The Greatest Former Child Stars

Originally By 153k votes 8k voters 376k views 241 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Actors who became stars before they were 18 and remain successful and famous as adults

List of Hollywood kids: actors who grew up on the big screen and child stars you recognize working today. While there are many child stars, it takes someone special to make it from kid to adult in the entertainment industry. There are lots of pitfalls a former child star can succumb to, like drug use, gambling, and other addictions. It's also hard to overcome the fact that, in many cases, you simply cannot just 'get by' on your cute kid looks.

Who are the most successful former child stars? Some young actors actually do make the crossover into adulthood. These former child stars are some of the few that have made it over the hurdle of adolescence and into adulthood in tact - people like Jason Bateman, Natalie Portman, Neil Patrick Harris and even Ron Howard. They not only made it out of the former child star pit unscathed, but have florished as adult working actors, writers and directors.
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  1. 1
    + 2,885
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    the people's #1 & added by carlybobarly
    b. 1975 - E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

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  2. 2
    + 2,144
    - 618
    Leonardo DiCaprio is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Leonardo DiCaprio b. 1974 - "Growing Pains" (1991-92)

  3. 3
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    - 537
    Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Jodie Foster b. 1962 - Tom Sawyer (1973), Freaky Friday (1976), Taxi Driver (1976)

  4. 4
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    - 591

    added by carlybobarly
    b. 1954 - "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-68), The Music Man (1962)

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  5. 5
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    - 514
    Reese Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Reese Witherspoon b. 1976 - The Man in the Moon (1991), A Far Off Place (1993), Jack the Bear (1993), Return to Lonesome Dove (1993)

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  6. 6
    + 1,978
    - 548
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt b. 1981 - A River Runs Through It (1992), Angels in the Outfield (1994), "3rd Rock from the Sun" (1996-2001)

  7. 7
    + 2,751
    - 2,093
    Natalie Portman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    often listed & added by carlybobarly
    Natalie Portman b. 1981 - The Professional (1994), Heat (1995), Beautiful Girls (1996),

  8. 8
    + 1,772
    - 559
    Neil Patrick Harris is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Neil Patrick Harris b. 1973 - "Doogie Howser, M.D." (1989-1993)

  9. 9
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    - 535
    Christina Ricci is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Christina Ricci b. 1980 - Mermaids (1990), The Addams Family (1991), Addams Family Values (1993), Casper (1995), Now and Then (1995)

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  10. 10
    + 1,175
    - 284

    added by krazykids1011

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  11. 11
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    - 702
    Dakota Fanning is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Dakota Fanning b. 1994 - I Am Sam (2001), Uptown Girls (2003), Man on Fire (2004), War of the Worlds (2005), Charlotte's Web (2006), The Runaways (2010)

    ;
  12. 12
    + 1,185
    - 470
    Elijah Wood is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Elijah Wood b. 1981 - Radio Flyer (1992), Forever Young (1992), Forever Young (1992), The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993), The Good Son (1993), North (1994), The War (1994), Flipper (1996)

    ;
  13. 13
    + 1,296
    - 568
    Kirsten Dunst is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Kirsten Dunst b. 1982 - Little Women (1994), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Jumanji (1995) The Virgin Suicides (1999)

  14. 14
    + 1,484
    - 509
    Kurt Russell is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Kurt Russell b. 1951 - "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit" (1968), "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" (1969)

  15. 15
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    - 564
    Jessica Biel is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    ranked low on reranks & added by carlybobarly
    Jessica Biel b. 1982 - "7th Heaven" (1996-2006), I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998)

  16. 16
    + 1,670
    - 1,084

    added by carlybobarly
    b. 1972 - "Who's the Boss?" (1984-1992)

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  17. 17
    + 1,159
    - 697
    Winona Ryder is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Winona Ryder b. 1971 - Lucas (1986), Beetlejuice (1988), Heathers (1989)

  18. 18
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    - 730

    added by carlybobarly
    b. 1938 - Tomorrow Is Forever (1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

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  19. 19
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    - 336

    added by MikeHumphrey
    b. 1974 - Empire of the Sun (1987), Newsies (1992)

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  20. 20
    + 1,348
    - 556
    Christina Applegate is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    ranked low on reranks & added by carlybobarly
    Christina Applegate b. 1971 - "Married... with Children" (1987-97)

  21. 21
    + 1,087
    - 621
    Jennifer Love Hewitt is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Jennifer Love Hewitt b. 1979 - "Kids Incorporated" (1989-91), Sister Act 2 (1993), "Party of Five" (1995-99), House Arrest (1996)

  22. 22
    + 1,386
    - 709
    Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Elizabeth Taylor b. 1922 - Lassie Come Home (1943), The White Cliffs of Dover (1943), National Velvet (1944), Little Women (1949)

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  23. 23
    + 1,228
    - 709
    Brooke Shields is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Brooke Shields b. 1965 - Pretty Baby (1978), The Blue Lagoon (1980), Endless Love (1981)

  24. 24
    + 1,091
    - 634
    Scarlett Johansson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Scarlett Johansson b. 1984 - North (1994), Just Cause (1995), Manny & Lo (1996), Ghost World (2001)

  25. 25
    + 906
    - 490
    Sarah Michelle Gellar is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Sarah Michelle Gellar b. 1977 - "All My Children" (1993-1995), "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997-2003)

  26. 26
    + 1,059
    - 715
    Jason Bateman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Jason Bateman b. 1969 - "Little House on the Prairie" (1981-82), "Silver Spoons" (1982-84)

  27. 27
    + 1,156
    - 847
    Mila Kunis is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Mila Kunis b. 1983 - "That '70s Show" (1998)

  28. 28
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    Joaquin Phoenix is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Joaquin Phoenix b. 1974 - Russkies (1987), Parenthood (1989)

  29. 29
    + 875
    - 568
    Jeff Bridges is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Jeff Bridges b. 1949 - "Sea Hunt" (1958-60), "The Lloyd Bridges Show" (1962-63), The Loner (1965)

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  30. 30
    + 794
    - 481
    Sean Astin is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Sean Astin b. 1971 - The Goonies (1985), Like Father Like Son (1987)

  31. 31
    + 904
    - 537

    added by carlybobarly
    b. 1976 - The Princess Bride (1987), "The Wonder Years" (1988-1993), Little Monsters (1989)

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  32. 32
    + 1,072
    - 653
    Jessica Alba is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Jessica Alba b. 1981 - Camp Nowhere (1991), "Flipper" (1995-96)

  33. 33
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    - 596
    Jennifer Connelly is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Jennifer Connelly b. 1970 - Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Labyrinth (1986)

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  34. 34
    + 845
    - 644
    Claire Danes is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Claire Danes b. 1979 - "My So-Called Life" (1994-95), Little Women (1994), Romeo + Juliet (1996)

  35. 35
    + 889
    - 479
    Hayden Panettiere is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Hayden Panettiere b. 1989 - "One LIfe to Live" (1994-97), Guiding Light (1997-2000), Remember the Titans (2000), "Ally McBeal" (2001-02), "Heroes" (2006-2010)

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  36. 36
    + 799
    - 588
    Tiffani Thiessen is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Tiffani Thiessen b. 1974 - Saved By The Bell (1989-1993)

  37. 37
    + 676
    - 517
    Michelle Trachtenberg is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    often listed & added by carlybobarly
    Michelle Trachtenberg b. 1985 - "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" (1994-96), Harriet the Spy (1996), "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (2000-2003)

    ;
  38. 38
    + 188
    - 47
    Emma Watson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by RandallIkeKing
    Emma Watson

  39. 39
    + 638
    - 291
    Hilary Duff is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    ranked low on reranks & added by moosiclvr
    Hilary Duff

  40. 40
    + 776
    - 562
    Anna Paquin is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    often listed & added by carlybobarly
    Anna Paquin b. 1982 - The Piano (1993), Fly Away Home (1996), Amistad (!997), She's All That (1999)

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  41. 41
    + 871
    - 456
    Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    ranked low on reranks & added by carlybobarly
    Helen Hunt b. 1963 - "Amy Prentiss" (1974-75), "The Swiss Family Robinson" (1975-76)

  42. 42
    + 750
    - 681

    often listed & added by carlybobarly
    b. 1980 - Uncle Buck (1989), Home Alone (1990), My Girl (1991), The Good Son (1993)

    ;
  43. 43
    + 641
    - 480
    Alyson Hannigan is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Alyson Hannigan b. 1974 - "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997-2003), American Pie (1999)

    ;
  44. 44
    + 830
    - 470
    Milla Jovovich is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Milla Jovovich b. 1975 - Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), Chaplin (1992), Dazed and Confused (1993)

  45. 45
    + 683
    - 443

    added by carlybobarly
    b. 1974 - Can't Buy Me Love (1988), My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988), It (1990)

    ;
  46. 46
    + 533
    - 385
    Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars


    Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

  47. 47
    + 538
    - 441
    Juliette Lewis is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    added by carlybobarly
    Juliette Lewis b. 1973 - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), Cape Fear (1991)

  48. 48
    + 567
    - 510
    Josh Brolin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    often listed & added by carlybobarly
    Josh Brolin b. 1968 - The Goonies (1985)

  49. 49
    + 777
    - 444
    Melissa Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars

    ranked low on reranks
    Melissa Gilbert

  50. 50
    + 445
    - 367

    often listed & added by carlybobarly
    b.1986 - "Even Stevens" (1999-2003), "The Battle of Shaker Heights" (2003)

    ;
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