In Hollywood, child actors don’t just grow up. They glow up. According to the Urban Dictionary, glowing up means “to go from the bottom to the top to the point of disbelief.”
And in the entertainment industry, this means appearing in a hit movie or tv show. This means gaining recognition from both peers and fans. Once you’ve glowed up, it is almost certain that you would get more film and television projects. You’ll get lots of brand endorsements too. Soon enough, you would become a household name.
Now, this is the progression that we usually expect from child stars who have glowed up. However, this is not always the case. While child actors go on to do more hit projects as they get older, there are those who disappear from the spotlight altogether. Just check these former child/teen stars out.
20 Jack Gleeson
For many “Game of Thrones” fans, Jack Gleeson is best remembered for his portrayal of the evil King Joffrey. Following this hit role, however, Gleeson made the decision to retire from acting altogether in 2014. He then decided to return to his studies. According to reports, the former actor decided to take up theology and philosophy at Trinity College where he became a scholar.
19 Amber Scott
Back in the day, Amber Scott was a child actress who starred in the 1991 movie “Hook” as Maggie Banning. Since then, Scott only received one more acting credit – as a voice actor for the 1995 tv series documentary “American Experience.” Following this, it’s almost like Scott disappeared from Hollywood completely. However, as IMDb records reveal, Scott is credited as a producer for the 2019 short “Cannonball.”
18 Jonathan Taylor Thomas
At one point in his career, Jonathan Taylor Thomas a.k.a. JTT was considered a young Hollywood heartthrob. He starred in the 90s tv series “Home Improvement” and also provided voice talent to young Simba in the 1994 animated film “The Lion King.” According to IMDb records, his last work in Hollywood was in the tv series “Last Man Standing.” After this, it became rather difficult to locate Thomas. However, according to Vice, the actor was elected into the SAG-AFTRA National Board in 2017.
17 Jeff Cohen
When he was still a child, Jeff Cohen was best known for his role as Chunk in the 1985 film “The Goonies.” After that, IMDb records indicate that Cohen continued taking on movie and television roles until 1991. These included voicing the character of Grunt in the 1988 tv movie “Schooby-Doo and the Ghoul School.” After 1991, Hollywood never heard from Cohen again. Instead, the actor grew up and became a successful lawyer.
16 Tatum O'Neal
Tatum O’Neal is an actress who is best known for her role in the 1973 film “Paper Moon.” And for her portrayal of Addie Loggins, O’Neal also became the youngest person to ever win an Oscar. Following this, O’Neal went on to star in a number of films, including “The Bad News Bears,” “Little Darlings,” and “Circle of Two.” As time went on, however, O’Neal’s work became less prominent, almost to the point of being completely forgotten. According to a report from the New York Post, she also suffered from drug addiction and was once arrested by cops.
15 Daveigh Chase
Hard as it may be to believe, it’s been several years since the U.S. version of the horror film “The Ring” came out in 2002. In the movie, Daveigh Chase played Samara. Following this, she went on to appear in several films and tv series. However, Chase’s work was always overshadowed by her better-known castmates. Recently, Chase had also run into some trouble with the law. According to a report from the Daily Mail, the actress was busted for drug possession last January. And six months prior, Chase was also arrested. However, the reason for that arrest is unclear.
14 Liesel Matthews
Throughout her entire acting career, Liesel Matthews is only credited for three film roles. First was as Sara Crewe in the 1995 movie “A Little Princess.” This was quickly followed up by a role as Alice Marshall in the 1997 film “Air Force One” starring Harrison Ford. And finally, in 2000, Matthews appeared in the film “Blast.” In real life, Matthews goes by Liesel Pritzker Simmons and her family is among America’s wealthiest. However, she’s anything but a trust fund baby. Since disappearing from films, she’s founded the venture capital company Blue Haven Initiative.
13 Ross Bagley
As a child actor, Ross Bagley quickly rose to fame after portraying the role of Buckwheat in the 1994 hit movie “The Little Rascals.” In fact, Bagley went on to star in films such as “Eye for an Eye” and “Independence Day.” In addition, he also starred as Nicky Banks in the tv series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” According to IMDb records, Bagley hasn’t had any acting credits since 2015. According to CBS News, Bagley now works as a realtor in Los Angeles.
12 Macaulay Culkin
As you may know, actor Macaulay Culkin is most known for his portrayal of Kevin in the popular ‘Home Alone’ franchise. Since then, he’s also starred in other memorable films such as 1994’s “Ri¢hie Ri¢h.” However, the film was said to be a box office flop. Culkin then decided to take a break from acting. And when he returned, it became immediately clear that he was no longer the talk of the town.
11 Devon Sawa
As a teen heartthrob, actor Devon Sawa starred in films such as “Casper,” “Now and Then,” “The Boys Club,” and “Wild America” in the 90s. And in 2000, this was quickly followed up with a role in the hit film “Final Destination.” Following this, Sawa continued to take roles in both film and television, although none of his work really stood out like they used to. During an interview with US Magazine, Sawa also confirmed that he took a break from acting before pursuing a role in the short-lived tv series “Somewhere Between.”
10 Jeremy Jackson
As you may remember, Jeremy Jackson is best known for playing the role of Hobie Buchannon in the hit tv series “Baywatch.” After that, Jackson went on to star in a few tv series and tv movies. And then suddenly, Hollywood didn’t hear from him anymore. Since then, we only heard about Jackson when he got into trouble with the law in 2015. According to a report from TMZ, the former actor allegedly tried to steal a car then stabbed a female.
9 Kel Mitchell
Several years ago, Kel Mitchell was a successful teen actor starring in the Nickelodeon tv series “Kenan & Kel.” Mitchell also went on to star in various films and tv series over the years, including “Henry Danger,” and “The First Family.” However, Mitchell hasn’t really been making much noise. And according to a report from The Atlantic, rumors even circulated online that the actor died in 2006. However, Mitchell is still very much alive. In fact, he has been steadily working in the entertainment industry. Although, it doesn’t seem like Mitchell has had any prominent roles or projects.
8 Amanda Bynes
There was a time when the name Amanda Bynes was practically synonymous with Hollywood success. After all, as a child actress, she starred in films such as “What a Girl Wants,” “She’s the Man,” and “Easy A.” Moreover, she also starred in the tv series “What I Like About You.” Somehow, Bynes’ personal life managed to spiral out of control. Eventually, she gave up film and television work. Since then, Bynes has been trying to put her life back together. In fact, she’s recently graduated from fashion school. Although, Bynes is also still dealing with drug addiction.
7 Lindsay Lohan
As a child actress, Lindsay Lohan was quite a success, starring in films such as “The Parent Trap,” “Freaky Friday,” “Mean Girls,” and “Herbie Fully Loaded.” As she got older, Lohan ended up working in a number of movie flops. Moreover, she also developed a reputation for being notoriously unprofessional when onset. Today, Lohan is trying to be successful in the entertainment industry once more. However, things don’t seem to be working out quite well.
6 Mara Wilson
Actress Mara Wilson is best known for her work in the movies “Matilda,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” Recently, Wilson has been credited with voice work for “BoJack Horseman” and “Big Hero 6: The Series.” Over the years, however, it doesn’t seem that she had done any prominent film or television work.
5 Jake Lloyd
In the franchise movie “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace,” Jake Lloyd portrayed the role of young Anakin Skywalker. Back then, Lloyd was only 10 years old. Prior to that, he also had a short stint in the television series “ER” and “The Pretender.” Following his ‘Star Wars’ role, however, Lloyd’s only acting gig was the movie “Madison” in 2001. Since then, he’s remained out of the spotlight. In 2015, Lloyd was arrested after sending cops on a car chase. The following year, he was moved to a psychiatric facility because he suffered from schizophrenia, according to TMZ.
4 Barret Oliver
When Barret Oliver was a young boy, he played the role of Bastian in 1984’s “The NeverEnding Story.” Following this, he went on to appear in a number of television shows, television movies, and films. The last one was the 1989 movie “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills.” After this, Oliver went silent. According to TV Over Mind, Oliver was last spotted teaching photography class back in 2008. He also wrote a book on photography.
3 Noah Hathaway
Just like Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway was also a child actor who appeared in “The NeverEnding Story.” Following this role, Hathaway went on to appear in a number of television series during the 80s. Meanwhile, from 2012 to 2016, Hathaway also booked some minor roles in films like “Blue Dream,” “Sushi Girl” and “The Chair.” In 2018, a GoFundMe page was set up by the actor’s neighbor to help pay for Hathaway’s medical bills after he underwent major spinal fusion surgery. In total, more than $4,800 was raised.
2 Ariana Richards
For Ariana Richards, her big break in Hollywood came when she starred as Lex in the hit 1993 movie “Jurassic Park.” In fact, she went on to reprise her role in the 1997 follow-up movie “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.” Following this, Richards took on some other roles until 2001. And then, several years after, in 2013, Richards returned briefly to star in the tv movie “Battledogs.” Today, Richards is a successful painter.
1 Bradley Pierce
Bradley Pierce is best known for portraying the role of Peter Shepherd in the 1995 hit film “Jumanji.” Since then, Pierce found himself booking some minor roles in tv series and tv movies. At the same time, he also did some voice work for various video games, including “The Lego Movie Videogame” and “Peter Pan.” Today, on his Twitter page, Pierce refers to himself as a “filmmaker/actor/voiceover guy.”
Reference: TMZ, Urban Dictionary, GoFundMe, IMDb, The Atlantic