Hollywood has always had a weakness for cute-looking child stars because who doesn’t love a kid trying to act in front of the cameras? Usually, the bad actors get the boot right away, and the good ones continue their life-long journey in the movie industry.
It’s always exciting to see your favorite stars grow up, so here is what the child actors from the 50s, 60s, and 70s are doing today.
1. Jon Provost — Lassie
The legendary 1954 dogsploitation show, “Lassie,” went on for 19 seasons (591 episodes!), which is way too long, but at least we got to fall in love with the gorgeous Rough Collie and her little owner — Timmy, played by Jon Provost. Jon had a good run, but in 1964 his contract was due, and the 14-year-old actor went on to do other things. One of those things was a role in sort of a Lassie reboot in 2007.
2. Keith Thibodeaux — I Love Lucy!
The little brat who played Richard Keith, aka Little Ricky, in the 1951 popular sitcom, is now 62 years old and runs a ballet company. It actually belongs to his wife, but Thibodeaux is happy to help, just like always.
3. Jay North — Dennis the Menace
Long before the 80s cartoon series, Dennis the Menace used to be a live-action sitcom based on the eponymous comic strip. Jay North started playing Dennis when he was 8, but now he’s managing a nonprofit organization that helps counsel child stars. Jay went from a menace to a real hero!
4. Butch Patrick — The Munsters
The Munsters was the show that arguably had the boppiest theme song out of all the old shows. It even inspired the recent smash-hit “Agatha All Along” from WandaVision. Anyway, 11-year-old Butch Patrick played the little werewolf Eddie, and in 2010, he went into rehab for a while only to be diagnosed with prostate cancer a year later.
5. Brooke Shields — Pretty Baby
This will be a surprise for many of you, but Brooke’s first gig wasn’t in the 1978 movie “Pretty Baby,” where she played an extremely uncomfortable role at the age of 12. No, her first job was in a soap ad when baby Brooke was only 11 months old! When she was barely 14, she was already featured on the cover of a magazine called “Vogue.” In the early 2000s’ she did many cameos before getting her solo show “Lipstick Jungle.” It only had one season, but the actress is still full of hope.
6. Erin Murphy — Bewitched
Here’s another show that the creators of WandaVision used as inspiration — the 1964 series “Bewitched.” Erin Murphy started playing the cute little witch Tabitha when she was just three. All those years of pretend magic must have really helped her because she got many modeling and TV ad deals later on. Today she works as a TV host.
7. Angela Cartwright — The Danny Thomas Show
Angela was everywhere in the 60s, but her most popular role was that of little Linda on “The Danny Thomas Show.” Then we saw her in “The Sound of Music,” and eventually, the classic sci-fi series “Lost in Space.” A while after that, she stopped appearing on the screen and got into photography, which eventually became her job.
8. Melissa Gilbert — Little House on the Prairie
Melissa started off as an adorable Laura in “House on the Prairie,” but her life quickly became a complete mess. Bad choices became habits; one-night-stands lead to unfortunate consequences, but in the end, Melissa straightened things out and married a good guy Timothy Busfield.
9. Ron Howard — The Andy Griffith Show
Howard was arguably the funniest part of the 1960 show “The Andy Griffith Show,” where he played Opie for eight whole years. This was a huge start for a young boy, as Ronny went on to star in countless other projects, and when that wasn’t enough, he tried his hand in directing. And what do you know? Ron Howard became a household name after winning an Oscar for 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind.”