The 1960s was a decade filled with memorable child stars, and many of those child stars are still around today! Less than a century later, these former child stars are living differently than they are during their Hollywood heyday. Join Facts Verse as we take a look at what these 60s child stars look like all grown up.
In 1959 on of the 60s child star, Jay North receives fame thanks to his titular character on the series Dennis the Menace. Jay would go on the character until 1963 and audiences remember his character on the series. The show is based on the comic strip, and young Jay brought the character perfectly into the audience’s eyes. Sadly, Jay’s success on Dennis the Menace wouldn’t carry over into his adult career.
Jay continue working after Dennis the Menace, but never found another role that lent him the same success. By the 1990s, Jay had soured on the industry and could be heard talking ill of his time as a child star. According to Jay, he was forced into the profession at the behest of his aunt and uncle. Nowadays, Jay spends most of his time as an advocate for current child stars in the industry. With Jay’s unique experiences, he helps ensure that others kids don’t have as tough of a time as he did. Besides Jay’s work as an advocate for modern child stars. He has also made a career for himself as a correctional officer.
Before Dennis the Menace came on the air, there was Leave It to Beaver. Leave It to Beaver premiered in 1957 and lasted until 1963 and one of the 60s child star. The same year as Dennis the Menace. Leave It to Beaver followed the exploits of it’s titular character; a young boy who goes by the nickname “Beaver”, and his family. A young Jerry Mathers portrayed the character of Beaver. And he went on to reprise the role on The New Leave It to Beaver.
The New Leave It to Beaver ran from 1983 to 1989, and Jerry wasn’t the only actor from the original series to reprise his role. Like Jay North, Jerry expressed some distaste about being a child star after coming of age; deciding to leave the industry and pursue an education. He served in the Air Force for a time before eventually deciding to come back to show business. Nowadays, Jerry works only sporadically, with one of his latest credits being in a 2015 short film named Lucky Day.
Tony Dow was the 60s child star actor tasked with playing Beaver’s older brother on Leave It to Beaver. That older brother was Wally Cleaver. Like the actor that played his younger on-screen brother, Tony continued acting for a while after Leave It to Beaver’s 1963 end before leaving the entertainment industry, pursuing a different path, and coming back to it at a later date. Soon after Leave It to Beaver, Tony could be seen on the series Mr. Novak and Never Too Young. Later on in his career, he had a recurring role on the soap opera General Hospital. Following this, Tony rose to unlikely prominence as a bronze sculptor in the 2000s before returning to television acting in 2015 with appearances on Suspense.
During the 1960s, one of the 60s child star is Johnny Crawford known for portraying the son of the titular character on the hit Western series The Rifleman. Johnny had begun playing the role in 1958, and the gig lasted until 1963. Before taking on his role on The Rifleman, Johnny had been one of the Mouseketeers on the seminal Walt Disney series The Mickey Mouse Club. In his adult life, Johnny has become less interested in acting and more interested in music. The former child star first started dabbling in recording artistry during the 1960s. Though he has given the musical side of his career more and more focus ever since then. Despite his increasing interest in music, Johnny has made a few film appearances in recent decades, including roles in the features The Thirteenth Floor and The Marshal.
Many people might not know it, but movie star Kurt Russell actually started out as a fairly prominent child star during the 1960s. The actor got his start in the entertainment industry working for Walt Disney, and Walt grew quite fond of the young Kurt! Walt felt that Kurt Russell had such promise that he legendarily mentioned him on his deathbed. Walt’s instinct proved correct, as it often did. Since Kurt’s early days acting in Walt Disney features, he has gone on to be considered one of the biggest Hollywood movie stars of the modern age!
During his Disney days, Kurt Russell could be seen in such features as The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. While many child stars experience a lack of success once they get older, this didn’t turn out to be true for Kurt Russell! In the 1980s, Kurt was given a second life as a Hollywood action star thanks to John Carpenter casting him in films such as The Thing and Escape from New York. Kurt has managed to turn this second wave of Hollywood success into a stable career that is still ongoing today. Some of Kurt’s more recent work includes his collaborations with Quentin Tarantino. Kurt first worked with Quentin on the film Grindhouse, and has subsequently appeared in his films The Hateful Eight and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. He is married to Goldie Hawn.
Hayley Mills is another former child star that got her start working in Walt Disney features. However, Hayley Mills hasn’t gone on to see quite as much success in her later career as Kurt Russell has. Still, not everyone can be a big movie star! Hayley got her start in such as films as The Parent Trap and That Darn Cat! Though Hayley hasn’t gone on to see as much success as Kurt, Walt Disney similarly revered her. In her later life, Hayley has seen more success on the stage than on the screen. She has appeared in a variety of notable productions on the stage, including The King and I and Party Face.
She has also done performances of The Vagina Monologues. Though most of her recent successes have been on the stage, she still appears before the cameras sporadically. She made a recent television appearance on the British series Pitching In.
Over the course of the 1960s, Ron Howard became one of the decade’s most memorable child stars thanks to his time on The Andy Griffith Show. Ron played the character of Opie, who was the son of main character Sheriff Andy Taylor. Ron also appeared as a child in the film The Music Man, and made a guest appearance on the series Dennis the Menace.
Like Kurt Russell, Ron is a former child star that has gone on to have a fairly impressive career as an adult. However, Ron’s biggest successes have arguably been behind the scenes. Besides his memorable role on the classic series Happy Days, Ron has spent the majority of his time since the 1960s directing films. Ron’s directorial debut was the 1977 film Grand Theft Auto, and the years since his debut have seen him become an award-winning filmmaker thanks to features such as A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and Apollo 13.
In 1968, Marc Copage began playing the character of Corey Baker on the series Julia. In recent years, Marc made a notable return to the screen with an appearance alongside Jason Statham in the 2018 blockbuster film The Meg. However, the actor had evidently been having a hard time finding work in Hollywood before then. Reportedly he took a job as a waiter to pay his bills before he made his big break.
Before taking on her iconic role as Marcia Brady on the seminal 1969 series The Brady Bunch, Maureen could be seen performing minor roles on series such as I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. Since her time on The Brady Bunch, Maureen has dealt with mental health issues, but she seems to be doing fairly well today! She recently appeared alongside the rest of the former Brady children on a miniseries named A Very Brady Renovation, which saw them all working together to renovate the old Brady house.
Erin Murphy is the child actress that was tasked with playing the character of Tabitha Stephens on the hit 1960s series Bewitched. Playing the daughter of the show’s two main characters, Erin quickly became a lovable part of the show. However, she wasn’t asked back when Tabitha was given her own unsuccessful spin-off. Despite this, Erin has continued finding work, whether as a casting director, acting teacher, or makeup artist. Erin has even worked as motivational speaker!
Mary Badham is the former child star that played the character of Scout Finch in the 1962 film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. The young actress memorably received an Academy Award nomination for her performance. Despite this immense success at an early age, Mary opted out of pursuing a career in Hollywood once she was a teenager. Instead, she has made a name for herself in the field of art restoration.
Although they were once all household names, these former child stars have taken immensely different trajectories in life since their initial days of fame in the 1960s! Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Johnny Crawford became a musician after his days on The Rifleman, and did you know that Kurt Russell was one of Walt Disney’s favorite child stars? 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!