50 Former Child Stars And What They're Up To Today

Harriet King May 21st 2018 Entertainment
When it comes to child stars in Hollywood, it seems like it goes one of two ways. They either work hard and build on their previous successes, eventually becoming celebrity adults, or they disappear into obscurity. We've seen it happen way too many times before - drugs are a huge problem if you come into a lot of money when you're young. So many child stars got too much fame way too fast and ended up bringing about the end of their short careers. Here's some you won't even recognize! #48 went through some tragic experiences, you'll be shocked when you see him now.
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1. Haley Joel Osment - Drug Addiction Ruined His Career
Don't worry if you're not immediately familiar with who we're talking about. We'll refresh your memory! If you remember the line, "I see dead people" you'll know exactly who this is. Haley Joel Osment was the child star of The Sixth Sense, which was a huge blockbuster back in 1999. For about six months it felt like everyone was saying they saw dead people - that's how iconic that one line of dialogue was.
Osment was on the path to great things after his performance in The Sixth Sense. He acted in a few more films, which were less successful, but he was still on his way. Unfortunately, partying, drugs, and alcohol got in the way, as it so often does with child stars. In 2006, Osment was arrested for drink driving and drug possession.
2. Jonathan Taylor Thomas - Left Acting To Complete Education
If you speak to any girl who grew up in the '90s, they'll all tell you about their massive crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas. He played the mischievous middle brother, Randy, in Home Improvement, a popular comedy sitcom starring Tim Allen. Affectionately known as JTT, it seemed like his fame was only going to continue to soar.
We haven't even mentioned his other major role. He was the voice of Simba in Disney's The Lion King, which was pretty much the biggest kid's film of the decade. Thankfully, JTT didn't turn to drugs or alcohol and is still doing quite well for himself outside of the showbiz scene. He actually made the decision to leave acting to pursue his education at Harvard. He ended up getting a degree in art and history - who would have thought?
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3. Ross Hull - Now A Well-Known Meteorologist
Anyone remember being scared out of your mind watching 'Are You Afraid of the Dark'? We certainly do! In fact, we're surprised it was marketed as a kid's show - it was a little too freaky sometimes. You may or may not remember Ross Hull, one of the regular characters on the show. He was on the television series for five years and kept acting until 2004.
Hull decided to leave the industry when he realized he'd rather go to school and study something he was interested in. This led him to meteorology and an eventual degree in radio and television arts. He is now a pretty famous meteorologist in Canada, so he ended up living the dream. He still features on the small screen, but he's doing what he loves instead. Sounds like he made the right decision!
4. Edward Furlong - Spent Adulthood In Rehab
Who would have thought that this '90s icon and fresh faced young boy would look like this today? Anyone who has ever watched The Terminator film series will recognize him immediately as John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Things weren't all bad for Furlong after his break out role. He ended up starring in a whole bunch of blockbuster films throughout the '90s, including American Heart, A Home of Our Own, Pecker, and American History X.
However, Furlong's success dried up with the coming of the millennium. This wasn't due to lack of opportunities available, it was because of his chronic substance abuse and subsequent legal battles for drug-related offences. Furlong has spoken to the media about his addiction problems, saying he was hooked on heroin and cocaine. We hope he got the help he needed!
5. Patrick Renna - Involved With Scientology
Did anybody else use to get nightmares about the vicious dog in '90s film, The Sandlot? We definitely did! But besides all of the scary dog issues, we loved it. A classic coming-of-age movie that always brings back some nostalgia. Plus, it has baseball! If you were a fan of The Sandlot, you will absolutely remember Patrick Renna, who played the ginger-haired, freckled face Hamilton "Ham" Porter. You know the one!
Though Renna didn't completely disappear off the entertainment scene, he tended to only book small roles on television. He has appeared in Hell's Kitchen, X-Files, ER, and Bones, amongst others. His prime focus also switched from acting to religion. Renna is a pretty passionate Scientologist and speaks publicly about the organization regularly. He is married to Jasmin Renna and they have one child together.
6. Emil Minty - Now a Jeweler
You're probably wondering 'who the hell is Emil Minty?' Well, there's a reason you don't recognize the name. He seemed to have a promising career ahead of him as a young boy, but for some reason, acting didn't take and he never ended up with the roles he needed to succeed. His most prestigious role was definitely as The Feral Kid in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Rumor has it he won the part over hundreds of other boys.
After minor roles in the movies Fluteman and The Winds of Jarrah, as well as television shows, The Flying Doctors and A Country Practice, Minty gave up his potential career as an actor. He pursued an education and ended up discovering a career he loves even more. Minty is now a jeweler and proud father of two.
7. Brian Bonsall - Now a Musician
Does anybody remember the adorable youngest child from sitcom, Family Ties? Andrew "Andy" Keaton was played by none other than Brian Bonsall when he was just five years old. He stayed in the role for three years and even won three Young Artist Awards for his performance. Things were looking promising for this little cutie. He went on to star in a variety of movies, including Do You Know the Muffin Man, Mikey, Father Hood, and Blank Check. Bonsall also played Alexander Rozhenko on Star Trek: The Next Generation from 1992 to 1994.
After giving up on acting, Bonsall pursued a career in music and has played in a number of rock and punk bands, such as Late Bloomers, Thruster, The Light on Adam's Stereo, and This Life of Mine. He most recently toured with rock band, The Ataris.
8. Taran Noah Smith - Manages His Own Vegan Organic Food Business
Wow, this is quite the transformation! We remember watching Taran Noah Smith on the sitcom, Home Improvement way back in the day. He played Mark Taylor, the youngest of Tim Taylor's (played by Tim Allen) three sons. He was always getting bullied by his older brothers - in one episode they even convinced him he was adopted!
Smith went on to appear in a few other television shows, including Ebbie, Little Bigfoot, and 7th Heaven, but he discovered that acting wasn't really what he enjoyed. Luckily for him, he made a bunch of cash as a child actor and had the option to pursue his real passion: vegan and organic food. He now runs his own food business and doesn't miss the showbiz life at all! He probably doesn't make as much money, but at least he's doing what he loves.
9. Josh Saviano - Now A Law Practioner
This iconic character will never be forgotten. Josh Saviano was the child actor who played Kevin Arnold's best friend, Joshua Pfeiffer on The Wonder Years. Though he didn't exactly have a starring role, Saviano was well-loved on the show. No one could deny he had great acting skills - the glasses and allergies he had on the show were all faked. Ultimately, acting wasn't the career path Saviano wanted to take, so he ended up finding something better.
After dropping out of the entertainment industry, Saviano studied law and eventually became a practicing attorney. He now runs his own very successful law practice, which specializes in legal advice and consulting for celebrities. So, as it turns out, his showbiz experience came in handy. We're sure he managed to keep some valuable contacts that really helped him out later on.
10. Hallie Eisenberg - Quit Acting For College Degree
So many actors begin their careers by appearing in commercials, but hardly anyone ever gets famous from them. However, former child actor Hallie Eisenberg is still best known as 'the Pepsi girl' after starring in a series of TV advertisements for the soda brand in 1999 and 2000. Eisenberg went on to appear in a range of television and film projects, including the movie Paulie, which was probably her biggest role.
Eisenberg also appeared in the films, The Insider, Bicentennial Man, and Beautiful (alongside Minnie Driver). After a few more TV productions, she tried her hand at Broadway when she performed in Clare Boothe Luce's play, The Women. Though her brother, Jesse Eisenberg was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in film, The Social Network, she couldn't seem to get her acting career off the ground.
11. Michael Oliver - Mother Ruined His Career
Born Michael Ponce Oliverius, this once promising former child actor was known by his stage name, Michael Oliver. After appearing in the movie, Problem Child, and its sequel, Problem Child 2 as the character Junior Healy, things were looking good for Oliver's potential future acting career. Unfortunately for this budding star, his mother ruined his chances in Hollywood.
On the day before filming began for Problem Child 2, Oliver's manager mom demanded that Universal Studios pay $500,000 instead of the $80,000 specified in his contract. After filming, Universal sued for extortion and the legal battle ruined Oliver's acting career. Prior to the legal battle, Oliver had been nominated for two Young Artist Awards - one for Problem Child 2, and the other for his role in television series, Drexell's Class. Now he simply enjoys a life out of the spotlight with his wife in California.
12. Robert Iler - Now a Professional Poker Player
We feel like so many child stars managed to just catch a break with some big-time actors, but here is one guy that really put in the time. Robert Iler started out in commercials, which no Hollywood actor likes to admit. For most people trying to make it big, it's just reality. His first break was actually in a music video for Marilyn Manson.
Iler's real big break was not a music video, though. By a stroke of luck, he managed to land a role on The Sopranos, where he stayed from 1999 to 2007. You would think that he'd be set for life after that, but now he's back and totally ready to start his career again. For most actors, this isn't usually about money, but more about making the most of their talents.
13. Carrie Henn - Now a Teacher
In terms of getting on the path to a wildly successful acting career, most would consider a role in one of James Cameron's films a pretty sure bet. Carrie Henn was just ten years old when she appeared in the blockbuster hit, Aliens, alongside big Hollywood names, such as Sigourney Weaver and Bill Paxton. She portrayed the character, Rebecca "Newt" Jordan and had zero acting experience at the time, which was strange for such a large production.
Henn always insisted she didn't want to pursue a career in acting, and she definitely stuck to her word on that one. Besides the odd promotional commitment for Aliens, such as interviews and DVD specials, she hasn't worked on any other production. She ended up becoming a teacher in California, which is a career she seems to be very happy with.
14. Jonathan Lipnicki - Receiving Training In Mixed Martial Arts
This former child actor was one of the most adorable stars of the 90s. Jonathan Lipnicki first graced the big screen when he was just six years old. He played the son of Renee Zellweger's character in the film, Jerry Maguire. He was certainly off to a promising start, and he went on to star in the massive blockbuster hit, Stuart Little, the role for which he is best known.
He had the lead role in The Little Vampire in 2000 and also appeared in Like Mike with Bow Wow in 2002. It seems 2002 was probably Lipnicki's biggest year in his acting career, as he also starred in the sequel to Stuart Little, Stuart Little 2. In a kind of surprising twist, this former 90s cutie now trains in mixed martial arts. However, he says he has no plans to pursue it professionally.
15. Peter Billingsley - Now a Movie Producer
Peter Billingsley is another former child actor who began his career with television commercials. Hey, we all have to start somewhere, right? As a boy in the '70s, he appeared in a commercial for Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. He only moved up from there and caught his big break playing Ralphie in the film, A Christmas Story. Now do you recognize him?
Since the '80s, Billingsley has enjoyed modest success, but he never starred in anything major again, so he didn't quite hit the big time, so to speak. He now works as a producer and a director, as well as continuing to act. He has worked behind the scenes with The Discovery Channel and he was also executive producer of blockbuster film, The Break-Up. He was even nominated for an Emmy Award as executive producer of the show, Dinner for Five.
16. Fred Savage - Started To Embark On A Directing And Producing Career
Anyone who watched the hugely popular coming of age television series, The Wonder Years, will recognize Fred Savage as the star character, Kevin Arnold. Savage played the role for the entire length of the series, from 1988 to 1993, and won a bunch of awards for his performance. Needless to say, people saw great things happening for him in the acting world.
Before his Wonder Years fame, he also got noticed when he portrayed the grandson in blockbuster flick, The Princess Bride. In addition to this, he starred in films, Vice Versa and Little Monsters when he wasn't filming for TV. Though his acting work didn't totally dry up after The Wonder Years came to an end, Savage definitely wasn't landing any major roles. He still works in the entertainment industry and enjoys modest success.
17. Mason Gamble - Now a Marine Biologist
Who could forget this mischievous little face? That's right, Mason Gamble played none other than everybody's favorite naughty child, Dennis the Menace. Gamble scored the role when he was just seven years old and won out over a reported 20,000 other boys. The film, released in 1993, was a box office success and we all thought this little cutie was going to move on to bigger and better things.
Though he appeared in some films, including Rushmore, Anya's Bell, Arlington Road, and Spy Hard, Gamble had pretty much disappeared off the scene by the end of the 90s. He has made one-off appearances on TV shows, including ER, Kate Brasher, and CSI: Miami, but nothing really stuck. He is now enjoying his full-time career as a marine biologist, which we have to admit sounds even cooler than being an actor.
18. Eminem's Daughter Hailie - Taking Up A Degree In Psychology
There was a point in time where rapper Eminem's daughter, Hallie Mathers, was very much in the spotlight. Not because of anything she had done, but because she featured in so many of her father's rap lyrics. We can't really imagine what it must have been like to grow up with your own dad rapping about killing your mom, but that's what she went through as a child.
Most people would probably imagine that Hallie Mathers has some mental health issues to deal with, after everything she went through as a child. However, it seems like she has grown into a well-adjusted young woman. We're not sure exactly how Eminem and on again/off again wife, Kim, managed to do it, but their daughter is now happy, healthy, and studying psychology at Michigan State University. Well done!
19. Danny Cooksey - Now a Country Music Singer
After moving to Los Angeles with his mother in order to pursue a career in country music, Danny Cooksey ended up on a totally different path. And we mean that literally! He became a child star on the television series, Diff'rent Strokes, and suddenly acting was his thing. He also appeared on other television shows, including The Cavanaughs and Salute Your Shorts. As far as anyone was concerned, Cooksey was moving on up in the acting world.
Though he made a decent career for himself as an actor, it was clear Cooksey couldn't abandon his passion for music. He ended up becoming the lead singer of the glam metal band, Bad4Good, and was a band member for other groups, too. As of 2013, he was still an active member of country and western band, Shelter Dogs.
20. Robbie Rist - Now a Voice-Over Artist
Who doesn't remember the cutie who played cousin Oliver in The Brady Bunch? You know the one, straight blonde locks and an adorable pair of round-frame glasses. He was doing it decades before Harry Potter hit the scene. As a child, Robbie Rist also played Martin in Grady. Though he started out as an on-screen actor, Rist's career ended up taking him to voice work, where he has lent his vocal cords to a number of animated characters.
Rist is also a musician and provided most of the music for the film, Sharknado. He even made a little cameo in the film as Robbie the bus driver. Okay, Okay, it's not a film that was ever going to win any awards, but it was still popular with the people! He ended up being so popular that he worked on Sharknado 2 as well.
21. Joseph Mazzello - Now a Director & Screenwriter For Short Films
We can still recall the excitement when Jurassic Park was released at the cinema in 1993. Everyone went wild for it and it was unquestionably one of the biggest movies of the 90s. You may remember Joseph Mazzello as Tim Murphy, which was probably his biggest film role. Throughout the 90s he also appeared in other films, including Presumed Innocent (with Harrison Ford), Radio Flyer, Shadowlands, The Cure, and Jurassic Park sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
In recent times, he is best known for his role as Eugene "Sledgehammer" Sledge on HBO miniseries, The Pacific. His only other semi-major role was in the film, The Social Network. However, he is set to play John Deacon in the upcoming Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, which is being released at the end of 2018. Mazzello didn't get to megastar levels of fame, but he is still doing okay!
22. Jake Lloyd - Diagnosed With Schizophrenia
Nobody could forget Jake Lloyd as the young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Released in 1999, the film was the first of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and it was a massive critical and box office success. Lloyd's career was off to a promising start and he already had a few credits under his belt before his Star Wars break. He appeared in four episodes of ER, as well as the films, Unhook the Stars, Jingle All the Way, Apollo 11, and Madison. Lloyd also appeared in the Star Wars video games.
After retiring from acting, Lloyd studied film and psychology at Columbia College Chicago, but dropped out after just one semester. He claimed that his decision to retire from acting was due to being bullied at school, however, it was later revealed that he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.
23. Danny Bonaduce - Now a Radio Talk Show Host
Danny Bonaduce certainly has a varied resume. He is a former child actor, as well as a television personality and professional wrestler. He first hit our television screens in the '70s, as Danny Partridge in the series, The Partridge Family. He kept his role for the full four years that the show ran (from 1970 to 1974) and even won a Former Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award for his portrayal of Danny Partridge.
Though he made a few movies after his time on The Partridge Family, acting didn't really stick for Bonaduce and he barely worked for more than a decade. Things finally turned around for him when he began presenting his own radio show in the late '80s. Since then, he has been known as a 'personality' as opposed to an actor. Randomly, he is also an ordained minister.
24. Erik Per Sullivan - Now a Voice Over Artist
How could you forget the adorable face of Malcolm in the Middle's Dewey? Erik Per Sullivan played the sweet younger brother of Malcolm, and he did an amazing job - everybody loved him. Sullivan remained on the show for the entire seven years that it ran, between 2000 and 2006. We still think he's super cute, but we don't know if we'd recognize him on the street!
Since his days on Malcolm in the Middle, Sullivan hasn't done a whole lot of acting. He ended up going to college and he has done a few things here and there, but ultimately, he didn't make it as an adult actor. One cool thing he did get to do was be the voice of Sheldon in Finding Nemo - he's the sweet little seahorse that goes to school with Nemo.
25. Brian Forster - Now a Race Car Driver
Here we have another cast member of The Partridge Family. Brian Forster played Chris Partridge from 1971 to 1974 after replacing the original actor for that character, Jeremy Gelbwaks. In the show, Chris Partridge was the drummer of the family band. We're not sure why none of the cast members of this show ended up continuing acting careers!
Forster still remains passionate about acting and regularly takes part in his community theater events, but he gave up on it as a career. That doesn't mean he hasn't been successful, though. He actually ended up becoming a race car driver in Northern California. This was definitely a break away from his family's interest in the arts. His father, stepfather, and step grandfather are all actors. And he is also a descendent of Charles Dickens. Who would have thought?
26. Frankie Muniz - Now a Race Car Driver
Born Francisco Muniz IV in 1985, this former child actor is best known by his stage name, Frankie Muniz. Anybody who watched television from 2000 to 2006 will instantly recognize him as the title character from comedy sitcom, Malcolm in the Middle. During his time on the show he was nominated for an Emmy Award, as well as two Golden Globe Awards. The future definitely looked bright for this teen star.
Muniz dabbled in various productions in the years following the end of Malcolm in the Middle. Most notably, he starred in the film Agent Cody Banks and its sequel, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London. Though he managed to rack up a bunch of acting credits and was doing quite well for himself, Muniz wanted to follow his other passion: open wheel racing. A big change, but he's doing well!
27. Travis Tedford - Working As A Marketing Specialist
The Little Rascals was one of the best kid's movies of the 90s and Travis Tedford played the most rascally rascal of all, Spanky McFarland. Even as adults, we still love revisiting this hilarious and adorable film from time to time. Tedford appeared in some minor roles post-Little Rascals, including Slappy and the Stinker, A Bug's Life, The Thirteenth Floor, Freaky Friday, and The Final, but his acting career didn't quite take off like he had expected.
After leaving the spotlight for good, Tedford began living a very normal life indeed. It is reported that he is now working as a marketing specialist for Texas Trust Credit Union. After winning a Young Artist Award for his portrayal of Spanky McFarland, we never would have imagined that this is where he'd end up! But who knows, maybe he loves it.
28. Spencer Elden - Still Enjoying His Fame From Nirvana
Spencer Elden would have had no idea he was becoming part of one of the most iconic album covers of all time when he was photographed underwater as a baby. We're guessing his parents had no idea either, since they were only paid $200 for the photoshoot, which is said to have lasted for about 15 seconds. Elden now lives with his mother in Los Angeles and enjoys growing tomatoes and making art.
Despite not really having anything to do with Nirvana, Elden is still regularly interviewed about being on the Nevermind album cover. "Looking back, it feels kind of stupid doing interviews about it, because I had nothing to do with it, but a lot to do with it all at the same time," Elden has said. He has never met the surviving members of the band, even though he has tried to contact them.
29. Jeremy Jackson - Battled With Substance Abuse For Long Time
Who didn't want to pack up their life, move to Los Angeles, and become a lifeguard after watching an episode of Baywatch? Or was that just us? You might remember former actor, Jeremy Jackson, who played Hobie Buchannon on the show throughout the 90s. Funnily enough, Leonardo DiCaprio also auditioned for the role, but Jackson ended up scoring it. They've certainly had very different careers since then!
Unfortunately, Jackson became addicted to drugs while acting on Baywatch and ended up leaving the show after eight years. Things have really taken a downturn since then, and we don't just mean with his acting career. Jackson was arrested in 2015 after stabbing a man. He claimed it was self defense and was let off the hook, however, that same year, he stabbed someone else and was sentenced to 270 days in prison.
30. Danny Tamberelli - Earns By Making Music & Podcasting
Best known for his role as Little Pete in The Adventures of Pete & Pete (starring alongside Mike Maronna and Michelle Trachtenberg), Danny Tamberelli once had a very successful career as a child actor. He began acting when he was just four years old, after scoring a regular role on the television soap opera, Ryan's Hope. He had roles on TV shows such as The Baby-Sitters Club and The Magic School Bus, and he also appeared in a few films, including Igby Goes Down and The Mighty Ducks.
Though Tamberelli had a promising acting career ahead of him, he decided to quit it and pursue an education. He is now the bassist for rock band Jounce and was once the bassist for folk band, Every Good Boy. He enjoys comedy and has also appeared on comedy podcasts.
31. Alisan Porter - Married With Two Kids
Things were looking great for young actress Alisan Porter, who began her career at the tender age of three years old. With roles in blockbuster films, such as Parenthood, Stella, and I Love You Dearly, she was well on her way to fame. In 1991, she scored her big break with the lead role in Curly Sue. Like so many child actors, Porter didn't quite make it big and admits to struggling with drug and alcohol abuse in the years following her acting days.
Porter's life definitely turned around for the better when she cleaned up her health and decided to follow her passion for music and singing. In 2016, she auditioned for The Voice and won a spot on Christina Aguilera's team. She ended up winning season 10 and achieving success all over again.
32. Bradley Pierce - Focusing On Voice Work
As a child actor, it's a pretty cool thing to get a regular gig on a TV soap opera. In the case of Bradley Pierce, he managed to land a pretty sweet role as Andrew Shawn Donovan IV on Days of Our Lives when he was just six years old. He also voiced some of our favorite Disney sidekicks, including Chip from Beauty and the Beast and Flounder from The Little Mermaid. His one major film role was as Peter in Jumanji, which he starred in alongside Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst.
Pierce felt that his passion was with voice work, so he took a step back from his on-screen work to pursue behind the scenes work instead. He also owns a business with his partner Bella, which provides bartending services for elite Hollywood parties.
33. Erin Murphy - Mother of 6 and Raising Awareness For Autism
Who could forget the adorable Tabitha Stephens in the television series, Bewitched? Erin Murphy was only two years old when she took on the role in 1966, and she stayed on until the very last episode in 1972. She originally shared the role with her twin sister, Diane, but Erin took over the role completely when they started growing up and looking less alike (they're fraternal, not identical twins).
Murphy also starred in more than 100 commercials and tried her hand at modeling. This was one busy little kid! She has since moved away from acting and has become more of a television personality. She has worked as a TV host for a variety of programs, including E!, Fox Reality Channel, and Disney's Parentpedia. She has six children who keep her super busy, but she also makes time to raise awareness about autism.
34. Mike Maronna - Working As An Electrician
Here we have another former star from The Adventures of Pete & Pete who didn't quite manage to make it big as an actor. Known mostly for his role as Big Pete on the show, Mike Maronna only landed fairly minor roles outside of his one regular gig. He played Jeff McCallister in Home Alone and reprised his role in the sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He also appeared in an episode of Law & Order, as well as the films, Slackers and 40 Days and 40 Nights.
Maronna decided to take a different career path when acting wasn't really working out for him. He's now an electrician on movie sets, and we'd say his contacts from his acting days have probably come in handy. He even worked on the Sex and the City film, so we think he's doing quite well.
35. Devin Ratray - Busy With A Band Called Little Bill
You might remember Devin Ratray as Buzz McCallister, Kevin McCallister's bullying older brother from Home Alone and the sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He also scored minor roles in other films, including Little Monsters, Dennis the Menace, The Prince and Me, Slippery Slope, Serial, and Surrogates. Minor roles were not really paying the bills for Ratray and he ended up moving away from acting.
After stepping back from his acting career, Ratray formed a band called Little Bill and the Beckleys. He is the lyricist, vocalist, and electric guitarist for the group. Though he stopped aggressively pursuing acting roles, he has appeared in a few recent productions, including Elevator in 2012, Nebraska in 2013, and Blue Ruin, also in 2013. We're not quite sure what he's up to right now, but it seems like he has made the most of his acting and music careers.
36. Jason J. Richter - Left Showbiz To Get A College Degree
Were you even a '90s kid if you weren't obsessed with Free Willy? We can still remember begging our parents to go see it multiple times at the cinema. Jason J. Richter played the lead role of Jesse, who had what had to be the coolest summer job a kid could have. He also starred in the rest of the trilogy, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home and Free Willy 3: The Rescue.
After Free Willy, Richter also starred in The NeverEnding Story III and Cops and Robbersons. He even guest starred on television series, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. When the time came, Richter left his acting career to pursue his education. He has since returned to Hollywood but hasn't starred in anything major yet. We're sure he's still doing okay after all of the success he achieved in the '90s, though!
37. Brandon "Bug" Hall - Couldn't Pull Off A Career He Dreamt Of
This guy played one of the best characters to ever exist! Who didn't simply adore Alfalfa from the 1994 film, The Little Rascals? It was another absolute classic from the '90s that is still super fun to watch as adults today. To be totally honest, we definitely wouldn't recognize Brandon "Bug" Hall in the street - he looks completely different to the dorky Alfalfa we know from childhood.
Since The Little Rascals, Hall has appeared in a few things, but he never really made the transition from successful child actor to successful adult actor. As a kid he appeared in The Stupids and Get a Clue, as well as Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. As an adult he has made some guest appearances on television shows such as Charmed, 90210, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Cold Case, and Criminal Minds.
38. Ariana Richards - Became A Painter
Remember this girl from Jurassic Park? Her performance earned her critical acclaim from all over the world and it seemed like she had a promising acting career ahead of her. Ariana Richards did act in a few more things, such as the sequel to Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, as well as Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, and Battle dogs. However, acting as a career didn't really stick.
As it turns out, Richards is multitalented and became interested in pursuing a career as a painter. She always had a passion for creating art, and it seems like this lifestyle suits her perfectly. She tends to paint landscapes and figures, and she's actually pretty good! In 2005, she won first place in the National Professional Oil Painting Competition for her piece, Lady of the Dahlias.
39. Shaun Weiss - Disappeared
Kids of the 80s will recognize Shaun Weiss as Elvis from the children's television show, Pee-wee's Playhouse. However, his best-known role is indisputably Greg Goldberg in The Mighty Ducks films. Weiss enjoyed other minor successes as a child actor, including his role as Josh in the Disney film, Heavyweights. He also appeared in NBC drama/comedy Freaks and Geeks, as well as a few episodes of The King of Queens.
In terms of his acting career now, things aren't so great. He has appeared in commercials for Captain Morgan, Castrol, ESPN, and Verizon, but they're obviously not paying all of his bills. Most suspect he is living off his earnings from his child acting career. His last appearance was in 2008 as a bus driver in the film, Drillbit Taylor. He has totally disappeared off the acting scene since then.
40. Barret Oliver - Pursued His Passion For Photography
We absolutely loved The NeverEnding Story, and this guy played the lead, Bastian Balthazar Bux, when he was just eleven years old. Barret Oliver wasn't a one hit wonder, but he also didn't really hit the bigtime either. After The NeverEnding Story, he appeared in Tim Burton's short film, Frankenweenie, as well as the 1985 film, D.A.R.Y.L. (for which he won a Saturn Award).
The last time Oliver appeared in a film was in 1989's Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. After that, he decided to abandon acting in favor of his other passion: photography. He has actually done pretty well for himself since then, with his work being regularly exhibited in galleries all over the world. He also released a book about Woodburytype, a printing process he specializes in. Sounds like he's doing great!
41. Miko Hughes - Earns Living By Working As A Disc Jockey
This guy certainly started out young! Miko Hughes was just 22 months old when he appeared in on screen as part of a public service announcement. From there, things started to pick up for the tiny actor, as he landed roles in actual films. His first movie, Pet Sematary, was filmed just five months after his big PSA break. Before he knew it, he was starring opposite Danny DeVito in Jack the Bear.
Things were really snowballing, as Hughes landed roles in Kindergarten Cop, Apollo 13, Spawn, Zeus and Roxanne, and Mercury Rising, which also starred Bruce Willis. In addition to film work, he also had television roles on Full House and Life with Louie. Though it was a promising beginning, Hughes gave up on his acting career and now happily works as a DJ.
42. Jaimee Foxworth - Went To Adult Entertainment Industry
Beginning as a child model at the age of five, the future was looking bright for Jaimee Foxworth. Things were definitely on the right track when she got the role of Judy Winslow in '90s sitcom, Family Matters. However, everything took a turn when her character's scenes were reduced and she was subsequently written off the show after the fourth season.
With her acting career going nowhere, Foxworth attempted to start a musical group with her sisters, however, it didn't work out. Foxworth eventually starred in some pornographic films, amidst a battle with depression and substance abuse. She has been open about the fact that the decision to work in the adult entertainment industry was one of the worst mistakes she has ever made. She even talked about it on a special episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
43. Jonathan Brandis - Passed Away After Suicide
In terms of making it big, Jonathan Brandis had things pretty much covered at the age of just six years old. He scored a role playing Kevin Buchanan on popular ABC soap opera, One Life to Live, and the rest, as they say, is history. He also appeared on television shows such as Blossom, L.A. Law, Who's the Boss?, Murder She Wrote, The Wonder Years, and Full House.
At the age of 14 he landed the lead role of Bastian Bux in the film The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. From there, things really picked up for him when he started playing Lucas Wolenczak in the series, seaQuest DSV. Unfortunately, Brandis decided to end his own life in 2003, at the age of 27. He didn't leave a suicide note, but he had spoken to friends about being depressed due to his failing career.
44. Beverley Mitchell - Spends Most Time With Her Two Children
We bet you were wondering when some of the 7th Heaven cast were going to appear on this list. Well, here we go. Chances are that you remember Beverley Mitchell as Lucy Camden, but you probably didn't know that she actually originally auditioned for the part of Mary Camden, Lucy's older sister. Jessica Biel got that role, despite being more than a year younger than Mitchell. The series ended up running for a whopping eleven years, so Mitchell was busy doing that for most of her child acting days.
After 7th Heaven, Mitchell had a few small roles here and there, including one as Laura Hunter in the horror film, Saw 2. She also began a career as a country music singer and achieved some modest success. These days, she loves spending time with her family.
45. Angus T. Jones - Faced Multiple Problems
Born on October 8, 1993, Angus Turner Jones, better known as Angus T. Jones, is famous for one role in particular. For ten years he played Jake Harper in the comedy television series, Two and a Half Men, starring alongside Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen. Jake Harper was one of the main characters and the "half" man the title references (as he was a child on the show).
Though he isn't really known for other acting projects, his run on Two and a Half Men is nothing to scoff at. In 2010, Jones became the highest paid child actor on TV, earning about $300,000 per episode of the show. Somewhere along the line, Jones became religious and decided the show conflicted with his newfound views. He even publicly called the show 'filth' and described himself as a hypocrite for working on it.
46. Michael Fishman - Upcoming Producer/Director
Michael Fishman got his start, and only major role in his acting career, on the television series Roseanne in 1988. He played D.J. Conner on the show until 1997, from the age of six to fifteen years old. He originally scored the role by impressing lead actress and title character, Roseanne Barr, when she asked him to tell a joke in his audition. The Joke? "Why did the turtle cross the road? it was the chicken's day off." We guess it would have been pretty cute coming from a six-year-old.
Fishman appeared in very small roles in a variety of TV shows and movies, including Seinfeld, Hey Arnold, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. It seemed like things were finally going his way again when Roseanne was picked up for a revival series in 2018. However, the show has since been cancelled due to racist remarks made by Barr.
47. Michael Bower - Lives A Low-Key Life
Winning a Young Artist Award is generally a very good sign that your acting career is off to a great start. This was definitely the case for Michael Bower, who won the award for portraying Eddie "Donkeylips" Gelfen on the television series, Salute Your Shorts, which aired on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1992. Before his success on Salute Your Shorts, he had made small appearances in TV shows including Webster, Tales from the Crypt, Empty Nest, Superior Court, Hull High, The Wonder Years, and Doogie Howser, M.D.
Weirdly, Bower can be seen in commercials for Mountain Dew as a dancing mechanic. He also regularly appears on comedy podcast, Red Bar Radio. Besides these small projects, Bower doesn't really have an adult acting career to speak of. He is currently living a low-key life and enjoys having privacy from the public.
48. Macaulay Culkin - Caught In Numerous Drug Offenses
Was there ever a more promising child star than the adorable Macaulay Culkin? We can't think of one that even comes close. Culkin got his first big break starring in the blockbuster comedy film, Home Alone as trouble maker, Kevin McCallister. He then starred in My Girl, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Good Son, The Pagemaster, and Richie Rich. He achieved all this before the age of 15 and was known as the most successful child actor since Shirley Temple.
Unfortunately, Culkin's career was destined to fail, as he became addicted to drugs. He was also caught up in legal battles after being charged with possession of marijuana and various controlled substances for which he didn't have a prescription. Culkin has since cleaned up his act a little, but has never regained the fame he once had.
49. Hanson - Stuck Together
When Hanson burst onto the music charts in 1997 with their first hit single, MMMbop, they won the hearts of girls all over the world. It seemed like nothing could stop the brothers as they released tune after tune, including Where's the Love, I Will Come to You, Weird, and Thinking of You. Let's also not forget their 1997 Christmas album, Snowed In.
Their massive, seemingly overnight success seemed to fade just as quickly as it arrived. Isaac, Taylor, and Zac were suddenly nobodies and we can't quite explain why. With the revival of all things 90s, Hanson have popped up here and there to perform various shows, but they've never been able to get back to the same level of success they once had as kids. But we still love listening to MMMBop when we're in a 90s mood!
50. Tina Majorino - Acting & Musician
You might not recognize her name at first, but if you were a kid of the 90s you'll surely remember some of Tina Majorino's work as a child actor. We think her most iconic role was probably in the 1994 film, Andre. You know the one, with the girl and the seal named Andre. She also appeared in When a Man Loves a Woman, Corrina Corrina, and Waterworld (starring Kevin Costner).
Like so many promising child stars, Majorino disappeared from the acting scene. However, the interesting thing about her is that she made a comeback many years later when she scored the role of Deb in comedy film, Napoleon Dynamite. Since then, she has appeared on a bunch of TV shows, including Veronica Mars, Big Love, True Blood, and Grey's Anatomy. We're glad she's back in business!

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