Child actors are often thrust into the spotlight at a young age, with their careers taking off at a rapid pace. However, not all of them are able to maintain their success, and some end up falling off the radar as they grow older. From teen idols to Disney stars, these child actors may have faded from the spotlight, but their stories are still worth telling.
Let’s looks at some of the young ‘uns who captured our hearts but disappeared from the public eye and see what they’re up to today.
1. Peter Ostrum
Peter Ostrum, aka Charlie Bucket from the Willy Wonka movie, was so fed up with Hollywood that he decided to study hard and pursue his dream of becoming a veterinarian. He went back to his hometown and received a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University in 1984. Ever since then, Ostrum has been helping animals in need and has never looked back at the acting days.
2. Mara Wilson
After a successful career in acting, Mara Wilson walked away from acting to focus on her education and playwriting and pursue journalism. Matilda star also claimed that certain people in the industry made her feel very awkward when she was going through puberty. Aside from being an accomplished playwriter, Wilson is also an advocate for mental health and has been open about her experience with anxiety and depression. The actress has spoken out about the importance of seeking help and reducing the stigma around mental illness.
3. Jeff Cohen
What happened to Chunk from Goonies? Apparently, after acting, Jeff Cohen transitioned into a career as an entertainment lawyer, of all things. After graduating from law school, he began his legal career as an attorney at a law firm in Beverly Hills. He eventually started his own practice, which specializes in representing entertainment clients, including actors, writers, and producers. Something the industry sadly needs more and more of these days.
4 Angus T. Jones
In 2012, Jones made headlines when he publicly criticized Two and a Half Men and called the show “filth” in a video testimonial for his church. After the video went viral, Jones was downgraded to a recurring character on the show and ultimately left the series in 2013 and became involved with the World Harvest Outreach Church in Houston, Texas. Jones has also attended environmental and Jewish studies to broaden his mind.
5. Jonathan Ke Quan
After appearing in hits like The Goonies and Indy Jones as a child actor, Quan took a break from acting. He attended the University of Manchester in the UK and earned a degree in computer science. In recent years, Quan made a few public appearances, including the Goonies reunion event in 2010, and of course, we have to mention his legendary comeback – Everything, Everywhere and All at Once. This may mean we’ll see more of him in the future.
6. Barret Oliver
After starring in the NeverEnding Story and a couple of smaller roles, Oliver was pretty much done with acting. Barret graduated from California State University and earned a degree in photography. In recent years, Oliver has made a few public appearances, including at the NeverEnding Story reunion event in 2018. In addition to his photography career, Oliver has also written several books on the matter and shown his work in galleries and museums around the world.
7. Benji Gregory (Ben Hertzberg)
ALF was not Benji’s first or last project, but it was definitely the most memorable one. He also starred in Punky Brewster, T.J. Hooker, and The A-Team, to name a few. Even though Gregory’s acting career was not a horrible one, he did decide to retire several years after season four of ALF ended. He lived a pretty private life under his real name, Ben Hertzberg. He hadn’t given many interviews until 2000 when he announced he was studying film at the Academy of Art College.
8. Kay Panabaker
Kay Panabaker, the star of the Disney Channel’s Phil of the Future and the Nancy Drew movie, has retired from acting to get her degree in zoology from UCLA. After completing her studies, Panabaker started working as an animal keeper at Disney World. While Kay has not explained her reasons for stepping away from acting other than that she lost the passion, it is believed that she wanted to have fun doing what she wanted, even if it paid less.