As a who’s who of Hollywood stars battle to get themselves on the iconic Walk of Fame, not everyone is guaranteed a long-lasting career in Tinseltown — let’s face it, being a child star ain’t what it used to be.
While the likes of Ryan Gosling, Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore, and Leonardo DiCaprio have all carved themselves an impressive legacy, what about those child stars who haven’t stuck around quite as long?
From those who’ve faded into obscurity, never fully cashed in on the role that made them famous, or simply moved away from the limelight a little, Hollywood is full of child stars you might wonder, “Where are they now?” With this in mind, here are 10 child stars you (probably) completely forgot existed.
Frankie Muniz — Malcolm in the Middle
Frankie Muniz brilliantly played the titular Malcolm in Malcolm in the Middle, but his adult life has been anything but smooth sailing. Away from the tyrannical rule of Lois Wilkerson, Muniz went on to appear in Agent Cody Banks and a bizarre crossover episode of Lizzie McGuire where he played himself.
Despite earning an Emmy Award and two Golden Globe nominations thanks to Malcolm, Muniz’s roles soon slowed down. If this wasn’t enough to contend with, he effectively suffered a mini-stroke in 2012. At the age of just 26, Muniz had a transient ischemic attack and was hospitalised.
When talking to the floor for the 2017 series of Dancing with the Stars, Muniz confessed he suffers from serious memory loss. In a tragic twist, the actor says he doesn’t even remember his time on Malcolm in the Middle.
Christina Ricci — The Addams Family
With her doe eyes, dark hair, and striking complexion, Christina Ricci was the perfect choice to play Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, but where is she now?
Ricci had already made a name for herself in Mermaids and would go on to star in Casper (1995) before landing more mature roles in Sleepy Hollow (1993) and the brutal Monster (2003).
These days, Ricci is known for being on the small screen and has a real knack for playing axe murderer Lizzie Borden. She’s also a spokesperson for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
Jonathan Lipnicki — Stuart Little
As well as being the adorable kid from Jerry Maguire, Jonathan Lipnicki is also remembered as George Little from the Stuart Little movies.
Let’s just say Lipnicki has had something of a glow-up. While he sometimes still wears those signature specs, Lipnicki sent pulses racing when he showed off his buff physique and proved he’s not that geeky kid we might not remember.
These days, he partakes in celebrity rap battles and has actually made more movies as an adult than he did as a child. Lipnicki even appeared on Series 4 of Celebs Go Dating in 2018.
Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello
It might be a bit of a con to include two in one, but you can’t mention one of the Jurassic Park kids without the other. Love them or loathe them, Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello were a huge part of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic as Lex and Tim Murphy.
Both Lex and Tim returned for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in The Lost World: Jurassic Park but haven’t been seen since. Richards starred in 2003’s direct-to-video Tremors 3: Back to Perfection and has since shifted focus onto her art career.
On the other hand, Mazzello has starred in some major movies and continues to act to this day. Leaving Tim behind him, you’ll be able to spot him in The Social Network, Dunkirk, and even Bohemian Rhapsody.
With the upcoming Jurassic World 3 bringing back OG JP stars Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum, fans are already calling for Richards and Mazello to also join the party.
Jake Lloyd — Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
One of the most tragic young Hollywood stories is that of Jake Lloyd. After appearing in the likes of cult Christmas movie Jingle All The Way, Lloyd was catapulted to the top of pop culture when he played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
While playing the young Darth Vader could’ve been his ticket to stardom, Lloyd was replaced by Hayden Christensen to play a much older version of the character. According to the Daily Mail, Lloyd described his life as a “living hell” and he left acting behind.
Sadly, things went from bad to worse. Lloyd was arrested during a high-speed police chase in 2015 and was sent to jail. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and moved to a psychiatric facility.
Mischa Barton — The Sixth Sense
It’s hard to believe Mischa Barton had her first foray into acting with The Sixth Sense. Although she wasn’t another creepy kid who saw dead people, Barton’s Kyra was a spooky little ghost girl. It’s easy to forget M. Night Shyamalan’s movie was Barton’s breakthrough role.
Mischa is arguably best-known for playing Marissa Cooper on the first three season of The O.C. Although Barton seemed like she’d be sticking around for the entirety of the show, Marissa spectacularly bowed out with an explosive swansong.
Leaving Orange County as a distant memory, she’s turned her talents to a string of indie films. Only last year, Barton also joined MTV’s reboot of The Hills and was a major part of The Hills: New Beginnings‘ first season.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster — Love Actually
Thomas Brodie-Sangster is still that boy with the babyface and should be recognisable as Sam from Love Actually. Those of a certain age might remember Brodie-Sangster as the boy from Feather Boy, but others will always know him as lovestruck Sam in Richard Curtis’ anthology.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster has also had a starring role as Newt in The Maze Runner and portrayed Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones. Those who look hard enough might be able to spot him in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a First Order officer.
As for Love Actually, the Red Nose Day special/sequel confirmed Sam and Joanna are still together and due to be married. Aww, true love conquers all.
Mara Wilson — Matilda
There was a time when Mara Wilson was everywhere. Popping up in everything from Miracle on 34th Street to Mrs. Doubtfire, Wilson’s biggest claim to fame was playing the super-intelligent Matilda in the 1996 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story.
Wilson adult years have seen her move her interests elsewhere and she officially retired in 2000. Despite this, she’s an active writer and has occasionally returned to the limelight for BoJack Horseman and Big Hero 6: The Series.
In 2016, Wilson published her book Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame and gave a candid insight into her childhood. Later, Wilson bravely spoke out about being diagnosed with OCD, depression, and panic disorder at the age of just 12.
Charlie Korsmo — Hook
Charlie Korsmo had the pick of roles when he played The Kid/Dick Tracy Jr. in the 1990 comedy alongside Warren Beaty. This was the start of a lucrative career that saw him famously take flight to Neverland as Jack Banning in Hook.
The beloved movie cast Robin Williams as an older Peter Pan and put Korsmo as his disbelieving son. 1998’s Can’t Hardly Wait was Charlie’s last acting role until Chained for Life in 2019. So, what’s he been doing all these years?
Picking a very different career, Korsmo is currently a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and is a trained lawyer. Well, it’s a million miles away from swashbuckling pirates and Dustin Hoffman’s terrifying Captain Hook.
Bradley Pierce — Jumanji
Known for playing the adorable Peter Shepherd in the original Jumanji, Braldey Pierce has been quietly chugging along in Hollywood for all these years without us knowing.
Ironically, Pierce is more recognised for his voice roles. As well as lending his vocals to Tails in the original Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, Pierce famously voiced Chip in 1992’s Beauty and the Beast.
Only recently, he was seen enjoying himself watching Jumanji: The Next Level, but could he be back for the upcoming threequel? The ending of The Next Level brought back Bebe Neuwirth as Aunt Norma, teasing that the rest of the Shepherd family could be out there somewhere and ready to roll the dice once again.
Now you’ve had a trip down memory lane, remember those cheques you cash as a kid aren’t going to see you all the way through to adulthood. From the ‘curse’ of the childhood star to catching the acting bug and never wanting to leave, these 10 prove that nothing lasts forever in the fickle world of Hollywood.
[Featured Image: Universal/MGM/Lucasfilm