When child actors first start out, they probably think that they’re going to be movie stars forever. After a little taste of the movie business, they’re hungry for more. And after experiencing fame and fortune so early, they must think it comes to people easily. But as we’ve seen so many times before on this website, that just ain’t the case. Many – if not most – end up ditching Hollywood and seeking other careers in the end. Maybe their cute looks left them. The work dried up. Or perhaps they just grew bored of it all and decided to retrain. Whatever it is, plenty have got new jobs. Let’s explore fifteen of the most interesting, shall we?
Adventures in Babysitting child actor Maia Brewton also pitched up in Parker Lewis Can’t Lose as irritating sister Shelly Lewis. But once Parker Lewis finished she quit the business and knuckled down on her studies, graduating from Yale, no less. A law degree saw her take up a job as, you guessed it, an attorney. When she’s not representing people in court, she’s tending to her twin kids and wife Lara.
You might recognize this kid as the chap who played Kevin Arnold’s best friend, Paul Joshua Pfeiffer, in the comedy television show The Wonder Years. It’s Josh Saviano and he sacked off the acting business some time ago. And, like Maia, he too went into law after graduating from Yale University. His only acting job since was the ironic chance to play a lawyer on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Nikki Blonsky is best known for her debut starring role as Tracy Turnblad in hit movie musical, Hairspray. Following this success, Blonsky went on to record an album as well as make several TV appearances in shows such as Ugly Betty and ABC Family series, Huge. Nowadays, she’s taken inspiration from the title of her debut film, and has landed herself a job in Superstar Salon as a makeup artist.
Child star Jason Zimbler is best remembered for his part in 90’s TV hit series, Clarissa Explains it All, alongside Melissa Joan Hart. He can pride himself on portraying probably the world’s most annoying TV little brother, Ferguson. Zimbler looked like he was potentially going to further his career in this field, gaining a graduate degree in Theatre Directing. Instead, he now works in software design for HBO.
Everyone remembers hit TV show, The Fresh Prince of Belair and cousin Hilary Banks was one of the characters everyone loved to hate. Actress Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary, went on to appear in a few more acting roles following this role, however her main job now is company director of Sweet Blackberry. Still in the acting field, Parson’s company produces films portraying the lives of unsung black heroes.
Charlie Korsmo’s most famous role was that of Jack Banning, son of Peter Pan, in the childhood favorite film, Hook. Although his childhood acting career was reasonably successful, as an adult, Korsmo has gone on to bigger and better things. Graduating with a degree in Physics from MIT, Korsmo went on to study law at Yale. He has worked in several law firms and is now passing on his wealth of knowledge as a Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University of Law in Cleveland.
Peter Ostrum’s only acting role was that of golden ticket winning Charlie Bucket in the 1971 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He was obviously so traumatized by the Oompa Loompas, that he refused to discuss the film and his part in it until 1990. Instead of pursuing an acting career, Ostrum chose to study to become a veterinarian, and is now a practicing animal surgeon in Lowville, New York.
Most of the women out there will remember Jonathan D. Bennett for his part as hunky Aaron Samuels in 2004 high school chick flick, Mean Girls. Since then, Bennett has had several acting roles as well as appearing in the 2014 series of Dancing With the Stars. More recently, though, Bennett has taken a role in the fitness industry as a Spinning Instructor in West Hollywood.
Flame haired star Chris Owen is memorable for his role as the geeky ‘Sherminator’ in the American Pie franchise of films. As well as the four films that hit the big screen, Owen also appeared in the American Pie Presents straight to DVD spin offs. It’s just as well he milked this role for all it was worth, as, these days, Owen works as a sushi waiter. ‘Least he’s still managing to pay the bills.
The 1972 gangster musical film Bugsy Malone is well known for only starring child actors. You may recognize John Cassisi as the actor who played Fat Sam, the speakeasy boss. Apparently, Cassisi won this role when the casting directors attended his school and asked for ‘the naughtiest boy in class.’ This would be Cassisi’s only acting role, and nowadays he is employed in construction.
Lisa and Louise Burns played the freaky Grady twins in Stanley Kubrick’s horror smash The Shining. This would be the twins final acting performance, both choosing to forge other, hopefully less terrifying, careers. Louise Burns is now working as a microbiologist whilst her sister, Lisa, is a literature academic. The girls have both recently been seen on the red carpet at the 34th anniversary showing of the film.
Loveable character Chunk from The Goonies was played by child star Jeff Cohen. Whilst filming The Goonies, Cohen used his connections to get summer jobs in the business side of Hollywood. Cohen went on to study law, realizing that the most important people in the business worked in the legal side rather than on screen. Cohen is now an attorney and founding partner of Cohen and Gardner LLP.
Leanna Creel is best known for playing Tori in TV favorite, Saved By The Bell. Not everyone will know that Leanna is one of a set of three identical twins, who all had acting roles in TV movies back in the ’80’s. As an adult, Creel is best known for her activities behind the camera. She now runs Creel Studios, a film production company and is an award winning photographer and film maker.
Full House child star, Andrea Barber, was known for playing Kimmy Gibler in the series. Since this long running part ended, Barber has focused on a more academic future. She graduated from Whittier College and went on to gain an MA in Women’s Studies from the University of York in England. She has since returned to Whittier College to become a director of International Programs. Smart girl.
The Sprouse brothers, respectively Dylan and Cole, are acting brothers most famous for roles in film Big Daddy and TV series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. People might also recognize Cole for his portrayal of Ben, Ross’ son from Friends. Both boys have given up acting for the time being, instead focusing on their studies in college. They are both still young though, so we may be seeing these young types back on our screens in the future.