Why Was Corey Haim Broke When He Died?

Did a former child actor, who publicly discussed an expensive drug habit and who was far from a box-office king at the time of his death, have a scrawny bank account?

By Leslie Gornstein Mar 17, 2010 10:01 PMTags
Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, License to Drive Poster20th Century Fox

I was just reading that Corey Haim's family asked for donations to pay the costs of his funeral. Wouldn't he receive residuals from all the movies that he was in, especially the hit ones like The Lost Boys?
—McAllen1, via the Answer B!tch inbox

Well, sure, he'd get residuals. But so would Gary Coleman, Kim Basinger, Don Johnson, Margot Kidder, Larry King and Burt Reynolds, all of whom, at one time or anther, fell on very high-profile financial hard times.

Even still-popular stars like Nic Cage have faced serious money problems—like millions of dollars in owed taxes. So is it all that insane that a former child actor, who publicly discussed an expensive drug habit and who was far from a box-office king at the time of his death, would have a scrawny bank account?

Let me break it down for you...

Starting with some Haim specifics:

Haim's heyday was in the '80s, when he starred in movies like The Lost Boys and Dream a Little Dream. But while he continued to get gigs in the '90s, mostly straight-to-video gigs, and he was supporting a serious drug habit. He finally filed for bankruptcy in 1997. His only assets, according to the filing? A 10-year-old BMW, $100 in cash and royalties and residuals valued at $7,500.

That's right. Not a misprint. $7,500. How can that be, given the huge success of The Lost Boys alone? Because residual payments aren't flat fees. They're tied to public demand for the movie—via TV reruns, DVD sales and all that.

"When a picture is first released on DVD and lots of people are buying and renting it, the performers are getting regular residuals payments," a spokeswoman for the Screen Actors Guild explains to me. "Ten or 20 years from now, there will probably be less of a demand (though not always) and fewer sales, or maybe it's just not even available anymore, and there will be smaller or no residuals."

Got that? Here's more.

"You are not going to get rich off of your residuals if the bulk of your stuff was done long enough ago. In fact, there's a good chance it's not generating enough for you to live on," manager Marrissa O'Leary tells me.

And remember, she says, that whenever you are earning money, "a good chunk comes out in taxes, and then 10 percent goes to your agent, 15 percent to your manager, 5 percent to the business manager..."

You get the idea. For the record, Haim's funeral was finally paid for, in large part, by a celebrity memorabilia company.


Corey didn't make our Top 10 Best Vampires Not in Twilight list, but one of his costars did.