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Haggard: The Life Of Brandon 'Bam' Margera

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Haggard: The Life Of Brandon 'Bam' Margera

From filming videos in school toilets, to becoming a young worldwide skateboarding star, to a multi-million dollar on screen entertainer, to battles with alcohol, Bam Margera has lived some life.

Recently, he has been in and out of rehab, tackling alcoholism, even starring in a show surrounding that featuring his mum, called Family Therapy.

Despite Bam's many appearances as a guest on TV shows, and his own shows like Viva La Bam and Bam's Unholy Union, ever since the death of his best friend and Jackass co-star Ryan Dunn, he's been suffering.

Bam, real name Brandon Margera, attended East High School in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he met Ryan Dunn, Brandon DiCamillo, Chris Raab and Rake Yohn, who'd all go on to form the basis of CKY (Camp Kill Yourself).

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Together they filmed stunts, skits, sketches and skateboarding videos, which quickly became popular, interlinking them with his brother's band, also called CKY.

Each 'crew member' had their own speciality, Chris Raab being an expert in poo and Brandon DiCamillo being somewhat of an ad-lib hero; but Bam was always the leader.

Following Bam's success as a professional skateboarder, gaining attention from Big Brother magazine, he took his friends with him on his rise to fame.

Jeff Tremaine, who was the editor at Big Brother, liked Bam's work on the CKY films, and then drafted him in to be a part of a group of men that later went on to become the cast of Jackass, which Tremaine later directed.

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After some convincing from Bam, Ryan Dunn also became part of the main cast after diving into a sewage plant. The other CKY members also appeared in various Jackass episodes and films, thanks to their connections with Bam.

The 36-year-old's fearlessness and 'fuck it' approach to everything came across well, making him a popular character. His stunts seemed to stem from when he was a kid, when his grandfather nicknamed him 'Bam' at the age of three after his habit of running into walls.

Bam at a fans' convention in London

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Off the back of three seasons of Jackass on MTV, the scene was set for Bam and the rest of the cast to hit the big screen in their first official movie.

Again, he was on form. He did however pass on what was considered the best part of the movie, leaving Ryan Dunn to shove a toy car up his arse and get an X-ray.

In between Jackass: The Movie and Bam's own series Viva La Bam, he was involved in some controversy as a sex tape of him and then girlfriend Jenn Rivell was made public.

Despite the tape Viva La Bam continued to be successful, going on for five seasons, showing him and his friends' activities in and around his home with his family.

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The show ended in 2005, but there wasn't much time for Bam to stay quiet, as Jeff Tremaine reassembled the Jackass crew for another film, with Bam and Ryan Dunn returning to the line-up. Once again, Bam completely smashed it.

In between all these various projects, Bam was working on independent music videos, documentaries and films. He independently released the films Haggard and Minghags.

One person who was prominent in all of these projects was another of his best friends, Brandon Novak. Similar to Bam, Novak was tipped to have a huge future in skateboarding. Unfortunately, Novak became a heroin addict, which he has struggled with ever since.

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Bam often refers to the troubles he has trying to save his friend from heroin, but rarely succeeds in doing so. One documentary that Bam features in, Dreamseller, follows Novak and his troubles with addiction. It's particularly eye-opening and poignant.

Not long after Jackass 2, Bam began filming Bam's Unholy Union, a reality show following him, his friends, family and finance Missy Rothstein, preparing for their wedding.

The show kept the same qualities that Bam had built himself on, but also included the serious side of wedding planning that April, Bam's mother, and Missy's family brought to it.

One person who strangely barely featured in the series was Ryan Dunn. He made a fleeting appearance on camera at Bam's stag do, as well as the wedding reception, but didn't feature anywhere else.

It was later revealed that during the latter stages of filming of Jackass 2, Dunn had sustained a serious injury to his shoulder, leading to a life-threatening blood clot. At the same time he was dealing with Lyme disease, and while on multiple meds, became depressed, cutting off ties with friends and co-stars for two years.

A few years later, Dunn recovered, and along with Bam, reunited with the Jackass cast to film Jackass 3D - their third full feature film, and their first in 3D.

The film was released in 2010, and less than a year later, Ryan Dunn died.

The news was devastating for fans, co-stars, family and friends. However, no friend took it harder than Bam.

To quote the man himself, he and Dunn were 'hands down best friends'. The footage of Bam crying by the side of the road where Dunn tragically crashed was only the beginning of a downward spiral.

The death lead to rapid weight gain for Bam, as well as alcohol abuse.

He also started a musical venture called Fuckface Unstoppable - a comical rap persona, featuring songs about stuff like bending his dick back and fucking himself in the ass.

Despite his new venture, he always seemed to find himself in trouble. He would often find himself in fights, getting jumped, in jail, or in hospital.

A video titled Bam Margera's Typical Day is pretty much all you need to watch to understand the kind of shit that went on.

I look like shit. Click the heart if you agree. Cowabunga.
A photo posted by Bam Margera (@bam__margera) on

Following years of touring, dipping in and out of television appearances and general tomfoolery, Bam became a hermit. He would stay at home where he 'didn't have to deal with any shit', but still drank heavily.

Fast forward to the start of 2015, Bam announced that he was producing an autobiographical documentary called I Need Time To Stay Useless.

The doc shows Bam's childhood, rise to fame and then his darkest moments when dealing with Dunn's death.

A friend of Bam's was cast as Ryan Dunn, appearing in what has been described as 'dramatic fantasy interludes' that tie the film together while also re-enacting what Margera considers his 'darkest moments' after Dunn's death.

Right now, Bam still resides in 'Castle Bam', a huge mansion in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with his wife Nicole 'Nikki' Boyd.

He was last active in Family Therapy With Dr Jenn, where he was checked into rehab by his mum after she feared for his death.

Bam gave a quote about drinking, saying: "Since Dunn got in that crash, everything has changed dramatically, and instead of drinking for fun with your friends, it turned into drinking to forget."

The show followed him in rehab, where he talked about suicidal thoughts and how he's struggled to cope with life since 2011.

Among his many, many successes, Bam has evidently had a lot of rough times.

Thankfully, Bam seems to be on lighter path than the dark ones he's been travelling down. With a loyal, loving fan base behind him, I'm sure he'll make it to a point where he can fully recover.

We love you, Bam.

Words by Mark McGowan

Topics: Bam Margera, Jackass

Mark McGowan
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