Whether they have been plagued by failure or have struck it lucky, there are a number of different child stars that we have all grown to love. These child stars have been flung onto the red carpet from an early age but most have managed to cope with the ups and downs of fame. Forget peer pressure, this is all about parent pressure as many children have been thrust in front of producers not to mention casting directors in the hope of a glimpse of stardom.
On the other hand, we all know those who have suffered with the limelight. This includes the likes of Macaulay Culkin who shot to fame thanks to the Home Alone movies. In spite of his innocent appeal which attracted many fans and an appearance in a Michael Jackson music video, Culkin courted plenty of controversy.
In September 2004, he was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs. As a result of this he was jailed for a short period and later went on to receive a host of suspended prison terms. Yet the tabloid meltdowns, tears and tantrums did not detract others from making a name for themselves.
From Drew Barrymore who starred as a tiny tot in E.T to Erik Per Sullivan of Malcolm in the Middle, the transition to TV or film has been seamless for some individuals. However, there are those who have blossomed before our very eyes into real life talents. Check out our rundown of the top ten most recognizable child stars.
10 Neil Patrick Harris
Everyone remembers the visage of child star Neil Patrick Harris. Mr. Doogie Howser, M.D. himself starred in the said title at just 16 years of age. Other appearances of note include a series of movies from Starship Troopers and Beastly to The Smurfs. He also has a star on the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame and just a few years ago was in the Top 100 most influential people according to Time magazine.
9 Leonardo DiCaprio
Still looking like a baby faced assassin, Leonardo DiCaprio began his career even before he could drink legally. One of his first appearances was on the hit TV series Growing Pains at tender age of 17 years old. At 19 years old he starred in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s leading men with a string of successes such as Titanic and more recently the Wolf of Wall Street
8 Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Starting off at just 13 years old was certainly an accomplishment for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He went on to appear in 3rd Rock from the Sun at just 15 years of age which exploded him into the TV stratosphere. He has a string of rom-com movies under his belt including 10 Things I Hate About You and (500) Days of Summer.
7 Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen
These superstar twins appeared when they were hardly out of the womb at 12 months old when the Olsen’s appeared on Full House. This double act has gone on to build a media empire in their early tweens that made them the talk of the town and beyond. This featured movies and merchandise which made the Olsen’s one of the deadliest child duos in showbiz
6 Fred Savage
Star of the popular Wonder Years, Fred Savage rose to fame at just 12 years old. Savage has gone on to become a leading director in his own right and has produced some cult programmes including Sons of Tucson and Party Down. He’s famous for appearing in an epic Family Guy episode from Season 7. This sees a story on Michael Moore allegedly having a homosexual affair with Rush Limbaugh. It turns out that Rush is a simple costume that Moore seems to wear. In essence, this leads to Moore’s costume being a dud and we ultimately see Fred Savage himself as the man wearing the rubber outfit.
5 Elijah Wood
Did you know that Elijah Wood featured in Back to the Future, Part II? He also appeared in Forever Young as an 11 year old kid. However, it is his role in the Lord of the Rings that we mostly associate Wood with. This particular trilogy ensured Elijah Wood went on to secure several smaller roles with a loyal following to boot. For the last couple of years Wood has been in the dark comedy Wilfred that has been airing on the FX entertainment channel.
4 Jenny Lewis
Having appeared at just 13 years old in Troop Beverly Hills, Jenny Lewis left acting for the main part. She went on to achieve critical acclaim as a performing artist where she formed part of Rilo Kiley as well as a wealth of solo work.
3 Dakota Fanning
Having started in TV spots at just 5 years old, Dakota Fanning has made her way up the child star rankings. She has had the privilege of making several media appearances and later major blockbuster films. In fact she was nominated for her work in I Am Sam on behalf of the Screen Actors Guild Award.
2 Emma Watson
At just 11 years of age, Emma Watson’s initial claim to fame was predominantly down to her appearance in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Playing the role of Hermione Granger, she was cast at only 9 years old where she worked alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint. In addition, Miss Watson has done a bit of modelling for Burberry and last year according to Empire Magazine was selected as Sexiest Female Movie Star.
1 Christina Ricci
Actress Christina Ricci first entered our screens for the first time playing Katie in Mermaids back in 1990 and Wednesday Addams just one year later in The Addams Family. Initially she was renowned for playing numerous child roles such as Kat Harvey in Casper but went on to take on much more complex performances in The Opposite of Sex. The latter produced a Golden Globe nomination under the category of Best Actress. She did not rest on her laurels though and built on her success with impressive performances in Monster and Black Snake Moan. Her TV credits include Grey’s Anatomy where Ricci picked up an Emmy Award.