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Child Stars: Where Are They Now?

Updated on September 12, 2010

Child Stars: Their Stories, Their Films and Their Music!

Ever wondered what that talented young star you really liked in a certain movie is doing these days? Well, this lens will tell you just that (complete with 'Then' and 'Now' comparisons) but it will also profile their personal and professional lives as well as their best work in films (when you click on any DVD poster, you will be taken to an external website where you can find out more about it and rent it).

This lens will not just be restricted to actors. We will also be looking at young music stars. (In the picture above, you can see a childhood photograph of two of our most famous current superstars. Any guesses? )

Your childhood favorites are all grown up! Find out which ones are still cute, which ones still have a career and where they are headed next!

LIESEL MATTHEWS - Her Dynasty. Her Story. Her Films.

We're going to kick off our 'Where Are They Now' features with a tale of wealth, beauty, talent and betrayal- if this sounds like a melodramatic description, you are clearly not familiar with Liesel Matthews.

Born Liesel Pritzker, on March 14, 1984, to one of the richest families in America, Liesel is a former child actress and heiress to her family fortune. She is one of the 12 surviving grandchildren of Abrams Nicholas Pritzker (an industrialist) and the niece of Jay Pritzker, the founder of the Hyatt Hotels chain. As a teenager, Matthews attended the New Trier High School.

During her years as a child actress, Liesel gave two acclaimed performances: in 1995's A Little Princess and 1997's Air Force One. A third appearance can be seen in the delayed-release Blast (2000). Based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel of the same name, A Little Princess is a lovely tale of how children interact with each other and the adults around them. Matthews plays the lead, Sara Crewe, a girl who adjusts to her new life and the cruelty of her school's headmistress after her father is believed dead. Storytelling (straight from the Ramayana at times!) and childhood escapades make for much of the film's highly enjoyable plot.

Liesel Matthews' character in Air Force One, Alice Marshall, presents an entirely different side of her- she shines as the President's daughter who's taken hostage and has to make the best of the situation. While Blast also serves as a reminder of the talent of this young actress, it is the sweet and imaginative protagonist of 'A Little Princess' and her onscreen battle with danger and hardship as a member of the first family that are truly must-watches.

All three Liesel Matthews films are available on DVD (and Air Force One has a fabulous Blue-Ray version too.)

Liesel Matthews did not make any more films- perhaps because her own life supplied much more drama and intrigue. While largely absent from the world of news and gossip, she made headlines in 2002 when, as a freshman at Columbia University, she filed a 6 Billion dollar suit against her father and eleven older cousins. Her claim unearthed a shocking revelation: The cousins had conspired to keep her and her brother, Matthew (whose name she had taken on as her own surname when she decided on a moniker for the stage), devoid of the family fortune. The suit was settled with $500 Million payments to each of the siblings- and a contractual clause that does not allow them to seek further shares in the family wealth.

Liesel was last in the news for her generous $4 Million dollar donation to Opportunity International. The funds will be used for the expansion of microfinance opportunities in Africa. In addition to her charity work, she has been appearing in Sorbano theater plays in London since 2009 and was seen in the 2010 production 'Where's Linda Margret?'

As fans of her acting talent, we would definitely like to see her in more movies (bleak as the chances maybe). While it is safe to say Liesel, as one of the richest young adult Americans, will not be returning to Hollywood because of a need for work, we will surely be waiting for her when she does decide to make a comeback.


Which Leisel Matthews film is your favorite?

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