Popular Forgotten Child Stars

In Hollywood, actors and actresses are constantly coming and then going. It doesn’t matter if they are the biggest child stars on the planet – there is no guarantee that their careers will still be there when they reach adulthood. Some of the child actors that we have come to love have disappeared right before our very eyes. We hardly ever notice that they are gone because new actors and actresses quickly fill the void. It kind of makes us want to warn people who want to get into the business not to bother. The industry is just way too fickle – just ask these 12 stars. They were super popular before they were forgotten!

12. Soleil Moon Frye

At the age of seven, Soleil Moon Frye became a big star when she landed the lead role on “Punky Brewster.” Since then, she has continued to act, taking roles on television and supporting roles in films. Her biggest role since Punky Brewster was on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” as Sabrina Spellman. She’s currently the host of “Home Made Simple,” which is on the Oprah Winfrey Network and she also has career outside of film and television. She has an organic specialty clothing shop for children, The Little Seed, in Los Angeles and she wrote a book, “Happy Chaos: From Punky to Parenting and My Perfectly Imperfect Adventures in Between.”

11. Haley Joel Osment

Hailey Joel Osment had already racked up an impressive amount of TV credits when he appeared as a child psychic in M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller film “The Sixth Sense.” His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. More high profile roles followed. He appeared in “Pay It Forward” and Steven Spielberg’s “Artificial Intelligence: A.I.” Osment has since received a degree New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and he continues to act; however, the roles he takes now are quite different from his earlier ones.

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10. Jonathan Lipnicki

Jonathan Lipnicki rose to fame thanks to his role in “Jerry Maguire” as Renee Zellweger’s character’s son. He subsequently appeared in “Stuart Little,” “The Little Vampire” and “Like Mike.” While he continues to work in film and television, his recent successes can in no way match his earlier ones. These days, Lipnicki doesn’t look anything like his old self. He currently competes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which keeps him in amazing shape.

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9. Ralph Macchio

Ralph Macchio became internationally known when he starred in “The Karate Kid.” The film spawned two sequels, “The Karate Kid, Part II” and “The Karate Kid, Part III.” He also had a role in “My Cousin Vinny;” however, at some point in the ‘90s, the film roles started to dry up. In 2011, he competed on “Dancing with the Stars” where he placed fourth overall.

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8. Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Jonathan Taylor Thomas was a teen idol thanks to his role on “Home Improvement.” He continued on the show until he was a teenager then he left the show in 1998 to focus on school. He has since attended Harvard, Columbia and St. Andrew’s University in Scotland. Since leaving Hollywood for university, he has continued to guest star on various, but he is more focused on directing and writing scripts.

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7. Alisan Porter

Alisan Porter is best known for her playing the title role in “Curly Sue.” She hasn’t done much acting her child star days; however, she has released an album. She was also a contributing columnist for Movmnt Magazine and she has acted on stage. Last year, she admitted to People magazine that she has struggled with alcoholism in the past, but has been sober for nearly seven years.

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6. Edward Furlong

Edward Furlong was just 13 when he made his film debut in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” The role earned him an MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Role.” He continued to act through the ‘90s, receiving rave reviews for his performances in “American History X” and “Detroit Rock City;” however, his alcohol and drug problems then derailed his once promising career. People are still waiting for him to finally get his life back on track so that he can make a comeback.

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5. Jake Lloyd

Jake Lloyd left acting behind forever after he played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” According to him, he endured a lot of bullying from his classmates for being cast in the film. “My entire school life was really a living hell, and I had to do up to 60 interviews a day,” he told U.K.’s The Sun. “Other children were really mean to me…They would make the sound of the lightsaber every time they saw me. It was totally mad.” He has since destroyed all of his Star Wars memorabilia will now only appear at sci-fi and comic book festivals.


4. Alexa Vega

Alexa Vega became internationally known when she took on the role of Carmen Cortez in “Spy Kids.” The film spawned three sequels, “Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost,” Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” and “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World.” She has continued to act since her “Spy Kids” days. Some of her most recent roles were in “Machete Kills” and “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.”

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3. Henry Thomas

Henry Thomas is best known for his role as Elliott Taylor in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” Since that role, he has continued to act. Some of his more high profile roles have been in “Legends of the Fall,” “Gangs of New York” and “Big Sur.” According to Thomas, he had trouble coming to terms with the typecasting and recognition that came with starring in “E.T.;” however, his relationship with the film is constantly evolving.


2. Peter Billingsley

Peter Billingsley was a child actor in the early ‘80s. He is best known for starring in “A Christmas Story.” Since that role, he has continued to act; however, nothing he has done has brought him as much attention as “A Christmas Story.” These days, he’s an actor and a producer. He had a role in “Iron Man” and he was an executive producer for the film as well. He was also the executive producer for “Four Christmases,” which starred Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon.


1. Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson made a name for herself as an actress in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Matilda.” After her role in “Thomas and the Magic Railroad,” she decided to start focusing on school instead of acting. She now works for Publicolor, but is hoping to break into writing young adult novels.



Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.