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Child Stars Gone Good!

Updated on January 3, 2015

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.

Jason Bateman

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.

Mayim Bialik

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.

Elizabeth Taylor

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.

Brooke Shields

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.

Alyssa Milano

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

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.

Jodi Foster

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.

Ron Howard

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.

Shirley Temple

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.

Honorable Mentions

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.


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    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      5 years ago

      This is great~ it's so good to remember that there are child stars who take the high road. Great job.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Alecia,

      You're absolutely right! I think child stars especially need guidance. I feel many of them are neglected. Drew Barrymore and Lindsay Lohans parents are good examples. Thank you for making that point and thank you for dropping by!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      You almost tend to forget how many child stars become successes but these people had family and friends to help keep them grounded which is why I think it worked for them. I always feel like Ron Howard is someone who is talented who happens to be famous but he doesn't act like a super celebrity which is why people like him. And the same can be said for many other good child stars. Fascinating hub!

    • etower036 profile image


      6 years ago from Helana

      @annaglome cool, I was actually second guessing myself, and had to do a google search and see if he did leave this world. I did find out that he was in a bike accident last year that was very scary and we almost lost him in that, but he is recovering apparently.

    • annaglomesh profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      I know he is just meant he hasn't had the easiest life and been through some real 'down time'.

    • etower036 profile image


      6 years ago from Helana

      @annaglormesh, Leif Garrett did not pass away, he is doing well and part of a cast of actors on "Worlds Dumbest." A show that have b list celebs comment on either dumb criminals, stunts or other acts of dumbness. LOL But he is very much alive.

    • annaglomesh profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      A few of my favourites in there! ( I'm still mourning the demise of my teenage heart throb Leif Garrett):)

    • etower036 profile image


      6 years ago from Helana

      @tlmcgaa70, actually Joel Haley Osmet did have a problem a few years back with Drugs and a DUI. However, as far as I know, he is still going good.

    • rednickle profile image


      6 years ago from New Brunswick Canada

      Really good hub here but it would actually be great if you do a hub about those ones that have gone bad too. But seriously though the only celebrity that doesn't seem to look like his childhood self is ron howard and Alyssa Milano seems to have just faded away.


    • profile image

      Hubert Williams 

      6 years ago

      Very interesting and entertaining. Thank you

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you etower036! I know, these people are some of my favorite child stars. I'm glad they turned out so good!

    • etower036 profile image


      6 years ago from Helana

      Jason Bateman, Leo Dicaprio Has made some big choices in their life, and its encouraging that they did not get sucked into the trappings of being a child actor. They kept their life as clean as possible, and made choices in their acting profession, that speaks volumes to their character as a human beings. Nice hub and look forward to reading more from you.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks Victoria Lynn! Yep, Jason Bateman was on Little House. It was the later episodes after Laura grew up and married Alfonso. LOL, I don't know how I remember this stuff!! take care!!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I don't remember Jason Bateman from Little House, and I never thought about that boy on Growing Pains being Leonardo DeCaprio! And the girl on Big Bang Theory is Blossom! cool! Loved this hub. Very interesting. Nice to hear about the success stories for a change. Voted up and awesome! and interesting, too!

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Tlmcgaa70,

      Thanks for bringing up Haley Joel Osmet. He also turned out good. I admit, I had to cut my hub down. There were a lot of good child stars to choose from. Thanks for reading!

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image


      6 years ago from south dakota, usa

      you missed jason batemans movie "Moving Target". and i was sorry not to see Joel Haley Osmet, the kid who played in the sixth sense and pay it forward to name two. otherwise this was a great hub and brought back quite a few memories.have a great day


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