child actors The Greatest Former Child Stars  

carlybobarly
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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
5,523 1,151
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
4,584 1,165
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
3,984 1,325
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
3,942 998
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
3,477 1,412
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
3,749 1,097
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
3,620 1,134
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
4,549 2,936
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
2,779 1,150
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
4,243 1,531
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
3,465 1,133
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
2,646 1,074
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)

Child Actors Who Tragically Died Young

13
4,241 1,335
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
2,410 1,245
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
2,478 1,200
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
2,408 991
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
2,735 1,939
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)

Beautiful Young Actresses Under 30

18
1,928 478
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
1,741 1,277
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
2,107 1,316
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
1,571 917
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
2,309 1,143
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)

22 Child Actors Who Were Nominated for Oscars

23
1,710 897
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
1,522 923
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
1,670 1,012
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
2,125 1,162
Scarlett Johansson is listed (or ranked) 26 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)

27
1,703 1,043
Fred Savage is listed (or ranked) 27 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)

Famous People Who Have Been Reported Missing

28
1,875 1,109
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
2,245 1,263
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
1,863 1,095
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
2,002 1,170
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
1,402 1,151
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)

Kids of Horror Movies: Where Are They Now?

33
1,490 968
Milla Jovovich is listed (or ranked) 33 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)

34
1,438 965
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
1,448 1,033
Jeff Bridges is listed (or ranked) 35 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)

36
1,456 1,057
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
1,241 1,011
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)

Family Events That Fill You with Dread

38
1,224 842
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
1,374 961
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
1,625 910
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
1,398 845
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
1,466 1,202
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)

Child Stars Who Grew Up to Look Like Muppets

43
1,732 1,183
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
976 870
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
948 731
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
1,043 911
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
904 776
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
787 617
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
868 258
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
972 749
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)