From Child Actors to Superstars

Child actors have always been an essential part of the entertainment world, in movies as well as in television. Although some child actors fail to grow into prominent actors, or later choose to follow a different path (as did Shirley Temple who became a successful public figure and diplomat), many of them flourish into movie stars and/or singing celebrities. Famous child actors who have had successful transitions into the realm of adult actors include Britney Spears, Drew Barrymore, Lindsay Lohan, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Britney Spears
Since she was very young, Britney Spears knew she was destined to be famous. Often singing for family and friends and performing in commercials, Britney made her first public appearance in the 1992 version of Star Search at eleven years old. Although she ultimately lost the competition, Britney would earn a spot on the Mickey Mouse Club. After two years on the show, she pursued other dreams until she became the Princess of Pop.

Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore began her acting career before she was able to walk. As a baby, she starred in TV commercials, and by three years old, she played her first role on the big screen. Drew got her big break in 1982 in one of the most renowned movies of the decade, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. After playing several roles as the adorable child, Drew soon began taking roles depicting troubled teenage characters, as in the movie Poison Ivy. She excelled in the 1996 blockbuster Scream. Maturity further seasoned her talent, as displayed in comedies such as The Wedding Singer and Fifty Dates. She also starred with fellow angels in Charlie's Angels, an action flick where Drew proved her abilities at playing a hero. Despite some personal struggles, she cemented her staying power throughout her transition from child actor to superstar.

Lindsay Lohan
Born in 1986 into a family of actors, Lindsay Lohan began her acting career at a young age. Although her first auditions did not go well, she was eventually chosen for some television commercials and modeling. Her work led her to a role in the soap opera Another World at the age of ten. A year later, she made her debut on the big screen with The Parent Trap. Lohan's breakout role as a leading actress came with 2004's Mean Girls. She also began her singing career with the Freaky Friday soundtrack, leading to a solo album and chart-topping hits.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are without doubt Hollywood celebrities. Beginning with their debut role at seven months old on Full House, the Olsen twins have grown from the adorable Michelle Tanner into two young women with obvious talent. The girls have released countless straight-to-video movies following their adventures around the world and produced a wide variety of merchandise from cosmetics to accessories. The Olsen twins have shown the world that they are capable of much more than simply being cute.

Dakota Fanning
Born in 1994, Dakota Fanning began acting at an early age in TV commercials. Afterwards, she played on numerous TV shows, the most recognizable being the TV drama ER. In 2001, she was chosen to star opposite Sean Penn in I Am Sam, a role that enabled her to prove her talent as an actress. She went on to appear in Trapped, Sweet Home Alabama, and Hansel & Gretel. Starring alongside Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds brought her international recognition.

From the days of Judy Garland and Shirley Temple, to our present day ever-so-popular Dakota Fanning, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, child actors have fulfilled important roles in the realm of entertainment. Whether they once played the mischievous kid on a television show or characterized the hero of a movie, child actors continue to fascinate and capture our attention.
Jacklyn Moore is the webmaster and content provider for Hollywood Child Stars