You can make a pretty decent living as a child celebrity. Being just the right amount of adorable and personable pays well in Hollywood and turns you into an overnight sensation that, if you play your cards right, can lead to a career in movies and television that rivals some of the biggest names in the business.
Take actors like Kurt Russell, Ron Howard, Natalie Portman, Jodie Foster, and Leonardo DiCaprio as examples. All are still actively working in Hollywood films and have been for decades. They've found success and managed to stay popular with a widespread audience. But, for some celebs, the transition from child to adult star isn't so easy. And, it's not always their fault.
For every A-list star that grows up to be stunning and attractive, there are ten who phase out because their looks have failed them. The adorable voices and freshly squeezable faces that made them huge stars as kids left and pimples, dropping voices, weight gain, and bad habits did them in. These kids (and their agents) perhaps believed they'd stay cute forever, but it didn't turn out that way, and these once hailed celebs are no longer relevant in Hollywood on any level.
Below is a list of 15 celebrities that had it made as kids. Everyone thought they'd stay cute forever, but reality hit hard. Once the new faces of movies and television, they are now the faces of "whatever happened to" shows that so often grace our television screens. Hopefully, these actors saved and were wise with their money. The way they look now, they probably won't be getting more Hollywood work anytime soon, at least not because of how cute they are.
15 Josh Saviano
Josh Saviano was the cute geeky kid on Wonder Years, and he grew up rumored to be the secret alias of Marilyn Manson. That's not saying much if you're hoping to continue your career in Hollywood as the adorable sidekick.
When you're a kid, some of the features that make you stand out–like a distinct nose, nerdy glasses, or buck teeth–are cute and you can play them off as features that make you unique and adorable in your own oddball kind of way. Saviano played that role to perfection when he was a child celebrity. Today, Saviano has grown up and had a harder time shaking some of those features. The problem is, there aren't many roles for the goofy nerdy adult sidekick, and he's not actually Marilyn Manson.
14 Frankie Muniz
Frankie Muniz has become somewhat of a famous example of how quickly things can go away in Hollywood. The former star of Agent Cody Banks and Malcolm in the Middle, Muniz had so much going for him as that cute little center of attention on movies and shows that were quirky and fun. Then, he got into racing and music, suffered two mini-strokes, and virtually disappeared from the industry.
Recently, he's made a partial comeback as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, and he looks much better than he does in this after picture here (he must have been going through one of his music phases in that photo). Still, he's not the adorable little kid that became such a huge star some 15 years ago, and it's hard to envision what roles would be out there for him in acting these days.
13 Haley Joel Osment
You'll remember Haley Joel Osment from films like The Sixth Sense and AI. At one time, he was the "it" Hollywood child actor. Then, he sort of disappeared. And when he resurfaced, he didn't look anything like the kid actor everyone recognized.
Osment had gained a ton of weight and was taking on roles to reflect a stranger side of his personality. He had a smaller but important role in the Entourage film and ironically played a character that was anything but cute and has to use his daddy's money to hook up with chicks and was jealous of Vincent Chase for scoring the ladies because of his looks.
Osment is still a good actor, but he's going to have to take on completely different roles now that his looks have changed so dramatically.
12 Mara Wilson
Mara Wilson was the adorable little girl in Mrs. Doubtfire, and she played the title role in Matilda after starring in other commercials and films that made her famous as a child actor. She even won an award early in her career which was kind of like a young star award showcasing what kind of future she had ahead of her. Then all of a sudden, she decided to take 12 years off from acting.
In that time, her looks changed dramatically and so did her opportunities. No longer wanting to work in film because she claimed it was no fun having to do multiple takes until the director gave the okay, and it's probably good that she's sticking to writing now. She's written for online publications and plays and pretty much called it quits on the acting gigs.
11 Dustin Diamond
Dustin Diamond is one of those celebs who didn't know what to do when he was no longer in the spotlight so he clung to anything he could that would pay him a few bucks and keep his name in the mainstream media. The problem was that it was rarely for good reasons or causes, and he became known as being more of a trainwreck with a criminal history than a serious actor.
When you get your start on Saved by the Bell as the geeky-looking friend and you're forever typecast as the geeky-looking friend, there aren't many places to go from there. Diamond went in all the wrong directions, and his character, Screech, was about the best he could muster in his very odd Hollywood career.
10 Daniel Radcliffe
Arguably the most famous child actor in the last twenty years, Daniel Radcliffe had millions of adoring fans pawning over his portrayal of the immensely popular Harry Potter, and his mix of smarts and cuteness made him a household name. There wasn't a single person on the planet who didn't know who Radcliffe and Potter were
While he doesn't have to work a day in his life if he doesn't want to, lately, Radcliffe's movie role selections have been interesting. He doesn't appear to have taken advantage of the opportunity those roles have provided and seems more concerned with not being typecast in the role that made him famous. Fortunately, he looks nothing like what he did as a kid. So, cosmetically speaking, he's already shaken the idea that he looks too much like Harry Potter.
She was Bill Cosby's lovely little granddaughter, Olivia, on the Cosby show, went on to star in Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, and then got her own show called That's So Raven on Disney Channel. As a kid actor, if you get a Disney channel gig with your own show, you've got it made.
To her credit, she's done well for herself in Hollywood. She released a number of albums and got cameo gigs on a ton of television shows all throughout the last decade. She's back on the Disney Channel in a show called Raven's Home, and even though she doesn't look like she did back when she was an adorable little child actor, she does not need the cute little smile anymore for her to stay relevant.
8 Erik Per Sullivan
Everyone thought that that droopy face and those big ears that looked more like satellite dishes were cute when he was a kid. After all, he had that sort of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs look going on. He took advantage starring as the younger brother on Malcolm in the Middle for seven years. He had a number of movie roles until 2006. From that point on, those ears and goofy look weren't what casting directors were looking for.
After 2007, you won't find him listed on much and it's likely that he's not going to be appearing on your television or movie screens anytime soon. In fact, for folks that have tried to look him up, Google says that he's no longer alive. We don't believe that to be the case.
7 Danny Bonaduce
There are few actors looked up online more for their then-and-now photos than Danny Bonaduce. He's about the most famous case of being a B-rated actor who is still somehow managing to make a career out of not really doing anything. In fact, he's so different than the kid everyone knew on The Partridge Family, he's become famous for it.
After all sorts of legal trouble and drug-related issues, his more recent credits include radio show hosting in Seattle, Washington. The crazy thing is, if you take a close look at the photos, he doesn't really look all that different. He's just a grownup version of the ginger kid everyone knew and loved. It's just now, not nearly as many people love him.
6 Macaulay Culkin
No, really. Where is the adorable little kid named Kevin we all knew from some of our favorite holiday classic films? That's a question that has all new meaning if you see what Macaulay Culkin looks like now. The child actor who made one-liners so famous was "the megastar" in Hollywood for a long time. Starring in Home Alone and the sequels that came from it, kids everywhere made did the impression of Culkin putting on aftershave and screaming.
Here's the crazy thing. Culkin looks like he does now and actually hooked up with hottie Mila Kunis who he dated for years! They split in 2011, and she went about as far the other way when she got together with Ashton Kutcher. Talk about a difference in the physical presentation.
5 Kieran Culkin
Like his brother Macaulay Culkin, Kieran wasn't blessed with the good looks as he got older. An extremely cute kid, he had roles in a number of films, some alongside his brother. But, as the Culkins seem to do, they don't stay terribly cute for long.
He's still working in Hollywood, and he's made enough money to be fine on what he did as a kid. But, he's taking on different roles now. If things really get bad, I'm sure he can always call on his brother who, despite not being relevant for some time, is still rolling in the money. Look for Kieran in a television movie called Succession somewhere in 2017.
His role as the son in Father of the Bride is still one of the best kids roles in film to date.
4 Edward Furlong
Here's an actor who caught the break of a lifetime by landing a role in Terminator 2 alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he turned it into a career that very few people still even know exists. Part of it could be because he wasn't the greatest actor to ever walk the planet, but part of it was also because he didn't stay the seemingly troubled but attractive teenage character he played in the film. He was troubled, though.
He shacked up with the tutor from the Terminator film (13 years older than him), and she later sued him for being violent. Then, he lost custody of his son after his marriage fell apart.
He's still actually working in films and television. Starring most in straight-to-DVD junk, he's been on projects nonstop since 1991. It's not likely that he's working enough to make himself rich, but he's working despite sometimes looking like he's barely hanging on by a thread.
3 Steven Anthony Lawrence
There are a few times in life where being a chubby little sarcastic brat is worth your weight in gold. Steven Anthony Lawrence figured out that there was a market for that type of character in films and made a bundle of money from it. Only in Hollywood, right? From 1999 to sometime during 2003, he made appearances in a string of television shows and movies playing pretty much the same character in all of them.
Today, the chubby cheeks have gone, but the huge smile and receding hairline have taken their place. He actually makes an appearance alongside another actor on our list (Edward Furlong) in the film Reunion. There is work for these guys after the glory days are gone, but it isn't very glamorous work.
2 Lark Voorhies
There must be something in the water for the cast of Saved by the Bell. Most of the cast has either gone on to Hollywood reputations or trouble and failed comebacks, or they're playing small parts on cooking shows and failed television series. There is an argument that Screech (Dustin Diamond) has competition for the worst aged member of the show.
Lisa (Lark Voorhies) hasn't really worked since 2012. And if this picture is any indication of what she looks like today, something went seriously wrong. She was documented as potentially having a bipolar disorder and has written three self-published books. She doesn't look anything close to what she did when she was an important part of the Saved by the Bell cast. It's too bad; she's really a looker.
1 Clint Howard
Thank goodness for having a brother like Ron Howard. Clint first appeared in five episodes of The Andy Griffith Show and went on to star in some other television shows, but it quickly became a reality that those childish good looks were fading and he wasn't going to be the child star he was originally cast as. In fact, his appearance changed so much, he began having to take roles for his oddities.
He's been a major part of the sci-fi genre and an actor in some of the strangest horror films, in episodes of Star Trek, and has built quite the reputation for playing The World of Warcraft. I know, sounds like a regular hunk, right? Like we said, good thing he's the brother of serious director Ron Howard. He often shows up in one of Ron's films.
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