We all love kids but are we giving them enough credit? Sure, kids cannot fully take care of themselves, but that does not mean they cannot do anything. Kids can actually become quite accomplished in many areas of life. Some children even manage to achieve more than a lot of adults do, even though some adults may not want to admit it.
This is very true in the world of show business. Hollywood, for example, is full of child celebrities that are actual stars. Some of these child stars have great careers and headline movies and television shows. They are holding their own through all of the auditions, dramatic scenes, interviews and media opportunities. The only problem is that in show business, nothing is guaranteed to last.
Kids may have great careers now, but later on that might not be the case. That is just the nature of the industry, especially when it comes to children. There are probably more failed child actors than there are actual child actors. Here are at 15 child stars whose careers did not survive for one reason or another.
15 Ralph Macchio - Fizzled Out
Not every career in Hollywood is built to last. However, at least some actors are fortunate enough to have an impact. A good example of this is Ralph Macchio. Macchio has not been in anything noteworthy in decades. Nevertheless, as a young kid, he did manage to star in one of the most popular movies ever: The Karate Kid, a beloved 1980s classic.
He got his start in another 80s classic The Outsiders. He also starred in The Karate Kid's two sequels, as well as the early 90s comedy hit, My Cousin Vinny. After that, he presumably appeared in other things, but it would be a great challenge to find anybody that has any idea what those things are (other than being in a cast of all B-list has-beens on Dancing with the Stars).
14 Macaulay Culkin - One Hit Wonder
When it comes to former child stars, one would be hard pressed to find anyone that was more famous than Macaulay Culkin. Culkin was a scene stealer in the John Candy comedy Uncle Buck. However, things did not really heat up for the child actor until he headlined the Christmas comedy Home Alone, which became a smash hit. It is regarded as one of the best Christmas classics Hollywood has ever made. To this day, it is still watched by millions every Christmas.
The huge success of the movie made Culkin an unlikely superstar. He went on to star in the movie's sequel and some less fondly remembered films. Culkin had since fallen into relative obscurity as he became a full-fledged adult, not starring in anything in years. His Hollywood career seems to be dead now. However, he has still be seen in the tabloids over the years for dating Mila Kunis and being the godfather of Paris Jackson, Michael Jackon's daughter.
13 Jonathan Lipnicki - In Cruise's Shadow
It is not an easy feat to steal a movie, especially if you are stealing it from a true movie star. Nevertheless, that seems to be the case with Jonathan Lipnicki. He has only been in one movie anybody remembers back when he was a little kid. That movie is Jerry Maguire. The movie starred Tom Cruise when he was arguably at the height of his fame. Lipnicki, of course, played the adorable little kid in the movie. Many feel his delightful performance stole the movie in many ways.
However, Lipnicki has not really been in any other movie that anyone remembers since his breakout role in Jerry Maguire. It just goes to show one scene stealing performance does not a career make when it comes to child actors, unfortunately.
12 Jake Lloyd - Didn't Make The Cut
Just because everything looks like it will lead to a big career does not mean it will actually lead to a career at all. Take, for example, the case of Jake Lloyd. At one point, it must have looked like he was destined for greatness. He got what was essentially the lead role in one of the most anticipated movies that was part of possibly the biggest movie franchise ever.
Unfortunately for him, the movie was Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace. Sure, the movie made a ton of money. But few liked it at all, causing people to wonder if George Lucas was the creative genius everyone once thought he was. One of the things people seemed to dislike the most was Lloyd's performance. Lloyd has not really been on screen since then. Guess the force wasn't with him!
11 Edward Furlong - Burnt Through His Career
Edward Furlong is yet another young actor that seemed to be destined for big things. Unlike Jake Lloyd, however, Edward Furlong was in a smash hit that people actually liked. The film was Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Unlike Lloyd, people actually liked Furlong's work in the movie. He seemed to have a lot going for him at one point in time, but it did not work out in the end.
Furlong appeared in a few more movies that have been essentially forgotten. All in all, Furlong’s career did not last for very long at all. It did not help matters that Furlong went down the classic and tragic child actor route of drug abuse. His addiction certainly did not help his career. He is still acting, but his career has basically been dead for the last couple of years.
10 Lindsay Lohan - Famous For The Wrong Reasons
One of the great tragedies of child actors is when the kids have so much potential but then they blow it all into thin air. There may be no better example of this than Lindsay Lohan. Lohan was once a beloved child star. She had a string of hits like The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Mean Girls. She won acclaim for her acting skills and was hugely popular.
Unfortunately, Lohan’s chaotic personal life caused her potentially great career to implode. Now Lohan seems to be more well-known for her tabloid antics than any acting she has done. Likewise, she has not been in a movie in years, and none of her more recent work has been praised by the critics. To make things even worse, she fell victim to the classic trap of drug abuse.
9 Haley Joel Osment - Slowly Being Forgotten
It is a sad reality that one reason child actors do not have a Hollywood career when they grow up is because cute kids do not always turn into cute adults. No one can really say for certain, but that may very well be the case for Haley Joel Osment. Once upon a time, Osment was a huge child star. He even got an Oscar nomination form the popular thriller The Sixth Sense. He was once so popular, he was even favored by many to play Harry Potter.
Unfortunately, Osment grew up and by many accounts lost much of his cuteness from childhood. That is not to say that he is a total has-been. He still acts. The problem is he has not been in anything particularly successful or even memorable in years.
8 Carrie Henn - Moved On From Show Buisness
Some child actors seem like they only ever appeared in one movie. This is literally the case with Carrie Henn. She has only been in one film, but it is quite a film. She played the now iconic role of Newt in the movie Aliens, which was the hit sequel to the classic sci-fi movie Alien.
After appearing in the film, Henn left show business because her dad transferred to an Air Force base outside of Los Angeles. She now works as a teacher. However, no one should feel too bad for Henn. She may not have ever been in another movie, but at least she did not end up a child actor cautionary tale. By all accounts she is happy, which is really all that matters in the long run. Show business isn't for everyone!
7 Mara Wilson - Where Is She Now?
Some careers of child actors do not die so much as they are just kind of abandoned. That seems to be the case for Mara Wilson, who was a promising young actress at one point. She acted in movies like A Simple Wish and Matilda as the title character. Yes, another kid actor that landed a title role. Congrats, Mara!
However, Wilson managed to fall out of love with Hollywood. She did not completely leave the spotlight, and still is connected to media somehow. She still acts in a web series and writes a blog. On her blog, she explains that the reason she left the movie business is because other actors can do what she can, only better. So at least she has a pretty good attitude about the whole thing, and is still part of the Hollywood family.
6 Charlie Korsmo - Chose Politics Instead
As mentioned, some child actors are famous only for a moment. A lot of the actors on this list were big in the 80s. However, Charlie Korsmo’s fame flourished in the 1990s. He was in such popular movies as Hook and Dick Tracy. He even had some success after puberty set in.
Later on in his life, he was in the teen comedy Can't Hardly Wait. Korsmo could have possibly had a longer career in movies, but he decided on a change. He took the route a lot of show business-types take and went into politics. However, unlike many actors, Korsmo is openly part of the Republican Party. One has to wonder how well that might have gone over if he had actually stayed in Hollywood, which is known for being a very liberal community.
5 Jeff Cohen - Decided To Fight Real Crime
Some child actors manage to star in one iconic movie and that is about it. That is certainly the case for one-time child actor Jeff Cohen. He is known for only one movie, and that movie is the classic The Goonies. Cohen played the chubby kid, Chunk, in the movie, which is actually one of the movie’s more popular characters.
However, rather than lose his looks as he got older like some child actors, Cohen actually lost a great deal of weight. He is now quite a handsome guy, although not associated with Hollywood in any way. Cohen now works as a lawyer and currently has his own law practice. So he is doing pretty well for himself outside of Hollywood. It is nice to know child actors can actually have a life outside of the limelight as well.
4 Alisan Porter - Completely Reinvented Herself
Just because a person finds fame as a kid does not mean they will not be able to find some other kind of fame later on in life. A great example of this is Alisan Porter. Once she was a famous child actor, starring in movies like Parenthood and playing the title character in Curly Sue. It's not bad for a kid to land a title role. However, for many years, Porter never appeared in any more movies. She seemed to be done with Hollywood.
However, that would not be the last the world would hear from her. Sure, her acting career was dead, but she found success as a singer. She even went on to win the hit reality show The Voice, so one could say her career in show business is not entirely dead at all. Alisan is a child star who managed to reinvent herself in adulthood and find stardom once more.
3 Jonathan Ke Quan - Not Just A Cautionary Tale
It may come as a relief to some that not every kid actor mentioned on this list is a white person. Jonathan Ke Quan was a popular young actor in the 80s. He has only actually appeared in four movies, including the Indiana Jones sequel Temple of Doom and The Goonies.
For those that are keeping count, Quan is the third actor on this list that appeared in The Goonies (it does seem like that movie is somewhat cursed). He might not act in movies anymore, but he never completely left the business. He works in Hollywood as a stunt coordinator, and has worked on quite a few movies. He is yet another former child actor that did not become an unfortunate cautionary tale, even if he was in a possibly cursed movie.
2 Corey Feldman - Couldn't Keep Up
Some child actors seem to be famous for a moment, but only a brief moment. A good example of this phenomenon is Corey Feldman. His moment of fame came in the 1980s. During that decade he appeared in some genuine classics like Gremlins and The Goonies. However, at the turn of the next decade, his career pretty much ended.
Feldman is one of those actors that still appears in things from time to time, but nothing that anyone truly remembers. This includes a couple of sequels to the hit movie The Lost Boys long after everyone stopped asking for any sequels. He has actually become a classic example of a child actor has-been. On a darker note, he has recently spoken out against the child abuse he claims is rampant in Hollywood.
1 Corey Haim - Ended Too Soon
It is pretty hard to talk about Corey Feldman without also talking about Corey Haim. They were both famous child actors at the same time and actually stared in several movies together, the most famous one being the previously mentioned The Lost Boys. The two became notable heartthrobs known as “The Two Coreys.” They were actually something of a phenomenon for a period of time.
However, unlike Feldman, Haim's life took a much darker path. He was sadly burdened by drug abuse and died a few years ago at the young age of 38. Prior to that, the only noteworthy thing he had done since the 80s was a reality show with Feldman. This was likely because of the toll drugs took on him among other things that killed his career.
Sources: Hollywood.com, AMC.com, Pajiba.com, Stars.Topix.com