Ever wondered “Hey, whatever happened to…?” If you have a favorite child actor who seemed to have disappeared into nothingness, chances are that… well, that he did just that.
The bright lights of Hollywood are not for everybody. In fact, you’d be surprised how many famous child actors stepped away from fame and fortune once they got older and realized the repercussions. Some longing for normality and some that knew fame and fortune would set them down a dark path.
Here are 10 famous faces you won’t see on the screen again.
Although Mara Wilson (born in 1987) starred in several movies as a kid, she’s best remembered for her roles in”Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) and “Matilda” (1996). Wilson became involved in the industry after her older brother was cast for a number of commercials. She proved to be a natural from the start, not only winning roles in TV and movies, but also receiving the ShoWest Award for “Young Star of the Year” and other awards.
After her 2000 appearance in the film “Thomas and the Magic Railroad,” Wilson gave up acting. Years later, in an interview with US Magazine, she explained that “film acting is not very fun,” adding that the repetition required to get something right on film “does not allow for very much creative freedom.”
What she’s up to now: Wilson runs her own blog, called Marawilsonwritesstuff.com, where she talks about her desire to break into young adult novel writing. She’s also a regular contributor to Publicolor, a non-profit organization focused on improving education through the use of color and art.
Pierce, who admits he’s still referred to as “the boy from Jumanji” by people who meet him, also appeared in a number of TV movies and shows.
What he’s up to now: Pierce now works as a voice over artist for video games. Recent titles include The LEGO Movie Videogame, Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix, and American Wasteland. He also works a a voice actor for TV shows and through the years has appeared in small roles in TV shows such as “Profiler” and “Mad About You.” Pierce is involved with “the Y” (formerly YMCA), where he volunteers his time as a counselor.
The name might not ring any bells, but the face does: Saviano was the geeky kid with the big glasses in “The Wonder Years” (1988-1993). He also appeared in the TV movie “Camp Cucamonga” (1990) and had guest appearances on “Reading Rainbow” as himself.
What he’s up to now: Saviano never had intentions of continuing his acting career beyond his childhood years. Instead, he went into Yale and eventually became an attorney for a firm in New York City. And here’s a funny bit about him. According to Snopes.com, there’s a rumor circulating that Saviano and Marilyn Manson are actually the same person. Don’t worry, the rumor is actually not true, and Saviano has been quoted saying “It doesn’t upset me, nor does it offend me. I just take it as a joke.”
Cates (born in 1963) was Hollywood’s darling during her teen years, starring in hits like “Gremlins” (1984) and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982). She was also part of the TV mini-series “Lace” and worked as a model. In fact, her face appeared multiple times on the cover of magazines such as Seventeen and Teen Beat. Later on, she did some off-Broadway acting and appeared in movies in smaller roles.
What she’s up to now: Cates has always been very clear about her reason from leaving the acting world: she wanted to focus on her family and raising her children. Currently, Cates runs her own Boutique in the Upper West Side. The exclusive shop called Blue Tree, sells a mix of antiques, jewelry, perfumes, photography and art, clothing, and more. She has been married to actor Kevin Kline since 1989.
Richards’ most memorable role is as one of the two kids chased by dinosaurs in the iconic “Jurassic Park” (she reprised the role on The Lost World: Jurassic Park). She also had small roles in a number of TV shows, including “Boy Meets World” and “The Golden Girls.” She took a break from acting in 2001, after appearing in the direct-to-video movie “Tremors 3: Back to Perfection.”
What she’s up to now: Richards made a return to movie-making briefly in 2013, where she played a role in the werewolf TV movie, “Battledogs.” However, Richards’ main focus since leaving acting has been her painting. Her work has been exhibited around the country, and she has won numerous awards, including the The National Professional Oil Painting Competition (2005).
Cohen’s role as Chuck in “The Goonies” (1985) made him world famous. As the chunky, funny boy who got in a lot of trouble (but ended up saving the gang), Cohen’s role also made him a hot commodity in Hollywood. After the film’s successful run, Cohen also appeared in several TV shows, including “Family Ties,” “The Facts of Life,” “Tales from the Darkside”, and “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.” He also appeared in the 1991 film “Perfect Harmony.”
What he’s up to now: Cohen joined his school’s football team in high school in an effort to shed some of the weight that made him famous as a child actor. He succeeded but in the process gave up his acting career. He went on to graduate from the UCLA School of Law and now works as an entertainment lawyer in Hollywood.
Omri Katz made his mark as a TV kid actor, rather than a film one. From 1983 to 1991, he had a recurring role in Dallas, followed by a role in “Eerie, Indiana” in 1991 and 1992. He also appeared in “Hocus Pocus,” “Zorro,” and “Dallas: J.R. Returns” (a TV movie). After the 1996 movie, however, Katz disappeared from acting, except for two small appearances in short films in 2002 and 2006.
What he’s up to now: A few years ago, Katz starred in a ten-minute YouTube video called “Perfect Girl: A Short Film by Yehuda Gladen.” The video is NSFW and a little on the weird side, so watch at your own risk. Other than that, Katz has had no involvement with the show biz world and currently works as a hairdresser.
Billingsley will always be known as Ralphie from a “Christmas Story” (1983), although the former child actor did appear in other films, including “The Dirt Bike Kid” (1985) and “The Last Frontier” (1986). He also made guest appearances in a number of TV shows, including “Sherman Oaks,” “The Wonder Years,” and “Highway to Heaven.”
What he’s up to now: Billingsley hasn’t abandoned Hollywood. He just jumped to the other side of the screen to become a producer. He’s been involved in successful films like “The Break-Up” (2006) and “Iron Man” (2008), and has worked as an executive producer for the TV show “Pursuit of the Truth.” He also received an Emmy Award nomination for his production work in “Dinner for Five” (2001), an independent film.
Best known for her role in “The Neverending Story,” Oliver also appeared in D.A.R.Y.L. (for which he won a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor) and “Cocoon: The Return.” He also worked with Tim Burton in the short film “Frankenweenie” and appeared in a few made-for-TV movies.
What he’s up to now: Oliver left Hollywood after becoming involved with Scientology and marrying at the age of 19. Since then, he has become an expert on 19th-century printing processes such as Woodburytype. His work was the object of a book, called “A History of the Woodburytype,” and has been displayed in museums around the country.
Jakub became famous for her role as Lydia Hillard in “Mrs. Doubtfire.” She also appeared in “Independence Day” and in TV films such as “The Twilight Zone,” “War of the Worlds” and “Friday the 13th: The Series.” She hasn’t been seen in any films or videos since 2000. According to her own website, she retired from acting because “At the age of 22, I realized that there must be more to life than premieres and pretending to be other people.”
What she’s up to now: Jakub has talked publicly about her time in Hollywood and how she never plans to return to acting. She is currently a full-time blogger and writer. She’s also written a memoir (called “You Look Like That Girl”) coming in 2015,