child actors The Greatest Former Child Stars  

carlybobarly
Originally by
300.6k votes 14.5k voters 478.6k views 220 items

List Rules 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.
list ordered by

1
5,424 1,134
Drew Barrymore is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Drew Barrymore 1975-02-22

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

2
4,496 1,147
Leonardo DiCaprio is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Leonardo DiCaprio 1974-11-11

"Growing Pains" (1991-92)

3
3,919 1,293
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Jodie Foster 1962-11-19

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

4
3,863 985
Reese Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Reese Witherspoon 1976-03-22

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

5
3,425 1,373
Ron Howard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Ron Howard 1954-03-01

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

6
3,680 1,080
Christina Ricci is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Christina Ricci 1980-02-12

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

7
3,555 1,111
Neil Patrick Harris is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Neil Patrick Harris 1973-06-15

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

8
4,481 2,909
Natalie Portman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Natalie Portman 1981-06-09

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

9
2,734 1,124
Kirsten Dunst is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Kirsten Dunst 1982-04-30

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

10
4,211 1,496
Jessica Biel is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Jessica Biel 1982-03-03

"7th Heaven" (1996-2006)
I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998)

11
3,411 1,112
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Joseph Gordon-Levitt 1981-02-17

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

12
2,599 1,051
Kurt Russell is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Kurt Russell 1951-03-17

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

Dead Actors and Actresses of 2014

13
4,175 1,321
Dakota Fanning is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Dakota Fanning 1994-02-23

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

14
2,368 1,220
Christina Applegate is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Christina Applegate 1971-11-25

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

15
2,420 1,187
Winona Ryder is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Winona Ryder 1971-10-29

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

16
2,356 977
Elijah Wood is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Elijah Wood 1981-01-28

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

17
2,698 1,914
Alyssa Milano is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Alyssa Milano 1972-12-19

"Who's the Boss?" (1984-1992)

15 Sexiest Monsters in Horror Movie History

18
1,863 469
Emma Watson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
RandallIkeKing added Emma Watson 1990-04-15

Harry Potter series (2001-11)

19
1,711 1,254
Jennifer Connelly is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Jennifer Connelly 1970-12-12

Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Labyrinth (1986)

20
2,073 1,297
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Natalie Wood 1938-07-20

Tomorrow Is Forever (1946)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

21
1,536 895
Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
MikeHumphrey added Christian Bale 1974-01-30

Empire of the Sun (1987)
Newsies (1992)

22
2,272 1,129
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Elizabeth Taylor 1932-02-27

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

The Greatest Kid Characters in Film

23
1,667 884
Sean Astin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Sean Astin 1971-02-25

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

24
1,491 901
Hilary Duff is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
moosiclvr added Hilary Duff 1987-09-28

"Lizzie McGuire" (2001-04)
Agent Cody Banks (2003)
A Cinderella Story (2004)
Material Girls (2006)

25
1,638 995
Sarah Michelle Gellar is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Sarah Michelle Gellar 1977-04-14

"All My Children" (1993-1995)
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997-2003)

26
1,671 1,027
Fred Savage is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Fred Savage 1976-07-09

The Princess Bride (1987)
"The Wonder Years" (1988-1993)
Little Monsters (1989)

27
2,084 1,151
Scarlett Johansson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Scarlett Johansson 1984-11-22

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

The Most Beautiful Women of All Time

28
1,838 1,098
Jason Bateman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Jason Bateman 1969-01-14

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

29
2,193 1,259
Mila Kunis is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Mila Kunis 1983-08-14

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

30
1,832 1,081
Jennifer Love Hewitt is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Jennifer Love Hewitt 1979-02-21

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

31
1,978 1,150
Brooke Shields is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Brooke Shields 1965-05-31

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

32
1,378 1,135
Tiffani Thiessen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Tiffani Thiessen 1974-01-23

Saved By The Bell (1989-1993)

Jhené Aiko Loves and Hookups

33
1,430 1,014
Jeff Bridges is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Jeff Bridges 1949-12-04

"Sea Hunt" (1958-60)
"The Lloyd Bridges Show" (1962-63)
The Loner (1965)

34
1,412 949
Joaquin Phoenix is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Joaquin Phoenix 1974-10-28

Russkies (1987)
Parenthood (1989)

35
1,461 954
Milla Jovovich is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Milla Jovovich 1975-12-17

Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)
Chaplin (1992)
Dazed and Confused (1993)

36
1,435 1,042
Claire Danes is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Claire Danes 1979-04-12

"My So-Called Life" (1994-95)
Little Women (1994)
Romeo + Juliet (1996)

37
1,217 997
Michelle Trachtenberg is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Michelle Trachtenberg 1985-10-11

"The Adventures of Pete & Pete" (1994-96)
Harriet the Spy (1996)
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (2000-2003)

Celebrities Who Have Aged the Worst

38
1,201 831
Seth Green is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Seth Green 1974-02-08

Can't Buy Me Love (1988)
My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988)
It (1990)

39
1,351 949
Anna Paquin is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Anna Paquin 1982-07-24

The Piano (1993)
Fly Away Home (1996)
Amistad (1997)
She's All That (1999)

40
1,594 903
Hayden Panettiere is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Hayden Panettiere 1989-08-21

"One Life to Live" (1994-97)
Guiding Light (1997-2000)
Remember the Titans (2000)
"Ally McBeal" (2001-02)
"Heroes" (2006-2010)

41
1,376 833
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Helen Hunt

"Amy Prentiss" (1974-75)
"The Swiss Family Robinson" (1975-76)

42
1,443 1,183
Macaulay Culkin is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Macaulay Culkin 1980-08-26

Uncle Buck (1989)
Home Alone (1990)
My Girl (1991)
The Good Son (1993)

The Best Singers of All Time

43
1,712 1,167
Jessica Alba is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Jessica Alba 1981-04-28

Camp Nowhere (1991)
"Flipper" (1995-96)

44
953 860
Juliette Lewis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Juliette Lewis 1973-06-21

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Cape Fear (1991)

45
931 716
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Diane Lane 1965-01-22

A Little Romance (1979)
The Outsiders (1983)
Rumble Fish (1983)

46
1,024 896
Josh Brolin is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Josh Brolin 1968-02-12

The Goonies (1985)

47
885 763
Michelle Williams is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Michelle Williams 1980-09-09

Lassie (1994)
Species (1995)
Killing Mr. Griffin (1997)
"Dawson's Creek (1998-2003)

48
774 603
Christian Slater is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
Christian Slater 1969-08-18

The Legend of Billie Jean (1985)
"Ryan's Hope" (1985)

49
837 251
Daniel Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
Daniel Radcliffe 1989-07-23

Harry Potter series (2001-11)

50
953 737
Shia LaBeouf is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added Shia LaBeouf 1986-06-11

"Even Stevens" (1999-2003)
The Battle of Shaker Heights (2003)