Detroit Michigan Obituary Sports

Barry Bremen – The Great Impostor

Trivia question: Who accepted the 1985 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a television drama?

If you answered a 6-foot-4 Jewish insurance salesman from West Bloomfield, Michigan then you’ve obviously heard of Barry Bremen. Barry Bremen, known as “The Great Impostor” died yesterday from esophageal cancer on his 64th birthday.

Growing up in Metro Detroit, I watched Barry Bremen’s antics with delight. For native Detroiters like my parents, Barry Bremen was a kid they grew up with in the old neighborhood and saw in the hallways of Mumford High School. But for me, he was a local guy who was willing to get arrested if it meant being in the spotlight and making people laugh. In high school I remember asking Barry’s son Adam, who is my age, what he thinks of his father’s role as “The Great Impostor.” Adam, who uses a wheelchair and is himself an inspiration to so many, replied that his father does this because it makes people smile.

Barry flew out to Pasadena, California for the 1985 Emmy Awards. When Peter Graves announced the Best Supporting Actress award goes to Hill Street Blues actress Betty Thomas, Barry Bremen suddenly stood from his front-row seat and accepted the award on Thomas’ behalf from an obviously confused Peter Graves. Here’s the video of that unique moment in award show history:

Barry Bremen was known as “The Great Impostor.” Some of his stunts included wearing a Kansas City Kings uniform and getting onto the floor during pre-game warmups for the 1979 NBA All-Star game which took place just outside of Detroit at the Pontiac Silverdome. Barry must have liked NBA All-Games because he did it again wearing a Houston Rockets uniform at the 1981 All-Star game in the Richfield (Ohio) Coliseum. What might be most impressive is that on three occasions, he played in the U.S. Open practice rounds. Barry was a great golfer (he had a 7 handicap), but most great golfers still don’t get to play a round of golf with the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples and Curtis Strange.

Golf Magazine even reported on Barry’s appearance in a practice round with Fred Couples, Jay Haas and Curtis Strange at the 1985 U.S. Open at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Scouting the course early in the week, Breman was introduced to Couples, then an up-and-coming pro. “I had a great chuckle with him,” Couples said. “[Bremen] said, ‘Obviously, I can’t tee off with you, but I’ll find you out there.'” A friend of Bremen’s — an Oakland Hills member — smuggled Bremen’s clubs and caddie into the club. Bremen, wearing a disguise and claiming to be a qualifier named Mark Diamond, went in search of Couples, who was playing a practice round with Haas.

Couples remembers: “He comes out of the shrubs on the second hole and hits this tee shot that buzzes the spectators. . . He had this big wig on and a visor and looked a little out of place, but we didn’t care. He just did his deal and had a great time. It didn’t take long for people to scream out, ‘Who is that guy?’ I mean the cat was out of the bag after a couple holes, but we didn’t get in trouble and no one came out to get him.”

Perhaps Barry’s most outrageous impostor moment was in 1980 when he dressed as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and managed to shake pom-pons on the sidelines of a Dallas Cowboys game before being escorted in handcuffs out of the stadium by police.

People Magazine ran a feature article about Barry Bremen after the Dallas incident:

His big dream, though, was to pass as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. So starting last September Barry shed 23 pounds, practiced drag routines with his wife, had a replica Cheerleader uniform custom-made, shaved his legs and bankrolled the project with some $1,200 of his own money.

Then he made his move in last month’s Dallas-Washington game. Bursting onto the sidelines in boots, hot pants, falsies and a blond wig, he got out only one cheer (for posterity, it was “Go Dallas!”) before Cowboy security had him hogtied and handcuffed. “Perverted,” team vice-president Joseph A. Bailey dubbed his act, and Bremen says when he called the Cheerleaders’ manager to explain, she could only sputter: “You are not a female.”

Previous targets have laughed off Bremen’s antics, but the Cowboys have smacked him with a $5,000 lawsuit for trespassing and creating a nuisance, and they want him banned from Cowboy games for life. To Bremen, that is very stuffy. “What are they going to do, put ‘Wanted’ posters at every entrance?” he asks. “This is ridiculous. I was just having fun.”

Barry’s prank at the Emmy Awards and posing as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader were funny, but my favorite Barry Bremen prank came when I was only a few years old. Something odd happened in the 1979 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Seattle. Future Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson left his New York Yankees uniform back in New York. So, at the beginning of the game he had no choice but to put on a Seattle Mariners uniform. So, while Reggie Jackson — an actual Yankees player — wasn’t wearing a Yankees uniform there was this tall Jewish guy from Detroit on the field who WAS wearing a Yankees uniform.

Barry Bremen, a devout sports fan, made it down to the field (with the help of legendary announcer Dick Schapp and George Brett) and was desperately trying to sneak into the group picture of Baseball All-Stars. And it was a famous picture with such future Hall of Famers as Reggie Jackson (in a Mariners uniform!), Joe Morgan, George Brett, Mike Schmidt, Gaylord Perry, Dave Winfield, Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Carl Yastrzemski, Lou Brock, and Tommy Lasorda. The photo would also include American League manager Bob Lemon, who was already in Cooperstown at that point, as well as Pete Rose who has yet to be admitted to the Hall of Fame because he bet on baseball.

After the event in Dallas, Barry was asked to give his advice to other impostors. He said, “Don’t do it. It’s against the law. Stay away. This is my act.” And in 2005, Barry was asked if he’s retiring from his role as “The Great Imposter” and he replied, “You’ve heard of the Taser gun? You’ve heard of 9/11? They don’t ask questions anymore.”

When the Super Bowl was in Detroit in 2006, Detroit News writer Neil Rubin called Barry Bremen to see what he had planned for the big event. Barry whispered into the phone, “I’ve been in the stadium for four months. I brought enough food and water. I bought the uniform of every team with a chance to go into the playoffs.” Then Bremen, who was 58 at the time, admitted that he was comfortable in his Scottsdale, Arizona winter home playing golf and watching the game on TV.

Several years ago, Barry was featured in a chapter of a book on sports mascots. He autographed his chapter for me and it has become a keepsake that I treasure. Barry could have been just another tall, Jewish guy who raises great kids, is a successful businessman, and has a great golf game. But instead, he was willing to take some risks and do some pretty zany things that others wouldn’t even dream of ever doing. I respect that. A lot. He made us laugh and that was his ultimate goal.

Barry’s wife Margo had a wonderful quote in that People Magazine article back in 1980. She said, Barry is “fulfilling a grand fantasy to be in the limelight. He feels if you have no guts you have no glory in your life.”

May the memories of Barry Bremen be for blessings to his family, friends and fans.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Athletes Celebrities Jewish Obituary Sports

Jewish Wrestler Randy Savage Dies

I grew up watching the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) on TV. In fact, I even went to three WWF events including Wrestlemania 3 in 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome. My two favorite wrestlers were Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.

Randy Savage, who was known as “The Macho Man,” died in a car accident this morning in Florida. Randy’s brother, Lanny Poffo (also a former pro wrestler) told TMZ that Randy had a heart attack while driving and lost control of the car.

Randy Savage was born as Randall Mario Poffo in Columbus, Ohio. His father Angelo Poffo was Italian, but his mother Judy was Jewish making Randy Savage Jewish according to Jewish law. So, was Randy Savage Jewish? Yes.

I remember thinking how cool it was that before Randy “Macho Man” Savage was a pro wrestler, he was a baseball player. Savage played minor league baseball as an outfielder for minor league teams of the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox.

Savage, who remarried last year, was 58 when he died in the car accident this morning. Hulk Hogan said, “He had so much life in his eyes and in his spirit, I just pray that he’s happy and in a better place and we miss him.”

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
America Holocaust Obituary Terrorism

Death of Osama Bin Laden Reported on Yom HaShoah

Today was Yom HaShoah, the annual commemoration of the Holocaust in which we remember the millions who perished at the hands of the Nazis. As I read the names of children from Hungary who were murdered in the Shoah, I thought about my recent trip to Berlin. I thought about how different Berlin would be today had the majority of its Jewish citizens continued to live and procreate.

I plan to write some reflections from my Berlin experience soon, but the big news now being reported is that Osama Bin Laden has been confirmed dead. It would truly be poetic justice if he were killed on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day.

However, the reports are saying that Osama Bin Laden was actually killed over a week ago. If so, that would put his death right in the middle of Passover, the time of our liberation. The theme of Passover is freedom, the principle that Bin Laden tried to crush on September 11, 2001. It would be fitting if the U.S. was able to finally kill Bin Laden during the Passover holiday. (This year, the secular anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fell during Passover.)

In Judaism, we are commanded to remember what Amalek did to us and blot out its name from under heaven. I have no doubt that Osama Bin Laden’s name will be blotted out, but that the American people will also never forget the atrocities committed on 9/11.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Bar Mitzvah Celebrities Jewish Music Obituary

Remembering Debbie Friedman

In Memory of Debbie Friedman (1952-2011)

Debbie Friedman’s music is so fully integrated into synagogue liturgy,
that in many congregations it is considered “traditional.”

I don’t remember the Jewish Theological Seminary in the late 90’s as a very spiritual place. I began rabbinical school in 1998 and there was a general consensus that the Seminary was lacking ruach (spiritual energy).

I do, however, remember a day when, for a few hours, the Women’s League Seminary Synagogue was transcended into the most ruach-filled place I ever experienced. Before classes officially commenced again following winter recess, the rabbinical school had a mandatory “mini-mester.” One year, the theme was on spirituality in prayer.

To conclude the mini-mester, the popular Jewish singer and songwriter Debbie Friedman came to the Seminary to lead a healing service. Her energy electrified the Seminary’s synagogue where students, faculty and guests were singing and dancing. I remember thinking that if I could bottle up her ruach and sell it to congregations around the globe, I’d be a billionaire. Her music adds so much life and feeling to our liturgy.

Debbie Friedman’s version of the Mi Sheberach (prayer for healing) has inspired Jews all over the world to make a communal prayer for healing a staple of every Shabbat service. Her “Alef-Bet” song is how my three children learned the Hebrew Alphabet. So many brides have walked down the aisle or circled their grooms to Debbie Friedman’s “Lechi Lach.” “Miriam’s Song” has become the theme song at every gathering of Jewish women, especially at the yearly Passover seders for women that Debbie Friedman led in New York. And hundreds of thousands of current and former Jewish campers only know Debbie Friedman’s version of havdallah, the prayers ending the Jewish sabbath.

Debbie Friedman died today in an Orange County, California hospital after being hospitalized for pneumonia. She spent Shabbat in a medically induced coma. She had battled health problems in the past, which likely led to her dedicating much of her career to healing services and soulful prayers for the ill.

Ann Coppel’s award winning documentary about Debbie Friedman, “A Journey of Spirit,” gave her fans an inside perspective of her life and health battles. According to the “A Journey of Spirit” website, “For children and adults alike, Debbie Friedman’s music is living Judaism. With her honest, pure voice as their guide, a whole generation of Jews has come to embrace the liturgy through her melodies. Here they find relevance and meaning in the words of the prophets, the messages of ancient rabbis, and the sacred texts of the Jewish religion. In her 30+ year career, Debbie Friedman has recorded 19 albums. She was influenced by American popular music of the 1960’s and 70’s… Now she is influencing younger singers and songwriters with her own dynamic style.”

May the memory of Debbie Friedman be for spiritual blessings always.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Detroit Interfaith Obituary Social Justice Tzedakah

Pastor Henry Covington Dies

Mitch Albom has been writing more eulogies lately than most rabbis. I was deeply moved Sunday after reading Albom’s beautiful memorial for his sister (technically his wife’s sister, but he lovingly removed the “in-law” title), who died after battling breast cancer recently.

Yesterday, Albom traveled to New York City with Reverend Henry Covington to appear on NBC’s “Today Show” together. Covington, the pastor of Pilgrim Church/I Am My Brother’s Keeper ministries in Detroit, was featured prominently in Albom’s best-selling book last year, “Have a Little Faith.”

Sadly, Henry Covington passed away Tuesday night at 53 in New York, his hometown. Covington’s church was well-known for the giant hole in its roof, which led Albom to create the Hole in the Roof foundation. As the driving force behind the fundraising efforts, Albom was able to help have the hole in the church roof repaired.

I had the great opportunity to meet Henry in October 2009 at the Fox Theater in Detroit when Mitch Albom brought many of his friends together to raise money for the I Am My Brother’s Keeper ministries in Detroit. While it was great to meet such celebrities as Dave Barry, Anita Baker and the late Ernie Harwell, the biggest treat was talking to Rev. Covington who truly became a local hero in Detroit.

Mitch Albom posted a statement on his Web site, announcing Henry Covington’s death: “Henry was a dear friend, an inspiring pastor, and a very kind soul. He took care of those who were ignored by others. He opened his home and his church to those who needed him most. And he gave thanks each day for the opportunity to do so.” Covington is survived by his wife, Annette, and their four children.

UPDATE: Mitch Albom has published his obituary for Henry Covington on the Detroit Free Press website.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Baseball Obituary

Sparky Anderson

Growing up as a Tigers fan in Detroit, Sparky Anderson was the quintessential baseball manager. With his shocking white hair and humble leadership, Sparky was a Moses-like figure to me. While I’m not the most superstitious person, I have always taken a little hop over the white chalked foul lines on baseball diamonds because that’s what I saw Sparky do back when I was in grade school.

Being at the fifth and final game of the 1984 World Series at Tiger Stadium when I was in third grade is etched in my memory and I have Sparky to thank for leading his team there. May the memory of George “Sparky” Anderson forever be a blessing for his family, for Major League Baseball, and for the people of Detroit.

“People who live in the past generally are afraid to compete in the present. I’ve got my faults, but living in the past is not one of them. There’s no future in it.” 

– Detroit Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Detroit Michigan Obituary

My 99 Year Old Friend Benny

It might be unusual for a grandson to continue a friendship begun by his late grandfather, but that’s exactly what happened.

Ben Gurvitz and his late wife Sara were dear friends of my grandparents, David and Adele Gudes. The Gurvitzes were at all of our family’s life-cycle events. After my grandfather passed away in 1994 and Sara passed away in 1999, Benny and my grandmother became even closer friends, had meals together, and attended events together. I looked up to Benny and loved his humor. He always had a joke, pun or witticism ready to go for any occasion.

Benny Gurvitz & his wife Sara at my cousins bar mitzvah (1995)

Benny was born on 10-10-10. I, like thousands of others who loved him, was eagerly awaiting the tenth of October this year (10-10-10 again) when he would turn 100. Unfortunately, Benny passed away yesterday; just a couple months shy of triple digits.

The last time I saw him was two weeks ago. I was blessed to spend an hour with him at Henry Ford Hospital where he was being treated for an infection in his foot. I presented him with a letter from Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and an award recognizing him as one of the state’s “Older Jewish Americans.” I nominated him for this award, but he wasn’t able to attend the ceremony in person. Presenting it to him myself, in private, meant more to me than watching the governor present it to him in a room full of strangers. Sitting with him in the hospital room, I saw that his infectious smile and witty personality were still there.

Benny was a fixture in the men’s health club locker room at the West Bloomfield Jewish Community Center and he held court there telling jokes. In the past year, after he stopped driving himself, he would get a ride to the “Center” for a shave and a whirlpool bath. Everytime I saw him there he would inquire about my children like they were his own great-grandchildren (that’s Benny with my oldest son Josh in the photo). He’d ask how my wife, parents, and grandmother were doing. Last year, as my uncle battled pancreatic cancer, Benny and I would hug each other for support with tears in our eyes. He knew my uncle as a little boy.

When I was two-years-old I would pretend shave with a plastic razor in the men’s locker room at Hamilton Place Country Club with Benny and my father watching with delight. Twenty-seven years later Benny and I would watch my son pretend shave with a plastic razor in the JCC locker room.

Seeing Benny everyday in that locker room made me remember my papa. They admired each other. Benny always spoke so highly about my grandfather; especially to other people in my presence. Benny was a mensch.

It’s no doubt that Benny lived as long as he did because of his sense of humor. As his locker neighbor at the Center, Dr. Steven Ceresnie, told me yesterday, “The world’s humor quotient declined sharply today.”

Benny had some funny lines that I heard over and over, but I laughed each time. He would always tell me, “At my age, there’s no more peer pressure. Heck, I have no more peers!” And, “When I was a kid, the Dead Sea was just sick.”

Whenever I asked him how he was doing, he would respond, “I woke up this morning. That’s better than the alternative.” And on occasion he’d tell me, “This is a strange week. Friday the 13th is on a Tuesday.”

Benny also used to say that at his age, God is just a local call. Well, I have no doubt that God will be enjoying Benny’s conversation and laughing at his jokes as much as I did.

In Judaism, on people’s birthday we wish that they live to the age of 120. But let’s be honest, that’s pretty far-fetched even with modern medicine. I think from now on, rather than 120, on birthdays I’ll just wish that my friends live as long as Ben Gurvitz and have as rich and fulfilling a life as he had. Oh, and if they can make those around them laugh even a fraction as much as Benny, the world will be a much better place for all of us.

Here’s a video of the 99-year-old stand up comic. May the memory of Ben Gurvitz (Berel ben Herschel Shlomo v’Sara) endure for blessings.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Celebrities Charity Israel Jewish Obituary Philanthropy

Leona Helmsley’s Gift to Disabled IDF Vets

When Leona Helmsley, the NYC hotel operator and real estate investor known as “The Queen of Mean,” died she was mostly talked about as a billionaire who donated a large portion of her fortune to her dog.

However, her Charitable Trust (The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust) has recently announced grants totaling more than $10.1 million to help fund three major projects in Israel, including one that has been very close to my heart since a trip to Israel in 2002.

In addition to multi-million dollar grants to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Helmsley’s trust also gave $2 million for the benefit of the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, which will help build a state-of-the-art center in Beersheva for rehabilitation and support services for disabled veterans and victims of terrorism. This grant also will help construct and equip the center in order to provide a supportive environment for rehabilitation and integration of disabled veterans and victims of terrorism in southern Israel. The center, whose total cost is $23.3 million, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010.

My wife and I were vacationing at the Dead Sea in December 2002 when we met some new friends and became acquainted with Nechei Tzahal (Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization).

We met Yisrael Abayov, a successful architect from Tel Aviv, who shared his story of fighting for Israel in 1978 when he was hit with a bullet. It was a direct shot to his left temple leaving him disabled for the rest of his life. He was lucky to be alive. In addition to Yisrael, there were hundreds of men at our hotel who became severely disabled while fighting for Israel. Some, like Yisrael, can barely walk anymore, even with the aid of a cane or a walker. Others are amputees, missing an arm or a leg, and bound to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives. Others still, were not injured while on active duty, but rather suffered life-long disabilities from a terrorist explosion while waiting at a bus stop just trying to get back to the base after a weekend off. They were at the Dead Sea to find some temporary relief from their disabling pain through the therapeutic powers of the Dead Sea.

They come each year for two or three weeks, and most of the hotels are very accommodating to their needs, displaying a level of handicapped accessibility that is unmatched anywhere in the world. The Israeli Government pays for their much-deserved vacation, but if it is not taken by the end of the year, the opportunity is lost. Thus, many of them make their vacation to the Dead Sea at the end of every December; making the Dead Sea, in essence, the unofficial convention and reunion of Israel’s disabled veterans.

I spent an hour talking about politics and religion with a couple of veterans who were on the beach with their wives. One of these men, whose foot was blown off by a land mine in the Sinai Desert in 1956, explained that he and his wife had been coming to the Dead Sea for three decades and it is the only time he feels any relief from his injuries. When I remarked to the other veteran how nice it is that the Israeli government provides them with a complimentary vacation for a couple of weeks, he looked me in the eyes, put his hand on my shoulder, and said, “Trust me, we paid for it.”

I’m glad that in death, Leona Helmsley (born Lena Mindy Rosenthal) has been able to improve on her reputation. The woman who served a prison term, famously said that only the little people should pay taxes, and left the bulk of her $4 billion estate to her Maltese, has posthumously become philanthropic to some very important causes.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Baseball Detroit Ethics Obituary

Ernie Harwell – The Voice of Tigers Baseball

Hall of Fame baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell died on Tuesday. He was 92. He had been battling cancer for over a year. It was his time to go and yet his passing has cast a pall over Detroit. Upon hearing of his death, I began to feel both sad and nostalgic. To paraphrase Ernie, “I stood there like the house by the side of the road.” Ernie Harwell was Detroit Tigers baseball and his legendary voice was the voice of my youth.

He looked frail the last time I saw him — at the Fox Theatre in Detroit sharing a conversation on stage with Mitch Albom in front of a packed house. He lived in a retirement community where my wife’s grandmother lives and she reported that he no longer ate in the dining room. Rumors spread that he was in hospice care, confined to his room at Fox Run in Novi. His death was expected. And yet, it stung the city and baseball fans everywhere.

My first inclination was to write about this loss and to pay tribute to the man. Yet, over the years I’ve only posted on this blog through a Jewish perspective. Where’s the Jewish angle in Ernie Harwell’s death, I wondered. He was a man of faith — he became a born-again Christian during a Billy Graham Easter service. He was even baptized in the Jordan River. He certainly wasn’t a Jew.

And yet, there was something about Ernie Harwell that strikes me as so-very-Jewish. He was the epitome of a mensch. No one had an unkind word to say about Ernie. The Emory University graduate was a gentleman and possessed a Southern charm. He was full of wit and wisdom. And he was more than charitable throughout his entire life. His foundation supports the arts and college scholarships. He also possessed what is known in Hebrew as a kol na’im — a pleasant voice. It was that memorable voice to which I would doze off as I listened to Ernie call Tiger games on the radio at summer camp. I listened to that voice on those long car rides Up North and as background noise when I did my homework in high school.

Mitch Albom wrote a beautiful tribute to Ernie Harwell in yesterday’s Detroit Free Press. I was moved to tears reading his account of how Ernie would welcome new broadcasters into the press box. “[Someone] would nudge the new guy and say, ‘Do you know who that was? That was Ernie Harwell. THE Ernie Harwell.’ No one ever earned a ‘THE’ more than him.”

It’s difficult to explain why so many people feel so heartbroken about a 92-year-old baseball broadcaster dying. I suppose it’s because the voice of baseball is gone and baseball is more than just the American pastime; it’s a religion too. A friend of mine remarked that when Ernie Harwell died, his childhood finally ended.

This evening at my son’s little league game, one of the players hit a foul ball that was caught by the opposing team’s coach. Without even thinking, I said: “A fan from Farmington Hills caught that one.” I smiled. So did everyone around me. It was one of his trademark phrases.

This morning at 7 a.m. fans began to pay their respects to Ernie Harwell at a public viewing at Comerica Park. At midnight there was still a line around the stadium. A fitting tribute indeed.

I’ll close with the words of my boyhood hero, Tigers slugger Kirk Gibson: “”He was an icon. The saying that you treat people the way you want to be treated, he represented that to its fullest.”

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Celebrities Jewish Movies News Obituary Television

Corey Haim, Son of Israeli is Dead at 38

Corey Haim is not the first Jewish teen actor from the 1980s to die tragically and certainly not the first child actor to overdose. River Phoenix, whose maternal grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Hungary, died of a drug overdose on Halloween morning in 1993. Now, teen heartthrob Corey Haim has died of a drug overdose at 38.

Corey Haim was born to a Jewish mother from Israel and a Jewish father from Canada. The son of Judy and Bernie Haim, Corey Haim became famous following his role in “The Lost Boys.” He also starred in the 1980s movie “License to Drive” and was later part of the reality TV show “The Two Coreys,” alongside Lost Boys co-star Corey Feldman, who is also Jewish.

The Jewish Chronicle reports that “Haim had been open about his battle with prescription drug addiction, including Valium. He was found dead by his mother in his Los Angeles apartment.”

Many celebrities have been victims of teen drug abuse themselves, with some of them never making it out alive.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |