Some child stars craft long careers that extend into adulthood. Others shine brightest in their youth. Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at some of the iconic child stars we'll never forget, starting with Jonathan Lipnicki, who celebrates his 30th birthday on Oct. 22, 2020… 1996 was a busy year for young Jonathan. In addition to making his movie debut as spiky-haired scene stealer Ray Boyd opposite Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger in "Jerry Maguire," he also landed a recurring role as Justin Foxworthy on "The Jeff Foxworthy Show." Jonathan went on to star as George Little in the 1999 family comedy "Stuart Little" and its 2002 sequel. In recent years, the mixed martial arts enthusiast has been acting more and more, appearing in films like "Loserville," "Pitching Tents," "Limelight," "Andover," "A Second Chance" and "Broil." He's also popped up on TV shows like "Drop the Mic," "Celebs Go Dating" and "Worst Cooks in America" in recent years. Keep reading for more iconic child stars…
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While we know and love him as Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother," a role he played from 2005 to 2014, but Neil Patrick Harris made his Hollywood debut long before then. From 1989 to 1993, NPH starred as the titular child doctor on "Doogie Howser, M.D," a role he landed at 16. He's since appeared in many projects like "A Series of Unfortunate Events," "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," the "Harold & Kumar" film series, "Beastly," "A Million Ways to Die in the West" and "Gone Girl." 2014 marked the year in which he played the titular role in the Broadway musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," which earned him a Tony Award for best leading actor in a musical. He's also won four Emmys for hosting the Tonys as well as an Emmy for his guest-starring performance on "Glee." Next up, Neil — who shares twins with husband David Burtka — will appear in the films "Spinning Gold" and "The Matrix 4."
Raven-Symoné stepped into the spotlight as adorable Olivia Kendall on "The Cosby Show," a role she played from 1989 to 1992. From 1993 to 1997, she played Nicole Lee on "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper." Raven also appeared in films like "Dr. Dolittle" and "Dr. Dolittle 2." 1993 also marked the year in which Raven released her debut studio album, "Here's to New Dreams," at 7. She then went from being a beloved child actress to a popular Disney Channel star as a teenager s she starred in films like "The Cheetah Girls" and "The Cheetah Girls 2." In 2003, she landed the lead role on the hit Disney series "That's So Raven," which ran until 2007. Ten years later, Raven reprised her role as Raven Baxter on the spinoff series "Raven's Home," which earned her a Daytime Emmy nomination for outstanding performer in children's programming. Raven also served as a co-host on ABC's "The View" from 2015 to 2016 and has appeared on "The Bold Type" and "Black-ish." 2020 was a big year for the star: She married social media manager Miranda Maday and released the album "The ReIntroduction."
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Former child actor Macaulay Culkin — who's best known for playing Kevin McCallister in the "Home Alone" film franchise — went on to star in the family comedy "Richie Rich" in 1994. The movie, which tells the story of an elementary-aged billionaire who's forced to rely on his wits and newfound friends to help save his parents, was Macaulay's last childhood role before he took a very necessary break from Hollywood. Macaulay reemerged nearly a decade later as an adult actor in films like "Saved!" and "Changeland" and TV shows like "Kings" and "The Jim Gaffigan Show," although he never pursued the same level of fame he had as a kid.
Around the same time Macaulay Culkin was taking the world by storm, actress Anna Chlumsky was doing the same. The two co-starred in 1991's "My Girl" — a film about a young girl named Vada who was struggling to understand the changes in her life during the early '70s — which was Anna's second film. Three years later, Anna was back in theaters with "My Girl 2" and the comedy "Trading Mom." She took a lengthy break from acting to go to college and spend a few years working in publishing then got back in the game mostly on television, appearing on shows like "30 Rock," "Cupid," "Law & Order," "Hannibal" and "Halt and Catch Fire." From 2012 to 2019, she starred on "Veep," earning six Emmy nominations during her run on the comedy. Up next, we'll see Anna on the TV drama "Inventing Anna."
2001 marked the year Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson made their mark in Hollywood with the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." The film was Daniel's third and the first for Rupert and Emma, and shortly after it debuted, the three became some of the most recognized child stars in the world. They appeared in the entire eight-film franchise, finally bidding their characters adieu in 2011 with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2." Daniel went on to reinvent himself as a Broadway and West End theater star, appearing in stage productions of "The Cripple of Inishmaan" and "Endgame" while also continuing to star in films like "The Woman in Black," "Kill Your Darlings" and "Victor Frankenstein." Emma graduated from Brown University and starred in films like "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," "Noah," "The Colony" and the 2017 blockbuster hit "Beauty and the Beast." She's also a U.N. Goodwill ambassador who's regularly spoken out against gender inequality. Rupert went on to star in movies like "Charlie Countryman" and "Instruments of Darkness" and TV series like "Sick Note," "The ABC Murders" and "Snatch." The three are busier than ever: Daniel starred in the film "Escape from Pretoria" and played Prince Frederick in the interactive Netflix special "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend" in 2020. Emma starred in 2019's "Little Women" remake and Rupert continues to act on Apple TV+'s "Servant." The three have also remained friends.
From an early age, it was clear that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was an exceptional talent! He scored his first acting credit in the 1988 television film "Stranger on My Land" and went on to appear on two episodes of "Family Ties" that same year. As a child, he landed roles in films like "A River Runs Through It," "Holy Matrimony," "Roadflower" and "Angels in the Outfield." At 15, he starred on the NBC sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun," which ran from 1996 to 2001. In 1999, he also appeared in the hit teen romantic comedy "10 Things I Hate About You." As an adult, Joseph continued to land starring roles in films like "500 Days of Summer," "Inception," "50/50," "The Dark Knight Rises," "Premium Rush," "Looper" and "The Night Before." 2013 marked the year in which he made his directorial debut with "Don Jon," which he also wrote and starred in. More recently, he's been in the films "Project Power" and "The Trial of the Chicago 7." Next up, Joseph will appear on the television series "Mr. Corman" and the film "Wingmen."
She was only a child star for about seven years, but during that time, Mara Wilson managed to become one of the most iconic young actresses of the '90s. Starring in films like "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Miracle on 34th Street," Mara was a lisping cutie who stole our hearts with her big eyes and gentle smile. Her fame skyrocketed in 1996 when she landed the titular role in the film adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel "Matilda." Sadly, shortly before the movie premiered, Mara's mother died of breast cancer, leaving the 8-year-old actress devastated. Mara would only star in two more films and make an appearance in three TV shows after her mom's death, retiring as a child actress in 2000 after the premiere of "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" when she was 13. Today, Mara's a published author who as an adult has worked as a voice actress on shows like "BoJack Horseman" and "Big Hero 6: The Series."
Twins Dylan Sprouse and Cole Sprouse made their feature film debut in 1999's "Big Daddy," which starred Adam Sandler. They went on to land roles in films like "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," "The Master of Disguise" and "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things." 2005 marked the year in which they started their run on the hit Disney Channel series "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody." Dylan played Zack, while Cole played Cody, twins who reside in a chaotic hotel. From 2008 to 2011, they returned in the spinoff series "The Suite Life on Deck," then appeared in the television film "The Suite Life Movie." Dylan and Cole stepped away from the spotlight in 2011 to attend New York University where Dylan majored in video game design and Cole majored in archaeology. Both brothers have since returned to acting: Cole has starred on The CW teen drama "Riverdale" since 2017, while Dylan is next set to appear in the films "After We Collided," "Turandot" and "Tyger Tyger."
One of the few child stars on our list who is more famous today than he was as a kid is Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Thanks to his youthful good looks, Leo was playing child-sized roles well into his late teens and young adult years on shows like "Parenthood" and "Growing Pains" and in movies like "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" — which earned him his first Oscar nod — and "This Boys Life" before transforming into a grown-up superstar. Today, Leo's best known for his roles in films like "Titanic," "Inception," "The Wolf of Wall Street" and the movie that finally earned him an Academy Award, "The Revenant." In 2019, Leo returned to the big screen in "Once Upon a Time In Hollywood." Up next, he's slated to star in three films including "Roosevelt" and on the TV series "The Devil in the White City."
Long before Drew Barrymore was a rom-com queen and the star of the buzzy TV series "Santa Clarita Diet," she was one of Hollywood's most prominent child actors. Drew, who started working as an actress when she was just a toddler in 1978, won fans with her biggest childhood film role, Gertie in 1982's "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial." Drew, who was known for her sunny disposition and perfect movie scream, was thrust into the limelight at a young age, sending her down a dark road of partying, substance abuse and self-harm that led to her being hospitalized at 13. She eventually got clean and returned to Hollywood stronger than ever, entertaining us in films like "The Wedding Singer," "Charlie's Angels" and "50 First Dates" while also working behind the scenes as a producer on films like "How to Be Single" and "Freak Show" as well as TV shows like "Rattled" and "Blooms." In September 2020, Drew launched an eponymous talk show on CBS. She'll soon return to the big screen in the comedy "The Stand-In."
Years before Elijah Wood's name became synonymous with the "Lord of the Rings" franchise, he was a popular child star appearing in some of the most heartwarming films of the '90s. Some of Elijah's early movies include "Avalon," "Paradise," "Forever Young," "Radio Flyer" (seen here), "The Adventures of Huck Finn" and "The Good Son" — the latter of which co-starred another child actor on our list, Macaulay Culkin. Following 1996's "Flipper," which came out when Elijah was 15, he found landing starring roles more difficult than before though continued to appear on the big screen in supporting roles in films like "Deep Impact" and "The Faculty" before he reemerged at 20 as a leading man in the "LOTR" film series. Today, Elijah's known for taking on eclectic roles on shows like "Wilfred," "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" and "Drunk History" as well as lending his voice to animated shows like "Over the Garden Wall" and "Star Wars Resistance." Up next, we'll get to see Elijah return to the big screen in the crime drama "L.A. Rush."
Frankie Muniz is best known for his starring role on the FOX sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle," which ran from 2000 to 2006. Frankie, who was 14 at the time the show premiered, earned an Emmy nod and two Golden Globe Award nominations for his work on the series. As a teenager, he starred in films like "Big Fat Liar," "Agent Cody Banks" and "Racing Stripes." 2008 marked the year in which he stepped away from acting in an effort to pursue a career in open-wheel racing — he even competed in the Atlantic Championship. After suffering two transient ischemic attacks, otherwise known as mini-strokes, in 2012 and 2013, Frankie revealed that he'd suffered from substantial memory loss. In recent years, he's traded Hollywood for a simpler life: Frankie and love Paige Price — whom he married in early 2020 — purchased the Outrageous Olive Oils & Vinegars shop in Scottsdale, Arizona. "It's become our lives," he told the Arizona Republic in 2019.
Remember in the early 2000s when it seemed like young Dakota Fanning was in just about every movie? Graduating from TV actress to film star in 2001, Dakota's first major movie role was in the Oscar-nominated drama "I Am Sam" alongside Sean Penn. The tiny powerhouse soon began landing films left and right. Some of her best known credits include "Sweet Home Alabama," "Hansel & Gretel," "Uptown Girls," "The Cat in the Hat," "Man on Fire" (seen here), "Hide and Seek" and "War of the Worlds" — all filmed before she was even 12. More movies followed including "Charlotte's Web," "The Secret Life of Bees," "Coraline" and three "Twilight" films, which all came before Dakota's 18th birthday. Now an established adult actress, Dakota's appeared in films like "Please Stand By" and "Ocean's Eight" as well as on TV series like "The Alienist." In 2019, she voiced a character on "Gen: Lock" and appeared in the films "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" and "Sweetness in the Belly." In 2020, she starred in the romantic drama "Viena and the Fantomes" and appeared on the "Alienist" sequel series "The Angel of Darkness." Up next, we'll see Dakota on the big screen in "The Bell Jar" and "The Nightingale."
Peter Billingsley's time as a child star was brief, but thanks to his classic 1983 holiday film "A Christmas Story," he's remained an icon. Following the movie, Peter returned to the big screen in films like "The Dirt Bike Kid" and "Russkies" and appeared on several TV shows like "Punky Brewster" and "The Wonder Years" before turning his attention to filmmaking. Today, Peter primarily works as a producer: He's worked on "Iron Man" and "Four Christmases" as well as shows like "Sullivan & Son" and "F is For Family." In 2019, Peter returned to the big screen for the first time in six years to reprise his "Iron Man" role as William Ginter Riva in "Spider-Man: Far From Home."
Even though it's been more than 80 years since a young, curly-haired Shirley Temple made her film debut in 1932's "Red Haired Alibi," she's still regarded as one of the most iconic child stars of all time. Before her 18th birthday, Shirley starred in more than 35 films, including her most famous movies, "Curly Top," "Captain January," "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm," "Poor Little Rich Girl" and "The Little Princess." By 1940, the 12-year-old tap-dancing cherub's popularity had started waning due to her simply growing older. Although Shirley continued to work in Hollywood, her roles were fewer and farther between and in the 1960s, she refocused her efforts on humanitarian work and politics. During the latter part of her life, Shirley was a U.N. ambassador and a foreign service ambassador as well as an author (she published her autobiography, "Child Star," in 1988). Shirley died at 85 in 2014.
Though she'd appeared in films like "Casper Meets Wendy" and "Human Nature," Hilary Duff landed her breakout role a few years after that. "Lizzie McGuire" premiered on the Disney Channel in 2001 and ran until 2004. Hilary starred as the titular quirky teen, which launched her into full-fledged stardom. Hilary went on to star in "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" followed by movies like "Cheaper by the Dozen," "A Cinderella Story," "Raise Your Voice," "The Perfect Man" and "Material Girls." Hilary also found success as a pop star, releasing five studio albums including 2003's "Metamorphosis" and 2015's "Breathe In. Breathe Out." Following a six-episode stint on The CW's teen drama series "Gossip Girl" in 2009, Hilary landed a starring role on the hit TV Land series "Younger" in 2015. The Darren Star-created show began filming its seventh season in October 2020.
It's only been a few years since Abigail Breslin transitioned from one of the most beloved child stars of the 2000s to a young adult in Hollywood. The Oscar-nominated actress's big-screen debut came in 2002 with the sci-fi thriller "Signs." From there, she appeared in numerous films including "Raising Helen," "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," "Little Miss Sunshine" (seen here), "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," "Definitely, Maybe," "Nim's Island," "Zombieland," "My Sister's Keeper" and "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl." During her older teen years, Abigail appeared in films like "August: Osage County" and "Ender's Game" before officially becoming an adult in 2014. Over the last half-decade, we've seen Abigail on the small screen on two seasons of "Scream Queens" and in the TV movie remake of "Dirty Dancing." In 2019, she returned to the big screen in the sequel "Zombieland: Double Tap." Next, fans will see her in the three films: "Stillwater," "Saturday at the Starlight" and "Slayers."
From the late '70s to the mid-'80s, no child star was more famous than young Gary Coleman, thanks to his leading role on the popular sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes." When the series ended in 1986, Gary — then 18 — struggled to find new roles. The actor, who was born with a congenital kidney disease, maintained a childlike appearance throughout most of his life, which ultimately made being cast as an adult difficult in Hollywood. Gary persisted, however, and over the years made appearances on shows like "The Ben Stiller Show," "Martin," "Unhappily Ever After," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Married… With Children" and "Wayhead." His on-screen opportunities became fewer and farther between throughout the 2000s, forcing Gary to take more mediocre roles. Sadly, in 2010, Gary died at 42 following a fall in his home caused a hemorrhagic stroke.
Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen are the twins who took over the world. After making their on-screen debut as infants on "Full House" in 1987, Mary-Kate and Ashley developed an adoring fan base that supported them as they made their own popular movie franchises, "The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley" and "You're Invited to…" The girls also appeared on other TV shows like "Two of a Kind," "7th Heaven" and "So Little Time" as well as in the movies "Passport to Paris," "Winning London," "Holiday in the Sun," "Getting There," "When in Rome," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and their final childhood movie together, "New York Minute," which debuted in 2004 — the same year the girls turned 18. As adults, the fraternal twins led more private lives and turned their attention away from Hollywood to their true love: fashion. They've worked as designers and businesswomen at the helm of fashion brands The Row, Elizabeth and James, Olsenboye and StyleMint.
Brooke Shields, who was born in 1965, began her career in Hollywood in 1974. She landed a highly controversial role as a child prostitute in 1978's "Pretty Baby" (seen here), in which she appeared unclothed at 12. As she got older, she continued to star in major motion pictures including "King of the Gypsies," "An Almost Perfect Affair," "Tilt," "Wanda Nevada," "Just You and Me, Kid" and "The Blue Lagoon." By the time Brooke was 18, she'd already starred in 12 films and had spent time modeling for Calvin Klein. As an adult, Brooke — who graduated from Princeton University — continued to act, starring on shows like "Suddenly Susan" and "Lipstick Jungle." In 2005, she published her memoir about postpartum depression, "Down Came the Rain," which she followed with the 2014 memoir "There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me," a book that dives into the difficult relationship Brooke had with her mom, who was also her manager. In 2019, the mother of two returned to the small screen on "Jane the Virgin" and in the TV movie "Glamorous." Brooke will next appear in the comedy film "My Boyfriend's Meds" and "A Castle for Christmas."
In 1994, 6-year-old Haley Joel Osment made his big-screen debut as young Forrest in the blockbuster film "Forrest Gump." From there, we saw Haley just about everywhere. From his Oscar-nominated role as Cole Sear in "The Sixth Sense" to his inspiring performance as Trevor McKinney in "Pay it Forward," Haley was Hollywood's new "it" boy. As so often happens to beloved child stars, as Haley grew, his starring-role opportunities became fewer and by the time he was 18, he was mostly working as a voice actor. But he never completely walked away from acting. Over the years, we've seen him on the big screen in films like "Sex Ed," "Entourage," "Me Him Her," "Sleepwalker" and "Clara's Ghost" as well as on TV shows like "Silicon Valley" and "Future Man." In 2019, Haley appeared in the Netflix Ted Bundy crime-drama film "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" and in the movie "The Devil Has a Name." He's also appeared on TV's "Teachers," "The Boys" and "The Kominsky Method." In 2020, he was in the film "Bad Therapy" and lent his voice to characters on "Robot Chicken" and "Star Trek: Lower Decks." He also has a recurring role as Dylan Zax on "Goliath." Up next, we'll see Haley in the thriller "Death of a Telemarketer."
Miley Cyrus is one child star whose career continued to flourish well into adulthood. Though she was initially known as the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley's fame soon surpassed her dad's after she at 13 began starring as the titular character on the hit Disney Channel series "Hannah Montana," which ran from 2006 to 2011. While filming the series, Miley released three studio albums: "Meet Miley Cyrus," "Breakout" and "Can't Be Tamed." She also starred in films like "Bolt" and "Hannah Montana: The Movie." While filming 2010's "The Last Song," Miley fell for co-star Liam Hemsworth, whom she dated on and off for years before marrying him in 2018 and breaking up for good in 2019. After years of projecting a wholesome teen persona, the former Disney star made headlines as she shed her good-girl image with the release of her fourth studio album, "Bangerz," in 2013. Her seventh studio album, "She Is Miley Cyrus," is set to be released in November 2020.
Keshia Knight-Pulliam began her career as the adorably sassy Rudy Huxtable on "The Cosby Show" back in 1984. The 5-year-old actress remained a beloved character on the series until it ended in 1992 while also appearing in numerous TV movies — like "The Little Match Girl" and "Polly: Comin' Home" — as well as on the "Cosby Show" spinoff "A Different World." Following the show's end, Keshia remained out of the spotlight for nearly a decade, only returning once in 1997 — at 18 — to make a cameo on the 1997 series "Cosby." From 2002 to 2015, Keshia appeared in a handful of films including "Beauty Shop" and "Madea Goes to Jail" and on TV shows like "Psych" and "House of Payne." More recently, we saw Keshia on the 2018 comedy series "3 Year Plan" and as Tori in the holiday special "Jingle Belle." 2019 was just as busy, with Keshia — who in recent years turned her love of cooking into her Keshia's Kitchen seasonings line — acting in the TV movies "Pride & Prejudice: Atlanta" and "Radio Christmas" and the movie "The Waiting Room." Next, we'll get to see her in the movies "Redeemed" — a film she also produced — and "My Brother's Keeper."
Thanks to reruns, Jerry Mathers will forever be known for his childhood character, Beaver Cleaver on the family sitcom "Leave it to Beaver." Prior to landing the classic role, Jerry earned acclaim for his work as Arnie Rogers in the 1955 film "The Trouble With Harry," which ultimately led to his casting as Beaver in 1957. The show continued until 1963, ending when Jerry was 15. The young actor wouldn't return to Hollywood until he reached 18 and from there, while serving in the Air Force Reserve and attending college, he made occasional appearances on TV shows and in made-for-TV movies. In 1983, Jerry reprised his role as Beaver on the modern reboot of the show, "The New Leave it To Beaver," which featured him as an adult divorcée living with his mom and two kids. When the series ended in 1989, Jerry performed occasionally, landing minor roles in films like "Down the Drain," "The Other Man," "Better Luck Tomorrow" and "Will to Power." We haven't seen Jerry since his 2015 appearance on the TV show "Dad Dudes" and in the comedy short "Lucky Day."
Although Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley began acting in 1991, it wasn't until they landed the roles of Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell — long-lost twins who find each other by accident — on the sitcom "Sister, Sister" that they became household names. When the series ended five years later in 1999, the actresses — by then 21 — continued to work together, appearing on shows like "Detention" and in TV movies like "Twitches," "Twitches Too" and "Seventeen Again." Eventually, Tia and Tamera began landing roles separately, with Tia appearing on shows like "Love Inc.," "Girlfriends," "The Game" and "Instant Mom" while Tamera picked up parts on "Strong Medicine," "Roommates" and "Things We Do For Love." For a time, the sisters reunited as the stars of the reality series "Tia & Tamera," which ran from 2011 to 2013. Today, both women are married moms continuing their successful careers. Tia is a star on the comedy series "Family Reunion" while Tamera was a co-host on "The Real" until 2020. Both sisters also starred in holiday movies in 2019: Tia in "A Very Vintage Christmas" and Tamera in "A Christmas Miracle."
Although her show "Punky Brewster" was only on the air for four short years, Soleil Moon Frye became one of the most recognizable and beloved child actors of the '80s. As the titular character — an abandoned girl taken in by a kind-hearted father figure — Soleil enchanted audiences and kicked off numerous fashion trends. After the show ended in 1988, Soleil remained in Hollywood, making numerous one-off appearances on TV shows like "The Wonder Years," "Saved by the Bell" and "Heaven Help Us" and landing supporting roles in made-for-TV movies like "Cadets" and "Summertime Switch." It wasn't until 2000 that Soleil would land her first recurring role since "Punky" ended — as Roxie King on the sitcom "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch." She spent three years on that show and also landed voice-acting work on shows like "The Proud Family" and "Bratz." In 2019, Soleil — who's now a mother of four, an author and an organic kids' boutique founder — announced that a "Punky Brewster" reboot was in the works and would feature Punky as a mother with two kids. Soleil also starred in the Lifetime holiday movie "Staging Christmas" in 2019. She's set to voice the role of Zoey Howzer in the forthcoming Disney+ series "The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder."
After making her acting debut in 1989's "New York Stories," Kirsten Dunst went on to establish herself as a talented young actress. For her role as Claudia in the 1994 horror film "Interview with the Vampire," a then-11-year-old Kirsten earned a Golden Globe nod for best supporting actress. As a teen, she starred in several films including "Little Women," "Jumanji," "Small Soldiers" and "The Virgin Suicides." 2002 marked the year in which Kirsten took on the role of Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy. She then landed a supporting role in Charlie Kaufman's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," which she followed with starring roles in "Elizabethtown" and "Marie Antoinette." More recently, she starred on TV's "Fargo" and "On Becoming a God in Central Florida." Up next, Kirsten will appear in the 2021 film "The Power of the Dog" alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and fiancé Jesse Plemons.
Admit it, the only reason any of us watched "Family Matters" was to see Jaleel White as Steve Urkel — the impossibly nasal-y nerd who somehow won our hearts each and every episode. Jaleel was 13 when he landed the role and continued playing the geeky part — as well as his alter ego, Stefan Urkel — until the show ended in 1998 when he was 22. As an adult, Jaleel's landed roles on TV shows like "Grown Ups," "Fake it Til You Make It," "Drunk History" and "Me, Myself and I" as well as in movies like "Big Fat Liar," "Dreamgirls," "Kissing Cousins," "The Preacher's Son" and "The 15:17 to Paris." In more recent years, Jaleel — who competed on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2012 — has appeared on or voiced characters on series including "Family Reunion," "Raven's Home," "DuckTales" and "Teen Titans Go" as well as appeared in the movies "When Vows Break," "5th of July" and "Staging Christmas."
Throughout most of the '90s, Christina Ricci was the child actress to watch. After making her big-screen debut alongside Cher in the family drama "Mermaids," Christina quickly landed roles in popular films of the decade like "The Addams Family" and "Addams Family Values," in which she played the dark and doomy Wednesday Addams (seen here). Other films included "Casper," "Now and Then," "Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain" and "The Ice Storm," to name a few. As an adult, Christina's remained a presence in Hollywood, starring in movies like "The Gathering," "Penelope," "Black Snake Moan," "Speed Racer" and "After.Life." Christina's also appeared on numerous TV shows including "Grey's Anatomy," "Saving Grace" and "Pan Am." From 2015 to 2017, she took on one of her most noted roles — Zelda Fitzgerald, the novelist and wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald — on the Amazon Prime series "Z: The Beginning of Everything." In 2019, Christina starred in the made-for-TV movie "Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story" and has appeared in films that debuted in 2020 like "10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up," "Faraway Eyes" and "Percy." Next up, she'll appear in the television series "Yellowjackets" and the film "Can't Stop the Dawn."
In "The Wonder Years," young Fred Savage stole our hearts as Kevin Arnold, a boy coming of age in the late '60s and early '70s. Fred — who'd already become quite the Hollywood star thanks to his earlier roles in films like "The Boy Who Could Fly" and "The Princess Bride" — remained on the show for five years until it ended in 1993 when Fred was 17. After taking some time away to focus on his education, Fred returned to acting in 1996, landing roles in TV movies like "No One Would Tell," "Area 52" and "Single White Millionaire" and on shows like "Working," "Crumbs" and "The Grinder." Fred even made a cameo on younger brother, Ben Savage's series "Boy Meets World." In addition to working on camera, Fred's been steadily working behind the scenes as a director on shows like "Modern Family" and "The Connors" and as a producer for shows like "What Just Happened??!" In 2018, Fred made a playful cameo as himself in "Deadpool 2" and in 2019, he returned to the small screen as Max Adler on the comedy series "Friends From College." Fred's also voiced characters on shows like "BoJack Horseman," "Bob's Burgers" and "American Dad!"
Throughout the late '80s and early '90s, Mayim Bialik appeared on shows like "Beauty and the Beast," "The Facts of Life," "Webster," "MacGyver," "Doogie Howser, M.D" and "Molloy," the short-lived series on which she starred. From 1990 to 1995, she played the titular character on the popular NBC sitcom "Blossom," which made her a star. But she also wanted to get a college education, so she attended UCLA, where she earned her undergraduate degree and a Ph.D. in neuroscience. As an adult, she appeared on episodes of television shows like "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Saving Grace" and "Bones" before landing a guest role that soon turned into a main role on the CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory." For her performance as Amy Farrah Fowler on the primetime comedy, on which she appeared from 2010 to 2019, Mayim earned several nominations including four Emmy Award nods for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series. Next up, Mayim will star on the comedy series "Call Me Kat," which is set to debut in 2021.
Ron Howard might be known today as an Oscar-winning director, but long before he was a filmmaker, he was in front of the camera as a popular child actor on several sitcoms. Ron, who started acting when he was 2, took on his first recurring role at 5 in 1959 as Stewart on TV's "Dennis the Menace." The same year, he picked up a recurring role on the comedy series "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis." It wasn't until 1960, however, that Ron landed one of his most notable roles — Opie Taylor on the feel-good sitcom "The Andy Griffith Show" (seen here). Ron remained on the series for eight years, leaving when he was 14. A year later, Ron made his directorial debut with three shorts, kicking off his passion for making movies. While he continued to direct, Ron returned to television at 20 as Richie Cunningham on the popular series "Happy Days," where he remained for a decade. While on the show, Ron made his feature film directorial debut with 1977's "Grand Theft Auto." Today, Ron's a highly regarded filmmaker with movies including "Splash," "Cocoon," "Parenthood," "Apollo 13," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," the Oscar-winning "A Beautiful Mind," "The DaVinci Code," the Oscar-nominated "Frost/Nixon," "Rush" and "Solo: A Star Wars Story" on his resume. Ron's also continued to act occasionally, making appearances on shows like "This Is Us" and narrating "Arrested Development." His next directorial effort, "Hillbilly Elegy," hits Netflix in November 2020.
While Lindsay Lohan is better known today for being a tabloid star, as a child, she was one of the most sought-after young actresses in Hollywood. She started acting in 1992 and scored her first major role as twins Hallie Parker and Allie James in the 1998 remake of "The Parent Trap." As a teen, she continued to land great roles in movies like "Freaky Friday," "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," "Mean Girls" and "Herbie Fully Loaded," catapulting her to superstar status. But as Lindsay got older, issues surrounding her on-set behavior and substance abuse issues led to her eventual downfall in Hollywood. As an adult, Lindsay's made several comeback attempts, including launching a fashion and accessories line, attempting to become a pop star, opening a nightclub, starting a production company and becoming a reality TV star. In 2018, Lindsay — who's spent recent years living in London and Dubai — made a brief return to the small screen in the crime-comedy series "Sick Note." The following year, she launched the MTV reality show "Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club" and starred in the supernatural crime thriller "Among the Shadows." Next up, she'll appear in the horror film "Cursed."
If the '80s had an iconic child star, it was, without question, young Corey Feldman. The actor, who began working in Hollywood when he was just 2, was a fixture in many of our favorite films of the decade including "Gremlins," "The Goonies," "Stand By Me" (seen here), "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter," "Friday the 13th: A New Beginning," "The Lost Boys" and "License to Drive." Like other child stars including Lindsay Lohan and Drew Barrymore, Corey's superstardom led him to a life of partying and drug abuse that affected his career. Today, Corey's sober and has continued to act, albeit with less success, in films like "Maverick," "The Million Dollar Kid" and "We Will Rock You" and TV shows like "Dweebs," "Splatter" and "Easy to Assemble." He also starred on the short-lived reality series "Two Coreys" with close friend and former child star Corey Haim, who died in 2010 at 38. Feldman — who's also made music for years — published four books, including his 2013 memoir, "Coreyography," two children's books and a romance novel. He's long been an advocate for ending childhood sexual exploitation and holding abusers in Hollywood accountable and has gone on record to discuss the abuse he experienced as a child star.