Macaulay Culkin was the biggest child star of the 1990s, becoming not only one of the highest-paid child actors of all time, but also one of the most iconic. His movie Home Alone spawned a franchise and became a classic Christmas film. Culkin featured as a smart and savvy kid who frequently bested the adults around him, making him a perfect hero for American kids in the '90s.
After just a few years of success, however, he took a nine-year hiatus from acting, returning to participate in indie films while his siblings, Rory and Kieran, continued to work in various acting gigs. Culkin's career is a quintessentially Hollywood story, filled with the sadness of a tumultuous family life, thanks to his controlling manager/father, and the desire to escape the constant pressure of being a high-profile star. His films, meanwhile, remain rich texts for examination, filled with fascinating details that reveal the inner mechanisms of Hollywood production.
- Photo: My Girl / Columbia Pictures5
Anna Chlumsky And Macaulay Culkin Won The 1992 MTV Movie Award For Best Kiss
Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin's childish kiss in My Girl earned them the MTV Movie Award for best kiss in 1992.
Chlumsky accepted the golden popcorn award on their behalf, joking, "Gee, my first kiss and I get an award."Surprising fact?
- Photo: My Girl / Columbia Pictures6
Child Psychologists Worried About How Kids Would Take Culkin's Death In 'My Girl'
My Girl, released in 1991, was set in a funeral home occupied by 11-year-old Vada Sultenfuss, (played by Anna Chlumsky), her father Harry Sultenfuss (Dan Aykroyd), and her elderly grandmother.
While the film centers around death - both in the funeral home setting and in the absence of Vada's mother, who died giving birth to her - it was the passing of her friend Thomas J., played by Macaulay Culkin, that had audiences weeping. Some child psychologists worried that this would greatly disturb young audiences, especially because Culkin had only just recently starred in Home Alone. Child psychologist Dr. Lee Salk explained:
I think it is important for parents to know in advance [about Culkin's character's death] because death is a delicate subject and children have fears and anxieties about death. It would be somewhat shocking to children who see this film.Surprising fact?
- Photo: Home Alone / 20th Century Fox7
Buzz's Girlfriend In 'Home Alone' Was Actually The Art Director's Son
The enmity between Macaulay Culkin's Kevin and his older brother Buzz is the main conflict at the beginning of Home Alone. It is the typical older/younger sibling antagonistic relationship - Kevin annoying Buzz and Buzz constantly picking on Kevin.
Once home alone, Kevin snoops around his older brother's room, finding an assortment of hidden treasures, including a picture of Buzz's girlfriend, which causes Kevin to exclaim, "Buzz! Your girlfriend. Woof!"
Rather than casting a real girl for the photo, Home Alone's design team used a photo of the art director's son, dressed up with blonde hair and hamming it up to look like a teenage girl. It is still an unkind remark, but at least a real girl's feelings were not hurt in the making.Surprising fact?
- Photo: Richie Rich / Warner Bros8
'Richie Rich' Was Filmed At The Biltmore Estate
The 1994 film Richie Rich, which told the story of the richest boy in the world, sounded like a perfect vehicle for Macaulay Culkin, but it fell flat with audiences. The movie was widely panned by critics, and Culkin was nominated for a Razzie for worst actor, which he ended up losing to Kevin Costner in Wyatt Earp.
While the movie was a flop, it did include beautiful and famous scenery, including the famous Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Built by the Vanderbilt family between 1889 and 1895, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned home in the US and has appeared in many films, including Forrest Gump, The Last of the Mohicans, Hannibal, and Richie Rich.Surprising fact?