Every now and then, as I search through what to watch on Netflix, I stop and remember that the ’80s and ’90s gave us some really fun, great movies as well as memorable actors. Unfortunately, some of the most talented young men and women are chased down by their personal demons until they can no longer put up a fight. For some of us in our very late 20s and early to mid 30s, these are some familiar names and faces. Their images stretched before us on the big screen or kept us company whenever we popped in a VHS tape. (What’s that, you ask?)
I fear that some of our readers might be too young to know about this heartbreakingly handsome actor. Here’s a quick list of movies he did before dying just outside The Viper Room in Hollywood back in 1993 at the age of 23:
Stand By Me (Classic. Precursor to The Sandlot and Now And Then)
The Thing Called Love (romantic/country music inspired flick with Samantha Mathis and Sandra Bullock)
Explorers (Ethan Hawke is in this one too)
Dogfight – Not sure if it’s still available on Netflix, but it was recommended on Hello Giggles as a great instant watch.
Brad starred in the movie The Client, which if you’ve never seen, I highly recommend that you do. It stars Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon as well as a very young Renfro. He also played the role of Josh in the movie Ghost World alongside Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson.
Odd detail pulled from IMDB: Brad died one week after Heath Ledger. Both had auditioned for the part of Gabriel Martin in The Patriot. The role went to Heath.
Unfortunately, Brad struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. He died in 2008 of a heroin overdose.
I best know Haim from his role in one of my favorite movies, The Lost Boys. That movie also stars Corey Feldman, who was his best friend.
Like many other young stars of his time, Haim struggled with drug abuse. He and Feldman starred in an A&E show called “The Two Coreys” in which they lived together while Haim tried his best to regain his career. Haim died in 2010 in a manner similar to that of Brittany Murphy: flu-like symptoms and prescription medicine formed some kind of deadly cocktail.
I’m still haunted, as many of us probably are, by his extraordinary role in The Crow, a tragic love story based on the comic book by James O’Barr which was inspired by O’Barr’s own life after the loss of his girlfriend to a drunk driver.
The sequels never quite hit the nail on the head but the effectiveness of Lee’s performance lingers in many of our memories just as strongly as the line, “Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children” (a Thackeray quote). Son of the famous martial artist and actor Bruce Lee, Brandon died during filming when he was shot and struck by real bullet fragments that remained inside a prop gun. If by any chance you’re thinking of Heath Ledger right now, you’re not alone. Just as many folks dressed up as Ledger’s interpretation of The Joker for Halloween, many young guys did the same with Lee’s Eric Draven.
Brandis’s death stung a little because he was my secret crush. At one time (deep in the heart of the 90′s and the Boy Meets World era), I had my walk-in closet lined with Bop and Teen Beat posters of Rider Strong, but it was Brandis’s autographed picture that I held as my one true teen treasure.
He was Bastian in The Neverending Story II. He also starred in Ladybugs with Rodney Dangerfield as a boy who plays soccer in drag. He was in Sidekicks with Chuck Norris and in the TV show Seaquest. I’ve always been a fan of horror, so I was doubly excited when I learned he was also in Stephen King’s It.
Some of the many things that made Brandis so visually alluring were his striking blue eyes, sweet pouty lips, and dirty blonde hair that fell over his eyes so perfectly. I hope he never reads this, but my boyfriend Rider Strong would never forgive me for how many times I cheated on him with Brandis (in my imagination).
Did you know he dated Tatyana Ali for three years?
Brandis died in 2003 at age 27 in Cedars Sinai hospital from injuries caused after he hung himself in his apartment. His friends believed he was depressed about his career. He left no suicide note.
Featured Image via RiverPhoenixBlog