Where would we be in film today if we didn’t have child actors? Beloved films like E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, The Sixth Sense, and Stand by Me could have never been created without talented children. However, casting children in roles is very different from casting adults. After all, when casting someone for an adult role, you’re guaranteed to find experienced and mature actors who have studied their craft for years. Adult actors don’t have to focus on raw talent as much as they do on honing their skills. When working with child actors, however, it’s pretty much all about raw talent.
After all, you can’t expect a kid to have attended the most prestigious theatre schools. In fact, you can’t even expect much of a resume. When directors and producers are casting young actors, they look for someone with good instincts and a natural ability to believably convey emotions. These are very different qualities to find in a child, which is why good child actors are valued so highly in the film industry.
Even though directors are far less demanding of child actors than they are of adults, however, it is still a grueling process. Child actors are often emotionally exhausted by the skills required of them, especially if they are playing more dramatic roles. Even if a child has a natural talent for acting, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re cut out to handle all of the responsibility that comes with it. After all, most children just want to have fun!
Many child actors, such as Emma Watson, Neil Patrick Harris, and Drew Barrymore, went on to star in dozens of films well into their adulthood. It’s amazing to see how much stars like Sean Astin and Neil Patrick Harris have grown since their days as child actors. Sadly, the same can’t be said for every child actor that has graced the big screen.
Some young actors quit their jobs because they wanted to focus more on school, or even because they simply wanted to enjoy life while they were still young. Others attempted to make it big in the film industry, but found that the roles dried up as they grew older. And still others simply decided that they’d rather spend their days in a different career field altogether.
In today’s video, we’re going to look at some amazing child actors who disappeared from Hollywood for good. Make sure you stick around, because we’ll reveal what happened to the actor who played a role in one of the most iconic horror films of all time!
Ross Malinger’s most famous role was in the film Sleepless in Seattle, where he appeared alongside legendary actor Tom Hanks. Furthermore, he co-starred with Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme in the film Sudden Death. With such amazing roles to add to his resume, you’d think Ross Malinger would have made it big later in life. Even though he managed to earn a couple of recurring roles on various television shows, such as Recess and The Simple Life, it became more and more difficult for Malinger to find success as an actor.
By the time he turned 17, Ross Malinger decided that he was done in film, and he instead settled down in Malibu, California, where he now runs Automotive Legends.
Daniel Tay played the role of Michael in the hilarious movie Elf, starring Will Ferrell. Despite it being his first film debut, Tay performed surprisingly well, displaying an instinct for good comedic timing and believable facial expressions. The same year that Elf was released, he also acted in the film American Splendor. Three years after his film debut, though, Tay had virtually disappeared from Hollywood. Aside from playing a few roles here and there, as well as working for a voice actor in several video games, his filmography barely grew. As of 2009, Tay is no longer active as an actor, and has chosen to settle down out of the limelight.
Amber Scott’s most famous role was as Maggie in the fantasy film Hook. She was only seven years old when she debuted on the big screen, but she displayed talents most seven year old wouldn’t even dream of. She was so young that she likely couldn’t even understand the magnitude of appearing in a film alongside legends like Robin Williams, Julia Roberst, and Dustin Hoffman.
Despite her excellent start, the only other acting project Amber Scott would appear in would be the documentary American Experience. After that, she began a career as a ballerina, and won an impressive amount of awards for her craft.
Ariana Richards’ film debut was in the 1987 movie Into the Homeland, but everyone remembers her for her role as Lex in the Steven Spielberg classic Jurassic Park. She won several awards for her work, and appeared in a variety of films and television shows. However, in 2001, she decided she had had enough acting. Instead, she decided to follow in the footsteps of an ancestor, Carlo Crivelli, an Italian Renaissance painter. Today, she is an accomplished impressionistic oil painter. She appeared briefly in a 2013 film Battledogs, but since then, she has disappeared from film entirely.
Not only is The Shining arguably Stephen King’s most accomplished novel, but the film adaptation is also the most iconic adaptation of his work. The producers of the film knew that the actor who played Danny Torrance would have to be incredibly special, and they found this talent in Danny Lloyd. The creepy, hoarse chanting of “redrum, redrum” is one of the most memorable film moments in history, and the performance is even more impressive when you find out that young Danny Lloyd had practically zero acting experience before he landed the role.
However, Danny Lloyd left his career as an actor behind at a very young age, and he instead decided to become a science teacher at a Missouri community college.
While everyone praised Danny Lloyd’s work in The Shining, not all child actors were so lucky. Make sure you stick around until the very end to find out the tragic story of one notorious child actor who appeared in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
Jason Zimbler may not be well known by many, but he was famous to young children who enjoyed the 90s Nickelodeon television show Clarissa Explains It All. He played an obnoxious younger brother to the main character, Clarissa. While the show only lasted three years, it was insanely popular while it ran. After Clarissa Explains It All, Jason Zimbler disappeared entirely from both film and television. Instead, he went on to graduate from Notre Dame, and today, he works for HBO. He also created a support group called Been There, Done That, made especially for former child actors.
Ross Bagley acted in the classic 1994 film Little Rascals. Later on, he was also cast to play Nicky in the show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He worked extremely well with Will Smith, which earned him a role in the 1996 film Independence Day. After that, however, his roles dried up. After appearing sporadically in various television shows, he decided it was time to do other things with his life. He graduated from California State University. After that, his connection to Will Smith helped him one last time; he landed an internship at Overbrook Productions, which is owned by Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith.
Jeff Cohen played the lovable and iconic role of Chunk in The Goonies. That wasn’t his only famous role as a child, however. He also appeared regularly on the show Family Ties, and he also voice acted in the cartoon series Popeye and Son. In 1991, after he turned 17, however, Jeff Cohen decided he had had enough of the acting industry. He quit his job as an actor for good and focused on school. He graduated from UC Berkeley, and today, his degree has allowed him to work as an entertainment lawyer.
Charlie Korsmo’s breakout role was as Siggie in the hit comedy film What About Bob? starring Bill Murray and also featuring Richard Dreyfuss. After that, he landed his most famous role of his career; Jack, in the classic film Hook. But like Amber Scott, who played his sister in the film, his acting career was short-lived after the release of Hook. In 1998, he made a brief appearance in the film Can’t Hardly Wait, but he never worked as an actor after that. Instead, he found his calling elsewhere. He graduated from MIT with a bachelor’s in physics, and he later attended Yale. Today, he works as the Assistant Professor of Law for the Case Western Reserve University of Law.
No matter how impressive his acting could have been, it seems that Jake Lloyd’s role as Anakin Skywalker was doomed from the start. Diehard Star Wars fans were utterly disappointed by the film The Phantom Menace, and many of their frustrations were directed towards poor Jake Lloyd. Lloyd disappeared from acting shortly after, but for far different reasons. Even though he appeared briefly in the hit TV series ER, and also acted in the film Jingle All the Way, he quit acting due to bullying from peers at school. Sadly, he was later diagnosed with schizophrenia, which led to a series of arrests in 2015. Still, many Star Wars fans have gotten over themselves, and he is now remembered fondly.
Were you more surprised by child actors who decided to quit acting to pursue other careers, or by the ones who were unable to land successful roles? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!