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It’s hard to find a child actor who not only looks good but can convey the emotions needed to keep the film afloat. Of course, when audiences encounter a child actor with these talents, it’s no surprise that that child is showered with praise and adoration. Hollywood is a volatile place, however, and more often than not, a kid considered hot property at a young age will be dropped like a sack of potatoes by the time they hit adulthood. The tremendous pressure that is placed on them at such a young age can be overwhelming when they grow up in an industry full of temptations. The pressure can just get too much, leading to the star struggling with such fame at such a young age and getting out of hand. Other times, it’s simply because they’re either losing interest in the industry or the audience is losing interest in them.



However, we are here to celebrate the child stars who chose to stay in Hollywood and have thrived in cinema well into adulthood and have become adored and respected actors in their own right. In fact, here are 11 actors who accomplished this great feat.

11 Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore rose to fame as a child actress with her role as the adorable Gertie ET the extraterrestrial. What followed were some very turbulent years, during which Barrymore struggled with drugs and alcohol, among other things. Thankfully, she had a strong support network that, with the collective determination of Barrymore, was able to get her life back on track. Since then she has become one of the most bankable actresses in Hollywood with a string of box office hits including the Charlie’s Angel Series, 50 first dates and Unkissedto name just a few.

Related: These are movies with great performances by young actors

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10 Kurt Russell

With a career spanning six decades, Kurt Russell is one of Hollywood’s most revered and respected stars. He made his film debut at the tender age of 11 alongside Elvis Presley, the king himself. As a child, he starred in several Disney films throughout the 1960s and was later promoted to Lead Actor in the 1970s, where he became Disney’s Biggest Star. His success only increased in the ’80s when he began to build a reputation for appearing in more adult roles, particularly with longtime collaborator John Carpenter in films such as the thing, Escape from New York and Big trouble in Little China. Currently aged 71, he has become a Hollywood fixture and has appeared in a variety of hit films including several Quentin Tarantino films as well as mega-franchises such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Fast and Furious and The Christmas Chronicles.


9 Emma Watson

The cultural phenomenon of Harry Potter took the world by storm in the ’90s, and when the hit children’s book series was adapted into the multibillion-dollar film franchise, the entire kid-led cast immediately took the spotlight. While many of them have enjoyed some success as adults, most notably Daniel Radcliffe who is pursuing a thriving career in the indie film scene, none have rode that wave of fame and success quite as far Emma Watson. Since the lovable bookworm Hermione plays in Harry PotterShe has received critical acclaim for her performances in films such as The perks of Being a Wallflower and The bling ring as well as appearing in big box office hits like Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Live action remake. In addition to her career in cinema, Watson continues to make headlines for her activism and philanthropy and was appointed UN Goodwill Envoy for Women in July 2014.


8th Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst was thrust into the limelight at a young age, appearing in the epic vampire drama as a child Interview with the vampire alongside the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas. As a child, she then appeared prominently in a number of mainstream hits, including jumanji and Little Soldiers. It wasn’t until 2002 Spiderman that she really shot to superstardom. The film starred Peter Parker’s love interest Mary Jane and grossed over $800 million. Since then (and between returning to the two highly successful Spiderman Sequels), Dunst focused primarily on indie roles and was particularly praised for her roles in nonlinear comedy Eternal sunshine of the spotless mindalongside Jim Carrey and Elijah Wood, and Lars Von Tier’s apocalyptic art drama melancholy.


7 Elijah Wood

Elijah WoodHis career began as a child with notable performances in The Adventures of Huck Finn, pinball and the dark thriller the good son alongside fellow child star Macaulay Culkin. After appearing in the cult horror film, the facultydirected by Robert Rodriguez, Wood became a household name after appearing in the hugely successful film Lord of the rings trilogy in which he plays the main character Frodo Baggins, a role he would later reprise The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. While he still occasionally appears in big blockbuster films, like giving his voice to the animated penguin Mumble Happy Feet 1 & 2, he has struggled not to be typecast ever since he found success in Hollywood. Wood is an avid fan of B-horror films, as evidenced by his appearances in a number of low-budget horror films, including 2012 Insanethe horror comedy Peckand the coming Toxic Avenger reboot.


6 Christina Ricc

Christina Ricc made her name as a kid in the early to mid ’90s playing somewhat unusual characters with a dark edge, most notably in The Addams family and Kasper. This trend continued into adulthood, when she received critical acclaim in hit films such as Tim Burton’s supernatural thriller Sleepy Cavethe dark fantasy flick Penelopeand the biographical serial killer film monster. More recently, she found success on the hit TV show yellow vests and It was recently announced that she has been cast in the upcoming show as a series regular Wednesdaybased on Wednesday Addams, the character who made her famous in 1991 and 1993 Addams family films (although this time she will play a different, currently undisclosed character).

See also: Actors nominated for an Oscar when they were young

5 Judy garland

Judy garlandLike so many others who found fame at a young age, she certainly didn’t find the ride that followed easy. However, unlike so many in her position, Garland stayed in an industry with which she so often felt at odds, and as a result her later work is celebrated just as much as the days when she walked the yellow brick path with her degree as Dorothy for years, in which she received an Oscar nomination Judgment in Nuremberg.

4 Neil Patrick Harris

After appearing in some lesser-known films as a child, Neil Patrick Harris became a household name playing the title of child prodigy Doctor Doogie Howser, MD. He continued to work in television and film fairly constantly, although he was more typed. That all changed when he landed the role of womanizer Barney Stinson in the hugely popular TV series How I met your mother. The role opened numerous doors for him to play against the guy, including some memorable performances in David Fincher’s controversial thriller Ex girlfriend and Seth MacFarlane’s western parody film A million ways to die in the west.


3 Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney began his acting career at the ripe age of six and has continued to work in front of the camera in a career that has spanned nine decades and spanned over 300 films in one of the most impressive Hollywood careers of all time. Between the ages of 15 and 25 alone, he made 43 films. He has lived through almost every era of Hollywood, beginning with the silent era, and has appeared in almost every film imaginable, from horror films (The intruder) and comedy (It’s a crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy world) to family favorites (night at the museum) and musicals (Babes on Broadway) and everything in between.

2 Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster made some waves in the industry in the late 1960s and early 1970s starring in numerous TV shows and a few Disney films, but not until 1976 when she landed a role opposite Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s seminal psychological Crime took over taxi driver that she shot to superstardom. At just 12, the role was not without controversy due to the sexualization of her character. Foster underwent a psychiatric evaluation and was accompanied on set by a social worker, and her older sister acted as her stand-in in sexually suggestive scenes. After the success of taxi driverFoster has had a long-running film career in which she has won two Academy Awards, one for her role in the courtroom drama The defendant and one for her portrayal of Clarice in the psychological horror The silence of the Lambs.


1 Natalie Portman

Natalie PortmanThe road to superstardom is similar to Foster’s. She made her big screen debut in the critically acclaimed hitman thriller Leon: The pro, starring Jean Reno and Gary Oldman. While the film was a critical and commercial success, Portman’s character also sparked some controversy due to the sexualization of her character, and while relevant to the story, she has later admitted that the sexualization spilled over into real life and how she feels awkward for much of her teenage years. Luckily her immense talent caught on and as she blossomed into adulthood her career continued to take off and achieve great commercial success in the war of stars prequels and the Thor Movies and critical success in movies like Black Swan and Hescher.

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