If you are a child of the ’80s then you probably grew up watching the classics we are going to talk about on this list. Movies like the Princess Bride and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and TV shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and Growing Pains still hold a special place in all of our hearts. But what happened to the child stars who achieved world-wide fame with their roles in these beloved films? It seems most of them have completely vanished from the spotlight. Did they keep acting or did they dedicate themselves to other professions? Find out by scrolling down this list, courtesy of Throwbacks.
1. Lukas Haas
Source: Paramount Pictures
Eight-year-old Haas was the little star of 1985 crime thriller Witness. The actor played an Amish boy who becomes a target after witnessing a murder and has to count on detective John Book (Harrison Ford) for protection. Hass has continued acting throughout the years, though without any major roles. Recently, his career has been through somewhat of a renaissance, as he got to appear in movies like Inception and The Revenant.
2. Fred Savage
Source: Fiction Machine
In the ’80s, Savage was definitely one of the most famous kids in the United States after starring in super successful movies such as The Princess Bride (1987) and The Wizard (1989). Later on, he quit acting to become a director, but recently he made a return to our small screens with roles on legal comedy series The Grinder and Netflix’s Friends From College.
Source: TV Guide
3. Corey Feldman
Source: The Fix
Corey Feldman was one half of The Two Coreys, the other being actor Corey Haim. The two starred in many films together, including 1987 horror comedy Lost Boys. Before pairing up with Haim, Feldman had roles on family-friendly blockbusters like Gremlins and The Goonies. As a double act, The Two Coreys achieved major success, obtaining a status of teen-heartthrobs. However, fame wasn’t kind to them as they had both battled with drug addiction. They got over this slump and did a scripted reality show in the mid-2000. It was the last project they worked on together before Haim’s death of pneumonia in 2010.
Source: US Weekly
4. Jenny Lewis
We all knew and loved Jenny Lewis as Haley in The Wizard, but she did not continue acting afterwards. Instead, she went into music and became the lead guitarist of indie rock band Rilo Kiley.
Source: Rolling Stone
5. Henry Thomas
Thomas played Eliot in the iconic E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. However, after this initial success, his acting career stalled. He’s had several small roles on various TV shows, as well as appearances in Legends of the Fall (1994) and 2002 period drama Gangs of New York.
6. Alyson Hannigan
We know Alyson Hannigan as Lily on How I Met Your Mother, but did you know that she was one of the kids in comedy sci-fi film My Stepmother is an Alien (1988)? She also starred on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and in the American Pie movies. In 2003 she married her Buffy co-star Alexis Denisof and the couple have two children.
Source: Got Celeb
7. Gabriel Damon
Damon was the voice of Littlefoot in The Land Before Time (1988) and two years later played Hob, the foul-mouthed villain of Robocop 2. Since then he’s had guest appearances on Baywatch, ER and Star Trek: TNG, but it seems that he’s quit showbiz for good as he hasn’t landed a role since 2006.
Source: Guy Noland / YouTube
8. Oliver Robins
Robins played young Robbie in 1982 horror Poltergeist and its sequel Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986). He hasn’t done a lot of acting since. Robins has mostly been writing and directing his own scary movies including Celebrity Crush and The Devil’s Whisper.
Source: Scream Horror Mag
9. Gaby Hoffman
Source: Movie Pilot
Hoffman acted with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the ’80s. She was Maizy in comedy Uncle Buck (1989) and Karin in fantasy drama Field of Dreams (1989). Since then, the actress has had roles in movies like Volcano and Freaky Friday, and most recently she’s been popping up on our small screens in TV series Girls and Transparent.
10. Carrie Henn
You must remember Carrie Henn in Aliens! Her character was called Newt and this was the only role she ever played. She now works as a teacher, although she still does interviews and fan conventions.
Source: TS Celebs
11. Lisa and Michelle Blair
You probably don’t recognize these two girls even if you have seen them on screen. They played the baby in 1987 comedy Three Men and a Baby (babies are often played by twins which makes shooting for long hours easier). The Blair twins didn’t continue acting, but they are still sometimes stopped on the street for autographs.
12. Kirk Cameron
Source: E Online
Cameron is best known for playing Mike Seaver on sitcom Growing Pains. He was also a teen movie star having landed roles on flicks such as Like Father Like Son (1987) and Listen to Me (1989). After Growing Pains wrapped filming, Cameron became more religious. Nowadays, he mostly acts in Christian movies like Left behind, Fireproof and Saving Christmas. He also helps run an evangelical ministry.
Source: America Fans
13. Peter Billingsley
Peter Billingsley played Ralphie in A Christmas Story. But since that role in 1983, he hasn’t had much success acting-wise. Instead, he became a producer and in this capacity, he worked on movies like Iron Man, Zathura and The Break-Up.
14. Emmanuel Lewis
Lewis was the star of comedy series Webster and the family movie Lost in London. He has a physical condition that has stopped him from growing taller than 3’6″. Since those early days, Lewis has had a few cameo roles, but he mostly spends his time running a car wash and a limousine company.
15. Wil Wheaton
Source: Movie Pilot
Wil Wheaton got his big break in the Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me and later in the TV series Star Trek: TNG. He has continued having success as an actor, occasionally appearing on sitcom The Big Bang Theory, doing voice acting, and hosting a popular YouTube series.
16. Dana Hill
Source: Warner Bros.
Dana Hill played Audrey Griswold in comedy movie National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985). She also took part in Combat Academy, which saw George Clooney’s acting debut. Later she went over to voice acting, giving voice to Max on Goof Troop. She died from a diabetic coma and a stroke in 1996 at the age of 31.
Source: Famous Fix
17. Noah Hathaway
Hathaway achieved worldwide fame when he played Atreyu in The Neverending Story. He also had roles in the original Battlestar Galactica and in Troll (1986). After that, he pursued a career in motorcycle racing and design.
Source: Indie Wire
In 2016, he reprised his role as Atreyu for a Spotify commercial.
Source: GestiOnLine eMarketing
18. Jackey Vinson
Vinson became famous after playing bad boy Lucas in The Wizard. His only other noteworthy role came in a short-lived TV show called The Grand. In 2004, he was registered as a sex offender and he got 10 years probation for child molestation. That signified the end of his career.
Source: Todd Hollan / Twitter
19. Aileen Quinn
Aileen Quinn wasn’t the first Annie, but her portrayal of the character from the classic musical is the one ’80s kids grew up with. She transitioned from the stage to the screen, but her film career was quite short, after which she returned to the theater. Quinn still takes the occasional role, however, her main occupation is being a Spanish, drama and dance teacher in New Jersey.
20. Jonathan Ke Quan
Source: The Vibe
You probably know Jonathan Ke Quan as Data in The Goonies and Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He also stared in a number of Taiwanese and Japanese movies, as well as a few sitcoms. Quan studied taekwondo and he used his martial arts skills to become a stunt choreographer. He planned the action sequences in movies like X-Men and The One. Quen hasn’t acted since 2002, but he told Access Hollywood that he wants to direct his own feature film.
21. Joey Lawrence
Joey Lawrence became famous after landing a role on comedy-drama series Blossom. Before that, he was in the horror movie Pulse and he voiced Oliver in the 1988 animated film Oliver & Company. He has had quite the acting career, with roles on shows like Brotherly Love, CSI: NY, and Melissa & Joey. Lawrence also competed on Dancing with the Stars, finishing in third place.