Child Actors The Greatest Former Child Stars  

carlybobarly
Originally by
363.4k votes 16.5k voters 508.4k views 223 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
6,397 1,361
Drew Barrymore is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1975-02-22

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

2
5,413 1,354
Leonardo DiCaprio is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1974-11-11

"Growing Pains" (1991-92)

3
4,590 1,591
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1962-11-19

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

4
4,665 1,169
Reese Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1976-03-22

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

5
3,963 1,718
Ron Howard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1954-03-01

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

6
4,386 1,285
Christina Ricci is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1980-02-12

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

7
3,299 1,377
Kirsten Dunst is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1982-04-30

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

8
4,240 1,337
Neil Patrick Harris is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1973-06-15

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

9
5,177 3,125
Natalie Portman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1981-06-09

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

10
3,966 1,330
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1981-02-17

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

11
3,055 1,281
Kurt Russell is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1951-03-17

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

12
4,596 1,816
Jessica Biel is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1982-03-03

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

13
4,887 1,455
Dakota Fanning is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 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
2,582 582
Emma Watson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
RandallIkeKing added 1990-04-15

Harry Potter series (2001-11)

15
2,935 1,393
Winona Ryder is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1971-10-29

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

16
2,753 1,486
Christina Applegate is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1971-11-25

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

17
2,831 1,171
Elijah Wood is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 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)

18
3,125 2,149
Alyssa Milano is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1972-12-19

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

19
2,409 1,532
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1938-07-20

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

20
2,001 1,529
Jennifer Connelly is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1970-12-12

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

21
1,886 1,119
Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
MikeHumphrey added 1974-01-30

Empire of the Sun (1987)
Newsies (1992)

22
2,642 1,301
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1932-02-27

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

23
2,027 1,077
Sean Astin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1971-02-25

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

24
1,882 1,121
Hilary Duff is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
moosiclvr added 1987-09-28

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

25
2,682 1,373
Mila Kunis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1983-08-14

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

26
2,498 1,308
Scarlett Johansson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1984-11-22

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

27
1,978 1,222
Fred Savage is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1976-07-09

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

28
2,184 1,255
Jason Bateman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1969-01-14

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

29
1,955 1,194
Sarah Michelle Gellar is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1977-04-14

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

30
2,280 1,324
Brooke Shields is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1965-05-31

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

31
2,137 1,257
Jennifer Love Hewitt is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1979-02-21

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

32
1,648 1,198
Jeff Bridges is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1949-12-04

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

33
1,650 1,152
Joaquin Phoenix is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1974-10-28

Russkies (1987)
Parenthood (1989)

34
1,613 1,361
Tiffani Thiessen is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1974-01-23

Saved By The Bell (1989-1993)

35
1,686 1,178
Milla Jovovich is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1975-12-17

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

36
1,677 1,225
Claire Danes is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1979-04-12

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

37
1,440 1,196
Michelle Trachtenberg is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1985-10-11

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

38
1,735 1,421
Macaulay Culkin is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1980-08-26

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

39
1,417 1,016
Seth Green is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1974-02-08

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

40
1,588 1,116
Anna Paquin is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1982-07-24

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

41
1,913 1,030
Hayden Panettiere is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1989-08-21

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

42
1,616 992
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added

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

43
1,982 1,309
Jessica Alba is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1981-04-28

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

44
1,144 1,047
Juliette Lewis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1973-06-21

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

45
1,231 1,074
Josh Brolin is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1968-02-12

The Goonies (1985)

46
1,117 883
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1965-01-22

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

47
1,114 900
Michelle Williams is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1980-09-09

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

48
961 756
Christian Slater is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
1969-08-18

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

49
1,202 337
Daniel Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
1989-07-23

Harry Potter series (2001-11)

50
1,208 905
Shia LaBeouf is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Former Child Stars
carlybobarly added 1986-06-11

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