Dual Drug Busts Turn a Painful Spotlight on Two Children of Hollywood

To hear Corey Feldman talk about it things had never been better. The teen star of such movies as Stand by Me and The Lost Boys had just about wrapped Rock’n’Roll High School Forever, a Roger Corman film set for release this summer. Feldman, 18, had also finished ghosting the voice of Donatello in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He was recording his first rock songs and had recently moved into a two-bedroom Beverly Hills apartment with his fiancée, Vanessa Marcil. “The very little time that I get” an exuberant Feldman told PEOPLE last month, “I like to spend with Vanessa.”

Unfortunately, Feldman was not at home with Vanessa on the night of March 9; instead, he was in an unsavory section of downtown Los Angeles, allegedly buying drugs. Police say they stopped Feldman for speeding and found an estimated nine grams of drugs—23 balloons containing heroin and two with cocaine—in the Plymouth sedan he was driving.

That same night on the opposite coast another child of Hollywood was being booked on drug charges. Police in Daytona, Fla., were staking out a public housing project when they saw Danny Bonaduce—a 1970s star of TV’s Partridge Family—arrive at 2 A.M. and allegedly purchase about $20 worth of crack-cocaine. Both actors were freed on bail, but if convicted, Bonaduce, 30, could face a five-year prison sentence and Feldman could spend eight years behind bars.

What was especially surprising was Feldman’s alleged link to both heroin and cocaine, and in such large quantities. The total street value of the 25 balloons—each of which would ordinarily last a user about a week—could be as much as $2,500. For that reason, police charged Feldman with possession with intent to sell.

Feldman, who has refused to comment publicly, is hinting that he may have a different story to tell. “He left the impression that there were circumstances that weren’t completely known yet. He sounded shook-up but all right,” says comedian and friend Sam Kinison, who spoke with Feldman the day after the arrest. “It’s hard for me to believe he’s been using heroin. He’s a great kid. I met [Corey] five months before Lost Boys came out in 1987. It was the start of a wonderful relationship because we are like lost boys.”

Born and raised in Southern California, Feldman has been a working actor since he was 4, when he played a cookie thief in a McDonald’s commercial. He got his big break in 1985, when he was cast in Steven Spielberg’s The Goonies. But even as his career was taking off, there were signs of trouble in his personal life. His father, Bob, a rock musician, and his mother, Sheila, had a tempestuous marriage until they divorced when Corey was 11. He later moved in with his father, who became his manager. But at 16, after an apparent falling out with him, Corey filed—and won—a state court petition to declare himself an emancipated minor in charge of his own legal and financial affairs.

In a sense, the move was also symbolic—a signal that he was leaving childish things behind. Last month, Feldman said, he had parted ways with many of his friends, including The Wonder Years’ Jason Hervey and Alyssa Milano of Who’s the Boss? “We all used to be like a big gang and go to all the teenage parties together,” Feldman said. “But I just kind of grew out of it and wanted to drift away from that crowd.” Instead, he says that in recent months he has been spending time with Vanessa and working on his music.

In fact, two of his songs may have been prescient. ” ‘Raucous Danny’ is about a guitar player legend kind of guy and his downfall, how he spends all his money on drugs,” Feldman said. ” ‘Dare Dreamer’ is about this guy who doesn’t want to be a bad person, but the public is making him this way. Everybody pretends to be the Dare Dreamer’s friend. But they want him to do things like take drugs and get mixed up in bad crowds. At the end of the song you find out that Dare Dreamer is me.”

Danny Bonaduce, too, knows the potential perils of early fame; he had expounded on that subject while taping the Geraldo show two weeks before his arrest. After The Partridge Family was canceled in 1974, both his career and personal life took a plunge. By age 21 he had squandered all of his $350,000 in savings, and five years ago he was arrested in Hollywood for possession of cocaine.

“For a while, I was a real confused kid. A lot of people think you do a television show, you immediately start taking drugs,” he told the talk show host. “I did that.” The charge was dismissed, and Bonaduce, after completing a drug-counseling program, seemed to have gotten his life back on track with a new career as a top-rated radio disc jockey in Philadelphia.

For a time, at least, he also sounded like an anti-drug crusader. “I wasn’t an addict, but playing in that atmosphere was just so negative. Thinking about where I could have been gives me the shivers. I really think that drugs are badly weakening the fiber of America,” he said last year. “Drugs never, ever did anything good for me.”

—William Plummer, with bureau reports

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