- Not all stars are destined to be lifelong celebrities.
- Some give up on show business entirely and go on to pursue fulfilling careers in other lines of work.
- See if you recognise any of these stars who’ve moved on to become lawyers, hairdressers, and business magnates.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Fame can be quite fleeting, and show business comes with a lot of pressure.
So it’s no surprise that celebrity can have an adverse effect on people, especially child stars, USA Today reported. The plight of Hollywood icons who achieved success, only to fall from grace due to drug use or erratic behaviour, is well-documented.
But not all stars fall. Some just fade into a less visible line of work after their brush with fame.
Here’s a look at some former stars who ended up in completely different careers:
Jeff Cohen — Lawrence ‘Chunk’ Cohen from ‘The Goonies’
Claim to fame: Cohen shot to fame for his turn as clumsy, bad-luck-prone Chunk in the classic 1985 adventure film “The Goonies.”
What he does now: Growing up, he was able to use his stint as a child actor to land roles at movie studios, according to the ABA Journal. He decided to go into law, earning his J.D. from UCLA after attending Berkeley.
Cohen went on to cofound the entertainment-oriented law firm Gardner Cohen LLP.
Crystal McKellar — Becky Slater from ‘The Wonder Years’
Claim to fame: McKellar acted alongside her sister Danica in the television series “The Wonder Years.”
Both sisters had been considered for the main role of Winnie, but Danica won out, and Crystal was brought on to play Becky Slater instead.
What she does now: During their time in show business, education was always a priority for the McKellars, according to Biography.com. McKellar went on to study at Yale and Oxford, and she earned her J.D. at Harvard.
Today, she’s the managing director and legal counsel for Mithril Capital Management.
Jeffrey Allen “Skunk” Baxter — Guitarist for Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, and Spirit
Claim to fame: Baxter was a founding member of Steely Dan and later joined the Doobie Brothers.
The guitarist has led quite a lengthy career in rock and roll, working with acts and artists like Dolly Parton, Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, and others as a session guitarist.
What he does now: The storied guitar-for-hire now has top security clearances. In the 1980s, his interest in recording technology prompted him to research and become fascinated with military software and hardware.
The Wall Street Journal reported that a paper Baxter wrote on missile defence attracted the attention of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. He became a defence consultant for the US Department of Defence and other defence entities, Guitar Player reported.
Peter Ostrum — Charlie Bucket from ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’
Claim to fame: Ostrum appeared in the 1971 classic”Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” as protagonist Charlie Bucket. After the film, he declined to sign on for any more movies and left show business, according to IMDb.
What he does now: After leaving acting, Ostrum found a new calling when he purchased a horse with some of the money he’d made from the film, according to Express.
He decided he wanted to work with animals and went on to earn his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Cornell. Today, Ostrum practices at the Countryside Veterinary Clinic in upstate New York.
Charles Korsmo — Jack Banning from ‘Hook’
Claim to fame: The North Dakota native achieved success as a child actor, landing roles such as “the kid” in “Dick Tracy,” Siggy in “What About Bob?” and Peter Pan’s son in “Hook.”
What he does now: After leaving Hollywood, he ended up attending MIT, graduating with a B.S. in physics, and then earned his J.D. from Yale, according to Cleveland.com.
Danny Lloyd — Danny Torrance from ‘The Shining’
Claim to fame: At the age of six, Lloyd portrayed “Danny Torrance” in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”
The young actor was “closely guarded by Kubrick,” according to IMDb, and did not realise the film was a horror movie.
What he does now: Lloyd quit acting in high school and told the New York Daily News he leads “a pretty normal life now.” The former child star is a biology professor at a Kentucky community college.
Josh Saviano — Paul Pfeiffer from ‘The Wonder Years’
Claim to fame: Saviano’s biggest role was that of the geeky Paul Pfeiffer in “The Wonder Years.”
What he does now: Like his co-star McKellar, Saviano chose not to pursue acting shortly after “The Wonder Years” ended. And while his best-known character may have attended Harvard, Saviano chose to study political science at Yale, according to IMDb.
He earned his J.D. at Yeshiva’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and worked as a partner at international law firm Morrison Cohen for 11 years before founding the entertainment startup Act 3 Advisors.
Michael Schoeffling — Jake Ryan from ‘Sixteen Candles’
Claim to fame: Schoeffling is best known for playing popular jock Jake Ryan in eighties comedy “Sixteen Candles.”
What he does now: Shortly after his turn as Molly Ringwald’s love interest, Schoeffling quit acting altogether, citing his need to support his two kids.
He largely disappeared from the public eye, but opened up his own woodworking shop in rural Pennsylvania in the nineties, according to IMDb.
Carrie Henn — Rebecca ‘Newt Jorden from ‘Aliens’
Claim to fame: Henn was discovered by “Aliens” casting agents in the school cafeteria of a US Air Force Base, according to People.
She ultimately landed the role of Newt, the sole survivor of an alien attack who forms a close bond with Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley.
Omri Katz — Max Dennison from ‘Hocus Pocus’
Claim to fame: Katz is most famous for his portrayal of candle-lighting virgin Max in Disney’s spooky cult classic “Hocus Pocus.”
What he does now: According to IMDb, Katz has left the world of acting to work as a hairdresser.
Peter Billingsley — Ralphie Parker from ‘A Christmas Story’
Claim to fame: Billingsley has appeared in numerous films and television shows over the years.
His most famous role is that of Ralphie Parker, a young boy determined to get his hands on an “official Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time” in the 1983 Yuletide classic “A Christmas Story.”
What he does now: Billingsley never left the entertainment world. Now he just works behind the scenes, with a few cameos here and there (like his brief appearance in “Elf”). He’s been able to transition from child actor to what Buzzfeed calls “a steady and successful Hollywood player.”
According to IMDb, he’s worked as a producer on “Iron Man,” “Dinner for Five,” “Zathura,” and “Made.” He also directed the romantic comedy “Couples Retreat.”
Buzzfeed reported that Billingsley has also cofounded Wild West Picture Show Productions with friend and frequent collaborator Vince Vaughn.
Barret Oliver — Bastian Balthazar Bux from ‘The NeverEnding Story’
Claim to fame: Oliver is most known for his role as the alliteratively-named Bastian Balthazar Bux in “The NeverEnding Story.”
What he does now: IMDb reports Oliver is now working on the other side of the camera. He teaches photography and even authored a book on the nineteenth century photo process, “A History of the Woodburytype.”
Steven Anthony Lawrence — Bernard ‘Beans’ Aranguren from ‘Even Stevens’
Claim to fame: Lawrence played the irritating, bacon-loving Beans in Disney’s “Even Stevens,” which ran from 2001 to 2003.
What he does now:The Daily Mail reported Lawrence now teaches seminars at USC, Berkeley, and in California high schools while acting in the odd commercial.
According to the Mercury News, he also surprised fans when he appeared as one of Santa’s helpers at a California mall in 2015.
Isaac Lidsky — Barton ‘Weasel’ Wyzell from ‘Saved by the Bell: The New Class’
Claim to fame: Lidsky portrayed the nerdy Weasel during the first season of “Saved By the Bell: The New Class.” Shortly after, he received news he had retinitis pigmentosa and would ultimately lose his vision, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
What he does now: There’s a reason TED invited the former child actor to discuss his “eclectic résumé” in 2016. Lidsky left Hollywood in order to pursue his education, enrolling at Harvard at the age of 15 and graduating with degrees in computer science and applied mathematics, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
He went on to pursue a legal career, clerking for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as the first legally blind law clerk in the history of the US Supreme Court, according to CNN.
In 1999, he also co-founded a business that would become x+1, which Ad Age reportedRocket Fuel bought for $US230 million in 2014. Inc. reported that Lidsky’s also established a construction firm in Florida.
Dylan Sprouse — Zack from ‘The Suite Life of Zack & Cody’
Claim to fame: Acting alongside his twin brother Cole, Dylan Sprouse starred in the Disney Channel series “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” as Zack Martin. Sprouse was cast at age 13 and continued the lead role on the sequel series “The Suite Life on Deck,” which concluded in 2011. Previously, Sprouse and his brother shared the role of Julian ‘Frankenstein’ McGrath opposite Adam Sandler in the movie “Big Daddy” when they were six years old, along with small television appearances such as an episode of “That ’70s Show.”
What he does now: While his brother returned to acting on the hit show Riverdale, Dylan Sprouse stopped pursuing lead roles following his Disney Channel run. After graduating from New York University in 2015, he opened a brewery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn called All-Wise Meadery where he works today.
Travis Tedford — Spanky from ‘The Little Rascals’
Claim to fame: Travis Tedford became a child star after playing the role of Spanky in the 1994 film “The Little Rascals.”Additionally, he appeared on a Welch’s commercial when he was five years old as a “spokes-tyke” for the juice brand.
What he does now:According to IMDb, Tedford stopped acting in 2010 after appearing in the horror film “The Final.” Reports say he now works as an inbound marketing specialist in his home state of Texas.
Nikki Blonsky — Tracy Turnblad from “Hairspray”
What she does now:According to reports in 2011, Blonsky worked at a shoe store in New York City and later as a hairdresser in her hometown on Long Island.
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