The actor, who seemed ready for major stardom with the movie "Lucas," has died, according to several reports. I can't say I was surprised to see the headlines, since Haim's problems have been extensive and well documented, and his career had descended into the weird self-exploitation of the "Two Coreys" with his friend Corey Feldman.
But a lack of surprise is not the same as a lack of sadness, because Haim onscreen so often seemed to invite our sympathy and affection -- "Lucas," "The Lost Boys," whatever, here was a kid you wanted to tell that things were going to be all right. That kind of connection with an audience is a gift. And even if he was not able to turn that gift into a happy life -- even if the vulnerability he conveyed was rooted in the demons which have apparently, finally, led to his death -- then I still wish we could take him aside, talk to him softly, tell him he will find his way out of this mess. That people care about him, and that's something to live for. Of course, people must have told him that more than once. In the end it made no difference. Nor will it make much difference for thousands of others as off course as Haim was. But we still need to connect. Even when people have given up on themselves, that's no reason for us to give up on them.
Or so I keep wanting to believe.