Sometimes little kid actors light up the screen and we watch them grow up into grown up actors, such as with Drew Barrymore. And then there are those that begin working on the other side of the camera and do great things, such as Ron Howard. Remember him as the sweet little kid Opie on Mayberry RFD?
Some, however, fall into bad habits and unfortunately end up gone too soon. Consider the kids from Different Strokes. Todd Bridges became an addict and jailbird (who eventually got clean) and his show mate Dana Plato also spiraled into decadence, eventually taking her life in 1999 at the age of 35 from an overdose. (Tragically, her son also took his life at 25 in 2010). The star of the show – Gary Coleman – spiraled into health, financial, and legal problems and died at 42 in a hospital in Utah.
How about Jake on the long-running Two and a Half Men? Turns out dude hated all the suggestive content and immorality on the show, and after leaving it, said he was paid to be a “hypocrite.” Don’t feel bad for him, though. He was making about $6 million a year.
A lot of child actors draw “awwws” from us as lovable characters in film and on TV, but then when they outgrow that cuteness, the next job is hard to land and they end up taking on another career path. They become hardly recognizable and begin a second life going to a 9-5 just like the people who used to watch them on the screen.
15. ‘Jumanji’ Child Actor Now Dedicated to Community and Family
One of the most popular family films of 1995 was the action/adventure Jumanji. The adorable bright-eyed young boy in that flick was Bradley Pierce, who was about 12 at the time of filming. Pierce turns 35 on Oct. 23. The Arizona native still gets an acting job now and then, but mostly these days he is dedicated to raising his two sons, Dorian and Gavin, and working with a variety of charities. Pierce has landed some pretty good voice over work on films such as Beauty and the Beast, where he voiced Chip, and the Hedgehogs series, where he was the voice of Tails. Jumanji cost about $65 million to make, a pretty high budget back in 1995, but it did well, making more than $260 million at the box office.
14. Cute Then, Beautiful Now
Amber Scott was totally adorable in the version of Hook that starred the late great Robin Williams. The adorable little one played Williams’ daughter and producers milked her cuteness to the max, having her sing “When You’re Alone” at the 64th Annual Academy Awards. But that was pretty much it for Scott. The beauty just celebrated her 33rd birthday Oct. 10. Little is known about the former child star. After starring as Maggie in the Stephen Spielberg blockbuster, she attended Trinity College in Connecticut and became a member of the sorority Delta Psi. Hook had a $70 million budget, and over time, it took in $300 million worldwide. When the film was made in 1991, its budget was considered huge, and its initial box office was weak, but it eventually did well on an international market.
13. ‘Goonies’ Goofy Kid Now Has Own Law Firm
The Goonies is a classic movie for kids of all ages. One of its most memorable characters is Chunky, and you guessed it… he’s an overweight and goofy kid in the flick. Jeff Cohen was about 11 about the time The Goonies was shot, but he didn’t stay “chunky” for long. He played football in high school and got his weight in check. The curls are gone, too, and Cohen now sports a bald head. He still gets an acting gig now and then, but his real focus is on law. Cohen graduated from UCLA’s School of Law in 2000 and now has his own law firm in Beverly Hills called Cohen Gardner, LLC. He remembers his role fondly and says that his law clients get a kick out of him once being a child star.
12. Emmanuel Lewis, AKA Webster, Experienced Lack Of Growth
Emmanuel Lewis came onto the scene as the adorable Webster on the TV show of the same name. Webster stayed on the air on ABC for four years, and after its demise, Lewis continued landing roles. However, the former child star only grew six inches after age 12 and remains around 4’3” tall to this day. He kept busy though, and went to Clark Atlanta University, where he eventually earned a degree in theater arts. It took him eight years due to his acting commitments. He’s had cameo roles in films such as Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (ironically) and has done voice over work for South Park. After the first year of Webster’s success, his agent renegotiated his contract to include profit sharing, including money from syndication. Webster is in syndication again on the Antenna TV network.
11. Curly Sue Has Got ‘The Voice’
She was totally the cutest thing on the planet in Curly Sue with James Belushi. Twenty-five years later, without the extra weight and after recovering from substance abuse, she would emerge once again as the 10th season winner of The Voice. During her blind audition in January 2016, the then 34-year-old sang “Blue Bayou,” and all four judges turned their chairs. She chose Christina Aguilera and went on to win the whole shebang that season. Her candor about her past touched the audience and judges. “Honestly, I was going through a hard time in life,” Porter said after her performance. “And then, I actually got sober eight years ago and I fell in love and I had children and that was my goal to just be a good mom. And I really feel like the universe just had a plan for me because you guys turned for me.” Porter performed her new release in May – “Deep Water” – on The Voice. An album is expected at any time.
10. The Face That Could Melt An Iceberg
She had the sweetest little face in kid classic Matilda and also in A Simple Wish. As a little girl, she also appeared in Mrs. Doubtfire and Miracle on 34th Street. Former child actor Mara Wilson didn’t take her career in front of the camera into adulthood, though. Instead, she went to NYU and now works on Web series and as a writer. She said in an interview with US that film acting isn’t “very fun,” adding, “Doing the same thing over and over again until in the director’s eyes you get it right, does not allow very much creative freedom.” Last year after the shooting massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, she came out as bisexual, which was not received very well on social media. People accused her of taking advantage of a tragedy, but she said that wasn’t her intention and she’s sorry she made the announcement.
9. The ‘Aliens’ Kid Who Works With Kids
There’s a saying that goes something like this: those that can’t, teach. That may apply to former child actor Carrie Henn, who played Newt in the major motion picture Aliens. For her part, she received a Saturn Award, but her acting career pretty much stopped after Aliens. The James Cameron flick is considered one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time. Henn starred with Sigourney Weaver, and according to a story in Wired last year, the now 41-year-old still keeps in touch with Weaver. These days she’s a fourth grade teacher in northern California, where she says sometimes when kids realize who she is, will bring in an Aliens DVD for her to sign. The flick earned more than $130 million at the box office worldwide.
8. Actor’s ‘Never Ending Story’ Continues
In the Never Ending Story, child actor Noah Hathaway, who played Atreyu, had the little girls all googly-eyed for his boyish good looks. The handsome face, though, didn’t land him very many roles after Never Ending Story, which grossed $20 million in 1984. Hathaway made it as a teen idol for a while, and then got into designing motorcycles. However, he reportedly suffered injuries during the filming of the movie that have plagued him for decades. According to TMZ earlier this year, Hathaway is in debt to the tune of about a million bucks for medical costs. Friends and family set up a GoFundMe campaign for him back in May to help him pay his medical bills, as well as a vet bill for his dog Cash, who has some problems of his own.
7. From Acting To Politics
What does the Republican Party have in common with the 1990 movie Dick Tracy? and former President Barack Obama? That would be actor Charlie Korsmo. Known as the Kid in the movie starring Warren Beatty, Korsmo as an adult joined the Republican Party and in fact still works for it. But former Prez Obama still respected the former child actor enough to appoint him to the board of trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship Fund. Dude is a graduate of MIT and currently teaches at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland. In 2012, Time magazine named him to a Top 10 List of Wicked Smart Actors. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT and a law degree from Yale. In addition to Dick Tracy, Korsmo also had roles in Hook with Robin Williams and What About Bob? with Richard Dreyfus.
6. ‘Air Force One’ Actress Flies High Off Family Fortune
Liesel Matthews was the young girl in the movie Air Force One, which starred Harrison Ford as the president. She also had a big part in A Little Princess, which was nominated for two Academy Awards. Blast in 2000 was the only other film she has a credit for, but don’t feel sorry for Matthews, now known as Liesel Pritzkers Simmons. She is part of one the richest families in the U.S. Her family owns the Hyatt Hotel chain, among other properties, and has a net worth of $29 billion, according to Forbes. When she was 20, she won a legal battle with her family for her inheritance, which reportedly was $900 million. Simmons is said to be quite the philanthropist, donating as much as $100 million of that inheritance to charity.
5. Vietnamese Refugee Turned Child Actor Fluent In Four Languages
Jonathan Luke Ke Quan was born in Vietnam and given political asylum with his family as a young kid. He had that precious face of wonder that landed him in blockbuster films such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies. He also had recurring roles on TV’s Head of the Class and Nothing Is Easy. Since those days, he went on to graduate from USC’s School of Cinema Television and became a stunt coordinator, working with such actors as Jet Li. His film credits as a stunt coordinator include X-Men. In addition to learning Tae Kwon Do, he is fluent in English, Vietnamese, Cantonese, and Mandarin. Not much has been heard on the once star child actor for the last 10 years.
4. From Babysitting Adventures To Practicing Law
The 1987 Adventures in Babysitting spawned more than one child star, but the most adorable was probably Maia Brewton, who played Sara. She was the adventurous little girl with the Thor hat. She also had roles in Back to the Future and the TV series Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. She drifted away from her acting career during her later teenage years. After graduating high school, she was off to Yale, where she studied law. Brewton is a practicing attorney on the East Coast, where she lives with wife Lara Spotts. The gay couple have two twin boys. Adventures in Babysitting made about $34 million in 1987 (not bad back then). The fun film was just remade by Disney last year with a whole new cast that included Sabrina Carpenter and Sofia Carson from The Descendants cast.
3. A Fresh Prince For TV And Film
Little and cute as a button Ross Bagley played young Nicky on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, where he starred with Will Smith. When Smith moved on to blockbuster Independence Day, he took the little guy with him to play his son. Since then he worked on Judging Amy and did voice work for The Wild Thornberrys. He also worked on The Little Rascals and Babe. Bagley, who turns 29 this December, describes himself on his Twitter as a “die-hard Lakers fan” and “huge music head.” In 2005, he enrolled at Cal State Northridge to study cinema and television arts. According to CBS News, Bagley works as a DJ in the Los Angeles area, where he also works in the real estate arena. Despite being part of a hit TV show that is still in syndication and a blockbuster movie (Independence Day) that grossed $306 million, Bagley’s net worth is estimated at only about $500,000.
2. From Punky To Chunky To Bikini Babe
Soleil Moon Frye was acting by age 2, but her big break came when at 7 she landed the top role on Punky Brewster, which ran on NBC for four years. It’s been almost 30 years since the show last aired. Since then, she’s been a cast member of Robot Chicken, The Proud Family, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. By the time she was 22, she directed the film Wild Horses. The mother of four began to have weight issues a few years back and became an ambassador of Nutrisystem. She lost a substantial amount of weight (40 pounds) and went from wearing baggy clothes to appearing in ads wearing a bikini. The California native’s kids are named Poet Sienna, Lyric Sonny, Jagger and Story.
1. ‘Dynomite!’ Ralph Carter Still Having Good Times
Good Times was a popular comedic series that traced the lives of a Black family that lived in the Chicago projects. Janet Jackson got her start on the show, and comedian Jimmie Walker as “J.J.” (who made “Dynomite” famous). Ralph David Carter played the younger brother in the family, known as Michael, who developed a radical and rebellious streak as the show progressed. After the show, Carter continued as an actor, starring on Broadway in the show Raisin (based on the famous play “A Raisin in the Sun”). In addition to acting, Carter can sing. He was rumored to be HIV positive in the late ‘90s and rumors began that he was gay. But the actor told SitComsOnline.com that he is married and has two kids. From his stint on Good Times, he still gets royalty checks and is reportedly still worth about a million bucks.
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