Being a child star can mean transitioning successfully to an adult acting career, facing some hardships while growing up in the public eye, or just being a child star, plain and simple. After all, not every child actor wants to continuing acting as they grow up. Some decide to take a step away from the cameras and lead a more normal life, like these former child stars who have completely different jobs now.
The actors listed below all acted as children or teens but decided to throw in the towel for one reason or another once they got older. There are some who had lengthy careers as kids and others who only starred in one major project. See what they’re all doing now, whether it’s writing, painting, teaching, nursing, or practicing law. Seriously, there are a lot of lawyers in this bunch.
One of the most enduring images of The Shining is a little boy riding a tricycle down a spooky hallway. That little boy was Danny Lloyd, who played the character Danny Torrance in the 1980 horror classic. Lloyd only had one other role as a child actor—he was also in the TV movie, Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy, which is the Watergate scandal.
Lloyd—who now goes by Dan Lloyd—is a biology professor at a community college in Kentucky, according to a Guardian interview from 2017. “I don’t do many interviews,” he told the outlet. “But when I do, I try to make it clear, The Shining was a good experience. I look back on it fondly. What happened to me was I didn’t really do much else after the film. So you kind of have to lay low and live a normal life.”
He did have one return to screen later in life, though: In 2019, Lloyd made a cameo in the Shining sequel Doctor Sleep, in which Ewan McGregor plays Danny Torrance as an adult.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were the child star queens of the ’90s. They’re best known for sharing the role of Michelle on Full House, but they also had their own Olsen twins movies, books, fashion lines, you name it. The last time they acted together was in the 2004 movie New York Minute.
Ashley continued to act until her late teens and Mary-Kate into her early 20s, but then they left movies and TV behind altogether. Instead, the Olsens set off on very successful careers as fashion designers. Their award-winning luxury brand is called The Row, and they also founded a more affordable line called Elizabeth and James.
Morgan York appeared as Sarah on 11 episodes of the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana starring Miley Cyrus. She also acted in the movies Cheaper by the Dozen, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Pacifier, and on the TV series The Suite Life on Deck and The Practice.
In a TikTok video posted in May 2021, York shared that she never saw herself as an adult actor. She now works in publishing and is a writer with a focus on young adult fantasy books.
As a kid, Charlie Korsmo notably appeared alongside Robin Williams in Hook and Bill Murray in What About Bob. After taking several years off from acting, he then made a brief return at age 20, appearing in the teen comedy Can’t Hardly Wait.
These days, however, Korsmo is a lawyer. He got a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT and went to law school at Yale. He’s practiced law, worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. House of Representatives, and is now a professor at Case Western Reserve University.
If you’ve seen The Ring, you’ll remember David Dorfman as the young son of Naomi Watt‘s character who watches the cursed videotape. The young actor also appeared in The Ring Two, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Bounce, and on the TV show Joan of Arcadia.
Dorfman’s life took quite a turn after his horror movie days were over. The former actor was accepted to UCLA when he was only 13, graduated as valedictorian when he was 17, and began Harvard Law when he was 18. “Being an actor, I was already accustomed to working in adult environments so college wasn’t a shock,” he told Business Insider. Now, after working at a big law firm, he works at the U.S. House of Representatives.
Carrie Henn‘s film career was very short-lived. As a child she appeared as a young girl named Newt with star Sigourney Weaver in the 1986 movie Aliens, and that was that.
A 2016 interview with Wired explains that Henn is now a fourth grade teacher in California. But, she still takes part in fan conventions related to Aliens, and frequently posts about events and the movie on social media. “It’s very weird, because I have a daughter who’s now the age I was when I made the movie, and she’s like my clone,” Henn told Wired. “So as I’m watching it, it’s like watching my daughter up there.”
Jeff Cohen is best known for playing Chunk in the classic ’80s movie The Goonies. In addition to the film, he appeared in guest roles on shows including Webster, The Facts of Life, and Family Ties. His last role, the TV movie Perfect Harmony, came in 1991 when he was 17 years old.
Like some of his fellow former child stars, Cohen practices law. He attended law school at UCLA, started his own law firm, Cohen Gardner LLC, and is an entertainment lawyer. He also wrote a book titled The Dealmaker’s Ten Commandments: Ten Essential Tools for Business Forged in the Trenches of Hollywood.
Mackenzie Rosman came to fame starring as Ruthie Camden on the family drama 7th Heaven. She went on to appear in a few movies and on the TV series The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
Rosman, an equestrian, founded the brand Fletch Athletica, which makes special belts that allow riders to conveniently carry treats for their horses. She also enjoys an outdoorsy life in general, often sharing photos on Instagram of herself gardening, fishing, and hanging out with her animals.
RELATED: See Ruthie From 7th Heaven All Grown Up.
Ariana Richards played Lex, one of the two main kid characters in the original Jurassic Park. By the time she starred in the 1993 movie, she had already had a number of TV and movie roles. She also reprised her role in Jurassic Park: The Lost World in 1997. Richards stopped acting in her early 20s.
Richards is now a professional artist. She has a bachelor’s degree in fine art and drama from Skidmore College. Her paintings can be viewed on her website. In a 2018 interview with Syfy, Richards said that she’d would “absolutely” play Lex again if she was ever asked to appear in another sequel. And she has worked one acting gig since her original child and teen career with a role in 2013’s Battledogs.
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Ross Bagley was quite the popular child actor in the ’90s, starring alongside Will Smith in two different projects. He played the youngest Banks child, Nicky, on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, then worked with the star again in Independence Day. Bagley also played Buckwheat in the 1994 movie The Little Rascals.
As he’s shared on his Instagram account, Bagley is a DJ, who goes by DJ Ro$$y B. But, he doesn’t ignore his acting past. Bagley has participated in fan conventions for Independence Day, and he was part of last year’s Fresh Prince reunion special. In an interview with Hip Hop News Uncensored, Bagley said he stopped acting because he wanted to go to a regular high school and “felt like [he] wanted to live more of a normal type of life.”
Josh Saviano played Kevin’s best friend Paul on The Wonder Years in over 100 episodes, from 1988 to 1993. As a child star, he had only three other roles, including the TV movie Camp Cucamonga, which featured other young actors including Full House‘s Candace Cameron Bure, Family Matters‘ Jaleel White, his Wonder Years co-star Danica McKeller, and a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston.
Like several of the other actors on this list, Saviano became—you guessed it—a lawyer. According to Us Weekly, he attended Yale and then Yeshiva University. He’s now a corporate and intellectual property transactional attorney, according to his company’s website, and the founder of Spotlight Advisory Group, which is “independent wealth & legacy management firm designed exclusively for artists, entertainers, athletes, influencers and other creatives.”
Saviano did briefly return to acting, at one point. He was on three episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit between 2014 and 2016.
Jennette McCurdy was a star on Nickelodeon as Sam Puckett on the series iCarly and its spin off Sam & Cat. She also appeared in episodes of Zoey 101, Will & Grace, and Malcolm in the Middle, among other roles.
McCurdy’s last feature film project was 2018’s Little B******. In March 2021, she said she was done with acting. “I resent my career in a lot of ways,” she said on her podcast Empty Inside (via Variety). “I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most just cheesy, embarrassing… I imagine there’s a very different experience to be had with acting if you’re proud of your roles.” She appeared in a one-woman show called I’m Glad My Mom Died in 2020, but said that it was a one-time thing. In addition to doing her podcast, McCurdy is also pursuing writing and directing.
Alisan Porter played Curly Sue in the 1991 John Hughes movie of the same name. As a young girl, she also appeared on the series Family Ties and The Golden Girls and in the movie Parenthood starring Steve Martin. She returned to acting for a few movie and TV roles in the ’00s and also appeared on Broadway in A Chorus Line and Footloose.
Porter came back into the entertainment world in a big way in 2016—but it wasn’t as an actor. She appeared on the tenth season of The Voice and ended up winning. On the show, she said that acting wasn’t her true passion, singing is. “I have retired Curly Sue, she is dead! I am now the girl who won The Voice,” she said after winning, as reported by People. “I would like you all to know. I’ve waited 30 something years for that! She’s dead!” Porter’s latest album is 2019’s Pink Cloud.
Lisa Jakub had a lengthy career as a young actor, but she is best known for playing the eldest of Robin Williams’ character’s children in Mrs. Doubtfire. She also had roles in Independence Day, The Twilight Zone, and The Beautician and the Beast. Her final screen performance was Double Frame in 2000, when she was 22.
Jakub is now a writer, yoga instructor, and leader of mental health workshops. She wrote the books You Look Like That Girl: A Child Actor Stops Pretending and Finally Grows Up and Not Just Me: Anxiety, Depression, and Learning to Embrace Your Weird, and has also written for numerous online publications. On her website, she explains her decision to stop acting, “At the age of 22, I realized that there must be more to life than premieres and pretending to be other people. I suspected that there was something outside of movies that would feel more authentic to me.”
The second Little Rascals star of our list is Kevin Jamal Woods, who played Stymie. The actor also appeared on several episodes of Blossom and in one episode of Walker, Texas Ranger, among other projects. His last movie was The Brainiacs.com in 2000.
Hollywood.com reports that Woods works for a media marketing research firm and that he studied audio engineering in school. He makes music and remixes of other songs, which he posts to his YouTube channel, and several years ago he also shared videos about his day-to-day life on his page.
Andrea Barber is best known for playing Kimmy Gibbler, DJ’s best friend on Full House. Prior to that, she had a regular role on Days of Our Lives, and had appeared on St. Elsewhere, The Twilight Zone, and Growing Pains. Barber quit acting after Full House… at least for a while.
After bringing her child acting career to a close, Barber graduated from Whittier College with an English degree and received a master’s degree in women’s studies from the University of York in England, according to HuffPost. She then became the assistant to the director of Whittier’s Office of International Programs.
But Barber is now an actor again. She reprised her role as Kimmy on the Full House revival, Fuller House. And she’s continuing to act with the series Minutiae and That Girl Lay Lay.
Jennifer Stone starred as Harper alongside Selena Gomez on the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place from 2007 to 2012. She also acted in Mean Girls 2 and episodes of House and Without a Trace, among other movies and shows.
Unlike the other names on this list, Stone did keep acting, she just also started another, very different career at the same time. After Wizards of Waverly Place ended, Stone went to school to study nursing. She is now a nurse at a hospital in Burbank, California. “It is a double life in a way, because what sane person does these two things that are so encompassing?” she told Deadline in 2020. She added, “As long as I’m really organized with my time, I’m able to balance it all. That’s key. Otherwise, it’s too much if you let everything get haywire but thankfully I’ve mastered keeping all the plates spinning in the air, so to speak.” Stone is next set to appear in a film called The Perfect Night. Her last roles were in 2019’s Santa Girl and The In-Between.