I’ve been thinking about the 80s. I was all about Punky Brewster, Different Strokes, Facts of Life, and the occasional morning cartoons. Scooby Doo and Smurfs come to mind. As a child yourself, you don’t think about what child actors and actresses experience as they are catapulted into stardom. As you grow older and learn about the lack of privacy any famous actor or actress faces, it becomes more apparent the weird dichotomy of what it means to known in Hollywood.
I feel child actors and actresses want to be known as such, but because of the character they play on television or in movies, they have to engage in all the publicity where they become a teen object with often sexual and envious undertones. The same could be said for adult actors and actresses. They walk the red carpets for award ceremonies or promote their movies during premieres. They are catapulted to a status much like I viewed my teacher in third grade. You mean Ms. B. grocery shops? I never said anything either in my random sightings of actors and actresses.
One out of a handful that sticks to my fingers like bubblegum was my time at Runyon Canyon. I was walking down the windy paved road when a dog plopped his butt down and would not move. The owner was tugging on its leash to get him to move. That person was Ben McKenzie. You know the brooding teenager, Ryan Atwood, in The O.C. and now plays Commissioner Gordon in Gotham. I had seen him a few times before, but never said anything to him. I didn’t this time either, pet his dog, and went on my way despite knowing his Hollywood status.
This brings me to the actor, Corey Haim, who died in 2010. He was often the underdog in roles as a child. It made him endearing. I wanted to be his best friend in Lucas or Silver Bullet. He took on teen roles oozing with heart throb status such as The Lost Boys, Dream a Little Dream, and License to Drive. He had those boyish looks that kept on giving. Teenage girls thought he was dreamy. The last movie that kept my interest was Watchers.
Hollywood can be tough on childhood actors given their young age and enticement of what it has to offer in parties and drinking. Those in power should not protect the figures who prey on the vulnerable. There’s been enough betrayal taking place “behind closed doors. In light of Corey Feldman stating his friend kept this dark secret, it obviously troubled him to the point of weakening him year after year: the guilt, fear, shame, and anger.
If Corey Haim had survived through his hardships, what kind of opportunities would Hollywood give him? No longer the cute child actor, much like Macaulay Culkin today, does not diminish their talent. I wonder why some child actors and actresses transition smoothly into well-respected roles while others get thrown in the mix of B movies. It isn’t that Corey Haim wasn’t talented because he could emote. In light of his absence, I recommend watching Silver Bullet because you should always root for a child actor who portrays a child hero.