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The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting

Updated May 2, 2020 357.2k votes 18.9k voters 545.1k views191 items

List RulesActors 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
    Drew Barrymore is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    6,167
    1,485

    Drew Barrymore

    1975-02-22

    Age45

    BirthplaceCulver City, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

  • 2
    Leonardo DiCaprio is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    5,571
    1,369

    Age45

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, USA, California

    "Growing Pains" (1991-92)

  • 3
    Reese Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    4,611
    1,322

    Age44

    BirthplaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    The Man in the Moon (1991)
    A Far Off Place (1993)
    Jack the Bear (1993)
    Return to Lonesome Dove (1993)

  • 4
    Christina Ricci is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    4,302
    1,357

    Christina Ricci

    1980-02-12

    Age40

    BirthplaceSanta Monica, California, United States of America

    Mermaids (1990)
    The Addams Family (1991)
    Addams Family Values (1993)
    Casper (1995)
    Now and Then (1995)

  • 5
    Dakota Fanning is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    4,479
    1,421

    Dakota Fanning

    1994-02-23

    Age26

    BirthplaceConyers, Georgia, United States of America

    I Am Sam (2001)
    Uptown Girls (2003)
    Man on Fire (2004)
    War of the Worlds (2005)
    Charlotte's Web (2006)
    The Runaways (2010)

  • 6
    Emma Watson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    3,491
    755

    Emma Watson

    1990-04-15

    Age30

    BirthplaceParis, France

    Harry Potter series (2001-11)

  • 7
    Neil Patrick Harris is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    4,083
    1,403

    Age47

    BirthplaceAlbuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America

    "Doogie Howser, M.D." (1989-1993)

  • 8
    Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    4,371
    1,723

    Jodie Foster

    1962-11-19

    Age57

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    Tom Sawyer (1973)
    Freaky Friday (1976)
    Taxi Driver (1976)

  • 9
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    3,650
    1,407

    Age39

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    A River Runs Through It (1992)
    Angels in the Outfield (1994)
    "3rd Rock from the Sun" (1996-2001)

  • 10
    Kurt Russell is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    2,936
    1,304

    Kurt Russell

    1951-03-17

    Age69

    BirthplaceSpringfield, Massachusetts

    The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit (1968)
    The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969)

  • 11
    Kirsten Dunst is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    3,267
    1,500

    Kirsten Dunst

    1982-04-30

    Age33

    BirthplacePoint Pleasant, New Jersey, United States of America

    Little Women (1994)
    Interview with the Vampire (1994)
    Jumanji (1995)
    The Virgin Suicides (1999)

  • 12
    Ron Howard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    3,691
    1,789

    Ron Howard

    1954-03-01

    Age66

    BirthplaceDuncan, Oklahoma, United States of America

    "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-68)
    The Music Man (1962)

  • 13
    Elijah Wood is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    2,781
    1,217

    Elijah Wood

    1981-01-28

    Age39

    BirthplaceCedar Rapids, Iowa, United States of America

    Radio Flyer (1992)
    Forever Young (1992)
    The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993)
    The Good Son (1993)
    North (1994)
    The War (1994)
    Flipper (1996)

  • 14
    Winona Ryder is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    2,943
    1,360

    Winona Ryder

    1971-10-29

    Age48

    BirthplaceUSA, Minnesota

    Lucas (1986)
    Beetlejuice (1988)
    Heathers (1989)

  • 15
    Natalie Portman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    4,700
    2,496

    Natalie Portman

    1981-06-09

    Age39

    BirthplaceJerusalem, Mandatory Palestine

    The Professional (1994)
    Heat (1995)
    Beautiful Girls (1996)

  • 16
    Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    2,460
    1,182

    AgeDied at 79 (1932-2011)

    BirthplaceUnited Kingdom

    Lassie Come Home (1943)
    The White Cliffs of Dover (1943)
    National Velvet (1944)
    Little Women (1949)

  • 17
    Scarlett Johansson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    2,545
    1,239

    Age35

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    North (1994)
    Just Cause (1995)
    Manny & Lo (1996)
    Ghost World (2001)

  • 18
    Mila Kunis is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    2,547
    1,217

    Mila Kunis

    1983-08-14

    Age32

    BirthplaceChernivtsi, Ukraine

    "That '70s Show" (1998-2006)

  • 19
    Daniel Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    1,566
    514

    Age31

    BirthplaceFulham, London, England

  • 20
    Sean Astin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    2,068
    1,110

    Sean Astin

    1971-02-25

    Age49

    BirthplaceSanta Monica, California, United States of America

    The Goonies (1985)
    Like Father Like Son (1987)

  • 21
    Brooke Shields is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    2,067
    1,200

    Brooke Shields

    1965-05-31

    Age55

    BirthplaceManhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

    Pretty Baby (1978)
    The Blue Lagoon (1980)
    Endless Love (1981)

  • 22
    Jason Bateman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    2,023
    1,168

    Jason Bateman

    1969-01-14

    Age51

    BirthplaceRye, New York, United States of America

    "Little House on the Prairie" (1981-82)
    "Silver Spoons" (1982-84)

  • 23
    Jennifer Love Hewitt is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    1,983
    1,190

    Age41

    BirthplaceWaco, Texas, United States of America

    "Kids Incorporated" (1989-91)
    Sister Act 2 (1993)
    "Party of Five" (1995-99)
    House Arrest (1996)

  • 24
    Christina Applegate is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    2,559
    1,556

    Age48

    BirthplaceHollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

    "Married... with Children" (1987-97)

  • 25
    Hayden Panettiere is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting
    1,813
    1,000

    Age26

    BirthplacePalisades, New York, United States of America

    "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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