadow over the situation.

Corey Haim’s Rise To Fame

Corey Ian Haim was born on Dec. 23, 1971, in Toronto, Canada to Judy and Bernie Haim. When his parents divorced in 1982, Haim went to live with his mother in Willowdale. He was a fairly shy child, and so to help him overcome this shyness, his mother enrolled him in drama, improvisation, and mime classes.

The classes evidently paid off, as while Haim’s sister Carol was auditioning for various roles, producers took notice of 10-year-old Corey and offered him a part in the educational comedy series The Edison Twins.

As the New Zealand Herald reported, the show only filmed for two years between 1984 and 1985, but it kick-started Corey Haim’s career and put the young star on the map.

Bar Mitzvah

TwitterCorey Haim at his Bar Mitzvah.

Shortly after, he was cast in the thriller Firstborn alongside Peter Weller. The 13-year-old Haim played the role of a boy stuck living in a home with his mother’s violent boyfriend, played by Weller — who happened to be a method actor. On their first day of shooting, Haim complimented Weller on his performance, and in response, Weller screamed at him and threw him against a wall. It took three assistants to separate them.

Weller would later apologize to Haim, attributing the blowup to his method acting, but the incident terrified Haim and left a mark.

Corey Haim Becomes Acquainted With Hollywood’s Dark Side

The young actor persevered and continued to land roles in a number of notable films, including Secret Admirer, Murphy’s Romance, and Stephen King’s Silver Bullet.

His breakout role, however, came with 1986’s Lucas, in which he played the titular role and co-starred with Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen, and Winona Ryder. In the film, the 14-year-old Lucas falls in love with an older cheerleader played by Kerri Green — and that crush carried over to real life as well. Corey Haim had reportedly fallen for Green, but she turned him down. He later said that real-life heartbreak inspired his performance.

It worked out well for him, as film critic Roger Ebert would write of his performance:

“He creates one of the most three-dimensional, complicated, interesting characters of any age in any recent movie. If he can continue to act this well, he will never become a half-forgotten child star, but will continue to grow into an important actor. He is that good.”

Unfortunately, it was during the filming of Lucas that Haim started drinking regularly — and even on set.

Then, in 1987, Haim landed his next major role in The Lost Boys alongside his soon-to-be best friend, Corey Feldman. This was also when Corey Haim tried marijuana for the first time, and as his success grew, so too did his dependence on drugs.

Corey Haim With Corey Feldman

MediaPunch Inc/Alamy Stock PhotoCorey Haim and Corey Feldman at the Fourth Annual Moving Picture Ball in April 1989.

“I lived in LA in the 1980s, which was not the best place to be,” Haim later said of his substance use. “I did cocaine for about a year and a half, then it led to crack.”

This came to a head in 1988 while Haim was filming License To Drive with Heather Graham and Corey Feldman, during which time Haim said he had completely lost control of his drug addictions. A year later, at the age of 18, he entered rehab saying he’d gotten “out of whack.” At one of his lowest points, Haim had even been asking high schoolers where he could buy crack.

Feldman was also notorious for his drug use, described as having smoked “bales of weed” and having “coke-off” challenges with friends, competing to see who could do the most lines of cocaine and stay up the longest.

It was Feldman who would go on to write about his own experience growing up as a young actor in 1980s Hollywood — and particularly about the sexual abuse both he and Corey Haim allegedly suffered as a result.

Accusations Of Sexual Abuse In 1980s Hollywood

In Corey Feldman’s autobiography Coreyography, Feldman claimed that he had been molested for years by older men working in the entertainment industry. He also wrote that Corey Haim approached him with similar stories early on in their friendship, and that this mutual trauma formed a strong bond between them.

Feldman later spoke to People Magazine about the abuse, but stated that he would not name names so as to protect Haim’s mother from any more pain.

“There are people that did this to me and Corey that are still working, they’re still out there and they’re some of the most rich and powerful people in this business. And they do not want what I’m saying right now. They want me dead,” Feldman said.

The Two Coreys

Barry King/Alamy Stock PhotoCorey Feldman and Corey Haim at the Second Annual Toys For Tots Benefit on Dec. 19, 1992.

Feldman later released a documentary film titled My Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys in which he further detailed the abuse he and Haim allegedly faced. Among the startling revelations in the documentary was an allegation that Haim had once told Feldman that he was raped by Charlie Sheen on the set of Lucas. Sheen would have been 19 at the time, and Haim just 13. Sheen’s publicist denied the allegation.

Haim’s mother alleged in a 2017 appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, however, that it was not Sheen who had raped her son, but rather actor Dominick Brascia (Feldman had also accused Brascia of abusing Corey Haim in the documentary). Brascia denied the allegations.

The Coreys’ Troubled Childhoods Come To Light

In the years leading up to Corey Haim’s Death, he seemed to hint at some of the allegations Corey Feldman would later bring to light. Haim addressed the “rape incident” directly in 2007 when he and Feldman starred in the A&E reality series The Two Coreys, saying that his rapist had been one of Feldman’s acquaintances.

“I have come to terms with this a long time ago, but obviously not [totally],” he later said. “Stuff happens when you are a kid, it scars you inside for life.”

As young teens, the two Coreys naturally lived lavish lives and attended countless parties, but in particular, they were known for hosting a weekly underage party night called Alphy’s Soda Pop Club — basically a hangout spot where Hollywood youth could party without supervision.

Feldman later claimed that a number of high-level Hollywood pedophiles would visit the Soda Pop Club and rape and intimidate the teenage actors. Haim never addressed this alleged sexual abuse, though he did speak about how the Soda Pop Club contributed to his addiction.

“By the end, it was dying out and everyone was on drugs,” he said. “I was on drugs, Feldman was on drugs. At the end of it, we were 16 or 17 years old!”

Unfortunately, Corey Haim never truly recovered from his addictions, and this sent him spiraling into a hole of debt, isolation, and desperation.

The Events Leading Up To Corey Haim’s Death

By the early 2000s, work had pretty much dried up for Corey Haim, and he had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. During this time, which he later called an “eight-year hiatus,” the actor said he effectively hid away and had “an addiction to pretty much everything.”

Twice in 2001, Haim was hospitalized for drug issues. The second time, his mother found him unconscious in his home in Los Angeles.

But Haim had no money to pay his hospital bills — and out of desperation, he tried to sell his teeth and hair on eBay. This attempt was blocked by eBay, however, as the site does not allow for the sale of human body parts.

Just three years later, Haim had moved into an apartment with his mother, but continued to spiral due to his drug addiction. In 2007, Haim once again checked himself into rehab, but upon leaving, just two years before Corey Haim died, he referred to himself as “a chronic relapser.”

“I guess I always will be,” he said.

The Death Of Corey Haim

Corey Haim In 2010

MediaPunch Inc/Alamy Stock PhotoThis photo was taken in January 2010, just a few months before Corey Haim died.

On March 10, 2010, Corey Haim was found dead in the apartment he was still sharing with his mother.

CNN reported in May of that year that Corey Haim’s death had been attributed to pneumonia, however, not drugs. Toxicology tests “revealed no significant contributing factors” from drugs, according to the coroner’s report, despite investigators initially believing an overdose to be the cause.

Rather, the autopsy found “an extremely large amount” of swelling in Haim’s lungs, and further toxicology tests revealed that his blood did have “low levels” of several drugs including a cough suppressant, antihistamine, ibuprofen, Prozac, Olanzapine, Valium, Carisoprodol, meprobamate, and THC.

The autopsy determined, however, that the medications were “present in low levels” and were “non-contributory to death.”

Corey Haim was just 38 years old when he died.

After learning about the heartbreaking life and death of Corey Haim, read about the tragic death of Steve McQueen, Hollywood’s “King of Cool.” Or, learn the story of Sharon Tate’s death at the hands of the Manson Family cult.

Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Point Park University.
Jaclyn Anglis
Jaclyn is the senior managing editor at All That's Interesting. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York and a Bachelor's degree in English writing and history (double major) from DePauw University. She is interested in American history, true crime, modern history, pop culture, and science.
Cite This Article
Harvey, Austin. "The Tragic Story Of Corey Haim, The Child Star Who Died After A Long Battle With Drug Addiction.", August 29, 2023, Accessed April 19, 2024.