Michael Jackson began singing in the “Jackson 5” when he was just 5 years old. He quickly became a pop sensation, and would remain so until his untimely death in 2009. Indeed, some people seem born into fame and stay within the spotlight for the remainder of their lives. However, this is not true of all child prodigies.
Have you ever watched an old movie or TV show with child actors and wondered “I wonder whatever happened to them?” Many child actors have disappeared from the film industry to take on new challenges. Others left because fame ruined their lives. Find out what happened to the following 10 child stars who were never heard from again.
10 Joey Gaydos Jr.
Joseph Stephen Gaydos Jr. was born in Michigan in 1991. According to IMBD, he “started playing guitar at the age of 3, but did not get in touch with it until about 8 years old or so.” His talent as a musician landed him the role of 10 year-old Zack in the movie School of Rock. One year later, Gaydos formed his own band and released an album. Despite him leaving the film industry to focus on music, the young celebrity still made headlines at the age of 17, when he was arrested for drunk driving. Today, Gaydos focuses on his “true love,” music, performing at festivals.
9 Amy O’Neill
Amy E. O’Neill was born in California in 1971. She is best known for her roles in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Honey I Blew Up the Kid. In an interview featured on People, O’Neill explained that her passion for acting started to sway after she turned 22. The roles she began to be offered involved nudity, which she was not feel comfortable doing. She therefore left the world of cinema and joined the circus trio “Girls on Stilts.”
8 Carrie Henn
Born Caroline Marie Henn in 1976 in Florida, Henn was made famous by her role as Newt, the space orphan in Aliens. Henn quit the world of Hollywood in order to pursue her real passion: teaching. In an interview with People, Henn stated she was certain about her decision to teach instead of acting: “I would miss being in the classroom, I love being in there with the kids.” In 2005, she married Nathan Kutcher, and the couple has since had one child.
7 Andrea Barber
Andrea Laura Barber was born in California in 1976. She rose to stardom for her role in Days of Our Lives and Full House. She left the world of cinema to attend graduate school at the University of York in England, and eventually worked as assistant to the director of Whittier College’s Office of International Programs. In 2002, she married Jeremy Rytky, with whom she would have two children: Tate James and Felicity Ruth. The couple divorced last year. According to IMDB, Barber will be returning to the silver-screen in 2016, for the series premiere of Fuller House.
6 Phoebe Cates
Phoebe Belle Cates was born in New York, in 1963, and is the daughter of Broadway producer and television pioneer, Joseph Cates. Starting off as a model, Cates eventually found herself co-starring in Gremlins. Though she left the world of cinema, she has remained in the world of theatre, featuring in numerous productions including La Jolla Playhouse’s The Sea Gull, New York Public Theatre’s Much Ado About Nothing, and Chicago’s Goodman Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet. Cates also has a successful romantic life, being married to actor Kevin Kline and being a mother of two.
5 Omri Katz
Born Omri Haim Katz, in 1976 in California, Katz was made famous for his roles in the hit TV shows Dallas and Erie, Indiana. He made a few appearances in movies such as Hocus Pocus, Matinee and Adventures in Dinosaur City, as well as in a few TV shows. Despite his success, Katz has decided to take an extended break from acting and hairdressing to live out his life in Israel. Huffington Post describes him as doing “a magnificent job at totally disappearing from the spotlight in recent years.”
4 Brandon Call
Born Brandon Spencer Lee Call in California, in 1976, this young actor started to perform at a surprising 2 years-old. His movie debut, however, began in 1985, with Disney’s The Black Cauldron. After appearing in Jagged Edge, Call started to gain popularity for his role as David Hosselhoff’s son on Baywatch. Unfortunately, his time in the spotlight was short lived as he only remained on the show for one season. According to IMBD, he has not appeared in any televised roles since 1994, where he guest-starred in Thunder in Paradise.
3 Mara Wilson
Mara Elizabeth Wilson was born in 1987, in California. After her parents’ initial reluctance to let their daughter act in commercials, Wilson proved to be a gifted young actress and appeared in numerous film productions including Mrs. Doubtfire, Miracle on 34th Street and Matilda. Wilson also proved to be a fighter as well as a beautiful face: despite her mother’s passing due to breast cancer during the production of Matilda, Wilson incredibly continued to work on the film until its end. Her final movie was Thomas and the Magic Railroad, choosing to afterwards leave Hollywood, as the movie did poorly in the American box office and she wanted to focus on school. Today, Wilson lives a quiet life in New York, working as a stage actress, voice actress, writer and playwright.
2 Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple could arguably be the most popular and famous child star of all time. She began her rise to stardom at the age of a mere 3 years old. She was born in 1928 in California, and 5 years later, fans had already fallen in love with her cuteness, cheerfulness and bright, golden curls. She gave rise to tons of Shirley Temple memorabilia: dolls, phonographs, mugs, hats, dresses, you name it. However, despite her outstanding success, (being box office champion from 1935 to 1938,) by the time she hit her 20s, her career was coming to a close. She passed away a widow in 2014, at the age of 86, leaving behind 3 children.
1 Jake Lloyd
Jake Lloyd was born in 1989, in Colorado. He became a famous star at young age thanks his role as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Epidosde I- The Phantom Menace. He is also known for his performances in Jingle All the Way and Unhook the Stars. Unfortunately, not everyone can handle fame: according to The Daily Mail, Lloyd struggled with his world recognition, stating that fame “made his childhood a living hell.” Earlier this year in June, Lloyd was arrested for reckless driving, failure to stop, resisting arrest and driving without a licence. Weeks before plowing his car through a fence, and racing police during a 25-mile long chase, Lloyd reportedly attacked his mother, “telling her that she ruined his life.”
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