Entertainment
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The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting

Updated May 2, 2020 344.1k votes 19.1k voters 548.5k 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
    6,019
    1,434

    Drew Barrymore

    1975-02-22

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

  • 2
    5,447
    1,308

    "Growing Pains" (1991-92)

  • 3
    4,529
    1,268

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

  • 4
    4,206
    1,320

    Christina Ricci

    1980-02-12

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

  • 5
    4,384
    1,368

    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)

  • 6
    3,394
    729

    Emma Watson

    1990-04-15

    Harry Potter series (2001-11)

  • 7
    4,002
    1,356

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

  • 8
    4,272
    1,662

    Jodie Foster

    1962-11-19

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

  • 9
    3,569
    1,357

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

  • 10
    2,884
    1,268

    Kurt Russell

    1951-03-17

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

  • 11
    3,205
    1,448

    Kirsten Dunst

    1982-04-30

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

  • 12
    3,594
    1,729

    Ron Howard

    1954-03-01

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

  • 13
    2,713
    1,181

    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)

  • 14
    2,868
    1,330

    Winona Ryder

    1971-10-29

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

  • 15
    4,581
    2,391

    Natalie Portman

    1981-06-09

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

  • 16
    2,405
    1,161

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

  • 17
    2,491
    1,193

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

  • 18
    1,545
    501
  • 19
    2,499
    1,173

    Mila Kunis

    1983-08-14

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

  • 20
    2,035
    1,080

    Sean Astin

    1971-02-25

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

  • 21
    2,500
    1,505

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

  • 22
    2,030
    1,174

    Brooke Shields

    1965-05-31

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

  • 23
    1,983
    1,139

    Jason Bateman

    1969-01-14

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

  • 24
    1,935
    1,165

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

  • 25
    1,781
    967

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