Drew Barrymore became a star at such a young age. Her breakout role was in her godfather Steven Spielberg’s iconic film E.T. in which she played Gertie, the 7-year-old girl who won the heart of an Extra-Terrestrial. To some degree, she was a household name after her E.T. stint, but she managed to get herself entangled with substance abuse and needed to check into a mental institution at the age of 13 because of it. Despite starting her downward spiral at a young age, Barrymore was amazingly able to recover and become one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood.
Before she played the detective Clarice Starling in the psychological horror film Silence of the Lambs, Jodie Foster already had an arm-lengthed CV as a Hollywood star, having starred in such notable films as Taxi Driver, Kansas City Bomber, and a lot more. Indeed, Foster started her career at the age of three, and has, to her credit, been getting pretty steady work in Hollywood ever since. Foster is also a multi-awarded actress as she was nominated for the Academy Award four times, and she was able to take home the award two out of those four times.
Here’s another celebrity who got his start on The Mickey Mouse Club. It’s been, to some degree, practically pre-ordained that Timberlake would eventually make it big, given how multi-talented he was as a kid. The man can act, sing, dance, and rap, after all. In fact, is there anything that this guy can’t do? After his stint at Nickelodeon, he joined N’SYNC and had a very lucrative career as one of the band’s most popular members. Eventually, Timberlake went on to work on his solo career, to a lot of success. He’s also been able to land many roles on TV and film since then.
Scarlett Johansson has been in so many movies, and she’s reportedly one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. This only serves as proof of how far she’s gone since her child star acting days. Indeed, she won’t require the services of a bankruptcy lawyer any time soon with all the money she’s made from Hollywood. Her first weighty role was in a film called Manny & Lo, and she was only 12 years old when she landed it. She’s been getting many roles since then and will perhaps be most remembered for her role as the Black Widow in the Avengers movies.
Portman is, to a huge degree, one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, not just because of the many industry awards she has received. But just like everyone else on this list, she had quite a humble beginning. One year after being discovered by a modeling agent when she was a mere eleven years old, she was already impressing everyone with her acting prowess in the film The Professional. She is also notable as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars film series. A few years later, she starred in The Black Swan and was awarded a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for her performance.
Elizabeth Taylor is, needless to say, an icon of Hollywood. However, what many might not know about her is that she started acting at a very young age. She landed a minor role in the movie There’s One Born Every Minute at the age of nine, and from there, her star would only continue to rise. Indeed, we don’t need to list down the many films to her credit since they’re quite a lot. But what’s notable about Taylor’s career was her seamless transition from child star to Hollywood star. Only a few in Hollywood history were able to manage such a thing.
If we made a list of the most talented actors in Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio would be high on that list. This guy came into the Hollywood scene surprising everyone because he was so good at acting. Anyone who’s seen him in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? won’t be able to deny that at a young age, he was destined for Hollywood greatness. Do we even really need to list down the films he’s been involved with? You probably know that they are a legion—in fact, one will require the services of a moving company to get a copy of this man’s CV, given how gargantuan it is.
She will always be remembered as Bella Swan, the star of the Twilight film series, but younger filmgoers are probably unaware that Kirsten has had a career in Hollywood for a little more than a decade now, starting with a role she took for a Disney Channel television film called The Thirteenth Year. She would land a few minor roles since then, and would eventually land her breakout role in the film Panic Room, where she succeeded in flooring everyone with her performance. Stewart would turn out to be so successful that between 2010 and 2012, she was reportedly the highest-paid actress in Hollywood.
Susan Dey, who many will know played Laurie Partridge of the Partridge Family as a child, went on to become a successful actor later on in life. She was 17 years old when she started—not quite as young as some on this list but still young nevertheless. She got a lot of attention during her heyday because she was an absolute stunner. Dey didn’t have trouble landing roles after her stint at Partridge Family, but none were quite as iconic as this role until she was cast in the highly successful TV series that lawyers all over the world probably followed with much interest: L.A. Law.
Ryan Reynolds is, without a doubt, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, with his Deadpool films raking in millions of dollars at the box office. In fact, he’s so famous today that probably nobody remembers the roles he’s been into when he was a kid. At 15 years old, he was already in the industry, playing Billy Simpson in the series Hillside. He also starred in Sabrina the Teenage Witch alongside fellow child actress Melissa Joan Hart. Currently, the investments he’s made in the craft as a kid have paid off mightily, as he’s landing roles left and right, with no signs of stopping.
Here’s another celebrity we watched grow up; Daniel Radcliffe starred as the titular character in the Harry Potter movies from the first all the way to the eighth. He was only 11 years old when the first Harry Potter film was released, which means he was around 19 years old for the last one. In any case, many are not aware that, to some degree, Radcliffe’s career started a year before his Harry Potter days, in a television movie called David Copperfield. He has also landed many roles since then, in films such as The Woman in Black, Kill Your Darlings, and more.
She’s extremely popular now, but she started, quite humbly, in a cool whip commercial at the age of four. She’s landed minor roles right after in shows such as ER, Monk, and Bones. But it was in 2009 when she would be land a role on Modern Family as Alex Dunphy, a role that catapulted her to stardom. Despite her success, Winter said in an interview that she always wanted to become a lawyer, and will be taking up law at UCLA. “I’ve always been interested in law so I think it’ll definitely be something that I’ll love to do and also go to school for,” the actress said.
Here’s another Barney and Friends alumna that made it big in Hollywood. We didn’t realize that this show was such a great investment for people who wanted to make it big in Hollywood. Interestingly, Selena Gomez pursued a career in music, too, and had quite the success in it. Like many on this list, Selena’s career went through a Disney phase starring in the series Hannah Montana alongside Miley Cyrus, who played the titular character. Today, Selena is one of the most sought after—celebrities in Hollywood. She’s still young, so we’re sure we’ll be seeing more of her in the years to come.
Emma Watson will always be remembered for her role as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter movies, but she was definitely also able to land more than a few memorable roles since then. It was the Harry Potter films that set her up for an awesome career in Hollywood. Among the movies that Watson got involved with after her breakout role as Hermione were The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Beauty and the Beast, The Circle, and a lot more. What’s more, Watson is, to her credit, an activist for women’s rights and got invited on one occasion to speak at the United Nations.
Anna Chlumsky got her big break starring alongside Macaulay Culkin in the hit film My Girl as well as its 1994 sequel. After her breakout role, however, she stopped acting to concentrate on her studies. She attended the University of Chicago and got a degree in International Studies. After graduating, she took on a few non-acting jobs, such as an editorial assistant for HarperCollins. Eventually, Hollywood once again beckoned, and Chlumsky got back into acting and guest-starring in various TV shows like Law and Order. She’s had a steady amount of acting work since then, getting a starring role in 2019 in Netflix’s Inventing Anna.
We all remember when little Amber Scott said “You need a mother very, very badly!” to Captain Hook in the film Hook, where she played Peter Pan’s 7-year-old daughter. She was, needless to say, impossibly adorable in that film. Unfortunately, aside from another film by the name of Cannonball which had a runtime of 17 minutes back in 2019, Amber Scott hasn’t been involved with any other show since her Hook days. We have absolutely no idea why she didn’t actively pursue a career in Hollywood, given that, as a child, she seemed, to some degree, destined for Hollywood greatness.
The Harry Potter movies put several child stars on the Hollywood map, and among them is Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley in all of the Harry Potter films. He’s also played a steady stream of characters among other films like Thunderpants, Driving Lessons, and Cherrybomb. He’s also been cast alongside fellow child star Chloe Grace Moretz in The Drummer. Indeed, Grint has been involved with numerous films to date, some of which have yet to be released, and his career is showing absolutely no sign of slowing down. The Harry Potter franchise was no doubt such a great investment to many of its cast.
Andrea Barber was 6 years old when she was cast for the very pivotal role of Carrie Brady on the long-running and highly successful soap Days of our Lives. As if Barber wasn’t lucky enough, just a year after Days of Our Lives lost gas and ended its run, she landed another role in the highly successful show called Full House, where she played Kimmy Gibler, a role for which she would forever be known. Years later, when the creators of the show decided to do a reboot called Fuller House, they asked Barber to reprise her character.
This is one of those stars who managed to build a slow and steady career all while remaining relatively under the radar. By the age of 12, he was already landing roles in the film industry. Soon enough, he landed his breakout role in the sitcom Roseanne. He has, to his credit, landed many major roles since then such as in films like Suicide Kings, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Bookies, among others. His second breakout role was in the show The Big Bang Theory, which was another highly successful sitcom that made Galecki one of the highest-paid actors on TV.
Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock will recognize this guy. In fact, he’s so famous that his child star days are much less remembered than the numerous projects he’s been involved with when he was an adult. He got his big break playing the role of the adorable, if not inimitable, Tommy Solomon in the highly successful comedy sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun. He disappeared from Hollywood for a while to pursue a degree at Columbia University, but once he realized that Hollywood was where his heart was, he was welcomed with more than just open arms.
If you’re young, then you’re probably not even aware that a show named Party of Five even existed. After all, it was a show that got canceled 20 years ago—many of you haven’t even been born yet when the show was prominent. Nevertheless, Chabert got her big break in that show, playing the role of Claudia Salinger when she was just 10 years old. Talk about a great investment! Of course, those days are long gone, and Chabert has happily had a steady stream of offers from Hollywood bigwigs since then, landing roles in films like the Blockbuster hit Mean Girls, among many others.
He was overweight and dorky, but lest we forget to mention, he was also adorable. This is probably why we can’t help but think he was the perfect man—er, boy—for the role of Thurman Merman in Bad Santa, a role that he when he was 10. He’s 26 years old now, and, to his credit, not into drugs, like some child stars who have regressed after hitting puberty. We’re also happy to report that Brett has a really good career in Hollywood despite his seemingly never-ending awkward phase, snagging roles in films such as Masters of Horror and of course, Bad Santa 2.
He’s the kid from Almost Famous who eventually did get really famous. We can’t believe that he starred in a movie alongside Kate Hudson, which was released 20 years ago. Kind of depressing, we know. While Fugit was never really able to land a role in a movie as high profile as Almost Famous, he’s still had a pretty good career, all things considered. To his credit, he’s had a few noteworthy performances, in such films as Wristcutters and The Vampire’s Assistant. Fugit is also currently starring in Outcast, the awesome TV adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s kick-ass graphic novel of the same name.
Imagine having your very first role in a film that stars Sally Field and Kiefer Sutherland. Well, Alexandra Kyle needn’t imagine, because she has done it. Her first role was in the psychological thriller, Eye for an Eye, which starred the two aforementioned Hollywood heavyweights. As if Kyle wasn’t lucky enough, she landed another role that same year, this time in a film that starred Matthew McConaughey, Ashley Judd, Samuel Jackson and more – let’s just say it was star-studded. Currently, Kyle is, to her credit, enjoying a pretty steady, albeit less-stellar-than-before career, landing roles in a variety of films and TV shows.
Jaleel White can be remembered as the guy who played one of the most iconic characters in Hollywood history. He played nerdy Steve Urkel in Family Matters, which is one of the most popular shows that ever existed! Just to give you an idea of how well-received his character was, White started his career in a supporting role, but eventually, graduated to being the main character of the show. Currently, White is doing pretty well. He’s definitely not doing as well as he did during his Family Matters days, but he’s getting enough roles that he won’t be needing a financial advisor any time soon.
Like many before her, Pratt started her career appearing in commercials. She had so many commercial roles and it became her stepping stones to a career in Hollywood. To her credit, it worked like a charm. After her high-profile Nike commercial, she was able to appear in a few episodes of Friends, Family Matters, and a lot more. Currently, she’s doing some voice acting, particularly for the Penny Proud character in the animated series The Proud Family. More notably, she starred alongside Eddie Murphy in Dr. Dolittle 1 and 2, until finally getting the lead role for Dr. Dolittle 3.
Even Michelle Trachtenberg wouldn’t have guessed that starring in a detergent commercial when she was three years old would lead to a career in Hollywood. It was, one could say, Trachtenberg’s greatest investment. She’s also worked in a lot of commercials. But all of that eventually led to her landing a role in the Nickelodeon comedy series The Aventures of Pete and Pete. It was a busy time for the then-young Trachtenberg. She continued landing many roles since then, such as in films like Harriet the Spy, Inspector Gadget, and more. Younger readers, however, will better know her for playing Georgina Sparks in Gossip Girl.
Rider Strong was already a powerhouse at the age of nine. His career was prosperous, having landed big production theater roles left and right. He also managed to star alongside Hollywood legend Julie Andrews in Julie, the sitcom that was unfortunately canceled after 6 episodes. However, starring alongside Julie Andrews was more than enough to get him noticed. Soon after, he was tapped for the show Boy Meets World, in a role for which he will be forever famous. Currently, Strong is doing quite well. But he’s not just acting these days, he’s also written and directed a few short films, to his credit.
Marques Houston is multi-talented as the guy can act and sing. He also has the ability to stand in one corner and look hot. He started his career way back in 1992, in an animated film called Bebe’s Kids. Since then, his career had nowhere to go but up, and he landed roles in a few shows, for television and film. Currently, Houston seems to be focused on his singing career. To his credit, he found a lot of success between 1990 and 2001 as a member of the RnB group Immature. Now he’s working on his solo career and still sees moderate success.
The numerous television commercials Sarah Gilbert did as a child certainly prepared her for a steady acting gig in Hollywood. Gilbert got her big break when she was 13-years old, landing a role in the hit comedy series Roseanne, which ran for a whopping nine years. She’s kept bankruptcy away and enjoyed a stable career since her days in Roseanne, landing role after role, in shows like The Simpsons, Will and Grace, and more. In 2018, Gilbert reprised her role as Darlene Conner for the short-lived series reboot of Roseanne. Unfortunately, a series of offensive tweets by the lead actress of Roseanne got the show canceled.
Things didn’t seem to be going well for Ethan Hawke’s career during the beginning. At 14 years old, he was able to land a role in the film Explorers. It was his film debut, which he starred alongside legendary teen idol River Pheonix, but it flopped at the box office. Rather than being his breakout role, it led to Hawke’s career stagnating for a while. Soon enough, Hawke was tapped to star in the film Dead Poets Society, which catapulted him onto new heights as an actor. Ever since his investment in the role, Hawke was able to enjoy a long and prosperous career.
Bale’s parents were performers, and the investment they’ve made on their son has no doubt paid off because he is now one of the most successful actors in Hollywood. Like a lot on this list, Bale had to work hard to get to where he is now. The young Bale first started his career doing commercials—particularly, a fabric softener commercial, when he was eight years old. He used that experience to land a few minor roles, and eventually, got his big break—a starring role in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun. Currently, Bale is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood.
Ryan Gosling, perhaps one of the hottest stars in Hollywood today, got his start, alongside many other now-extremely-famous celebrities, on The Mickey Mouse Club. Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Keri Russel—they, and many others, got their break from The Mickey Mouse Club, too. Gosling was 12 years old when he started his career, but it was his greatest investment because it catapulted him to stardom. Since then, he’s starred in such memorable hits such as The Notebook, Crazy Stupid Love, The Big Short, and La La Land. Indeed, it seems Gosling is scarcely relaxing these days and works on film after film.
By the age of ten, before she could even get a credit card to her name, Danielle Fishel was already landing roles in big theater productions. Among these were roles in The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan. These theater roles, coupled with the string of commercials she’s been involved with, would eventually get her noticed in Hollywood. Her most notable role is as Topanga Lawrence-Matthews in the television series Boy Meets World. She even bagged a few awards for her portrayal of Topanga in the TV series. Currently, she’s enjoying moderate success as an actress, although admittedly not at the level of her Topanga days.
LORI BETH DENBERG
We’re pretty sure that a lot of you are old enough to remember All That, the Nickelodeon sketch comedy series that was very popular during the late ‘90s until the early 2000s. Lori Beth Denberg was part of the show’s original cast, and to her credit, she was always regarded as one of the most talented of the bunch. Sadly, 20 years after All That had been canceled, it’s clear that Denberg’s career hasn’t taken off. It’s unfortunate because she had such a promising career during her Nickelodeon days. But still, we’re hoping to see her on TV or film in the near future.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
Multi-talented Neil Patrick Harris can do just about any role these days. He can act, but what’s been made clear in recent years is that he can also sing, dance, raise a family, and pretty much do anything that he puts his mind into. To some degree, he did have quite the humble beginning—or actually, not so humble, depending on who you ask. After all, he did land a role in the acclaimed hit Clara’s Heart when he was 15 years old. He even won a Golden Globe for his performance in this show, proving that Harris worked hard to get to where he is.
MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are twin superstars. These two are billionaires now, and while they may not have had a successful career in Hollywood after their breakout roles in Full House, they’ve definitely been able to hire the right people to handle all the money they’ve earned from their somewhat brief acting stint. It’s been reported, after all, that these ladies were able to make a number of investments at a young age. It turned out to be so good that they are now swimming in cash. Currently, they are running a number of very successful businesses and fashion lines.
Jodie Sweetin was part of the cast in Full House at the tender age of five. She had a lot of adorable moments in the show, so much so that many thought she was, to some degree, destined to make it big in Hollywood. Indeed, as Stephanie Tanner, the middle child of Pam and Danny Tanner in Full House, she frequently stole each of the scenes she was in. We’re sad to report, however, that Sweetin’s career took a downward spiral after she turned to substance abuse. She was able to recover and re-enter Hollywood, but so far, she hasn’t been involved with anything noteworthy.
Ron Howard may be the exception here since he seems to have gotten it so easy. While others had to metaphorically mortgage their homes to get noticed, Howard went through no such trouble. After all, he was born into a family of actors, each of whom was able to push little Ron through the door. Nevertheless, nobody can deny Howard’s talent, whether it’s in front or behind the camera. His breakout role was that of Opie Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show, but he’s currently a highly sought-after director. Among the blockbusters he’s directed are A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code, Apollo 13, and more.
Lindsay Lohan is one of the best examples of the dark side of fame. She was young when she landed role after role in the films The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, and a lot more, but her breakout role was in Tina Fey’s now-iconic teen comedy Mean Girls. Not only that, but she also ventured into the music scene. Similar to some on this list, substance abuse beckoned and Lohan answered the call. Her lack of money management skills also assured that she wouldn’t be keeping much of the fortune she previously acquired. Nevertheless, we’re hoping she’ll be able to snap out of it.
Wenwen Han struck it big when she was cast to have a role in Harold Zwart’s Karate Kid, which was a remake of the beloved 1984 film of the same name. She was 15 years old at the time and had been trained in dancing and playing the violin. But Hollywood beckoned, and she answered the call, which is why she’s now a certified celebrity—more specifically, a social media celebrity. Indeed, she has more than 150,000 followers on Instagram. To a huge degree, it’s totally understandable why she’s so popular on social media – after all, she’s a gorgeous gal who posts about gorgeous things.
MALCOLM DAVID KELLEY
Malcolm David Kelley’s career was quite interesting to follow. He landed his first major role at age 10 as the titular character in the film Antwone Fisher. The show featured complex themes, so Kelley was able to showcase his talents, which eventually got him the attention he deserved as an actor. This led him to land another high-profile role, this time as Walter Lloyd on the TV series Lost. In 2012, however, Kelley changed course and got into music; he and fellow actor Tony Oller compiled their investments and formed the pop musical group MKTO. They’ve been continuously releasing music since 2014.
MASON VALE COTTON
Mason Vale Cotton’s first big role was that of Maynard James “M.J.” Delfino in the hit television series Desperate Housewives. It would be a role that he would play for five years, and his career only got better since then. In 2012, he landed the role of Bobby Draper in Mad Men, which was another hit television series that, to a huge degree, served to boost Cotton’s profile in Hollywood. He also recently lent his voice to the titular character of the Nickelodeon animated film Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, and we suspect that we’ll be seeing more of him in the years to come.
Readers—older ones, at least—may recall Jason Bateman as the 12-year-old James Cooper in the old television series Little House on the Prairie. That was one of his more memorable roles on TV, but he’s also had roles in Silver Spoons, Hogan Family, and more. In fact, Bateman was quite a prolific child actor but during the ‘90s, his career somewhat stagnated. However, he did come back and has become more popular than ever, with his involvement in such successful shows as Arrested Development and Netflix’s The Ozarks, where he played a financial advisor to the mob. He’s also appeared in various comedy films.
Speaking of Arrested Development, here’s another child actor who got her big break in the series. She’s Alia Shawkat, who played Maeby Fünke, a con artist who’s part of the Bluth family. Alia, however, was acting long before her Arrested Development days; indeed, she got her first major role in a show the State of Grace when she was eleven years old. Interestingly enough, Alia was discovered after she appeared in a Calvin Klein ad, and her Hollywood career, to some degree, snowballed from there. Currently, acting seems to keep her busy, as she’s still readily taking on roles for TV and film.
Even at a young age, Kenan Thompson always joined school plays and always took the craft of acting more serious than can be expected of a young boy. Of course, all those investments in learning the craft eventually paid off. Just like many on this list, he started on Nickelodeon, as an original cast member of the comedy sketch series All That. Soon, he and cast member Kel Mitchell were given their own show Kenan & Kel. Kenan was then cast as a member of Saturday Night Live, a show for which he made history as the longest-running member.
It’s rare for a child actor to win an Oscar, but Anna Paquin did it, and, to her credit, she did it by the age of eleven. Indeed, for her performance in the romantic drama film The Piano, she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She was certainly a sought-after child star since then, landing roles in such films as Fly Away Home, A Walk on The Moon, and a lot more. Of course, her career would only take off later on in life, and she would win a string of awards such as a Golden Globe for her performance in True Blood.
She may not be as easily recognizable as some on this list, but she’s definitely played a steady stream of characters on film and TV since she was a child. Her first role was in the film Pumpkinhead, which was way back in 1988. That same year, she was cast alongside Bette Midler in the highly successful film Beaches. In 1990, she became the lead star in the sitcom Blossom, where she played the titular character. Interestingly enough, Bialik has a degree in neuroscience from UCLA, which made her perfect for the role of neurobiologist Amy Fowler in the hit comedy sitcom series The Big Bang Theory.
Of course, everyone knows him as Frodo Baggins, in the epic fantasy adventure Lord of the Rings trilogy, but Elijah Wood has been a force in Hollywood long before he wore the one ring to rule them all. What many don’t know is that Wood had a very minor role in Back to the Future 2 as one of the two kids hanging out in the arcade of the future. Needless to say, that was hardly his only role as a kid, as he also, to his credit, starred in a lot of other films, such as Radio Flyer, The Good Son, Forever Young, and more.
Eric Lloyd was 8 years old when he starred alongside Tim Allen in the holiday hit The Santa Claus, which also got two sequels. But what many might not know is that Lloyd started his career in Hollywood when he was 2 only years old, playing the younger version of Fred Savage’s character in the hit coming-of-age TV series The Wonder Years. At age 5, he was already flooring Hollywood bigwigs with his portrayal of Leo Hill in the rather short-lived TV sitcom Laurie Hill. He turned his back on acting, however, to pursue a career as a music producer.
CHLOE GRACE MORETZ
Chloe Grace Moretz is, to some degree, one of a few child stars who have started a career in Hollywood at a young age and seem to have never stopped. After landing a role in Amityville Horror, the star has only continued to rise. She was cast to play Sherri Maltby in the television series Desperate Housewives and has had many roles in films since then, among which were films like 500 Days of Summer, Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2, and the film adaptation of legendary horror novelist Stephen King’s book, Carrie. There’s also no sign of stopping for Moretz as far as we can see.
Jeff Bridges was only 4 months old—can you believe that?—when he landed his first role. It was in a 1950 film called The Company She Keeps. But one can say that he was pushed through the door, so to speak, since his father was already working as an actor in Hollywood. But if one needed to point to the best investment Jeff had made for himself as an actor, it would have to be his appearance in one of his Dad’s television shows, which were Sea Hunt and The Lloyd Bridges Show. This pretty much got him Hollywood’s attention, and he’s been wading in it ever since.
This hottie caught Hollywood’s attention when she starred alongside Cher in the film Mermaids. She’s been landing roles in films ever since, and her breakout out role would have to be that of electricity-loving Wednesday Addams in the film adaptation of the successful TV series The Addams Family. As an adult in Hollywood, she’s had success after success, landing roles in such films as The Opposite of Sex and Sleepy Hollow, among many others. She’s moved into television more recently. She’s also part of a show that’s currently in production called Yellowjackets, and we’ll surely be watching out for it.
You will definitely remember him as Frodo Baggins’ BFF, Samwise Gamgee, the ever-faithful hobbit without whom Sauron wouldn’t have been defeated. But the man started his career when he was very young, and to his credit, he has had a steady Hollywood career ever since. He got his first role when he was just 8 years old in a television movie called Please Don’t Hit Me, Mom. A few years later, he would land his breakout role, which was in the film Goonies. Roles for films would continuously be offered to Astin and in 2001, he played a Hobbit onscreen for three years in a row.
Demi Lovato was part of the children’s show Barney and Friends when she was 10 years old. A few years after her stint with Barney, the singing and dancing purple dinosaur who’s totally unrelated to the chain of retail stores that filed for bankruptcy just recently, Lovato was cast in the TV series Prison Break. Then, a role in the Disney show As the Bell Rings shortly followed suit, which allowed her to showcase her singing chops, and led Lovato to shift into a career in music, where she’s been doing quite well so far.
Zac Efron, who is now a full-fledged Hollywood hunk to a huge degree, is one of the best child star success stories in recent memory. Like a lot on this list, Efron became famous after his stint with Disney. His involvement with the Disney movie High School Musical put him on Hollywood’s radar, which became his stepping stone towards what eventually became an enviable acting career. Today, he’s one of the most sought-after stars in Hollywood, thanks to his raw acting talent, which he showcased in the 2019 film Ted Bundy, which was based on the life of the infamous serial killer.
Multi-talented Josh Peck started his career in the late ‘90s, appearing in the Rosie O’Donnell Show at the age of ten. Soon, he landed roles in various shows for Nickelodeon and even received his own show on the network entitled Drake & Josh. Now an adult, Peck has still been getting a steady amount of work and can be considered moderately successful in Hollywood as both an actor and a voice actor. Peck also currently runs his own Youtube Channel and with more than 3.5 million subscribers, he definitely can, to his credit, be considered successful at it.
She’s more popularly known as Carmen Cortex in the highly successful Spy Kids movie series, but she started her career in Hollywood long before that. At just 8 years old, Alexa had already been cast in the film Twister, and she’s also had numerous minor appearances in TV shows. In 2003, she was named one of the hottest teen celebrities in Vanity Fair’s July issue when she was 15 years old. To her credit, Vega also completed filming two movies, Sleepover and State’s Evidence. She’s still consistently landing roles for TV and film, and at one point even competed in the show Dancing with the Stars.
She was posterized on every teen boy’s room when she was a mere teenager, as a tween character on the hit sitcom Who’s the Boss—and this was after a string of roles she’s already been able to bag on stage as a much younger kid. Soon enough, more prominent roles came her way, in the form of high profile shows like Melrose Place and Charmed. Indeed, a whole generation had, to one degree or another, watch Milano transform from child star to a teen heartthrob and eventually, a serious mainstream actress to a social activist in the two decades she’s been around.
Here’s another Harry Potter graduate. We’re all familiar with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and the rest of the main characters of the 8-film series. But let’s not forget that Matthew Lewis who played Neville Longbottom, was, to a huge degree, an integral part of the film. Lewis started acting when he was 5, having landed a few minor roles for television. Lewis also had other roles while the Harry Potter series was still ongoing. The man never really stopped, even after his Potter days, but Neville Longbottom was such an iconic character that he will always be remembered for this role.
Jerry O’Connell is now an actor, a director, a host, as well as a father to two kids. Much like a lot on this list, he started doing commercials as a kid and graduated onto TV shows and film after. Jerry’s breakout role was in the TV series Sliders. He landed several other roles since then, in films such as Stand by Me, Joe’s Apartment, and Jerry Maguire. As a child star, he was able to avoid getting student loans because of all the money he made, so he was able to major in film studies, which helped his career in Hollywood.
He was the witty and hilarious kid that starred opposite Hugh Grant in About a Boy. Although this might have been the first time most people encountered the young actor, Hoult actually started his career at the age of three. It was mainly theatre productions he was involved with until he was cast in his first feature-film role at the age of five. He then landed major roles a few years later, in films like Kidulthood, Clash of the Titans, and more. Now, he’s a certified Hollywood star, with numerous films under his belt. To his credit, it doesn’t seem he’ll be slowing down anytime soon.
Danica McKellar—or Winnie Cooper, which was the character she played—became a household name in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, largely because of the success of The Wonder Years. It was a role she got on account of all the investment money her parents spent on acting classes at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles. McKellar would take a four-year break, however, after the show ended its run. When she returned to acting, she was able to land minor roles in shows like West Wing and Inspector Mom. Recently, she was cast in a starring role for Netflix’s original series Project Mc2.
Abigail Breslin successfully managed to transition from a child star into the lovely, empowered adult actress that she is today. Breslin was three years old when she was landed a role in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, and that breakout role was, to her credit, followed by films such as Raising Helen and Little Miss Sunshine. For her performance in this film, she managed to get nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Today, at 23 years old, she continues to have a very enviable career in Hollywood by continuously booking starring roles, like in the 2017 remake of the film, Dirty Dancing.
Jonathan Lipnicki rose to stardom as the adorable, spiky-haired, 6-year-old son of Renée Zellweger in Jerry Maguire. But according to Lipnicki, the role wasn’t without its drawbacks. Indeed, he was constantly bullied as a kid and was often called a “has-been” because he wasn’t able to land other acting gigs after his Jerry Maguire and Stuart Little days. Despite this, Lipnicki continued to push through. Although he hasn’t landed any high-profile roles since he was a kid, he won’t need to worry about bankruptcy any time soon, given that he’s still consistently getting a good amount of work to keep himself busy.
Those who grew up in the ‘90s will definitely find Alyson Stoner a familiar face. After all, she was one booked and busy child star during those days. She started on Mikes Super Short Show, which ran from 2002 to 2007 on Disney Channel, and it was followed by starring roles in films like Camp Rock, Step Up, and Cheaper by the Dozen. The many investments Stoner made in choreography training also landed her roles in quite a number of the music videos of Missy Elliott and Eminem. Today, she’s more focused on dancing than acting, teaching hip hop classes at the Millennium Dance Complex.
Dakota Fanning is famous because of the many roles she’s had as a kid. She was just 5 years old when she appeared on screen for the first time, playing the role of a car crash survivor on the hit TV series ER. In 2001, when she turned 7 years old, she landed her breakout role as she starred opposite Hollywood heavyweight Sean Penn in the drama film I Am Sam. Her career would only reach new heights since then, landing roles in such films as War of the Worlds, Twilight, and more. To her credit, her career is currently showing no signs of slowing down.
Shia LaBeouf was practically Hollywood royalty during the mid-2000s. He’s been involved in a slew of box office successes such as Transformers and Indiana Jones 4. But what many might not know is that Shia started his career when he was 10 years old, performing in comedy clubs. LaBeouf shared in one interview that he turned to Hollywood because his family was suffering from bankruptcy—and, boy, did it pay off. He landed a role in Disney Channel’s Even Stevens, and soon thereafter, the offers would come pouring in. Now, he’s got so many films under his belt, and a lot of them were starring roles.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster is quite the multi-awarded child star; he won the Golden Nymph at Monte Carlo Television Festival for Best Actor in a mini-series and has been nominated in more than a few Young Artist Awards. He’s the cousin of actor Hugh Grant, which perhaps made him, to some degree, destined for Hollywood greatness. He was working by the age of 10. Now he’s only 28 years old and has a long life ahead of him. We’re quite sure that, based on the number of shows he’s been involved with recently, his career is doing just fine – if not better than the most.
Georgie Henley is best known for playing Lucy Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia film series. She was only 7 years old at the time. As an adult, she’s not just an actress but also a writer and a director, making her a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry. She continued her studies after Narnia and got a degree in English from Clare, College Cambridge. It was in 2014 when she got back to acting, landing a role in the crime-drama Perfect Sisters. She would land a number of roles since then and even get an opportunity to work on her own short film.
Bug Hall was quite popular during the ‘90s since he was absolutely perfect as Alfalfa in the 1994 film, The Little Rascals. Indeed, he and the others in the movie were given a Young Artist Award for their performance. He’s had a few other roles since then but his next memorable one would be as Eddie Munster in The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas. Sadly, Hall’s career isn’t as storied as it was when he was a kid, but he is still working as an actor to some degree, albeit only getting minor roles and guest appearances for TV shows and films.
Tatyana Ali will always be remembered as the beloved Ashley Banks in the highly successful ‘90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She was only 11 years old when she portrayed that role for which she will be forever known. But most people will probably be unaware that she started acting long before, at the age of 6, on the educational program Sesame Street. She has had, to her credit, a moderately successful musical career after, with one album getting ‘certified gold’ status. To this day, she has been getting a steady stream of roles, both in TV and film.
You’ve seen him in the hit MTV series Teen Wolf, but you may not know that he played the adorable 11-year-old son of Jennifer Lopez in the 2002 romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan. It was his first big role, and it was what got him noticed in Hollywood. He would go on to land several roles since then, in films like Collateral, where he had a minor role opposite Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. He would, to his credit, finally become a household name after appearing in Teen Wolf, the aforementioned MTV series that is loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name.
BLAKE MCIVER EWING
Before Blake McIver Ewing became a singer-songwriter, model, and pianist, he was known for playing Derek, the friend of Michelle in Full House. But his breakout film role was that of Waldo Johnston, the annoying spoiled brat who dresses like a tiny financial advisor in Little Rascals. He’s landed quite a number of roles since then, but eventually, he turned his attention to music, which he now has a moderately successful career in. Although he’s not getting as much airtime as he used to when he was as a kid, he’s had a relatively busy career, working as a host for AfterBuzz TV.
Here’s another Nickelodeon alumnus whose investment with the children’s network worked wonders for his career. He started in the Nickelodeon sitcom Cousin Skeeter while making a number of appearances in various Nickelodeon sitcoms as himself. Eventually, he landed roles in films such as Coach Carter and House of Wax. After his Nickelodeon days, he made a number of guest appearances in several hit television shows, such as in Boston Public, CSI: Miami, The Jamie Foxx Show, Veronica Mars, and a lot more. Today, Ri’chard is still fairly busy and is set to be involved with a slew of upcoming shows on TV and film.
Mila Kunis has had so many memorable roles in TV and film that practically nobody remembers that her first role was in the hit TV series Baywatch when she was 11 years old. Her parents made a huge investment in her by moving to Los Angeles from Ukraine and enrolled her in acting classes at the age of 7. Well, it all paid off, because she’s one of the most sought-after actresses today, as evidenced by the slew of roles we see her taking on. Of course, the most memorable one will still be when she played Jackie Burkhart in the highly successful sitcom That 70s Show.
ALEX D. LINZ
Alex Linz started acting at a young age of 5, making an appearance on an episode of the television series Cybil. He later went on to make several appearances on other TV shows as a kid, with the most notable was in The Young and the Restless. In 1996, at the age of 6, he was cast to play Michelle Pfeiffer’s son in the film One Fine Day. He would, much to his credit, be able to land a few minor roles since then, but so far as his career is concerned, it practically halted by the time he was 18 years old.
Nicola Peltz got her breakout role as Katara in the adventure film The Last Airbender. She started her career pretty young though, at the age of 11, in the Christmas comedy Deck the Halls. In 2013, she became the star in the thriller television series Bates Motel, portraying the love interest of the lead character. In 2014, she landed a role in the fourth Transformers film. She’s actually had a slew of roles since then—too many to mention, in fact. Needless to say, she is one celebrity who won’t need to take out a mortgage any time soon, given the trajectory of her career.
Even if it has been twenty years since the Disney series Smart Guy aired its last episode, the adorable little kid who played a child prodigy in the show was, to his credit, able to remain in the spotlight. He went on to play Teddy in the sitcom Full House and had appeared in a slew of Disney Channel movies since then. As an adult actor, Mowry now has a lot of roles under his belt. Today, Mowry is still a busy actor, despite that the shows he’s recently been involved with pretty much flew under the radar.
Ryan Merriman has been acting before he could even own a credit card and has appeared in numerous feature films and TV shows throughout his childhood. His breakout role was that of Jack Pierce, in the horror film The Ring Two. Merriman has had roles in quite a number of horror films to date, including Halloween: Resurrection and Final Destination 3. To date, he continues to have a successful career in Hollywood, starring and guest appearing in numerous shows on TV and film, including Hawaii Five-O, Pretty Little Liars, Ballers, and more. The man’s career also doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Isabelle Fuhrman rose to Hollywood fame when she played the creepy orphan in the 2009 psychological horror film Orphan. Many are unaware, however, that she started her career at the age of 7 when she landed a role on Cartoon Network’s show Cartoon Fridays. But her screen debut was in the coming-of-age drama Hounddog, where she starred alongside fellow child star Dakota Fanning. She’s been landing roles for films ever since. She’s also lent her voice to quite a number of video game characters, making her, to some degree, a voice talent too. We’re pretty sure we’ll be seeing a lot of Fuhrman in the future.
The ‘90s were awesome to Devon Sawa – he was a teen heartthrob who was already flooring audiences with his thespian talents. He starred in films such as Casper and Little Giants. Between 1994 to 2000, he had a film coming out almost every year. But, Sawa actually started his career at 11 years old, doing theatre productions and commercials, then slowly moving onto film. At 25 years old, he took a break from acting. Since his return to acting, he’s landed guest appearances on TV and is slowly working his way up, with a starring role in the upcoming film Disturbing the Peace.
Avan Jogia is considered one of the stars to look out for these days, but many might not know that he’s spent more than a decade in the Hollywood industry already. His first role was in 2006, in the film A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story, which caught Hollywood’s attention, particularly Nickelodeon. Yes, he’s another Nickelodeon alumnus, becoming a teen sensation after his involvement with the network’s Emmy-nominated series, Victorious. He’s landed, to some degree, a combination of minor and major roles since then, and currently, the Canadian actor is working steadily and making a name for himself.
Justin Berfield began his career at the age of 5, appearing in a whopping 22 commercials, at one point earning himself the nickname ‘the commercial kid.’ Although his breakout role was that of Reese on the hit series Malcolm in the Middle, he appeared in a good amount of shows before that, flooring audiences with his performance in The Good Life. A few years later, he played Ross Maloy in Unhappily Ever After. After Malcolm in the Middle ended its run, Berfield stayed out of the limelight for years, only to come back for a single guest appearance on the show Sons of Tucson.