Alcoholic Degrassi Star Neil Hope Died Alone | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Alcoholic Degrassi Star Neil Hope Died Alone

The actor who played the alcoholic high school character "Wheels" died unrecognized in a boarding house four years ago.


Neil Hope drew on the troubles from his own
life for his character. Photo via

By Bryan Le


| Share

Neil Hope, who starred in the 1980s Canadian dramas Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High and was an alcoholic, was found dead at 35 years old in 2007—but members of his family only discovered this four years after the event. Police and the coroners were originally unable to identify Hope's body after he died in an Ontario boarding house, and he was buried unclaimed in a municipal morgue. Hope played the role of Derek “Wheels” Wheeler in the Degrassi dramas, a character whose series of misfortunes leads him down the road of alcoholism. The show's producers revealed that Hope's character drew largely from Hope himself: his neglectful parents took his earnings from the show to feed their own alcohol habits. He had his own drinking problem by the time Degrassi High finished filming; at the age of just 19, Hope contributed to a public service film about alcoholism. “It's nothing to be ashamed of. Because it's not your fault,” he said, hoping to help other teens growing up in similar circumstances. For the rest of his life he worked odd jobs, unable to recapture his acting career, and ultimately disappeared from the public eye entirely.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Suboxone: Trading One Prison Cell for Another

Suboxone seemed like a get-out-of-jail-free card, the answer to my opiate addiction. Instead, I had a new ten-year addiction, complete with thinning hair and lost motivation.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv