Former Famous Child Actors

Child actors and actresses are those children who in their young or early age, act in front of camera for commercial advertisements, television and movies. Some child stars pursue their career until teen-hood to adulthood. The success and failure of these child celebrities has been witnessed by the people around them.

Many of these famous child actors were afflicted with troubles, scandals and controversies. Which mostly resulted to bankruptcy, drug abuse and alcoholism– and death.

Here’s our list and tribute to these former famous child actors:

John Leslie Coogan or known as Jackie Coogan (born October 26,1914), began his career as a child actor in ‘silent movies’. He is also known as Uncle Fester in 1960′s sitcom Addams Family. He sued his mother and stepfather for extravagantly spending his earnings and asked California government to create a law of legal protection for child performer’s earnings, thus the California Child Actor’s Bill or known as the Coogan Bill or the Coogan Act, was enacted. Coogan died of cardiac arrest at age 69, on March 1, 1984.


1) Gary Wayne Coleman an American child actor starred in a lead role in a television sitcom Diff’rent Stroke (1978-1986) also sued his parents for squandering his trust fund. Gary Coleman was born on February 8, 1968. He was cast as Arnold Jackson in Diff’rent Stroke sitcom. Gary Coleman was adopted by a practitioner nurse, Edmonia Sue and husband fork-lift operator W.G. Coleman. Coleman has focal segmental glomerolosclerosis, an autoimmune disease of the kidney and underwent two failed kidney transplants in 1973 and 1984. His growth was limited due to his medication with corticosteroid and other medications. He was required to have his daily dialysis. He was awarded $1,000,000 or more, but filed bankruptcy in 1999, and was charged of assault after some years. He married Price in 2007 but filed divorce in 2008. Coleman died on May 28, 2010, at the age of 42, and was cremated. Price file court petition claiming she still is the common- law wife of Coleman until his death.



Dana Michelle Plato, a child performer starred in Diff’rent Stroke as Kimberly Drummond. She was born on November 7, 1964. She admitted that she is having problem with drugs and alcohol at an early age during Diff’rent Stroke shows. She married rock guitarist Lanny Lambert in April 1984 and had a son Tyler Edward born July 2, 1984. Plato and Lambert divorced on March 1990 and won custody of his only son. Dana Plato died on 8, 1999 from OD of Vanadom, and Lorfab but was ruled as suicide by coroner’s report and was cremated. Her son Tyler Lambert, died at the age of 25 by self-inflicted gunshot to his head on May 6, 2010, 11 years after his mother’s death, Dana Plato.


2) Jodie Lee Ann Sweetin, was born on January 19, 1982, a former child star in a sitcom Full House, the long running television sitcom, and Sweetin was best known for role as Stephanie Tanner. At the age of four, Sweetin appeared in a hot dog commercial and had her debut role in Valerie a television sitcom. She was married twice and was recovering from methamphetamine addiction, and met Morty Coyle and had a daughter Beatrix Carlin Sweetin Coyle, born on August 31, 2010. Officials in California filed back taxes against Jodie Sweetin in December 2010 for $30,000 back taxes since 2009.

Olsen Twins: Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Fuller Olsen born on June 13, 1986 and both appeared as child actress in the long running television sitcom Full House.


Mary Kate Olsen was confined in 2004, into a rehabilitation center for the treatment of eating disorder known as anorexia nervosa in 2004. Rumors spread that she was abusing drugs. In 2005, she broke up with her shipping magnate boyfriend, Starros Niarchos lll, and was rumored that Paris Hilton was involved with her boyfriend. In 2008, it was rumored that she was having an affair with Heath Ledger, who was found unconscious by his private masseuse, Diane Lee Wolozin. Instead calling 9-11, Wolozin called Mary-Kate twice before calling 9-11 emergency call. But Mary Kate denied the allegation and stated that they were friends.


Ashley Fuller Olsen, fraternal twin of Mary Kate, was a producer, author and fashion designer of her Elizabeth and James Ashley Fashion company. Ashley is suffering from ADHD syndrome. She filed a libel case of $40 million lawsuit, against National Enquirer tabloid magazine for describing her in a drug scandal issue.
3) Mary Anissa Jones, was born on March 11, 1958 an American child actress best known for her Buffy role on the CBS sitcom Family Affair in 1966. In 1971, after 5 seasons Family Affair was cancelled. Jones was already 13 at that time. Jones began taking drugs and was involved in shoplifting. In March 1976, Jones 18th birthday, she gained her trust funds and US Savings Bonds, amounting to more or less $180,000. She rented an apartment with younger brother John Paul. Anissa Jones, was found dead inside her 14 year-old friend’s bedroom, Helen Hennesey, on March 11, 1968 at the age of 18. In her autopsy report they found in her body cocaine, PCP, Quaaludes and Seconal drugs. In 1984, younger brother John Paul was found dead of drug overdose like her sister Anissa.



4) Linda Denise Blair was born on January 22, 1959, became famous in her lead role as Regan the possessed child in the 1973 The Exorcist, and was nominated for an Academy Award and was nominate twice for the Golden Globes, and won one. After the 1977 Exorcist ll: The Heretic, she had some cameo roles in 1990 Exorcist spoof, Repossessed, 1996′s Scream and many other films. Since 1980′s Blair had hard time to get good roles and her career went down. Way back in 1970′s, Blair was arrested with drug possession and an accomplice of selling drug illegally, and was charged for the crime committed. She was not found guilty of drug possession, but guilty of illegal selling of drugs and was sentenced for three years probation.


5) River Jude Phoenix, was born on August 23, 1970, started his career as child actor at the age of 10. He first appeared in television commercials and first film appearance is on 1986 Stand By Me. He was a good American actor and a teen icon. On October 31, 1993, River Phoenix collapsed outside The Viper Room club in which Johnny Depp was a part owner, in West Hollywood. He died of a drug overdose. He is the older brother of actors Rain, Joaquin, Liberty and Summer Phoenix.

6) Heather O’Rourke was born on December 27, 1975, an American child actress best known for her role as Carol Anne Freeling in the Poltergeist movie trilogy. O’Rourke appeared n many television guest appearances. In 1982 Steven Spielberg was in search for a four-year old girl to appear in his horror film Poltergeist. And he saw O’Rourke (she was five at that time), eating with her mom at the MGM Commissary, while waiting for sister Tammy, shooting for Pennies From Heaven. The next day O’Rourke signed the contract, beating Drew Barrymore. In 1987 O’Rourke was misdiagnosed with Crohn’s disease (inflammatory disease of the intestine) and was given medicine. On January 31, 1988, she became very ill again and collapsed, and suffered cardiac arrest while on the way to the hospital. Vincent Bond said O’Rourke died of congenital stenosis of the intestine, and she passed away at the operating table while performing the repairing of acute bowel obstruction complicated by septic shock on February 1, 1988 at the age of 12. Some rumors spread that there was a curse on the Poltergeist movies where other four crew died also.

7) Joseph David Wolfgang Pichler was born February 14, 1987, known for his role Brennan Newton in the 3rd and 4th installments of Beethoven movies, a comedy film that starred by a St Bernard dog. On January 5, 2006 it was reported that he was playing card games with his friends and the last time he was seen by family and friends. His 2005 model silver Toyota Corolla, was found on January 9, 2006, at the Wheaton Way intersection and Sheridan Road. His family officially reported him missing on January 16. Pichler family are still searching for clues for the disappearance of Joseph Pichler.



8) Brad Barron Renfro was born July 25, 1982, best known for his lead role in the movie, The Client by Joel Schumacker’s film, and made his debut film at the age of 12. He appeared in 21 movies and short films and two television series. On June 3, 1998, aged 15, he was arrested with his 19 year-old cousin of carrying two small bags of cocaine and marijuana found in his socks. He entered plea bargain agreement to have drugs evaluation and substance abused to avoid trial. But was again arrested in August 2008 of grand theft by attempting to steal a yacht at the Fort Lauderdale harbor, with his friend Harold Bond. He was sentenced to two years probation and pay damages done to the vessel to its owner and Lauderdale Police Department investigation costs. He was found dead on January 15, 2008 at the age of 25, and was ruled as overdosed of heroin, morphine intoxication. Two weeks after his death, his grandmother who raised him, died at the age of 76 of natural cause of death.

Skylar James Deleon (born as John Julius Jacobson, Jr) on August 12, 1979, a former child actor, started in bit parts of commercials. He appeared in the Mighty Morphin: Power Rangers in minor characters in the Second Chance episode. During adulthood, there were no offers for acting due to his problem of memorizing script lines. He then joined the US State Marine Corps at age 20, but was later given honorable discharge (OTH) after 15 days and UA (Unauthorized Absence). He then met Jennifer Henderson with whom he had two children. They got married on September 2002 and divorced in 2007. In 2oo8, Deleon with his accomplices, Jennifer Henderson (his wife), John Fitzgerald Kennedy (not the former US President), Alonso Machain, faced trial for the double murder case for the 2004 murder case of Tom and Jackie Hawks. Hawks couple was tied up to their yacht anchor and buried them at sea, and was never found. The Hawks advertised the selling of their “Well Deserved” yacht to settle with their son and new grandson. Deleon posed as buyer and asked the couple to sail with Deleon and accomplice Kennedy and Machain. And the couple never came back with their yacht, whom Deleon claimed he is the new owner. Machain confessed and reported what really happened to the Hawk family. Jennifer Henderson was sentenced to two-back-to-back life sentenced. Deleon was sentenced to death and awaits in a death row in San Quentin State Prison as CDC inmate#G56028. He also murdered Jon Jarvi of Anaheim, Califoria in 2003, he slit the throat and buried him in a shallow grave.


9) Corey Ian Haim, better known as Corey Haim, was born on December23, 1971, a Canadian actor who became famous as teen Idol, and best known for his role in The Lost Boys, along with Corey Feldman in the 1980s. Haim’s early success and young wealthy teen led him to using of illegal drugs at the age of 15. He became the most famous teen actor in the world in 1980s. He had drug addiction and former relationship tried to helped him recover and be back in normal life. First relation was with Alyssa Milano, who tried to help him until their separation. Then Baywatch actress, Nicole Eggert, then in 1995 Victoria Beckam of the Spice Girls and Cindy Guyner in 2000, and enrolled him at the Betty Ford Center but left after 8 days. Haim shared a monthly rental with his mother who is suffering from breast cancer. On March 7 or 8 he was sick of flu-like symptoms, and felt very weak and even asked his mother to lay down beside him. On March 10, 2010 midnight, Haim attempted to walk around but he collapsed. His mom called 9-11 emergency and Haim was brought to Providence Saint Joseph Medical center. Haim died of pulmonary edema, enlargement of the heart and water in the lungs, and was pronounced dead at 2:15 am.



Corey Scott Feldman was born on July 16, 1971, started his career at age 3, and appeared in Macdonald’s commercial , and other television series including Mork and Mindy, Eight is Enough, and One Day At A Time and Cheers, playing the role of the Little Leaguer. In an interview, in August 2011 he revealed that he was a victim of pedophilia in 1980. He stated way back in February 2005, he received a subpoena to testify against Michael Jackson’s child molestation suit, which involved a 15 year-old boy, allegedly a cancer survivor. Feldman accused MJ of befriending a child and when he gets bored he abandoned them. He said they become close friends when he became famous as child star in the Gremlin, The Goonies and Stand By Me film at age 12. When MJ died, Feldman dedicated his concert with his rock bands in Los Angeles.


10) Macaulay Carson Culkin or Macaulay Culkin was born on August 26, 1980. Best known for his character as Kevin McCallister in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He was named the most successful child star after Shirley Temple (1932-1934 child star). He ranked No. 2 in VH1 and E!’s (American Basic Cable and Satellite Television Network), the “100 Greatest Kid-Stars” and “50 Greatest Child Stars”. He began his career at the age of 4 in a stage production of Bach Babies at the New York Philharmonic. He also appeared in television series The Equalizer, as the kidnapped victim. In his interview on May 27,2004 at the Larry King Live, he talked about his career as a child actor until his retirement as child actor at the age of 14. In 1998 Caulkin married Rachel Miner, an actress but separated in 2000 and divorced was finalized in 2008. He dated Mila Kunis in 2002 but ended in separation after a few months. Culkin was arrested in September 17, 2004 in Oklahoma City, for 17.3 g of marijuana and Alprazolan 16.5 mg and Clonazepam 32 mg, and was detained briefly and was released on a $4,000 bond with plea bargain with the Oklahoma State Law, of one year suspended prison terms, probationary drug treatment program and a $540.00 penalty. During his Home Alone movies, he became a closed friend of Michael Jackson, and appeared in MJ’s Black and White Music video. He said all accusations against MJ’s child molestation issues are “absolutely ridiculous”. He attended MJ’s funeral rites in 2009 to give his last respect.

Macaulay Culkin, at 31

Macaulay Culkin, at 31












Macaulay Culkin, Home Alone child actor

Macaulay Culkin, Home Alone child actor









Kierran Kyle Culkin younger brother of Macauley, had his first appearance in Home Alone as Kevin’s cousin, Fuller McCallister. Kierran was born on September 30,1982. He continued acting until his adulthood mainly in comedies including Father of the Bride, and head a lead role in The Mighty, as Kevin Dillon.

Rory Hugh Culkin, youngest brother of Macauley and Kierran and also appeared in The Good Son as the baby, then in 1994 he appeared in Richie Rich (as the young Richie Rich, starred by eldest brother Macauley as Richie) and in 2002 a breakthrough role in You Can Count On Me movie. The most notable role he had with Mel Gibson is Sign, with Joaquin Phoenix (younger brother of River Phoenix).

Abigail Breslin also a child actress best known for her performance as Bo Hess, the daughter of Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) in the film “Sign” at the age of 5. She portrayed as the Anna Fitzgerald, a young girl who was conceived by he mother to be a bone marrow donor for her dying sister in My Sister’s Keeper. She was born on April 14, 1996. She was the youngest nominee for Academy Award.

11) Haley Joel Osment was born on April 10, 1988, started his career in acting at the age of 4 in a Pizza Hut television commercial, the “Big Foot” pizza advertisement, and had his first TV appearance in Thunder Alley. He was featured as the young Forest Gump (starring Tom Hank , as Forest Gump, the father) in 1994. He became famous when he appeared in the blockbuster movie The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis and A-I-Artificial Intelligence, a Stephen Spielberg movie. At the age of 7, he started playing golf, he knows how to play the piano and guitar. On July 20,2006, Osment was he crashed into a concrete mailbox causing his car to overturn resulting to fractured right shoulder, cuts and bruises, and broken rib. He was charged of driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of illegal drugs. He was sentenced on October 19, 2006, three years probation, 60 hours in an alcohol education and rehabilitation program, a fine of $1500 and minimum requirement of 26 Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings for six months.

12) Neil Patrick Harris was born on June 15, 1973, best known for his lead role in Doogie Howser, M.D a television series. He was a former child actor, singer, director and magician. He was first discovered by Mark Medoff and cast him in his film Clara’s Heart in 1988, starring Whoopi Goldberg. Je was nominated for his Doogie Howser role at the Golden Globe Award. In November 2006, he confirmed that he was “gay” and revealed the relation with his partner David Burtka since 2004. On October 12, 2010 their fraternal twins via a surrogate mother was born, son Gideon Scott and daughter Harper Grace. Harris and Burtka announced their engagement after the passage of the Marriage Equality Act on June 24, 2011.

13) Winona Laura Horowitz better known as Winona Ryder, was born on October 29, 1971. She started acting as child actress in the film Lucas in 1986, and was best known as the goth teen in Beetlejuice movie. In 1990 she had a relationship with Johnny Depp. The most controversial news in 2001 was the shoplifting incident of a designer’s clothes, $5500 worth and accessories at the Sake Fifth Avenue Department Store, and led her to four-year interruption in her career. She also revealed that she was using drug because of anxiety and depression. Ryder was convicted of theft, shoplifting and vandalism but was acquitted in the theft charges. She was sentenced to three years probation, 480 hours community service, $3700 fines, $6355 for Saks Fifth Department Store and attend the psychological and drug counseling, and remained on probation until December 2005. She made a comeback in her acting career.

14) Lindsay Lohan was born on July 2, 1986. She was a model, actress and pop singer. She started her career at age 10 as child actress, inAnother World, Soap Opera Magazine series, and The Parent Trap, a Disney movie-remake in 1998. At the age of 3, Lohan was a child model for Ford Models, Calvin Klein Kids and Abercrombie Kids. She also appeared in over 100 TV commercials like Pizza Hut, Wendy’s and Jell-O with Bill Cosby. Lohan became famous in her lead roles in Freaky Friday, Mean Girls and Herbie: Fully Loaded. In 2007, Lohan was arrested twice for DUI (driving under the influence and three visitation at the rehabilitation center, and lost many movie offers. On September 4,2010 Lohan, failed drug test and was jailed for a day and spent three months at the Betty Ford Center (drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation center) on court order until January 2011. On February 9, 2011, Lohan was accused of stealing a necklace from a jewelry store in January, and was sentenced to 120 days imprisonment, 480 hours community service for misdemeanor, violation of probation and theft, in which she plead no contest. Lohan served her sentence under house arrest due to overcrowded cells.

15) Taylor Daniel Lautner was born February 11, 1982, and first appeared in cameo roles in television series The Bernie Mac Show, My Wife and Kids, and Summerland. Lautner made his voice-over roles in some animation series including Danny Phantom, Duck Dodgers and What’s New Scooby Doo? The filmmakers of Twilight was in search for actors who will play as Jacob Black , a native-American and friend of Bella Swan (female lead actress of Twilight movie played by Kristen Stewart) and the Twilight Saga movie series became success. Lautner was romantically linked to Taylor Swift in 2009 (American country pop singer) but was a short lived relationship. He was linked to Selena Gomez (actress/pop singer). Lautner still lived in his parents home. (images credit:

16) Kristen Jaymes Stewart was born on April 9, 1990, became famous for her role as Bella Swan in the Twilight Saga. Her career in acting began at the age of 8 and appeared in The Thirteenth Year, with no dialogue. She was noted in her role as Sarah Altman, a diabetic daughter played by Joddie Foster as her mother in the Panic Room, followed by Zathura in 2005, (2007) In The Land of Women, The Messengers, (2009) Advenrueland and in 2010, The Runaways. She was named as 2010′s highest female earner in 2010′s Top Hollywood Top Earners Lists.

17) Robert Douglas Thomas Pattinson better known as Robert Pattinson, was born on May 13, 1986,born and was raised in London, an English actor, model, producer and musician. He started out his acting career playing the role of Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter and The Gobblets of Fire. And played the lead role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyers and gained fame and success. He was noted as one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood based on his earnings in 2009 and named by the Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2010 and Forbes magazine ranked him as most powerful celebrities in the world in the 100 Forbes Celebrity. He said in an interview when he was 12, he began his career as a model.

18) Hannah Dakota Fanning or much known as Dakota Fanning, was born on February 23, 1994, and as a child performer, she appeared in Man on Fire, War of the Worlds and Charlotte’s Web and noted in her role in I Am Sam. She began her career in acting at age five, appearing in Tide detergent commercials, and portrayed the role of a Leukemia patient and car accident victim in television series ER, an NBC prime-time drama. She also appeared in Runaways and Twilight Saga. She was the youngest nominee for the Screen Actors Guild Award, and numerous award giving bodies.

Dakota Fanning, as child actress

Dakota Fanning, as child actress


19) Daniel Jacob Radcliffe was born on July 23, 1989, and English actor and started in acting at age 10 in BBC One’s television movie David Copperfield in 1999 and in his first movie appearance in The Tailor of Panama in 2001. He made his break and became famous for the role as Harry Potter at the age of 11 and made the eight Harry Potter movies since year 2001 with its final episode in July 2011. In an interview in 2008, Radcliffe revealed that he suffered Dyspraxia (motor skills disorder and having trouble sometimes with simple activities such as writing,speech and movement). He also revealed that he quit drinking alcohol after he realized he was beginning to be dependent on alcohol. He too was named young successful and wealthy actor. He was romantically linked to Laura O’Toole, understudy of co-star in Harry Potter, in 2007 but separate and still friends. While shooting “Half Blood Prince”, he met on the set Rosanne Coker.


20) Rupert Alexander Grint best known for his character as Ron Weasley in Harry Potter movies since 2001 to 2011 series. Grint was born on August 24, 1988, an English actor and made name in his role as Ron Weasley at age 11, Harry Potter’s best friend and one of the main character. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger as the main characters in Harry Potter.

Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson or better known as Emma Watson, was born on April 15, 1990 and was first cast in Harry Potter movie at the age of 9. She gained stardom in her role as Hermione Granger in eight Harry potter film series. The Forbes Lists of Most Valuable Young Stars ranked her in number 6 and she was noted as highest paid female star in Hollywood in February 2010 and estimated earnings is around $25 million in 2009. She played as Harry Potter and Ron Weasley best friend .

Drew Barrymore was born on February 22, 1975 and first appeared in movies when she was 11 month old. In 1980, she first appeared in the blockbuster movie E.T. The Extra Terrestial, and was recognized. In her teenage years, she was involved in alcoholism and drug addiction and at a very early age she was placed in rehab twice. She began smoking at the age of 9, drinking alcohol at age 11, smoking marijuana at age 12 and sniffing cocaine at age 13. At age 14 she attempted suicide and was rehab and stayed with singer David Crosby and his wife for three months. At age 17 she posed in a July issue of Interview Magazine in nude with his partner-fiance actor Jamie Walters.In 1992, she underwent an operation for breast reduction. In 1990, Barrymore was said to be a bisexual personality.

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