The cast of Stand By Me now – from sex abuse to Michael Jackson scandal

One of the best-loved films of all time, Stand by Me catapulted its childhood cast to full-blown superstardom when it was released in 1986.

The coming-of-age classic sees River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell and Wil Wheaton play four friends who go hiking in search of a body.

Just like their characters at the end of the film, the four main actors took very different paths in life. For some, fame and fortune brought the oft-linked pitfalls like drug and alcohol abuse.

One star became Michael Jackson's best friend and would later claim he was raped as a child by powerful men high up in Hollywood.

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And in 1993, the world was stunned when one of its most promising stars died in a tragedy which mirrored the film's own poignant ending.

Here's what happened after Stand by Me.

Corey Feldman

Corey Feldman spent much of his childhood in the limelight, starring in classics such as Gremlins, The Lost Boys and The Goonies.

He played damaged Teddy Duchamp in Stand By Me, and off-screen his life was just as turbulent.

Claiming his mother force-fed him diet pills and threatened to kill him, Feldman emancipated himself from his parents when he was 15.

He also said he and his late co-star Corey Haim were abused as child actors and told by 'trusted adults' that it was normal for older men and young boys to have sexual relations in Hollywood.

Like Haim, he spiralled into drug abuse, having regular 'coke-off challenges' with friends and doing heroin.

For a time, the child star had a close relationship with Michael Jackson but always maintained the star did not touch him.

But after a series of allegations were made against the Thriller singer, Feldman later said the star may have been grooming him.

River Phoenix

River Phoenix’s untimely demise was foreshadowed in Stand By Me when (spoiler alert) grown-up Gordie reveals Chris Chambers died young after a knife fight.

Phoenix himself was just 23 when he collapsed and died from drug-induced heart failure outside The Viper Room nightclub in LA on Halloween 1993.

His acting talents and famously good looks had seen him destined for greatness. But a deadly cocktail of heroin and cocaine cut short his life.

According to his friend Bob Forrest, Phoenix had holed up on a massive drugs binge with John Frusciante, the guitarist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Forrest wrote in his book Running with Monsters : "River stayed with John for the next few days, and probably didn’t get a minute of sleep.

"The drug routine stayed pretty consistent for all of us.

"First, smoke crack or shoot coke directly into a vein for that ninety-second, electric brain-bell jangle.

"Then shoot heroin to get a grip and come down enough to be able to carry on a conversation for a few minutes before you start the cycle again.”

Wil Wheaton

Wil Wheaton played lead character Gordon "Gordie" Lachance, narrating the film as a grown-up version of himself.

He went on to star in cult classic Toy Soldiers and played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Wil had a huge online presence with three million Twitter followers but stopped using it "on account of all the bullying and unchecked fascism".

He now focuses on writing. In March this year, the 49-year-old posted a tweet to promote his memoir Still Just a Geek.

He but stated: "It turns out my life and especially my mental health, are better without Twitter."

In his book he claims his mum forced him to be a child actor while he begged her "to just let me be a kid".

Jerry O'Connell

The character Vern Tessio was treated as a loser in the film but actor Jerry O’Connell is anything but.

He went to stage school with Macaulay Culkin and Sarah Michelle Gellar and Stand by Me was his proper acting debut.

His career as a child star didn’t really take off after the movie, so O’Connell went to university in New York before giving acting another shot.

He went on to have a successful career appearing in movies like Jerry Maguire and Scream 2 and is also a director and TV presenter.

The 48-year-old is married to model Rebecca Romijn who is the original Mystique from X-Men.


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