Top 10 Child Stars

We look at actors who found fame in their childhood. Macaulay Culkin, Jake Lloyd and Mara Wilson all feature in our top 10 child stars.

So many child stars, so little time. We’ve seen so many fresh faced kids on the big screen over the years and not all of them have made the transition to the big leagues. We take a look at the top 10 child stars who didn’t quite make it.

Home Alone 1990

10. Jared Rushdon

Not an immediately familiar name, but Jared has starred in some crackers. In Big he was the best friend of Tom Hanks. In Honey I Shrunk the Kids he was one of the unfortunate kids (yes we know he was one of the neighbours, but technically still a kid. Just not one of Rick Moranis’s) and he also starred in Overboard with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. These days he plays guitar in the band Deal by Dusk.

9. Jake Lloyd

Little Jake starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Jingle all the Way before riding the midi-chlorian wave as Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace. Unfortunately Jake’s performance was panned and he quit acting in 2001. He recently said that he never watches the Star Wars films and that he finds them ‘creepy’.

8. Alisan Porter

With Jim Belushi and Kelly Lynch, Alisan gave a star turn as Curly Sue in the film of the same name. She had previously starred with Kevin Kline in I Love You to Death and was part of an ensemble cast in Parenthood. She has just given birth to her first child and is a columnist in Movmnt Magazine.

7. Jason James Richter

All of the focus was on Keiko the whale, but the star of Free Willy was Jason. He starred as Jessie the rebellious teen who befriends the captive killer whale. The film spawned two sequels, which kept Richter in work along with his other roles in Cops and Robertsons and Neverending Story III. He is now in a band, which seems to be the thing for child actors.

6. Barret Oliver

Barret is the reason we created this list. We were watching TV the other day when we spied Barret in D.A.R.Y.L, a film about an android who doesn’t realise he’s an android. He was one of those child actors that popped up here, there and everywhere. From Cocoon and its sequel, to The Neverending Story. He left acting in 1989 to join the infamous Church of Scientology and became a photographer.

5. Jonathan Ke Quan

He was Short Round to Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. He was 12 at the time and studied Tae Kwon Do on the set. He also starred in The Goonies as Data. Although he wasn’t in much before retiring, his films are the ones that we watch time and time again. He is now a martial arts artist.

4. Jonathan Lipnicki

The human head weighs eight pounds… and his neighbour has three rabbits, according to Ray, the character Jonathan played in Jerry Maguire. This film catapulted him into stardom and, although he starred in the Stuart Little films and The Little Vampire, none of his performances matched up to Ray asking Jerry to take him to the zoo. He has recently been seen looking very buff and is still a working actor. We just haven’t seen any of his current ventures.

3. Eric Lloyd

No relation to our number 9, Jake. Eric was acting at two years of age in The Wonder Years. His first big feature was as young Robert Downey Jr. in the 1993 film Heart and Souls. However, it was in 1994 that he was cast as Charlie in The Santa Clause with Tim Allen. He appeared in the film’s sequels, with The Santa Clause 3 being his last big film. He now stars in small features and writes and plays music. But you knew that.

2. Mara Wilson

Only the second female on our list, but Mara shines above the majority of her peers. She started opposite Robin Williams and Sally Field in 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire. This was closely followed by a remake of Miracle on 34th Street. Mara was cast in the Natalie Wood role and the film is a festive feast of colour and charm. Her turn as Matilda in the film adaptation of the Roald Dahl book was upstaged by Pam Ferris, who was unrecognisable as the infamous Miss Trunchbull. She currently appears on the stage and has stated that she prefers theatre to movies. Will we see her on the big screen once more? We just don’t know.

1. Macaulay Culkin


We all love Home Alone. Some of us also love Home Alone 2. Very few like Home Alone 3. We’d rather not talk about Home Alone 4. Macaulay starred in 1 and 2 and his career was on fire. The films were huge hits and the offers came rolling in. The emotional My Girl was perhaps the pinnacle of his acting talents in our opinion, and he also starred in Uncle Buck and The Pagemaster. He became the highest paid child star for Richie Rich in 1994. We all know what happened to the kid they call Mac, but we still love him as the aftershave wearing Kevin McCallister in Home Alone. And that is why he’s our number one.

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