Do you remember Tad Trenton in the 1983 film Cujo? What about Ben Beniker in The Beniker Gang? And what about fast-forwarding to 2006 to Stefan, one of the characters in the film The Still Life?
These diverse characters were played by Danny Pintauro and the 2006 film The Still Life was actually the last time we saw him in a feature film. He’s done a few TV episodes here and there and a TV movie released in 2022 but he largely stepped out of the spotlight.
Apart from these few film roles, he was known best for his role in the TV series Who’s the Boss? But after going through a lot of trauma he had to step away from acting. But now…he’s back and ready for his comeback.
Danny Pintauro of Who’s the Boss is finally back in the spotlight! Join FactsVerse to learn more about it…
DANNY PINTAURO’S EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Danny Pintauro was born on January 6, 1976, in Milltown, New Jersey. Not too much is known about his childhood but he didn’t come from a show business background. Nevertheless, he took an interest in acting from a young age and began his career as a child actor.
He made his debut in the popular soap opera As The World Turns – appearing in 3 episodes of the show in 1983. He played the character of Paul Ryan which was played by several child actors until the character grew up.
But he first gained mainstream attention when he appeared in the 1983 horror film Cujo – based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. He played Tad Trenton – the rather sheepish son who becomes terrified and terrorized by the dog Cujo.
The film was a huge hit and it seemed that no one could have played Tad Trenton better than young Danny Pintauro. Maybe that’s why we haven’t seen a remake of the film so far?
The film catapulted Danny Pintauro to instant stardom and we imagine that many more offers came his way. The following year, he acted as Ben Beniker in The Beniker Gang. This was a unique drama film about a group of runaway orphans who try to live together as a family. It was a touching film and showed that Danny Pintauro had incredible range as an actor – despite still being an amateur and despite his youth.
His big break came when he was cast in the TV sitcom Who’s The Boss which also starred Tony Danza and Judith Light. The sitcom followed a former baseball player who has to single-handedly raise his young daughter. Danny Pintauro played Jonathan Bowers – the son of Angela, played by Judith Light. He also co-starred alongside Alyssa Milano and both actors were praised for giving such mature performances at such young ages.
He appeared in the show for a total of 196 episodes and even won an award for his acting. This was the show that truly gave Danny Pintauro a chance to showcase his acting skills and it seemed that his career would be uphill from now onward.
After all, so far, his career had gone from strength to strength. His first two films were huge hits and so was the sitcom he acted in. Even the 3 episodes he began his career with was in one of the most popular soap operas of all time.
So, his career had consisted of a popular soap opera, a popular sitcom, a great horror film based on a bestselling novel and a touching drama film. Plus a pretty good TV movie called Timestalkers featuring Danny was released in 1987 and added another great notch on his resume. He also acted in 2 episodes of the TV series Highway to Heaven and also appeared in the TV movie Jury Duty; the Comedy which was released in 1990.
Such an entrance into the movie industry would be the dream of any actor and it seemed that nothing could go wrong for young Danny Pintauro.
Who’s the Boss ended in 1992 when Danny was 16 and one could only expect more great things as he entered adulthood.
Sadly, this wasn’t the case…
DARK TIMES FOR DANNY PINTAURO
In 1994, when Danny Pintauro was 18 he decided to take a break from acting to pursue his studies. He first attended Middlesex County College in New Jersey and then later transferred to Stanford University. He received his degree in English literature and theater in 1998.
It seemed that after graduating from university and honing his acting skills even more – he was ready to resume his career as an adult and that nothing could stand in his way.
But this all came crashing down when in 1997 the infamous and awful tabloid The National Enquirer did something that hurt Danny’s career. They outed him as gay and while he certainly wasn’t ashamed of who he was – this was something that many actors still wanted to hide.
The stigma against gay men in the movie industry in those days was a lot greater and many actors remained in the closet as they were worried that this would lead to prejudice, ostracism, and ultimately – the end of their careers.
We didn’t see Danny Pintauro act again till 2006. He appeared as a contestant in one episode of The Weakest Link in 2001 when he appeared in a TV Child Stars edition episode. But the outing by The National Enquirer is what hurt his career. The calls that he was once overwhelmed by didn’t come at all.
This outing by The National Enquirer also couldn’t have come at a worse time. While he was a talented actor and no one doubted his acting capabilities, behind the façade of a successful child actor was a now insecure adult. He felt trauma following the ending of Who’s the Boss? He had a busy career throughout his childhood but he was worried that this wouldn’t continue when he became an adult.
His fears weren’t unreasonable. Many child stars have been just that: child stars and nothing else. Many child actors aren’t able to continue their careers successfully when they became adults.
Danny Pintauro had these fears and now he had been outed – which made it even harder for him to find work.
This put him into a deep depression and made his life much harder. He began abusing drugs. He also had unsafe sex in 2003 and he believed that this act caused him to contract the HIV virus – which only added more salt to the wounds.
It seemed that his life was going downhill and there was now chance of things getting better.
Imagine the scenario for yourself: a former child star, now outed as gay, abusing drugs, and now having an illness which itself carries such a huge stigma. This would be suicide for any actor and few, if any, Hollywood producers would want to give someone a second chance.
But if one doesn’t give up and keeps the faith, there’s always the chance of a comeback…
THE RETURN OF DANNY PINTAURO
Danny Pintauro is proof that if you don’t give up you can turn your life around no matter how harrowing the circumstances may seem.
In 2006, he returned to acting when he played the small role of Stefan in the film The Still Life which was based on the life and career of Joel Miller who wrote the book that the film was based on. His role was small but it was enough for him to get noticed.
While his career wasn’t exactly “back” he was now receiving a few offers here and there. 4 years after The Still Life, he appeared on an episode of the popular TV series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”
In 2015, audiences were able to reconnect with Danny Pintauro when he appeared on an episode of Oprah where he discussed his career as a child and what he was up to today.
The following year, he played Gary in the web series “Unsure/Positive” – a show that followed people who struggled to come out of the closet. It also shed light on persons living with HIV so it was something very close to Danny. It certainly took a lot of bravery to be in such a show but he was determined to make his comeback.
In 2020, amid the global pandemic he acted in 6 episodes of the web series “The Quarantine Bunch.” This was a humorous show that followed a group of former child stars who participated in a support group via Zoom calls!
Slowly but surely – Danny Pintauro was making a comeback. In 2022, he had a supporting role as Eugene in a TV movie called A Country Christmas Harmony. This was a musical drama that won much acclaim and audiences were happy to see Danny Pintauro once again – now in a bigger role. It seemed that he still had his acting chops and that he was going to make a comeback.
Since 2014, Danny Pintauro has also been married to Wil Tabares and is living a much happier life. He credits his faith and his persistence to helping him make his comeback. After the premiere of A Country Christmas Harmony its clear that he still has a lot to offer and we hope that he’ll surprise us in 2023 and beyond.
We certainly wish Danny Pintauro the best. He’s proof that no matter how difficult the circumstances might be – if you keep going, you’ll get back on your feet…
So, now let’s hear from you:
Are you a fan of Danny Pintauro? Are you looking forward to his comeback?
We certainly wish him well for the future and we’re glad that he’s finally back in the spotlight.
And now, here’s what we want to know from you:
Do you think that actors can truly make a comeback after such a long break?
Or is it crucial to be consistent lest you be forgotten and replaced by other actors?