Top 5 Child Stars Who Never Made It as an Adult Actor

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Child stars like Anna Paquin, Neil Patrick Harris and Leonardo DiCaprio successfully made the jump to adult actors, but most child stars aren’t so lucky. Former child stars Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes are still making headlines as adults for negative reasons, while many other child celebrities have faded into obscurity. Some kids choose to get out of the biz to maintain their sanity and not become another Lohan, but many talented child actors wanted to continue in their careers but couldn’t cut it as adults.

5 Macaulay Culkin: Probably Shouldn’t Be Left Home Alone

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Although not in the limelight as much as other child-stars-turned-adult lunatics, Macaulay Culkin is a cautionary tale of how fame and wealth at a young age can lead to a troubled adulthood. The “Home Alone” films were some of the more popular movies ever to feature a child in the lead role. Culkin starred in many more movies as a kid, becoming a millionaire by age 12. But by 15, he was considered a has-been. Although he appeared in a play and wrote a book about his glory days, they were not well received. The most interesting things Culkin accomplished as an adult was briefly dating Mila Kunis and getting himself arrested for marijuana possession.

4 Fred Savage: From Emmy Nominee to Behind the Camera

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Everyone remembers Fred Savage from “The Wonder Years.” He won an Emmy nomination and starred in films like “The Princess Bride,” “The Boy Who Could Fly” and “The Wizard.” But then the cute kid tried to work the same magic as an adult, ending up in flops like “Single White Millionaire.” From there, he went on to direct flops like “Daddy Day Camp.” All and all, the once-famous actor has directed some decent TV episodes. Hey, at least he isn’t helping to inflict more lawyers on the world like Professor Korsmo. Still, he’s no Ron Howard, the former child star who became one of Hollywood’s biggest directors.

3 Charlie Korsmo: Hooked on the Law

Charlie Korsmo used to be a big deal. He was Peter Pan’s son in “Hook” and also appeared in the hilarious comedy “What About Bob,” as well as “Dick Tracy.” Like many child actors, he tried to take a break from Hollywood and spend some time growing up. Sadly, this strategy rarely works. After trying a comeback in the film “Can’t Hardly Wait,” Korsmo disappeared from movies for good. He ended up at MIT as an undergrad, then going on to Yale Law School. He now teaches law. A foundation in acting no doubt comes in handy in the legal world.

2 Jonathan Taylor Thomas: Hollywood’s Shortest Heartthrob

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Jonathan Taylor Thomas was on a roll for a while in the ’90s. As the middle child on Tim Allen’s “Home Improvement,” JTT outshone his sitcom siblings. During his seven-year run on the hit TV show, JTT starred in movies like “Man of the House” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Now that he is in his early 30s, the once-child star can barely get a gig guest on TV, let alone snag any starring roles. The actor’s popularity peaked around the time he stopped growing, literally. Shortness works for comedic actors like Danny DeVito, but for a former teen heartthrob turned adult, being shorter than most teenage girls doesn’t fly in Hollywood.

1 Shirley Temple: Forever a Doll

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Shirley Jane Temple was perhaps the most beloved child star during the Great Depression era. The curly haired Little Miss Miracle starred in her first film, “Baby Burlesques,” when she was only 3, and then went on to star in dozens of films. She was a No. 1 box office draw for four years, effectively saving Twentieth Century Fox. The “Curly Top” and “Heidi” star received a special kid-sized Oscar for her accomplishments. Unfortunately, her adorable dimples and doll-like appearance worked against her as an adult. But at least she went on to become a diplomat to the United Nations.

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