Where Our Favorite Childhood Actors Ended Up


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Hollywood, from what it seems, is a challenging place for adult actors, let alone children. The pressure, scrutiny, and demands of the entertainment industry can take a toll on young actors who are still navigating their formative years. While some child stars successfully transition into adult acting careers, many others choose to leave the spotlight behind. 

 Here are 10 child stars who left the limelight and decided to pursue regular careers out of the spotlight.

Image Credit: IMDb/ Wikipedia.

Peter Ostrum

At just 12 years old, Peter Ostrum discovered the golden ticket when talent agents spotted him in a play in Cleveland and offered him the role of Charlie in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” 

Despite being offered a lucrative three-movie deal by the studio, Ostrum decided to take a different path after his time as Charlie. Rather than pursuing a career in acting, he opted to keep his role a secret from most people in his life, including his wife, revealing it to her just before she met his mother. 

Now 64, Ostrum has discovered his true passion in life as a veterinarian. “Acting was fine, but I wanted something more steady, and the key is to find something that you love doing, and that’s what my profession has given to me,” Ostrum said in a 2000 interview with the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Image Credit: Turner Entertainment Co. IMDB/Wikipedia.

Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen’s endearing “truffle shuffle” as Chunk in “The Goonies” won the hearts of audiences, but then he started losing his baby fat and was left unwanted. Luckily, director Richard Donner introduced Cohen to the business side of Hollywood, which helped the former child star pursue a career as a high-profile entertainment attorney, with a biography page that asks clients not to hold his “dubious” past as a child actor against him.

Image Credit: Warner Bros. IMDB/WIkipedia.

Danny Lloyd

Remember that little boy with pudding-bowl haircut from “The Shining” who gave you chills? Well, it turns out he didn’t vanish into thin air.

Instead of lurking in haunted hotels, Danny Lloyd, the boy  who played Danny Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic, is now a biology professor at a community college in Kentucky. Who would’ve thought?

Image Credit: IMDB.

Angus T. Jones

In 2010, Angus T. Jones was making a whopping $300,000 per episode, playing the chubby and clueless Jake on “Two and a Half Men.” He was the highest-paid child actor of that time. 

However, in 2012, Jones decided to step away from the showbiz glitz and leave the Hollywood limelight. Since then, he’s been quite private about his personal life, occasionally captured in paparazzi snaps. 

Angus enrolled at the University of Colorado at Boulder, seeking a different path beyond acting. In a 2016 interview with People, he revealed that he was working as the president of entertainment for Tonite, an events company founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs’ son, Justin. 

Image Credit: IMDb.

Alisan Porter

Alisan Porter’s journey to stardom began when she won “Star Search” at the tender age of 5, making her the youngest winner ever. Later, she charmed audiences in the film “Curly Sue” and made notable appearances on “The Golden Girls” and in the TV movie “When You Remember Me.” 

After taking a break from the limelight, Alisan re-emerged in 2016, wowing the world with her powerful vocals and winning “The Voice” Season 10. Since then, she’s continued to pursue her music career while also embracing motherhood.

Image Credit: IMDb/ jus10h / Wikipedia.

Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson made her on-screen debut at the tender age of 6 in the 1993 film “Mrs. Doubtfire,” stealing hearts with her adorable performance. Over the next seven years, she continued to charm audiences in nine more roles, including beloved classics like “Matilda” (1996) and “Miracle on 34th Street” (1994). 

After portraying Lily Rose in “Thomas and the Magic Railroad” in 2000 at age 13, Wilson decided it was time to retire from Hollywood. “I consider it something of a mutual breakup: I was pretty much over Hollywood, and it was like, ‘Well, you aren’t really cute anymore, so we don’t know what to do with you.’ And it was fine with me,” Wilson told TIME. 

Wilson focused on her writing skills, eventually publishing a memoir in 2016 titled “Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.” Wilson’s writing prowess extends beyond her memoir. Her work can also be found on various platforms such as Elle.com, McSweeney’s, The New York Times, Reductress, Vanity Fair, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, Cracked, Talkhouse Film, and The Toast.

Wilson is also a vocal mental health advocate, actively challenging stigmas around conditions like OCD and anxiety. With a strong presence on Twitter, she uses her platform to advocate for mental health wellness and promote open discussions about mental health issues.

Image Credit: IMDb/ Wikipedia/Super Festivals.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen first captured our hearts as adorable toddlers playing Michelle Tanner on “Full House” in 1987. Over the years, they built a media empire, starring in numerous direct-to-video specials and movies, like “You’re Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley’s…” and “Holiday in the Sun.” Although they tried their hand at network TV with shows like “So Little Time” and “Two of a Kind,” their return wasn’t as successful as their earlier ventures. 

Their 2004 rom-com “New York Minute” marked their last on-screen collaboration. Today, at 36, the Olsen twins remain in the public eye, but their focus has shifted. Mary-Kate continued acting for a while, appearing in films like “Beastly” (2011) and the TV series “Weeds” (2007). However, in 2012, both twins officially retired from acting to pursue their passion for fashion. 

Launching their clothing line, Elizabeth and James, in 2007, the Olsen sisters delved into the world of design and have since become renowned figures in the fashion industry.

Image Credit: IMDb/ Wikipedia /David Shankbone.

Ariana Richards

While Ariana Richards made her mark in Hollywood at just 14 years old, starring as Lex in “Jurassic Park,” her acting journey began six years earlier with a role in an episode of “The Golden Girls.” 

Following her success in “Jurassic Park,” Ariana appeared in several made-for-TV movies and even made a cameo in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.” However, her last on-screen appearance was in the 2001 direct-to-video movie “Tremors 3: Back to Perfection.” 

Nowadays, at the age of 42, Ariana has shifted her focus to her passion for painting and runs her own art gallery. While she did briefly return to TV in 2013 for a role in “Battledogs,” her main dedication lies in her thriving art career.

Image Credit: IMDb/ Wikipedia.

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple was probably Hollywood’s first, happiest, and only unscathed child star, inspiring a mocktail and future young actors. 

Temple starred in numerous successful films, including “Bright Eyes” (1934), “Curly Top” (1935), and “Heidi” (1937). But then she grew up, and her blonde curls turned brown, and the studios decided she was through. 

But, the smart cookie that she was, Temple transitioned out of acting and entered the world of diplomacy and politics. She served as the United States Ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976 and later as the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. Although no longer with us, the memory of her post-Hollywood brilliance and iconic curls live on today.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

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