Total Nerd The Oldest Actors Cast As High Schoolers, Ranked By How Much They Aren't Fooling Anyone  

Zack Howe
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List Rules Vote up the actors who asked us to suspend our disbelief just too far.

It's difficult to find young talent mature enough to act onscreen, so it makes sense that most Hollywood depictions of high schoolers are pretty suspect at times. There's nothing new about high school roles played by older actors - it's a necessary evil, and sometimes the youngest looking actors pull it off.

Then there's the issue of aging. Obviously the best option is to cast multiple actos to play the same character at different ages, but in the world of high school drama, ideally an actor can both perform AND stay looking forever 16. That puts showrunners in a pickle.

Here's a list of old actors who played high schoolers - whether they were pulling it off or not. Fortunately, while some of these are of course questionable, none of them are nearly as creepy as an adult pretending to be a teen in real life. 

1 7,210 VOTES

Stockard Channing


Stockard Channing is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Oldest Actors Cast As High Schoolers, Ranked By How Much They Aren't Fooling Anyone
Photo:  Paramount Pictures/Amazon

Role: Rizzo in Grease
Character Age: 17
Real Age: 33

Yes, in perhaps the most extreme case, Stockard Channing played a character half her actual age. If you really take the time to look at her, you can see it, but given the era the film takes place in she actually gets away with it, portraying the world-weary and street-wise Rizzo. John Travolta is distracting enough to help, too.

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2 6,185 VOTES

Henry Winkler


Henry Winkler is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Oldest Actors Cast As High Schoolers, Ranked By How Much They Aren't Fooling Anyone
Photo:  ABC

Role: Fonzie in Happy Days
Character Age: 18ish
Real Age: 28

Henry Winkler was 28 when he was cast as Arthur Fonzarelli, meaning he was 35 when the show finally came to an end, and he was still playing the young rebel. Did he fool anyone? Not really. But he was the Fonz, a character oozing cool, so did anyone even care?

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3 5,523 VOTES

Gabrielle Carteris


Gabrielle Carteris is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Oldest Actors Cast As High Schoolers, Ranked By How Much They Aren't Fooling Anyone
Photo:  FOX

Role: Andrea Zuckerman in Beverly Hills, 90210
Character Age: 16
Real Age: 29

The cast of 90210 are perennial youths and the same is true for Gabrielle Carteris. Even though she was 13-years-older than her character, the audience was none-the-wiser. Though, she pulled off the character's age, her unfortunate wardrobe gave her a bit of a reputation as the "mom" of the 90210 teen crowd.

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Michael J. Fox


Michael J. Fox is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Oldest Actors Cast As High Schoolers, Ranked By How Much They Aren't Fooling Anyone
Photo:  Universal Pictures/Amazon

Role: Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part III
Character Age: 17
Real Age: 29

Though Michael J. Fox is famously baby-faced, he couldn't keep up the 17-year-old charade forever. Sure, he was believable as a high schooler in the first Back to the Future, but by the time he started traveling back to the Wild West at the same age, he sure wasn't getting rejected at the saloon.

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