Hollywood is incredibly looks-driven – as a result, it’s damn near impossible to be a successful actor without being a total babe. That being said, some folks still have careers in spite of having a gut (Jack Black, Queen Latifah, Kevin James, etc.). Child stars, however, aren’t so lucky. In order to be a successful kiddie actor, you need to be cute – there are virtually no exceptions to this rule. These kids had cuteness in spades – when they were kids, that is. They sure as hell don’t now.
Lil’ Lipnicki’s reward for playing Tom Cruise’s precocious pal in Jerry Maguire was a career that lasted approximately five years, the final act being his role as Lil’ Bow Wow’s pal in the awesomely forgettable basketball picture Like Mike. He still attempts to act – most gigs he gets, though, are voice only. Which makes sense.
Taran Noah Smith
Taran spent virtually his entire childhood, from the age of 7 to 16, acting as Mark Taylor on ABC’s hit sitcom Home Improvement. Once the show ended, though, he quit acting to marry a chick 16 years his senior and focus on his love of, uh, vegan cheese. Neither his marriage nor his company (PlayFood, manufacturers of cheese substitutes “Nacheezmo” and “Cheezy Cheeze”) worked out.
Haley Joel Osment
The adorable Haley earned an Academy Award nomination for his role as Cole “I See Dead People” Sear in The Sixth Sense. Once his face started filling out, though, the award nods and acting roles stopped coming. Now he collects DUIs and voices characters in video games. Oh, and golfs. He also golfs.
The Macster was the child star of the 90’s, as evidenced by his questionably close friendship with perma-kid-at-heart Michael Jackson. He made a butt-ton of money acting in classic flicks like Home Alone and My Girl – once he hit adulthood, though, he focused primarily on smoking copious amounts of cigarettes, getting arrested for marijuana possession, writing an experimental novel (2006’s "Junior") and playing World of Warcraft (seriously).
Ask your mom who Leif Garrett is – I guarantee you the question will make her stare wistfully into the distance and say, “A total dreamboat,” or something else comparably dated. Leif Garrett was one of the hottest teen idol of the 70’s – before people like Paris Hilton were famous for being famous, he was famous for acting in a miniseries (which is tantamount to being famous for being famous). Later on, he became famous for being infamous (for confirmation of this, please refer to the above shot of Mr. Garrett in court).
Remember Mrs. Doubtfire? The big-screen adaptation of Matilda? Of course you do! Do you know who’d like to forget those films? The adorable lil’ scamp who played the girl in ‘em! Apparently Miss Wilson didn’t have a lick of fun acting in all that schmaltz – now she’s a serious playwright and actress. She also, cough, doesn’t really look like the cute kid who acted in all those sappy movies. I cannot confirm or deny if the two facts are related.
Steven Anthony Lawrence
Steven Anthony Lawrence peaked as a child. You know him because he played Bernard "Beans" Aranguren in the hit Disney Channel show Even Stevens. Folks nowadays, however, know him as the five-foot balding weirdo that played a pink elf in a T-Mobile commercial. Hollywood, like kids, can be so cruel!
What other kiddie stars became unfortunate looking grown-ups? Let me know in the comments, or tell me @Bornferal!