Latest Podcast: So, Exactly How Many Child Stars “Go Bad” Anyway? Like, Exactly?

Child Stars, Journalism, Media, Podcast


I count them up on the latest Former Child Star Central podcast.

And, no, in the scheme of things, 19 isn’t a lot.

In fact, 19 represents just 2 percent of the 763 entries on Wikipedia’s “List of Former Child Actors From the United States” page.

I read said page aloud on the latest Former Child Star Central podcast.

And, yes, I read the entire page, and all 763 entries.

The better to make a very pointy point.


Former Child Stars: Why Can’t You Be More Like Ron Howard and Jodie Foster?

Child Stars, Uncategorized

The Calgary Herald plays the part of the scolding parent in its look at childhood fame. Specifically, the paper wags its finger at Justin Bieber¬†and the troubled like and asks, “Why can’t you be more like Ron Howard and Jodie Foster?”

People, in and out of the media, love this question. It’s easy to see why: It’s an easy question to ask, and an even easier compare/contrast scenario to construct. Howard and Foster: successful Oscar-winners; other former child stars with lesser credentials: meh.

On one hand, there’s no argument here: Howard and Foster have indeed navigated Hollywood from childhood to adulthood with their respective sanity apparently intact and with their careers still viable.

But then there’s this: To always hold up the Howard and Foster model is to discount, say, the Jonathan Taylor Thomas model. Is Thomas, the former “Home Improvement” regular, not a role model for having moved from teen-idol status to relative anonymity (either by choice or by lack of opportunity) with his respective sanity apparently intact? Or do we only value the child star who remains a star?

Don’t go seeking out the answer to that last one, Mr. Bieber. It’ll only trouble you more than you’re already troubled.

Shirley Temple, R.I.P.

Child Stars, Movies, R.I.P.

If you grew up anytime after the bulk of Shirley Temple‘s film career, which more or less ran from the early 1930s to the late 1940s, then Temple seemed less like a person and more like an icon. A Mickey Mouse, if you will.

But she was a person, one who accomplished a great deal in and out of Hollywood. She died Monday.

Here’s a piece I wrote for Yahoo! on the occasion of Temple’s 85th birthday.