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Oklahoma City native's fall from the spotlight

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The 2006 documentary, "TV Junkie" chronicles Rick Kirkham's drug addiction.
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TULSA, Okla. -- Oklahoma City native and former Inside Edition reporter Rick Kirkham has spent the last decade warning others of the dangers of drug abuse.

The former journalist lost it all- his marriage, family, financial security, and career-  due to an addiction to crack cocaine. Kirkham, now retired, talked to Red Dirt Report about his work at Inside Edition and his experiences while making his documentary TV Junkie, which chronicles over 35 years of his life. The documentary from 2006 shows the effect drugs can have on a person and the severe repercussions it can have. 

Kirkham was born in Oklahoma City, and when he was a teenager in the early 1970's he was given his first video camera. Later, he moved to California and was even a dancer on Dick Clark's American Bandstand.

While working for a Las Vegas news station as a crime reporter in the '80s, Kirkham was introduced to crack cocaine. This would be the catalyst for his drug addiction. After four years in Las Vegas, Inside Edition, a new television newsmagazine, hired Kirkham as its first correspondent in 1988. At Inside Edition, Rick appeared on Inside Adventure,  a segment that chronicled Kirkham going on various adventures, like being a stunt double or driving race cars. 

Millions watched him on TV but behind the scenes, Kirkham was in a downward spiral of drug addiction. Walking down the dark New York streets into the projects on many nights to buy crack cocaine. This eventually put a strain on his work and after years of being in the public eye at Inside Edition, Kirkham was fired.

In the 90s, Kirkham married and later had two sons, Rick Kirkam Jr. (Ricky) and Dusty. TV JUNKIE  shows a happy family on the surface but the toll of Kirkham's drug abuse on the family becomes evident. By the end of the '90s, Kirkham and his wife had split.

In 2000, Kirkham, finally sober, was approached by a friend to turn the more than 3,000 hours of raw footage into a documentary. 

In the spring of 2015, Kirkham was in the process of filming an Internet reality show at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in  Wynnewood, Oklahoma but during the filming process, a suspected arson occurred which resulted in several animal deaths and Kirkham losing all his footage and equipment. In the same year, Kirkham was involved in a house fire that nearly killed him and has left him still recovering two years later.

As of November 2017, Kirkham is retired and living in Bodø, Norway with his girlfriend but continues to educate the public on just how quickly cocaine and other substances can destroy your life.

Kirkman has said, “I promise you from experience that life isn’t worth living with substance abuse, but the good news is that it is never too late to turn it all around.”

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Spencer Cox

Spencer Cox is a journalist based in Tulsa, Oklahoma....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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