Drug Use and Child Stars

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How commercial drug use affected famous child stars and their careers? Jermell Woods University Of Phoenix Res/110 Elaine Raby June12, 2010 Since the 1940’s Americans have had a fascination with child stars. Television shows like The Little Rascal’s, Leave it to Beaver, The Andy Griffin Show and The Cosby Show have produced some timeless memorable performances by child actors and some have become stars in the process. Sadly commercial drug use has greatly affected the careers of some of the people we have watched on television every night.

Former child stars like Michael Jackson, Lindsey Lohan, Todd Bridges and Corey Haim were on top of the world at one time now they are either deceased or shells of themselves living off their past. American megastar Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, on August 29, 1958, and entertained audiences nearly his entire life. His father, Joe Jackson, a guitarist was forced to give up his musical ambitions following his marriage to Katherine . Together they stimulated their growing family’s musical interests at home.

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By the early 1960s, their oldest sons Jackie, Tito and Jermaine had begun performing around the city; by 1964, Michael and Marlon had joined in forming The Jackson 5. A musical genius, Michael’s singing and dancing talents were amazingly advanced, and he soon became the lead singer and focus of The Jackson 5. An opening act for such soul groups as the O-Jays and James Brown by 1969, the boys were producing back-to-back chart-busting hits as Motown artists (“I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “Never Can Say Goodbye,” “Got to Be There,” etc. ).

By the 1970s, the boys emerged as one of the most accomplished black pop/soul vocal groups in music history, successfully evolving to a disco phenomenon. Solo success for Michael was unavoidable, and by the 1980s, he had become infinitely more popular than his brotherly group. Record sales consistently orbited, culminating in the biggest-selling album of all time, “Thriller” in 1982. A TV natural, he ventured rather uneasily into films, such as playing the Scarecrow in The Wiz (1978), but had much better luck with elaborate music videos.

In the 1990s, the downside as an 1980s pop phenomenon began to rear itself. Michael grew terribly child-like and introverted by his peerless celebrity. A rather strange figure, to begin with, his physical appearance began to change drastically, and his behavior grew alarmingly bizarre, making him a consistent target for scandal-making, despite his numerous charitable acts. Two brief marriages — one to Elvis Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie Presley — were forged and two children produced by his second wife during that time, but the purposes behind them appeared image-oriented.

Despite it all, Michael Jackson’s passion and artistry as a singer, dancer, writer and businessman are unparalleled, and it is these prodigious talents that will ultimately prevail over the extremely negative aspects of his seriously troubled adult life. For it all to end on June 25, 2009, with his sudden death at age 50 of a drug-induced cardiac arrest, just as he was coming out of a four-year reclusive period and rehearsing for a sold-out London concert “This is it” in July, seems uncommonly cruel and tragic. Millions upon millions of dedicated fans will remember where they were “the day Michael died”. “My heart is overcome with sadness for the devastating loss of my true friend (Shields 2009)”. As the star of the long-running television series Diff’rent Strokes, Todd Bridges became a household name as a child actor. Millions of fans watched him in the role of Willis Drummond in the series, which aired from 1978 to 1986, and enjoyed him in guest-starring roles on other popular television shows in the 1970s and 1980s. Once Diff’rent Strokes left the air, however, Bridges experienced a difficult transition as he struggled to move ahead as an adult actor.

Arrested several times for drug and weapons offenses, Bridges later admitted that cocaine addiction had sent his life out of control. It took over a decade to get his life back on track with his new-found sobriety, marriage, and a series of bit parts on television shows and in films. In 2002 Bridges landed a comeback role on the popular daytime television drama The Young and the Restless and participated in the sensationalistic Fox network broadcast of Celebrity Boxing against former rap star Vanilla Ice. I have much more to overcome because it’s a matter of people believing in me and trusting in me,” the actor told Jet in October of 1999. He added, “No one is beyond problems. It’s just that mine were public and theirs weren’t. I’m not looking for a handout, just an opportunity. ” Canadian-born Cory Haim broke into the Film industry in 1984 as a young child caught up in a family war in the hit movie Firstborn (1984). The following year he starred in the TV movie A Time to Live (1985) (TV), for which he received an award, and S (1985). Lucas (1986), in which he starred alongside Charlie Sheen showed his ability, but was not a big hit.

In 1987 he had a breakthrough when he played one of the major roles in Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys (1987), but his output during the nineties onwards was disappointing. Haim ranked #26 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Kid Stars. He died suddenly, of a suspected accidental drug overdose, on March 10, 2010. Haim was buried at Thorn hill memorial chapel in Toronto on March 16th, 2010. Because Haim was broke at the time of his death, a celebrity memorabilia site that he sometimes sold items to, Startifacts, had donated $20,000 to cover the cost of the transportation and headstone.

Lindsay Dee Lohan (born July 2, 1986) is an American actress, model, and pop singer. Lohan started in show business as a child fashion model. At age 11, she made her motion picture debut in Disney’s 1998 remake of The Parent Trap. Lohan rose to fame between 2003 and 2005 with leading roles in the films Freaky Friday, Mean Girls and Herbie: Fully Loaded. She appeared in independent movies like Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion and Bobby. Her career was interrupted in 2007 as two DUI incidents and three visits to rehabilitation facilities led to several lost movie deals.

She guest starred in the TV series Ugly Betty in 2008 and filmed Robert Rodriguez’s Machete in 2009. With the pressures of money and fame many actors, actresses and entertainers who start their career early have a hard time staying of top. Questionable off camera incidents like child molestation accusations and commercial drug use has greatly affected the careers of music icons and some of Hollywood’s most promising stars. Many of the people whose music you listened or shows you watched are out of the limelight and are not around anymore. Sadly if you see them on television most of the time it is in a negative way.

Some of the entertainers who have had challenges to their careers have been able to overcome their shortcomings. Tragically most of them are not here anymore due to premature deaths. References (2009). Michael Jackson’s Death Quotes. Retrieved from http://www. mahalo. com/michael-jacksons-death-quotes (2010). Death Of Gary Coleman. Retrieved from http://www. essence. com/entertainment/star_gazing/todd_bridges_on_gary_coleman. php (2009). Todd Bridges Biography. Retrieved from http://www. tvguide. com/celebrities/todd-bridges/bio/177031 (1998). Celebrity Child Stars. Retrieved from http://www. childstarlets. com/ 2010). Child Stars Then and Now. Retrieved from http://photos. tmz. com/galleries/child_stars_then_and_now#tab=most_recent (2010). Black Celebrity Kids. Retrieved from http://www. blackcelebkids. com/ F. , C. (April 19, 2009). Top 10 child stars gone bad. Retrieved from http://listverse. com/2009/04/19/top-10-child-stars-gone-bad/ (April 28, 2010 ). Todd Bridges’ Darkest Days. Retrieved from http://www. accesshollywood. com/former-child-stars? __source=rss%7Clim/latest_news (March 18, 2007). Top 10 Self-Destructive Child Actors. Retrieved from http://www. toptenz. net/top-10-self-destructive-child-actors. php

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