Heroin, house fires and three deaths - what became of Kids' young movie stars (2022)

A quarter of a century has passed since Larry Clark shocked the world with his first feature film, Kids.

Times may well have changed since then, but the movie is no less jarring today than it was back then.

Devoid of Hollywood sheen, the film follows a group of morally bankrupt, reckless and streetwise teenagers over the course of a single day in New York City.

Underage sex, drugs, violence and rape - it's not your average coming-of-age tale.

The plot is driven by one girl's attempts to tell her first and only sexual partner that she's tested positive for HIV and that he's been busily infecting others with the deadly virus.

While a handful of the film's cast were actors, many were skateboarders and street kids Clark plucked from Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.

Since 1995 when Kids was released, a few of its stars have carved out successful acting careers, with a couple going right to the very top in Hollywood.

For others, it's been a much different, sometimes darker, story...

Leo Fitzpatrick

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In Kids, Telly, played by Leo Fitzpatrick, proudly refers to himself as the 'virgin surgeon'.

But what makes his boast particularly chilling is that he's also infecting young girls with HIV.

Fitzpatrick caught Clark's eye while skating in Washington Square Park - the filmmaker's attention was apparently drawn to the teen as he screamed and cursed after every mistimed trick.

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He later told how people harassed him in the street, believing Kids to be a documentary as opposed to fiction.

After Kids, he was cast in Clark's 2001 film Bully and later that year appeared in Todd Solondz's acclaimed Storytelling.

He was then supposed to star in The Last Castle alongside Robert Redford and James Gandolfini, but two days before filming began, he was hit by a drunk-driver after leaving a friend's party in LA.

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It would have been his biggest - and most lucrative - movie to date, but he had to pull out as he couldn't walk for a month, owing to severe muscle and nerve damage.

Fitzpatrick spent the next 15 years steadily working, appearing in hit TV shows including The Wire, My Name is Earl, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Sons of Anarchy.

Now 43, he's married with a young son. These days, he's more active in New York's art scene, having enjoyed a stint as co-director of city's Marlborough Gallery.

Justin Pierce

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Telly's best friend, the drug-taking delinquent Casper, was played by real-life skate punk Justin Pierce.

London-born Pierce grew up in New York. When at 15 his parents divorced, he span off the rails, reportedly stealing cigarettes and food. He would often skip school to skate.

At some point in his late teens, while living with fellow skaters in Manhattan basements and squats, he was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis and heroin.

Like Fitzpatrick, Pierce, a member of the original Zoo York team, was spotted by Clark skating in New York.

Despite being untrained in the art of acting, he showed great promise and had natural presence.

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In one scene in Kids, where his character is seen inhaling nitrous oxide from a Whip-It cream charger, Pierce decided to make things as realistic as possible - by actually indulging in the dangerous craze.

According to crew members, his antics frequently disrupted filming.

On one occasion he broke his wrist in a scuffle with a bouncer, but had to wait until filming was wrapped to get it put in a cast.

Pierce's portrayal of Casper earned him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance.

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He later moved to LA, landing roles in a handful of independent movies and two episodes of Malcolm in the Middle.

In 1999 he married stylist Gina Rizzo. Rumours of drug use and addiction followed him.

A year later, while promoting his latest film, Next Friday, in Las Vegas, he was found hanged in his hotel room at the Bellagio. He was 25.

Police found two suicide notes at the scene, but they were not released to the public.

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Harold Hunter

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By the time Kids came out, Harold Hunter was already a familiar face in New York.

A professional skateboarder with a distinctive look and style, he learned his trade in Tompkins Square Park and Washington Square Park, not far from the East Village projects he grew up in.

He might not have had much acting experience when Clark cast him in Kids under his own name, Harold, but with a Zoo York sponsorship behind him he had, to a degree, tasted fame.

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Post Kids, Hunter took on a few acting projects, but his main focus remained skating.

Sadly, in 2006, at the age of 31, he was found dead from a cocaine-induced heart attack in his Lower East Side apartment. A police report said he was found with cocaine "on or around" his body.

The Harold Hunter Foundation was set up in his memory to support kids interested in skateboarding.

Harmony Korine

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The story goes that Clark asked Korine to write a screenplay about teenage skaters in New York - with an AIDS plot line - after meeting him in Washington Square Park.

Three weeks later, the 19-year-old delivered the script for Kids.

Korine has a cameo in the film as Fidget, a bespectacled club kid who hands out pills.

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The film launched a pretty impressive career. Since Kids, Korine has written and directed films including Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy, Mister Lonely, Trash Humpers and. Spring Breakers.

He's also written books, released artwork and directed music videos.

But things haven't always been rosy.

Korine found drugs in the late 90s and hit them hard over a number of years. He hit rock bottom when his heroin and crack cocaine use took a firm grip.

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Chloe Sevigny, who starred in Kids and later dated Korine, has suggested their relationship ended because of his drug use.

During what he calls his "crazy" period, he was banned from David Letterman's talk show after the host found him going through Meryl Streep's purse.

Also, not one but two of his houses burned down.

Eventually, he went to rehab, cleaned up, married wife Rachel and had two children.

He told the Guardian in 2008: "I became like a tramp. I wasn't delusional. I didn't think I was going to be OK. I thought: 'This might be the end.' I'd read enough books. I knew where this story ended. The story finishes itself."

Sajan Bhagat

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With just a single movie appearance to his name - in Kids - not much is known about Sajan Bhagat.

In Clark's film, he played Paul, whose squalid apartment Telly and Casper visit to score drugs after discussing their dislike of him.

He died in Atlanta, Georgia, in July 1999, at the age of 27. Cause of death is not known.

Chloe Sevigny

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To some, Chloe Sevigny was a star even before her role in Kids.

The New Yorker had already dubbed her an "it girl" and "one of the coolest people in the world" when she met Korine in Washington Square Park and the pair became close friends.

A model of sorts, she landed the part of Jennie, who spends the day trying to track down Telly to tell him she's tested positive for HIV, after Mia Kirshner failed to gel with the cast.

After the movie, she appeared in two more of Korine's movies, Gummo and Julien Donkey-Boy.

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In 1999, she received an Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role in Boys Don't Cry.

She's since had dozens of lead roles in movies such as American Psycho, Zodiac and Mr Nice.

She's also starred in TV shows including the British show set in Manchester, Hit and Miss, in which she plays a transgender contract killer, and Netflix's Bloodline.

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Now 45, she's married to art gallery director Sinisa Mackovic. Earlier this year, she gave birth to their first child.

Rosario Dawson

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Like Sevigny, Rosario Dawson has enjoyed huge success since Kids launched her career.

Clark and Korine cast her as straight talking Ruby after hearing her singing on the stoop of her parents' East Village home.

Over the past 25 years, she's starred in a string of critically acclaimed films and blockbusters including Spike Lee's He Got Game and 25th Hour, as well as Men in Black II and Sin City.

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Having previously dated comedian Eric Andre, the 41-year-old is now in a relationship with US politician Cory Booker, who had campaigned to become President in 2020 race.

She adopted a 12 year-old girl as her daughter in 2014.

Jon Abrahams

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Unlike some of his Kids cast mates, Jon Abrahams had a vague interest in acting before Clark and Korine came knocking.

Having attended an "artsy" school, as he puts in, in Brooklyn, he had taken improv and film classes.

But as fate would have it, he ended up being spotted in Washington Square Park.

It almost wasn't to be, though. He only landed the part of Steven after the first choice got arrested.

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Shortly after Kids, he moved to LA to pursue an acting career and began picking up parts in other movies.

Perhaps best known for playing Bobby Prinze in Scary Movie and Denny Byrnes in Meet The Parents, he's also appeared in films such as The Faculty, Boiler Room and House of Wax.

In 2016, he made his directorial debut with the straight-to-DVD film, All at Once.


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3. Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict
(FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation)
4. What Does Heroin Do To Your Body?
(The Infographics Show)
5. Brain-Dead Teen, Only Capable Of Rolling Eyes And Texting, To Be Euthanized
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6. Death by Fentanyl, Part 1: The ‘serial killer’ of drugs

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