Child Stars: Where Are They Now?

Child Stars

Child Stars: Where Are They Now? By Laurie Wood.

It’s not an easy job being a child star. Often noted for long hours and reduced education which can have a serious impact on that child’s future outlook. Similarily to music one-hit-wonders, child stars often find themselves on the big screen at a young age, but this is only temporary as they struggle to continue fame going through puberty and hitting adult life.

Although some child stars make it through to Hollywood such as Drew Barrymore, Lindsay Lohan and Leonardo Dicaprio, others are not so successful. Let’s take a look at memory lane and the less fortunate child star successes.

Mara Wilson is probably best known for acting in the films Mrs Doubtfire (1993), Miracle on 34th Street (1994) and Matilda (1996), but since then, her screentime drastically reduced. On expressing why acting became distant after filming Matilda, Mara explained the struggle to be cast for parts while going through puberty. In an interview with Npr she explains, I didn’t look 10 anymore. I wasn’t as cute anymore because I looked halfway between a child and an adult – People didn’t know what to do with me, and I knew it, and I felt it, and it really hurt.

Upon retiring from acting Mara explored another passion of hers in writing and in 2013, she released a book titled: Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.

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Jake Lloyd is best known for playing Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (1999) and playing alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Jingle All The Way (1996). Since the 90s, he played a few small parts voice acting in several Star Wars games along with a small acting gig in the 2005 film, Madison, which didn’t go down very well at the box office. Since then any news about Jake appearing on the screen became quiet.

Fast-forward to 2015 the papers announced Jake had been arrested for leading the police on a high-speed chase. He was sent to prison until 2016 and now little is known of his presence. 

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Thora Birch is well remembered for acting alongside Better Midler in the Halloween hit, Hocus Pocus (1993). 6 years later, managing to transition into adult acting, Thora managed to bag another role which would send her into the limelight in the mesmerising film, American Beauty (1999). Sure enough, she expressed how the success of American Beauty made her become a harsh self-critique and in an interview with Vice said, It felt like I was on the cusp of something – The standard bar went a little bit too insanely through the roof on my part.

Thora grabbed a main role in the film Ghost World (2001) alongside Scarlette Johansson, however, her fame since slowed as reports stated that her father who was also her manager, kept getting into arguments with her co-stars, leading to Thora not being cast or fired.

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Haley Joel Osment is definitely a memorable child actor, his cuteness coined with an odd sense of maturity when delivering lines made him an easy actor to cast. Best known for The Sixth Sense (1999) (which got him nominated for an Oscar at 11 years old), he played other roles in hit films including Artifical Intelligence (2001) and a small part in Forrest Gump (2004).

Haley is not so much involved in Hollywood blockbusters any more though he continues to work on-screen and has acted in the films Sex Ed (2014), Tusk (2014), Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2016), various TV series including playing Damien in Teachers (2017 – 2019), and has voiced various characters in the Kingdom of Hearts games.

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Tina Majorino was a little child star success in the 90s, acting in the films Andre (1994), Corrina, Corrina (1994) and Waterworld (1995). But since then, Tina disappeared from our screens, that was until she played in the cult classic Napoleon Dynamite (2004), which left film fans asking, “where have I seen her before?”.

Tina played a few roles in a couple series and was the main protagonist in the singer’s P!nk music video for “Fuckin’ Perfect” in 2011. Since, Tina continues to work on screen though primarily sticking to acting in various TV series, most recently Scropian (2017 – 2018).

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It seems everyone knows who Macaulay Culkin is. Of course, he starred in the Christmas classic Home Alone (1990) and then again in the successful sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). Macaulay didn’t seem to last long in the spotlight, claiming he suffered mental abuse from his father which led him to leave Hollywood. It wasn’t until 2004 where Macaulay hit the headlines but all for the wrong reasons, possession of drugs.

In 2012, various images of a skinny, un-well looking Macaulay surfaced on the internet thus enhancing rumours about drug-abuse. Although steering clear from the Hollywood spotlight, Macaulay continues to run a podcast called “Bunny Ears” and often updates his Instagram account.

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Although his name may not ring a bell, Jonathan had a brief stint with film-fame starring in Stuart Little (1999) and The Little Vampire (2000). During filming later films, Jonathan explained how the Paparazzi made his life hell and found his on-screen life was having a negative impact when trying to create friends in real life.

Jonathan arguably never picked up another hit acting part but has kept busy in various film shorts and TV series.

Child Stars: Where Are They Now? By Laurie Wood. Follow me @LaurieWoodUK for film, cats and social media!

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