Child Stars – How Have They Grown?


Shirley Temple was able to successfully graduate from giggles and curls to responsible adult and eventual United States Ambassador. Not all child actors fare as well.

 Danica McKellar – Winnie of The Wonder Years appears to be a winner at transitioning from child actress to adult actress—not to mention author of several books on the joys of math for middle and high schoolers and film director and writer. Her parents’ emphasis on education (she graduated from UCLA summa cum laude) and studies of mathematics helped keep this girl’s head straight.

 Amanda Bynes – She took a slightly different tack post child stardom. Amanda was a regular cast member on two Nickelodeon shows—Figure it Out and All That, then starred in The Amanda Show and had parts in several movies before retiring, unretiring, and, finally, taking time off from acting. A large portion of this time off has been spent at the police station. Her first ticket was for talking on the cell phone while driving, and the crimes grew from there to include a DUI for sideswiping a police car, two hit-and-runs, driving with a suspended license, tampering with evidence by throwing a bong out her Manhattan apartment window during an arrest for marijuana possession, and starting a small fire in front of a stranger’s house. She is currently enrolled in fashion school. Is orange her favorite color?

Lindsay Lohan – Burst onto the acting scene playing twins in the remake of The Parent Trap. Next came the hit movies, Freaky Friday and Mean Girls. She was a bona fide star. The temptations of tinsel town proved to be too much for the Disney star, and she has spent time in and out of court mandated rehabilitation, jail and psychotherapy, while appearing in less than critically acclaimed films. She keeps trying though and, perhaps one day, she will get her mojo back.

Angus T. Jones – Starred as the sarcastic, wise-cracking son of single father, Jon Cryer, who lives with his uncle (and Cryer’s brother), Charlie Sheen in the popular comedy, Two and a Half Men. He became the most highly paid child actor at the age of 17, earning $300,000 per episode for 26 episodes. In 2012, he began criticizing the show as “filth” and discouraging people from watching it. His protest is linked to his religious beliefs as a member of the Voice of Prophecy Seventh-Day Adventist church in Los Angeles. He certainly is able to be a large donor.

Jodie Foster – She has been acting since the age of 3, receiving two Academy Awards and many nominations. She graduated from Yale University and has two sons. She continues to act and direct and seems to have weathered her early fame quite well.

Jonathan Lipnicki – An American actor known for his childhood roles in Jerry Maguire, Stuart Little, The Little Vampire, and Like Mike. Took a hiatus from acting to lead a normal teenage life, but, now, is back with a vengeance. Without glasses and with a super-buff body gained from competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he is again ready for the grappling ring of Hollywood!

Macauley Culkin – Called the greatest child actor since Shirley Temple, he rose to international fame in the blockbuster movie, Home Alone. He went on to similar acclaim in several other movies, including Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, My Girl and The Good Son, and more. In 1995, his parents separated and fought a lengthy legal battle over custody of their kids and Macauley’s substantial fortune. This lawsuit lasted two years, during which time Mack refused to work. His mother eventually received custody. After several years away from acting, he returned to play some darker, more experimental roles and play in a band. The actor’s gaunt appearance here worried his many fans after he was said to be close to death last year as he allegedly battled a devastating heroin addiction. He looked considerable healthier at last year’s Comic Con Convention but is said to be smoking up to 60 cigarettes a day, which he can definitely afford with his $15 million net worth.

Kristen Stewart – Was nominated for a Young Artist Award for her performance with Jodie Foster in Panic Room at the age of nine. Born into a showbiz family, she is best known for her performance in The Twilight Saga, where she met and began a relationship with Robert Pattinson that was frequent fodder for the paparazzi. She continues to give critically acclaimed performances and seems, so far, to be able to stay out of trouble.

Danny Bonaduce – Became famous in the 1970’s as Danny on The Partridge Family. His next gig was as a radio broadcaster in Los Angeles. He also made several movies and appeared on television shows. Following the end of The Partridge Family, Bonaduce went through a period of drug abuse and even homelessness. The actor divulged on his radio show that he had lived in his car behind Grauman’s Chinese Theater for a while, where he was greeted by fans and autograph-seekers. Among his several arrests following his television series days were one for attempting to buy cocaine and another for robbing and beating a transvestite prostitute. Today, he is back on the radio and appears to be a survivor.

 Mischa Barton – The once rail-thin star of The O.C. has come under scrutiny for her weight gain with which she has come to terms. She says, “When you’re 16, you’re not what you are at 25. I was really young and just had not filled out at all. Not everybody stays the same body type. It was always, ‘She’s too skinny, she must be sick.’” Then it was, “She’s too big.” I was never the right weight. Whatever weight she is, she has enough acting jobs and endorsements to keep her busy.

Erik Per Sullivan – The once adorably awkward Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle has grown up to look, well, not so awkward.

The Disney channel is a great place to get your start in acting or singing. That being said some stars are just not going to be as popular as some.  Here are some Disney Channel stars that you would not recognize today if you saw them on the street.

Adam Lamberg (Lizzie McGuire)- everyone saw potential in this actor when he became part of the acclaimed Lizzie McGuire series. Though Hillary Duff was the main character his sarcastic wit and perfect comedic timing often stole the show in his role as Gordo. He has not been acting since his last movie Beautiful Loser and has since attainted a decree in Geography from University of California. He now works as a development associate with the Irish Arts Center in New York and is working on a masters degree in Public Administration.

Dan Benson (Wizards of Waverly Place)- As Justin Russo’s (David Henrie) best friend in the series he was quite a nerd. He was discovered in a Disney Channel casting and he has done some acting since then. His latest role is in Mr. Intangebiles and he has also done some modeling.



Mitchell Musso (Hannah Montana)- as the best friend and side kick to Miley Cyrus on this Disney Channel show, he was often forgotten. Like some of his other Disney Channel buddies he moved on to the sister channel, Disney XD before abandoning his Disney Career all together. He has since tried to make a living out of his music career which has yet to take off.

Raven Symone (That’s So Raven)- this 90s starlet has not done much acting since her stint on the Disney channel in both That’s So Raven and the Cheetah Girls movies but she has not been resting on her laurels. This actress is pursuing a degree at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and she is also making a name for herself in the talk show circuit.

Anneliese Van Der Pol (That’s So Raven)- as Raven’s best friend Chelsea she was cute, but now she is smoking hot. She has since grown up and played Belle on Broadway in Beauty and the Beast and has been in several productions on Broadway since. She is also modeling and is currently starring as Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie on Broadway.

Dylan and Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zach and Cody)- these adorable twin trouble makers have since moved on from acting and have both graduated from NYU. Dylan is an amateur video game designer while Cole is studying Archaeology. The pair have done pretty well for themselves.

Ricky Ullman (Phil of the Future)- this show didn’t go over so well and didn’t have the staying power that most Disney channel shows have. That being said the main actor, Ryan Ullman hasn’t been on any shows or movies since and he is currently plays in the band Reputante.



Tiffany Thornton (Sonny With a Chance)- not long after the show started the main actress, Demi Lovato had some issues with an eating disorder and the show was cancelled. Since then Tiffany, the main antagonist of the show, has done little acting but has had an active family life. She was married for a time and she and her ex husband have two sons together.

Demi Lovato (Sonny With a Chance)- after struggling with some major demons, drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and depression just to name a few, Demi has risen from the ashes to become a powerhouse vocalist and mentor to aspiring singers.