Did you know Jojo was the youngest pop star to top the US Billboard Pop songs charts at just 13 years old? “Leave (Get Out)” peaked at number 12 on the Billboard top 100 songs also, and sold over 4 million copies since coming out in 2004. Yes, 2004. Nowadays Jojo is still very much active in music. In July of 2016 she released a single with labelmate Wiz Khalifa, and even dropped an album called “Mad Love” later that year in October. You might be surprised to hear the album received generally favorable reviews from critics, who saw it as a “bold coming-of-age statement” of sorts. We’re glad to see Jojo is still doing great.
Beverly Mitchell is best known for her role as Lucy in the hit show “7th Heaven,” which is a part she actually didn’t originally want. She auditioned for the role of Mary, but producers didn’t think she was a good fit for it, so she went ahead and tried out for Lucy and got the part instantly. We all know what happened after that. Beverly’s life post-“7th Heaven” has been a positive one. Along with starring in the 2016 show “Hollywood Darlings,” Beverly has also had a couple children with her husband of almost 10 years Michael Cameron. You’ll be pleased to hear her “7th Heaven” castmates Jessica Biel and Mackenzie Rosman both served as bridesmaids for the unforgettable event.
Drew Barrymore is technically a childhood star. For anyone who loved “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” we all remember her as Gertie in the hit movie from Steven Spielberg. Apparently she got the role because she told Spielberg a made-up story about how she was the leader of a punk rock band, which impressed him deeply. He wanted a girl with a bright imagination for the part. It turns out he was right in seeing so much promise in Drew! She went on to star in a vast number of movies from her teenage years all the way up to today. You probably remember her from “50 First Dates,” “Charlie’s Angels,” and “He’s Just Not That Into You.” She even dabbled in directing, helming the 2009 film “Whip It” which is about a roller derby team.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt started acting at the age of four, appearing in productions like “The Wizard Of Oz” and doing commercials for Cocoa Puffs, Pop-Tarts, and Kinney Shoes. He’s probably best known for his role in “A River Runs Through It,” and playing Tommy Solomon on the sitcom “3rd Rock From The Sun.” This was just the start of it, though. Since his early days Gordon-Levitt has blossomed into one of the most sought-after stars in Hollywood, appearing in sci-fi movies like “Inception,” “Looper,” and even playing parts in more serious films like “Snowden” and “Lincoln.”
Melissa Joan Hart
What kind of millennial could forget “Sabrina the Teenage Witch?” Although she was twenty when she first got the role in that hit show, what you might have forgotten about is her show “Clarissa Explains It All,” which she starred in at the ripe age of 15. She originally felt a little awkward for being a teenager playing a “child,” but she got over it and was largely just thankful for the opportunity to be on TV. Since “Sabrina” Melissa Joan Hart opened up her own candy shop, became the Connecticut chairperson in Libertarian Gary Johnson’s 2016 presidential campaign, and married musician Mark Wilkerson in 2003. Together they have three sons. Melissa still dabbles in acting, and actually recently finished a weekly TV series called “Melissa & Joey” which ran for six years.
Neil Patrick Harris
Before Neil Patrick Harris was Count Olaf from “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” he was a pretty famous child actor who received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in “Clara’s Heart.” It’s hard to believe he was so talented at the ripe age of 15, but looking at his work to date, it’s easy to see he’s just a natural. After his success in “Clara’s Heart,” Harris appeared in movies like “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle,” before landing a major TV role as Barney Stinson in “How I Met Your Mother.” He rode that train for nearly ten years, also appearing in movies like “Gone Girl,” and “The Smurfs,” along the way. Most recently he portrayed Count Olaf in Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
Perhaps the most famous child actor of all-time, Macauley Caulkin began his career at the age of four, appearing in a stage production of “Bach Babies” in New York. He later starred in the fan-favorite “Home Alone” in 1990, and appeared in the sequel “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” a couple years later. Despite his promise, Macauley didn’t really land any major roles after that. After “Home Alone” Caulkin largely sunk into himself. He saw a string of flops at the box office in the years after his initial success, and later retreated into obscurity in Hollywood, picking up some jail time for possession of marijuana and controlled substances in 2004. That didn’t stop him, though. In 2016 he sat down for his first real interview in years and told everyone he would be coming back soon. Here’s to hoping he’ll keep evolving as an actor on the big screen.
Anna Paquin won an Academy Award at the age of 11. It’s kind of insane when you think about it. She beat out 5,000 actresses for the role of Flora McGrath in “The Piano,” despite having essentially no acting experience whatsoever. It turns out the casting agents were right, because she became the second-youngest Academy Award winner in Oscar History because of it. Anna Paquin is probably most remembered for her role as Rogue in the “X-Men” franchise, but she also starred in the hit show “True Blood,” from 2008-2014 playing Sookie Stackhouse. For her performance in the show she received a Golden Globe Award in 2009. Clearly a talented actress, Anna settled down and married actor Stephen Moyer in 2010.
Not many actors make the transition from film to voice work cleanly, but that’s exactly what Dante Basco ended up doing after starring in Steven Spielberg’s “Hook.” Even though “Hook” was Dante’s last huge commercial success, he pushed himself as an actor, taking on roles in a variety of TV shows and movies afterwards. His most recent success was voicing Zuko in “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” You can also see him in a couple episodes of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” as well as “Moesha.” You can even see him in an episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” where he appeared as himself in Season 12. Go check it out!
Ron Howard is a successful Director, but we first came to know him as sweet little Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show” whom he played for eight years. It looked as if he’d have a promising career in acting for a while, but after he directed “Grand Theft Auto” in 1977, he was hooked with working behind the camera. He later directed popular films like “Cocoon,” “Apollo 13,” and “A Beautiful Mind,” which earned him an Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture. Let’s not forget that he also made “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” too. He recently made headlines when he took over Directing responsibilities for the upcoming Han Solo film. Look for it in theatres next year.
Danica McKellar was sort of a teen hearthrob back in the day because of her role as Winnie Cooper in “The Wonder Years.” The show ran for six seasons from 1988 to 1993, and acted as a springboard for her later forrays into writing, actually. After “The Wonder Years,” Danika found it hard to move on and become an adult actress. She picked up small roles here and there in shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” and “The Big Bang Theory,” but nothing really materialized into a recurring thing. Despite her struggles post-Wonder Years, she’s done relatively well for herself and even authored four mathematics-related books targeted towards adolescent readers. It looks like she can do it all!
Tia and Tamera Mowry
Who could forget Tia and Tamera Mowry in “Sister, Sister?” For a quick refresher, the show ran from 1994 to 1999, and followed a pair of twin sisters who were separated and later adopted at birth. 1999 was 18 years ago, so what are the twins up to now? The twins largely went their own ways after “Sister, Sister” ended in 1999. Tia came out with her own cooking show called “Tia Mowry at Home,” while Tamera became a host of the talk show “The Real” alongside other Disney Channel stars Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai, and Loni Love. If you want to read a bit more about their life, pick up their book Twintuition to find out for yourself what they’ve been up to.
Danielle is and always will be Topanga in “Boy Meets World” to a broad range of people who grew up in the 90’s. The popular show ran for seven long years, ending in 2000 after a very solid run. Because of the success of the show, Disney decided to create a spin-off called “Girl Meets World” in which Danielle reprised her role as Topanga. But that’s certainly not all that’s happened in her career. After “Boy Meets World” she started dabbling in efforts like cooking and writing, becoming the host of Style Network’s “The Dish.” Now she’s a resident reporter for PopSugar and also appears regularly on their YouTube channel PopSugar Girls Guide.
Jaleel White wasn’t even supposed to play Steve Urkel in “Family Matters” for more than one episode. He was originally intended to show up for one installment and leave, but audiences loved him so much that the studio decided to make him a regular, which by all accounts was the best move they could’ve made. What has he done since 1997 when the show ended, though? Well, he’s gotten insanely buff, for one. After his time on “Family Matters” he went to school at UCLA and received a degree in film and television by 2001. He later did voice work in the film “Quest for Camelot,” appeared in the gameshow “Dancine with the Stars,” and hosted the Syfy show “Total Blackout” in 2012. You can see him in the upcoming CBS show “Me, Myself, and I” which is slated to appear this Fall.
Before Tatyana Ali was Ashley Banks from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” she was actually a regular on “Sesame Street” at the age of six. Despite where you know her from, she cemented her legacy as a well-known child actor alongside Will Smith in many people’s favorite 90’s show. After her time on “Fresh Prince,” she got heavy into singing. Her debut album “Kiss The Sky” was certified gold in 1999, flaunting the hit song “Daydreamin'” which reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100. Perhaps one of the lesser-known facts about Tatyana is that she attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in African-American studies in 2002. Later she helped Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, acting as a traveling spokesperson. Who knew Tatyana would grow to be so multi-talented?
Dakota Fanning has been putting out nothing but A-list material since she was seven. After her role in “I Am Sam” garnered her a Screen Actors Guild Award at the age of eight, she quickly became one of Hollywood’s most sought-after stars. After “I Am Sam,” she appeared in movies like “Man on Fire,” “War of the Worlds,” and “Charlotte’s Web,” but these movies came out when she was still barely a teenager. Now Dakota is highly involved in modeling, appearing on the covers of Elle, Vanity Fair, and Cosmopolitan to name a few. She’s set to appear in the all-female version of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise titled “Ocean’s Eight” in 2018.
Hilary Duff gained prominence after her time as Lizzie McGuire on the Disney Channel series of the same name. She was 14. After that she starred in movies like “Agent Cody Banks,” “Cheaper by the Dozen,” and “A Cinderella Story,” but later she would largely break away from Hollywood, chasing a career in music (successfully) instead. Her first albums ‘Hilary Duff” and “Most Wanted” achieved platinum status in the United States. She also married NHL player Mike Comrie in 2010, and even had a son named Luca the following year. She hasn’t really seen the success that she used to be accustomed to when she was a teenager, but she still dabbles in acting, starring in the TV series “Younger” nowadays.
Alyson Stoner is best known for her early childhood role in “Cheaper by the Dozen,” where she played Sarah, one of the twelve Baker children. Later she would appear in TV shows like “The Suite Life of Zach and Cody,” as well as “Drake and Josh.” After her initial success she did voice work for “Phineas and Ferb” and even appeared in “Step Up,” where she showed off her impressive dancing chops. Nowadays she teaches hip hop classes at the Millennium Dance Complex, where she’s the youngest person to teach a master class.
“You play ball like a girl!” We’ll likely never forget Patrick Renna as Ham Porter in “The Sandlot,” but crazy enough is the fact that he never really did too much professionally of note after that. He snagged minor roles in shows like “Boston Legal” and “The X-Files,” later on but never really found a role as interesting as his one in “The Sandlot.”