Daniel Stern Expresses Regret for Macaulay Culkin, Recounts Onscreen Cocaine Peril

Daniel Stern unveils harrowing set experiences in new memoir.

by Nouman Rasool
Daniel Stern Expresses Regret for Macaulay Culkin, Recounts Onscreen Cocaine Peril
© Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Daniel Stern, best known for playing the hapless housebreaker in the popular films "Home Alone," has published a memoir, "Home and Alone," in which he opens his life and career to his fans. Officially out tomorrow, May 21, Stern's book is sure to be a treasure trove for fans who have known him through career-defining movie turns in "City Slickers" and "Diner," or from his arc on "The Wonder Years." Yet at the age of 66, Stern is very candid about the early years, when he suffered with dyslexia, and he dropped out of high school at 17.

At the time, he even remembers his days in New York when he lived in a fetid closet space in an almost unsafe area, trying to make his way as an actor. The memoir also reveals behind-the-scenes tensions with co-stars like Mickey Rourke and Patrick Dempsey, and the financial lure that brought him to accept a part in "City Slickers II" that he otherwise never would have done, especially after reading the script.

Near-Fatal Onset Experience

One of the more shocking revelations in Stern's book pertains to his brush with danger in the set of "Honky Tonk Freeway," where he was made to snort real cocaine instead of its harmless substitutes for use in the take that placed him in the hospital and nearly lost his life.

Stern relates the widespread drug culture that pervaded the movie set under director John Schlesinger. The experience was harrowing as he feared for his life. Stern also affords us a feel-good look on his encounters with Macaulay Culkin on the set of "Home Alone 2." He reflects on the stark contrasts between Culkin's upbringing and that of his own children, noting the pressures and unnatural lifestyle imposed on Culkin by his early fame.

Stern's narrative extends to a touching anecdote about Culkin's friendship with Michael Jackson, highlighting the isolation and peculiar life of child stars. The memoir also includes a humorous anecdote about Donald Trump, whom Stern met during the filming of "Home Alone 2" at Trump's Plaza Hotel.

Stern recounts a lively night that Trump ended up sponsoring, which resulted in a hefty bar tab and a story that both he and his friends still reminisce about.