Sep 1, 2012

Corey Haim

What gay boy in the 1980s didn't thinking of Corey Haim as a kindred spirit?  His cute lopsided smile, his metrosexual fondness for hair care products, his slight-but-firm physique, his well-publicized bromance with fellow teen star Corey Feldman.

Whether he was playing cute kids -- in Secret Admirer (1985), Silver Bullet (1985), Lucas (1986) and The Lost Boys (1987) -- or horny teenagers -- in License to Drive (1988), Dream a Little Dream (1989), and Fast Getaway (1991) -- Hollywood censorship decreed that his characters could not be gay.  Yet he often played them as gay anyway -- subtly, cautiously, with a leer at a passing hunk or an intensely emotional buddy-bonding moment that stood out like a beacon in the midst of the "fade-out kiss" plotlines, telling gay kids "You're not alone.  You're ok."

According to Corey Feldman, he was sexually abused by a "Hollywood mogul" as a child, and he doubtless did his share of same-sex one-nighters, but he was undeniably a ladies' man.  He had relationships with nearly every female actor, model, and singer in Hollywood: Alyssa Milano (of Who's the Boss), Nicole Eggert (of Charles in Charge), Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, Holly Fields,  Cindy Guyer, Tiffany Shepis.

During the 1990s, fame -- and his draconian workload -- hit him hard.  Like Tommy Kirk 30 years before, Corey abused drugs and alcohol; his teen idol dreaminess vanished, and he became haggard, craggy, and tattooed.  His movie roles grew sleazy and sinister.  He died of pneumonia in 2010.

To the end, Corey was welcoming and gracious to his fans, both gay and straight.