Child Stars -Hollywood’s Role Models of Death

childstars

I admit it, I’m in a bad mood.  I’ve just grabbed my soap box and I plan to stand on it for a moment or two.  I have a confession to make.  I hate child stars and child actors.  But let me clarify.  It’s not specifically the person I hate, it’s what these networks which are cash cows hell bent on their endless cravings of greed have done to them. I hate the system.  I hate the build up of these children, as the television, movie and music industries exploit and seemingly pimp out these young stars and bleed them dry of their lives.  These industries commercialize and exploit young children and their families.  Brainwashing happens…not like it’s done in the espionage world but these kids are taught at a young age that appearance is everything.  They are told in so many words “don’t get fat”, “look your best”, and you’ll make us money. Parents and the child stars are sucked into these lifestyles and the industry works these children to either an early grave from drugs or suicide or until they grow up, grow old, get in trouble with the law and lose their ‘shine’.

Far too many of these ‘pop tart’ stars are milled out every year as the ‘next big thing’ and our children are subjected to these standards of acceptance and perception of perfection.  I’m sick and tire of it.  I can’t tell how much it grinds on me to see former child stars like Miley Cyrus and Lindsey Lohan flop around on music videos flaunting their half naked selves in order to break the ‘childhood star perceptions.   I can’t tell you how much it annoys me that some of these stars who have lost the lime light claw and scratch for any sort of media attention even to the extremes of partying, rehab and arrests.

It is a sad, vicious cycle of self deprecation, egotistical flaunts and greed.  What makes it even worse is that our children look up to these stars.  They’re in some ways peers to our children.  Turn on the t.v. and they are there, front and center.  Perhaps it’s time to turn off the television.  To stop supporting these networks that pimp out child stars upon the public stage.

I’m so sick and tired of hearing about the latest childhood star who was found dead.  When will these networks be held responsible for the monsters that they have created?  When will we reach a point where people will wake up and discover the acting lifestyle with its glitz and glamour has a dark and twisted underbelly?

I’m almost ready to come down from my soapbox…almost.  But look at the victims of these industries for a moment with me, and this is just a tip of the iceberg:

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Corey Haim: (December 23, 1971 – March 10, 2010)

80’s child actor who starred in many box office hits but struggled with drug addiction and the pressures of performing successfully.  Though his death was ruled accidental overdoes he fought his demons of Hollywood.

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River Phoenix (August 23, 1970 – October 31, 1993) He died on a sidewalk outside a nightclub of a drug overdose.  He also starred in movie hits as a child actor and ironically enough was even a spokesperson for an anti-drug campaign shortly before his death.

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Heath Ledger: (4 April 1979 – 22 January 2008) Heath was a child star from Australia who started off on television and became world famous actor.  He wasn’t much of a chronic but drug user but struggled with sickness and sleeplessness and overdosed on medications.

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Cory Monteith (May 11, 1982 – July 13, 2013)

Star of t.v.’s hit show ‘Glee’, Cory Died after failing to stay in rehab and overdosed on drugs.

ImageAmy Winehouse: (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011)

Drug overdose

ImageJonathan Brandis  (April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003)

Child star in movies such as Sidekicks, Neverending Story and tv shows like Seaquest.   He discovered acting to be very difficult as an adult, dealt with bouts of depression and heavy drinking.  Gone too soon, died of at his own hand -suicide.

Image Dana Plato (November 7, 1964 – May 8, 1999)

Suicide.

Image Lee Thomas Young

(February 1, 1984 – August 18, 2013) -Suicide.

There so many more that could be listed here.  Some died from drug and alcohol overdoses, others vehicular accidents, and still others suicide and murder.

I recognize there are many choices that people make.  I recognize that not every child actor ends up this way.  But seriously the statistics of drug overdose or suicide are so much higher with former child stars than any other demographic.   What does this teach our children, what does this teach us of our culture today?  We live in a very fickle world where beauty and popularity lasts mere moments and then it’s gone.  Do we allow culture to teach our kids, do we allow it to replace us as the parent or the teacher or the guardian?  We are our children’s parents, our child’s role models, we are their instructors in this life.  Step up and act like it.

Ok…now I’m stepping off of my soapbox for a while.

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