Not all former child stars crash, burn and spend their adult years in and out of jail and rehab like a revolving door. Rather than chasing the Hollywood dream some actually turned their back on the limelight forever, opting to be, well, normal.
“I decided I should leave before I became one of those alcoholic/eating disorder ravaged/drug addicted train wrecks of a former child actor.” That’s what Lisa Jakub wrote on her blog in 2013. The writer – who played Robin Williams’ daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire – left the business aged 22 because she had “no desire to be a cautionary tale.”
Mara Wilson – who played Robin Williams’ other daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire – has also quit acting, preferring to devote her life to being a writer and playwright instead. In a 2012 entry on her blog MaraWilsonWritesStuff.com she wrote that she doesn’t have “any plans to pursue film acting” because, “It’s not my ‘thing’ anymore…”
Best known for her role as Lex Murphy in Jurassic Park, as an adult Ariana Richards turned her back on acting and threw herself into another artistic outlet. She is now a professional painter.
Ross Malinger – the cute kid who played Tom Hanks’ son in the 1993 romantic flick Sleepless In Seattle – quit acting in his adult years. He went on to manage a car dealership in Malibu, Calif. before it closed in 2009 and hasn’t been heard of – at least publicly – since.
In the 1980s and ‘90s Maia Brewton was a familiar face on our TV and movie screens appearing in everything from Adventures in Babysitting to 21 Jump Street and The Wonder Years. These days the Yale graduate is an attorney.
Fans of The Goonies may be saddened to know that Jeff Cohen – the actor who played Chunk in the 1985 classic – is no longer chubby and hasn't got a headful of curls. But if you’re in Hollywood and you ever need an entertainment lawyer, he’s your man.
lori beth denberg
What’s Lydia Liza Gutman up to these days? Well Lori Beth Denberg – the actress who played the quirky geek in The Steve Harvey Show is an ordained minister. According to the bio on her website she does want to “reenter the field of acting” but a the moment she is “officiating personalized, quirky weddings” in addition to giving “motivational speeches to teens and women.”
To fans of the 1986 sci-fi classic Aliens, Carrie Henn will forever be known as Newt but to her students she’s just a regular teacher.
From Problem Child to roadie. That is what happened to Michael Oliver – the former child actor who played Junior in the first two installments of the movie series.
As a child he made a name for himself starring as the lead in the musical Oliver!. But as an adult, in addition to being an osteopath living and working in the U.K., Mark Lester claims he is the biological father of his friend Michael Jackson’s two eldest children. Yes THAT Michael Jackson and his kids, Paris and Prince.
For years she played Kimmy Gibbler on the hit comedy Full House. But Andrea Barber left the world of entertainment. She is now a full-time mom but has worked as an assistant to the director of Whittier College’s Office of International Programs.
Jason Zimbler – the carrot-top child actor who played Ferguson W. Darling in the Nickelodeon series Clarissa Explains It All – now reportedly works as a software engineer for HBO.
He received one of the longed for golden tickets in the 1971 children’s classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. But kid actor Peter Ostrum shunned the limelight, studied veterinary medicine and now works as a vet in a New York state clinic.
shirley temple black
The ultimate child star, the late Shirley Temple Black put down her “Good Ship Lollipop” and quit acting in 1950 when she was just 22. As an older woman she became heavily involved in politics and during President George H. W. Bush’s administration she was a U.S. Ambassador to (the former state of) Czechoslovakia between 1989 and 1992.