A retro look back at the former child and teen stars that were previously featured on the pages of Teen Stars Online.


Mara Wilson - Matilda
Mara Wilson – Matilda

It is not rare to hear about the toxicity of showbiz and Hollywood. Artists complain daily about how taxing and draining fame actually is. However, they are disregarded and ignored because people believe that fame equals happiness. This has led to many stars repressing their feelings and often having major public meltdowns like Britney Spears and Amanda Bynes did or having quiet but turbulent storms.

Willow Smith, on her mom’s talk show, Red Table Talk, opened up about how she used to cut herself when she was younger. A lot of people expressed shock and disbelief upon hearing this information because they believed that she had nothing to be sad about. Depression has never been and will never be logical. Some stars understand that they cannot handle the fame and they are able to opt-out while others are forced to stay by their family, managers, or simply pressure from other external forces. Here are some child actors who simply quit acting and never looked back.

Shirley Temple – It is only right that we start off with one of the biggest child stars. When Shirley Temple started acting at the age of three, no one realized just how big of a star she was. However, after the movie Bright Eyes, Shirley went international. She had insurmountable fame, all at the age of five. She went on to wow the world with her performances in Curly Top and Heidi. As she grew older her fame diminished and by the age of 22, she quit acting. She started her diplomatic career at the age of 40 and went on to receive fame and honor without continuing to show business.

Mara Wilson – This is the child star who brought the beloved Roald Dahl character, Matilda, to life. Mara also had huge roles in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Thomas and the Magic Railroad” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” She stopped acting officially in 2000 at the age of 13. At the age of 12, Mara was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and she has revealed that she has struggled with anxiety and depression. Although she has recently done some voice acting, Mara has clearly stated that she has fully quit film acting. When asked why she quit film acting she said that it was not very exciting and did not permit creative freedom. She now focuses on writing.

Charlie Korsmo – Korsmo is a child star turned lawyer. He starred in “Hook,” a continuation of the childhood classic, Peter Pan. Korsmo plays the mischievous son of Peter Pan who is now a lawyer. Perhaps this is where he got the inspiration for his current career. Korsmo is now a law professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Peter Ostrum – Many may not recognize this name. That is not because he didn’t achieve fame but because he quit after starring in only one movie. Peter Ostrum aka Charlie Bucket was the child who starred in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Peter does not state any reasons for his continuous refusal of roles except saying that acting is a very difficult profession. He found his passion for veterinary most especially horses and lives his life as a veterinarian.

Jeff Cohen – Popularly known as Chunk, Cohen is still in showbiz but as an entertainment lawyer. He starred in Steven Spielberg’s “The Goonies.” Cohen may still be called Chunk but he certainly isn’t chunky anymore.

Mary Badham – Mary is also a child star who quit after just one movie, which was the movie adaptation of the bestseller, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Mary had no prior acting experience before the movie. She went on to be the youngest ever Oscar nominee for the role of supporting actress at the age of 10. At the age of 14, she quit acting because she felt like there were no parts for girls her age. She got married and is now an art restorer.

Danny Lloyd – Stephen King’s works have never been easy to stomach, from IT to Carrie to The Shining, his books are scary and daunting. Young Lloyd at the age of 7 starred in the movie adaptation of the horror movie, “The Shining.” However, in a DVD commentary by John Baxter and Garrett Brown, they revealed that Lloyd had no idea he was in a horror movie. Perhaps the event may not have scarred him as much as we think. As of now, Lloyd is a biology professor at a community college in Kentucky.

Jason Zimbler – Jason starred in the 90’s kid show, Clarissa Explains it all, that aired on Nickelodeon. He played Clarissa’s annoying little brother. After this role, Zimbler quit acting at the age of 18. However, he is back in the show business, just behind the scenes this time as a software engineer for HBO, the company that brought George R.R Martins’ Game of Thrones to life.

Ariana Richards – Ariana shot to fame after appearing in “Jurassic Park” when she was 12 years old. She was invited to continue her role in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” at the age of 16. After this, she took a break to focus on herself. She is now a very successful painter. Although she has not completely ruled out the idea of a comeback, she is, however, preoccupied with her current career.

Amy O’Neil – Majorly known for her role as Amy Szalinski in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” the comic science fiction film that shows how an inventor mistakenly shrinks his and his neighbor’s kids. After being thrown into the backyard unknowingly, they have to fend for themselves and make their way back home. Amy reprises her role briefly as Amy Szalinski in the sequel, “Honey, I blew up the kid.” Following the success of the first movie, Amy lost interest in acting because she couldn’t find any scripts that didn’t ask for some sort of nudity so she did the most logical thing anyone in that situation would do. She joined her childhood friend, Roy Johns’ circus crew.

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Film Noir

Mary Badham was so good in her only role, just a very good job in a very good and classic movie.

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