Being a former child star is something that can sometimes haunt an actor, but many handle the pressures with grace and dignity. We think being a child actor is nothing short of a fun job… at least when you’re a child. Then you grow up and everything is not as glamorous and beautiful as it seems! That’s when you’re met with the decision to stay or go. But we all remember them in their most memorable roles regardless!
Whether they appeared on your TV screens or on the big screen, you probably recognize a name or two. We’ll be going through the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s child stars, so let us know if you recognize any of these faces!
1. Angela Cartwright
You might remember Cartwright as Brigitta from The Sound of Music in 1965. She was well-known for playing roles as a child throughout the ’50s and ’60s. In recent years, she’s been quiet but often lends her voice to video shorts and TV movies such as The Bolt Who Screwed Christmas in 2009 and, most recently, Lost in Space: The Epilogue in 2015.
Other than film, she has dedicated the past 30 years of her life to photography and her art is currently displayed at her studio located in Studio City, Los Angeles.
2. Billy Mumy
If you ever watched The Twilight Zone in the early 1960s, you’ll remember this face. Billy Mumy was arguably well-known for his roles in The Twilight Zone, which usually consisted of playing the creepy little boy in certain episodes. Mumy has been extremely active throughout the years in film and is also an impressive musician!
He plays guitar, bass, keyboards, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, percussion, and vocals. He has one film in post-production called Agents of Project Blue Book, which is slated for a 2020 release.
3. Ron Howard
Ron Howard was best-known for his role on the TV sitcom Happy Days as Richie Cunningham. Howard was incredibly involved in some of the big-time sitcoms that we all know and love today, such as, The Waltons, M*A*S*H*, Laverne & Shirley, and The Andy Griffith Show.
He recently had a cameo on the hit TV series This Is Us in addition to Arrested Development from 2003 to 2018. In addition to his acting credits, he’s also a pretty big director as well, directing hits such as The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years in 2016, The Da Vinci Code in 2006, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2000!
4. Ken Weatherwax
Ken Weatherwax was best-known for his role in The Addams Family as Pugsley Addams. Aside from The Addams Family, Weatherwax remained very quiet up until his death in 2014.
Throughout his later years, he was featured as himself in various documentaries, including a Child Stars: Then and Now special.
5. Barry Williams
Barry Williams may be remembered best from everyone’s favorite, The Brady Bunch! This role would open many doors for him to appear on other TV series of that era, such as Full House in 1994 and Murder, She Wrote in 1987.
He was steadily active in his film career up until the 2000s, where he took a bit of a break before jumping back in. He has a film called A Very Brady Redemption in pre-production right now, proving that the Brady’s will never go out of style! Watch some behind-the-scenes secrets from The Brady Bunch below, in DoYouRemember’s Throwback Youtube Channel! 🙂
6. Gary Coleman
Gary Coleman was the child star in the ’70s and ’80s, starring in shows like Diff’rent Strokes, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Married… With Children, and more.
He would soon go on to star as himself in later TV series for millennials like Drake and Josh and Robot Chicken, retiring before he eventually passed away in 2010 from a subdural hematoma at the age of 42.
7. Harvey Stephens
Harvey Stephens is best-known for his role as the creepy little boy in the 1976 film of The Omen. After that film, he only went onto appear in one other film in 1980 called Gauguin the Savage, which was a TV movie and played the role of tabloid reporter #3 in a remake of The Omen in 2006.
Otherwise, he’s been very quiet and focuses more on his family these days!
8. Denise Nickerson
Denise Nickerson is remembered for her role as the gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. She would go on to appear in several more TV series and movies but would retire from acting after 1978 to work as a nurse.
Some of the TV series she’s dabbled in over the years include The Brady Bunch in 1974 and The Magical World of Disney in 1978.
9. Peter Ostrum
Peter Ostrum, another Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory alum, starred as Charlie Bucket in the 1971 film. Despite starring as himself in a number of documentaries and TV shorts over the years, he hasn’t done much in the film industry since he retired after his Willy Wonka days.
He received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984. Ostrum has been married to Loretta Lepkowski since 1987 and they have two children together!
10. Linda Blair
Most people see this name and it sends chills down their spine! Linda Blair is best-known for her role as Regan in the 1973 film of The Exorcist. This role would open many more doors for her to appear in more TV movies and films throughout the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. She’s been less active in the 2000s, but still has a film in post-production called Landfill.
She spends her spare time doing charity work these days, partly with her own foundation, The Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation, which provides a safe haven and lifelong care for animals. Below is a great interview with Linda Blair about her experience filming one of the most terrifying movies of all-time!
11. Sara Gilbert
Sara Gilbert is best-known for her role as Darlene Conner on Roseanne and spin-off, The Conners, but she actually began working in the acting business at a very young age, beginning with a string of commercials.
This would eventually lead to her first real role in Calamity Jane (1984) at just 9 years old. Today, she has accumulated a multitude of successes, including being an executive producer for multiple TV series. She reprised his character on the reboot of Roseanne (before it became The Conners) in 2018.
12. Aileen Quinn
Aileen Quinn is best known for her role as little orphan Annie in the 1982 film of Annie, the role and film we all love her for. After this film, she went on to lend her voice to some TV shorts and appear in other films very sparingly, such as The Frog Prince in 1988 and The Comeback Kids in 2014.
For now, she continues to sing in a band and teach master classes in theatre all over the United States.
13 & 14. Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen
Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen were best-known for sharing their role as Michelle Tanner on the TV sitcom Full House.
The twins went on to create their own Olsen empire and star in their own series of videos and other films in the 2000s before quitting film permanently. Both of them are building a fashion empire currently and are completely off social media.
15. Jodie Sweetin
Jodie Sweetin is another Full House alum who got her start young in the acting business, even before Full House. Sweetin had it pretty rough growing into her adolescent years, struggling with substance abuse after her hit series ended and she adjusted to life after.
However, she was able to get back on her feet, got sober, returned to acting, and has two beautiful children. She currently stars on Netflix’s Fuller House.
What about The Facts of Life actresses, how did their lives change? Let’s find out about these former child stars!
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