In Hollywood, it’s typical for child stars to achieve an immense amount of fame early on and then burn out as they come of age. However, there have been a few occasions where former child stars have not only been able to maintain their fame into their adulthood. But have even been able to become more famous than ever before. From Ke Huy Quan to Haley Joel Osment. Join Facts Verse as we explore child actors who quit Hollywood and then came back even bigger.
Ke Huy Quan
One of the more recent examples of a child star that retired from their job of acting only to come back many years later bigger than ever is Ke Huy Quan. While few audience members will know the star by name. They’ll likely instantly recognize the former child actor when his most famous roles are brought up in conversation. During the 1980s, Ke Huy Quan became somewhat of an icon thanks to his appearances in a pair of films produced by blockbuster filmmaker Steven Spielberg. In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Ke Huy Quan cast in the role of Short Round.
In the film, Short Round is Indiana Jones’ little-kid sidekick. And he helps the titular adventurer out quite a bit over throughout the film. While Indiana Jones is busy fighting the film’s main bad guy. Short Round can seen freeing all the child slaves that said bad guy keeps imprisoned in his underground lair. Following the release of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Ke Huy Quan took on another role in a notable Steven Spielberg-helmed picture: The Goonies.
As far as the original Indiana Jones trilogy goes, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is largely considered the least-beloved of the three. However, Ke Huy Quan’s performance as the lovable character of Short Round seems to be one of the things that general audience members can agree made the film worth watching. Only a few years after the feature’s release, Ke Huy Quan cast in The Goonies. While Steven Spielberg had directed Ke Huy Quan in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He was only a producer on The Goonies. Still, the film proved to be even more successful than the first Indiana Jones sequel.
The Goonies is still considered a classic film to this day. And one of the most beloved parts of the movie has to Ke Huy Quan’s character of Data. In the film, the character of Data loves making gadgets. And some of these gadgets get the film’s title characters out of trouble in some hilarious ways.
Ke Huy Quan had a pretty easy time getting work in Hollywood as a cute little kid. But opportunities started to get fewer and farther between as he came of age. Over the course of the 1990s, Ke Huy Quan transitioned from acting in front of the cameras to working behind the scenes. He did so by become a martial-arts choreographer. And one of the more notable films that Ke Huy Quan worked on in such a capacity was 2000’s X-Men. Which directed by Bryan Singer. The film helped legitimize the concept of the comic-book movie. And paved the way for the surplus of such films that we see today. Recently, Ke Huy Quan has decided to make a comeback on the screen. And the catalyst that inspired the former child start to do so you won’t believe!
Just recently, Ke Huy Quan returned to the big screen via the independent feature film Everything Everywhere All at Once. The film starred actress Michelle Yeoh as it’s main character, and Ke Huy Quan played the main character’s husband. The role was fairly meaty, and even gave Ke Huy Quan a chance to flex his martial arts skills! The film became an unlikely success. And audiences were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to see Short Round back up on the big screen as an adult. According to Ke Huy Quan, the thing that inspired him to try and give acting another go was seeing the movie Crazy Rich Asians. Ke Huy Quan feels like the film’s success has signified the start of a new Asian renaissance in Hollywood.
Jason Bateman represents a case of a former child star that has found so much success as an adult. And that will likely even remember his childhood fame. As a child during the 1980s, Jason made a name for himself by appearing in such notable sitcoms as It’s Your Movie. Valerie, and Silver Spoons. Following Jason’s time on these sitcoms. The child star made an attempt to transition into big-screen Hollywood fame with his appearance in 1987’. The first Teen Wolf movie had been a big hit for star Michael J. Fox, and helped him transition from television work to film work. Jason Bateman hoped that his role in Teen Wolf Too would have the same effect, but it didn’t.
After appearing in Teen Wolf Too, not much seen from Jason Bateman until well over a decade later. In 2003, the now-adult actor received a starring role on the Fox sitcom Arrested Development. The show a major hit with critics, though it had a hard time clicking with audiences during it’s initial run. Still, it brought some attention back Jason’s way, and he was incredibly grateful. Though Arrested Development didn’t initially fare all that well in the ratings. The show ended up becoming a cult success and selling several copies once it was released on DVD. Not only did the show ended up being revived several years after it’s initial cancellation. But Jason also able to use the fame that he garnered from the series to finally become a film star.
Throughout his adult career, Jason Bateman has appeared in such hit movies as Horrible Bosses and Identity Thief. Recently, the actor has made an acclaimed return to television via his performance on the Netflix series Ozark. Netflix is also the venue that brought the aforementioned Arrested Development back after it’s initial cancellation. Suggesting the platform has a good relationship with Jason.
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Everyone knows the sad tale of Drew Barrymore, but it definitely merits inclusion on this list. Drew Barrymore was a child actress that achieved unprecedented Hollywood fame via her performances in such films as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Babes in Toyland. Tragically, Drew’s introduction to the world of entertainment at such a young age resulted in her becoming a drug addict in her single digits. In many ways, Drew Barrymore’s story stands as a cautionary tale for parents looking to get their children into the entertainment industry. However, Drew was miraculously able to turn her troubled youth around after her coming of age.
During the mid-1990s, Drew Barrymore made small, yet iconic, appearances in such films as Batman Forever and Scream. These small appearances helped Drew become familiar to audiences as an adult. Bigger roles followed, including Drew’s turn in the romantic comedy Never Been Kissed. By the 2000s, audiences had forgotten about “Drew Barrymore the former child star”, and were head over heels in love with “Drew Barrymore the full-blown movie star”.
It’s a miracle that Drew Barrymore overcame her childhood struggles in the entertainment industry, and she is still doing very well for herself today. Since making a name for herself as a legitimate actress in the late 1990s, Drew has also ventured out into producing and directing. She produced the cult classic Donnie Darko, which she also appeared in. She also tried her hand at direction with the Ellen Page-starring Whip It, which was about roller derbies.
Nostalgic television audiences will likely always think of Mayim Bialik first and foremost as the titular character on the hit show Blossom. However, younger audience members will know Mayim best thanks to her role on the popular series The Big Bang Theory. Mayim got her big break in Blossom as a kid, playing the show’s titular character. Once the show came to an end, Mayim took a break from the entertainment industry and ended up getting a PhD in neuroscience. Still, Mayim couldn’t shake the show-business bug, and ended up returning to television after graduating.
Upon Mayim’s return to television, her PhD ended up paying off in an odd way. She cast in the show The Big Bang Theory as a love interest for the character of Sheldon. Mayim’s character on the show meant to incredibly well educated, much like Mayim herself. After being introduced to the series, the romance between Mayim’s character and Sheldon became a fan-favorite aspect.
Thanks to his classic performances in the John Hughes features Home Alone and Uncle Buck, Macaulay Culkin can considered one of the most iconic child stars of all time. As an adult, Macaulay initially had a hard time finding continued acting success, but he has made somewhat of a comeback recently thanks to his turn in The Righteous Gemstones. Macaulay also appeared in the cult-classic film Party Monster in 2003, and the bizarre film certainly helped put an end to the audience’s innocent perception of the star.
Haley Joel Osment
Haley Joel Osment was the child star that was able to see dead people in M. Night Shyamalan’s classic 1999 thriller The Sixth Sense. The hit film turned Haley into one of the most notable child stars of his generation, but the actor seemingly dropped off of the planet shortly afterwards. It seems that Haley’s break from spotlight came as a result of him perusing his higher education. During this time, the actor also worked on honing his craft on the stage. Now, Haley is back on the screen yet again. The actor has appeared in movies such as Yoga Hosers and Tusk, though his most notable recent work was on the series Silicon Valley.
While child stars typically achieve their greatest successes as children and then fizzle out as adults, the aforementioned celebrities represent cases where the inverse was true. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Jason Bateman starred in a handful of sitcoms as a child, and that the former child actor who played Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom recently made a big comeback? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!