Child Stars Gone Good!
Child stars have a bad reputation. Just look at Lindsay Lohan, Michael Jackson and all the kids from Diff'rent Strokes. It seems like child stars are cursed and destined to lead miserable lives. Many of the child stars we see on our television end up addicted to drugs, in jail or dead at a young age.
Actually, the number of child stars who went bad is nothing compared to the child stars who grew up to lead successful, prosperous and happy lives as adults. Here are just a few of my personal favorites. These kids sure did become successful and have become an inspiration to many.
Born: January 14th, 1969
Jason Bateman made his debut in 1974 at the age of 12 on Little House on the Prairie. He played James Cooper Ingalls, the adopted son of Charles and Caroline Ingalls. In the 1980s he was a household name playing David Hogan on Valerie's Family. He also directed three episodes of Valerie's Family, making him the youngest ever director of a TV show. At that time, his older sister, Justine Bateman was also on a hit TV show called Family Ties.
As an adult, he managed to remain tabloid free and has starred in some memorable films such as Juno and Horrible Bosses. He was won a Golden Globe for his role as Michael Bluth on Arrested Development.
Born: December 12, 1975
Mayim Bialik was made famous for playing TV's smart and loveable Blossom back in the 1990s. She is also known for her role as the young Bette Middler in the tear jerker classic Beaches. She's super smart and has a bachelor's degree in Neuroscience (She was accepted at both Harvard and Yale but in the end chose to attend UCLA).
Today she is happily married with a child and you can see her as Amy Farrah Fowler on TV's hit show Big Bang Theory.
Born: February 27, 1932 Died: March 23, 2011
Movie legend, Elizabeth Taylor began her career at the tender age of nine years old. There's One Born Every Minute was her first movie role. The movie, National Velvet made her a star. She grew up in the public eye and continued making movies as an adult. She became quite a force, especially after starring in Cleopatra. She was paid a reported one million dollars to star in the film. In that era, she was the highest paid actor in Hollywood.
As she aged, she appeared in less movies but her personal life and political activism kept her in the spotlight for the rest of her life. She also became famous for her line of perfumes. Her perfume Diamonds is still a classic. She led a full life and died of natural causes in 2011.
Born: December 10, 1985
Raven-Symoné stole our hearts as Olivia, the step-granddaughter of Heathcliff and Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She later appeared in Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and landed her own show on the Disney Channel, That's So Raven.
Today she is an actress, a singer and a model. She starred in hits like The Cheetah Girls, College Road Trip and Revenge of the Bridesmaids. It was confirmed that she will be starring on Broadway for the musical, Sister Act.
Born: May 31, 1965
Brooke Shields was a controversial child actress and model back in the 1970s and 1980s. She was cast as a child prostitute in the movie Pretty Baby. As a teen, she did provocative commercials for Calvin Klein and sexy love scenes in The Blue Lagoon.
As an adult, she's flourished, landing a hit show in the early 1990s, Suddenly Susan. She continues to work both in Hollywood and in theatre. Brooke Shields also brought awareness to Postpartum Depression and continues to advocate health options to women who struggle with this illness.
Born: December 19, 1972
Alyssa Milano began her career at the age of eight years old, when she was cast in the stage production for Annie. It was her role as Samantha (Sam) Micelli on TV's Who's the Boss that brought her fame. She quickly became a teen idol and put out hit records in Japan that soared to #1. After Who's the Boss was cancelled, she continued working, mostly in TV movies. In the late '90s she landed roles in both Melrose Place and the hit show Charmed. Alyssa Milano is currently married and recently gave birth to her first child.
Leonardo DiCaprio got his start in the early 1990s on the popular soap, Santa Barbara and the hit TV show, Growing Pains. His career exploded and he became an instant heartthrob. He began staring in movies, alongside Johnny Depp in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Basketball Diaries and then finally his big break, being cast as the leading male in Titanic.
Today he is a Hollywood A lister and continues making blockbuster movies. He both acts and produces films. He is also an environmentalist and has won praise for his activism.
Born: November 19, 1962
Jodi Foster began her career as a baby in commercials. As a child, she landed roles in motion pictures such as Taxi Driver and The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane. She made a smooth transition to adult movie star and won respect for her leading roles in The Accused and Silence of the Lambs. To date, she has won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes and has received two Emmy nods. She continues to direct, produce and act in major motion films.
Born: March 1st, 1954
Ron Howard got his start in the 1960s hit, The Andy Griffith show, playing Opie Taylor. As a teenager, he starred in the cult classic, American Graffiti and then in another hit show, Happy Days. He left Happy Days in its sixth season to pursue his career as a director. He has directed hit films since his departure. Some of his most famous movies include, Splash, Cocoon, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, The DaVinci Code and Cinderella Man. He won an Academy Award for Best Director for A Beautiful Mind.
Ron Howard has been happily married to his highschool sweetheart, Cheryl, since 1975. They have four children together.
Born: April 23, 1928
Shirley Temple is not only the most famous child star of all time but has arguably the best child star success story of all. She was discovered at the age of three years old and made her debut in the movie Bright Eyes. She was a natural actress, singer and dancer. Bright Eyes got her noticed and she began working on other films, more famously, Curly Top and Heidi.
As an adult she sat on the boards of many high profile corporations, such as Walt Disney, Del Monte Foods and The National Wildlife Organization. She ran for congress in 1967 but lost. In 1974, she was appointed US Ambassador to Ghana. In 1989, she became US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. She has received many awards throughout her life. Her first was the Juvenile Academy Award. As an adult, The Kennedy Center Honors and a Screen Actor's Guild Life Achievement Award.
Shirley Temple was married twice, the first ending in divorce and the second lasting until her husband's death in 2005. Both unions resulted in three children. Shirley Temple died in 2014 at the age of 84.
Justine Bateman, Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore (despite a rough start in her teens and early 20s), Mara Wilson, Candace Cameron, Molly Ringwald, JustinTimberlake, Ralph Macchio and Scott Baio all grew up to be well-adjusted adults.
There are many more that I may have missed. If I have, please feel free to share in the comments.