If you grew up in the early 2000s, there’s a good chance you were a fan of Malcolm In the Middle, the quirky sitcom about a dysfunctional, middle-class family starring Frankie Muniz as the titular character; a genius-level teenager. Let’s take a moment to appreciate how much of a pressure-cooker that job would have been for Muniz. The network was taking a chance on a 14-year old unknown actor. Unlike the rest of the cast, it’s pretty hard to write out a character when their name is literally in the TV show’s title. But things would go swimmingly and the show aired for six successful seasons, even earning Muniz an Emmy nomination for Best Actor.
While filming the sitcom, Muniz also found time to star in the critically-acclaimed movie My Dog Skip, the Disney Channel original movie Miracle in Lane 2, and Big Fat Liar alongside fellow child star Amanda Bynes in the good ol’ days before she was setting fires to random peoples’ driveways and getting face tattoos. When Middle ended its run in 2006, Muniz intended to take a break from Hollywood, and when he said “break” he apparently meant “a few weeks” since he signed on to star in the slasher film Staying Alive that spring, along with a couple of movies the following year. He continues to act in bit roles on TV and he’s appeared in several subsequent films over the years, but it is mostly campy B-movie stuff like Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! which probably deserves an award just for that title alone.
Frankie the Speed Racer
Muniz isn’t much of a force in Hollywood these days, but when you’ve got $30 million in the bank like he does, job security isn’t the biggest concern. His fortune has allowed him to pursue whatever he wants. One of his dreams was a career in competitive driving. In 2004 he participated in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, finishing in 7th place. The following year he’d finish 3rd. After exploring the idea of co-owning a racing team, he decided instead to continue racing, signing a two year deal with Jensen Motorsports. He stopped racing competitively in 2009, although he returned in 2011 for one more Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, finishing 4th.
A serviceable drummer, Muniz joined the unsigned band You Hang Up in 2011, although that didn’t appear to go anywhere. A year later he began drumming for Kingsfoil, a York-Pennsylvania based band. Although he left in 2014 due to what he called “scheduling problems,” in 2017 he would manage Astro Lasso, a band consisting of two former members of Kingsfoil. Aside from being their manager, he put himself in charge of their monitor systems, lights and he was even their driver!
In 2012, Muniz was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Almost a year to the day, he would have a second one. Although he stated in a 2017 interview that the strokes didn’t result in any long-term effects, he would later reveal that, in fact, he suffered severe memory loss to the degree that he no longer remembered starring in Malcolm in the Middle.
In 2018, Muniz and his future wife Paige purchased Outrageous Olive Oils & Vinegars, a boutique shop in Scottsdale, Arizona. They are apparently very involved in the business, going down to the supplier every morning to stock up on the product and then bottling, labeling and sealing their oils and vinegars themselves.
Although Muniz will always struggle with memory problems, it sounds like life overall is pretty dandy these days. He and Paige are set to welcome their first child (a boy) in March 2021, so fatherhood is his next adventure!