Child stars, well, former child stars have the reputation for losing their stardom on the day the baby fat and dimples melt away, and becoming… well… Morons! Here are 10 former child stars that have come through a life of early-adulthood only to revert back to infantile* morons as soon as the cameras stopped rolling, or in some cases, the cameras kept rolling, but they were too attention-whore-ish to get out of the way.
*No offense intended toward any innocent babies, who are, in all actuality, a hell of a lot smarter than the following 10 folks.
10. Danny Bonaduce
Best known for: Danny Partridge in the popular ‘70’s sitcom, “The Partridge Family”
Born: August 13, 1959
Married: x2 currently engaged to lucky #3
Talents: Pretending to play a bass guitar, lip-synching, and growing a goatee
Danny Boneduce co-starred on “The Partridge Family” at the age of 10 as the fire-red-headed, and freckled Danny Partridge. By the end of the 1970’s Danny B’s career was dead, and he promptly started drugs, soon becoming homeless and addicted to crack. So far, pretty typical for a child-turned-awkward-teen star.
In the 90’s Bonaduce was arrested for beating the crap out of a transvestite prostitute. He went on to rehab 3 times to shake the coke habit, but ended up with an alcohol habit instead; I guess that’s sorta like the smoker switching to chewing gum.
Thanks to the wonderful world of reality TV, Danny Bonaduce has, well… been on-screen. In the past few years… including “I Know My Kid’s a Star.” Wow; really Danny??? Let’s pull a wagon of fresh faces down the path of child-star-has-been-dom. Danny Bonaduce can be found on the radio as a DJ on 94 WYSP in Philadelphia; I tell you this only so you can know to avoid him should you happen to find yourself in the area.
9. Gary Coleman
Best known for: Arnold in the 70’s and 80’s hit show “Diff’rent Strokes”
Born/Died: February 8, 1968 – May 28, 2010
Married: x1; was estranged from wife when he died in May 2010
Talents: One catch phrase, and Spokesperson for “CashCall.com,” and Enormous Rage
The quintessential child star of the late ’70s and ’80s, Gary’s childhood success did not carry into an adult career. By his twenties, he was broke, estranged from his parents, and working as a security guard… A security guard where? Disneyland?
You’d expect Coleman to have been limited some by his height, but what he lacked in size, he made up for (or tried to) with might: Coleman sued his parents, punched a woman (she mocked him after he refused her an autograph) bulldozed a couple of cars with his own, and got pissed off at Vanilla Ice because the singer wanted Gary to say his catch phrase…
Ultimately, Gary Coleman remained pretty much a moron until his death in May of 2010, at the age of 42; although, perhaps it was fate, for as everyone knows, 42 is, after all, the answer to life, the universe, and everything… Whatchu talkin’…
8. Willie Aames
Born: July 15, 1960
Married: x2, Currently single
Talents: Playing a moron, (hmmm, ironic?) Running around in tights and a cape fighting Satan’s evil, and Running a pretty orderly yard sale
I have to admit to enjoying (okay, completely lusting after) Willie Aames’ blond curls, and uber-muscular arms and legs in the 80′s when Willie was parading about as the dimwitted Buddy Lembeck on Charles in Charge. I would like to think I’m not the only one in that camp. Unfortunately, drugs, alcohol, and… Christianity took Willie Aames on a wild, not-so-successful ride over the past 20+ years.
Most recently, Aames held a yard sale at his home to pay off over $350,000 in debt. Apparently, as celebrities often do, Willie mistook his acting ability (loosely speaking) for reality TV talent, and appeared in VH1′s “Broke & Famous.” Shortly after, he became a licensed financial adviser. (I am suddenly reminded of Danny Bonaduce hosting “I Know My Kid’s a Star…”)
7. Taran Noah Smith
Best known for: Mark Taylor on the 1990′s big hit sitcom “Home Improvement.”
Born: April 8, 1984
Married: x1, Currently single
Talents: Bein’ creepy!
This guy started out completely cute, and just got awkward somewhere between seasons of “Home Improvement,” eventually, his role on the show was one of a shy, goth teenager. When the show finally ended, Taran was free to be creepy on his own, and boy did he!
Like a lot of kiddlets in Hollywood, Taran sued his parents for his “fortune,” moved his folks out of the family home, (a home that “he” bought at the sage age of 12-years-old) and at 17, he married a vegan woman 16 years his senior and moved her into the home where they ran an illegal vegan restaurant and catering service, making “Cheesy Cheese” their own vegan cheese product… from nuts. Um… Did I already say creepy? Long story short… they got busted, they got divorced, the house went into foreclosure, he stayed creepy.
Best of luck to Taran Noah Smith… perhaps if his parents had given him a boy’s name to begin with, he may have fared better.
6. Dustin Diamond
Best known for: Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers on the 1980′s & 1990′s kiddie-sitcom “Saved by the Bell.”
Born: January 7, 1977
Married: x1, Currently single
Talents: Extreme nerd powers, Managed, as a nerd mind you, to release a sex tape
Dustin Diamond may have had some sort of appeal back in SBTB days, (or maybe not) but where he is now… appeal, not so much. Toss Dustin on the pile of washed-up, type-cast kid-o actors, and call it a day.
Diamond attempted to pull his career out of the crapper with (surprise, surprise) Reality TV, (Diamond caused all kind of juvenile trouble on Celebrity Fit Club) and when that failed (duh) he wrote a book, “Behind the Bell” dishing out tidbits of personal, but non-too-secret information about the rest of the SBTB cast, following the if-you-can’t-beat-’em-alienate-’em path.
All in all, Dustin Diamond has come out in true former-star form, complete with a sex-tape, and plenty of debt. Atta-boy Dustin, carry on.
5. Macaulay Culkin
Born: August 26, 1980
Married: x1, Currently single
Talents: Great aftershave yell… that’s really about at good as it gets
How do you describe the Mac-Attack? For a while, he was cuter than the button on a grasshopper’s coat; he graduated to awkward, geeky, pimply teen, (Mac even went Taran Noah Smith-creepy for a while with that whole “Party Monster” thing). Never really able to overcome the Home Alone casting (although, he played a pretty convincing psychopath in “The Good Son”). Marriage at age 17 lasted a few minutes, Macaulay decided to swear off acting… right, he swore it off; I’m totally sure his decision had nothing to do with the fact that his phone wasn’t ringing, nope, uh uh, nothin’ like that… at all.
Mac had his share of drug trouble, and voice-over work; I place these together because if you are an actor with a substance abuse problem, what better way to make some cash without having to be seen?
We have to give the blond-headed tyke, and his myriad of siblings a break though, for surviving an unpleasant childhood. Culkin and his brothers and sisters were raised Roman Catholic, Mac was close with Micheal Jackson… Hmmm. I digress… You know, on second thought, perhaps disappearing into oblivion doesn’t make Macaulay Culkin a moron, maybe it just makes him smart.
4. David Faustino
Best known for: Bud Bundy in the trashy, but oddly popular 1980′s-90′s sitcom, “Married with Children”
Born: March 3, 1974
Married: x1 Currently single
Talents: Actually growing out of awkwardness into good looking, Bad rap-singing, and Being short
Interestingly, David Faustino is not married with children. To his credit, Faustino was actually still acting in 2009; oh, you didn’t hear about it? Of course not; he was a child actor who never went anywhere! When “Married…” finally (and I do mean finally, Faustino appeared in a whopping 259 painfully bad episodes) ended in 1997, Faustino was already 23, and not really what you’d call “cute” any more. He kept busy though, appearing in guest spots all over television, and more recently, he (oooo, guess…) got some work in reality TV (Celebrity Boot Camp).
Should you want to catch up with David Faustino now (as if) you can find him once a week on “Star-ving” a web series on crackle.com. Or! You could paint your dining room hot pink, and then, watch the paint dry, I mean, if you were looking for entertainment.
3. Corey Haim
Born/Died: December 23, 1971 – March 10, 2010
Married: Never Married
Talents: Being Canadian, and Managing to die from pneumonia, instead of drugs
Corey finished 8th grade, and decided to be an actor; and that, my friends, is how you foreshadow the life on a child star. After lots of bit-parts in Canadian commercials, TV and movies, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman teamed up and became the 1980′s iconic duo. Haim led a fast life in his early years, starting with bad-boy roles that seemingly carried into his personal life. Haim had a lustful, whirlwind romance with booze, drugs, and eventually lost control of everything else.
He became know less as a hunk, and more as an addicted, violent has-been, even Corey Feldman distanced himself from Haim for a time (right Feldman, ’cause you were sooo much better…). Were the drugs really a problem for Haim? Entrance into rehab fifteen times for his drug addiction, which was so powerful it led to him suffering a drug-induced stroke and going into a brief coma, serves to tell us: Yes.
The irony of Corey Haim’s life, and death, was that despite his substance abuse, and violent temper, he died of pneumonia. Even for a a guy who didn’t do much else right, he may have been more intelligent than people believed, given that he never married, and never fathered any children.
2. Lindsay Lohan
Born: July 2, 1986
Married: Never married
Talents: Incredible liquor tolerance, Hiding profane messages on her fingernails, Walking upright (sorta) Oh yeah, and she can Act, Sing, and Write songs
Rehab, and Court, and Jail, Oh My! Lindsay is such a far cry from the adorable, wholesome Disney actor she started out as, it is almost impossible to imagine her as ever playing such roles. The first clue that Disney may have a bit of trouble on their hands was in 2001 when Hilary Duff got her panties in a twist, accusing Lohan of stealing her then boyfriend, Aaron Carter; silly Hilary, Lindsay was probably trying to attract you!
Her new attorney, Stuart V. Goldberg, was quoted last week after meeting Lindsay for the first time, as saying:
“My impression of Lindsay is that she’s a fragile lost child — a sleeping beauty with her head in the sand. I found her not fully forewarned of the consequence of her actions. I’m concerned that she’s not disciplined or tethered enough to the reality of adult consequences. … She doesn’t seem to have the awareness of what’s going to befall her.”
That all sounds very lawyer-ly and stuff; translation:
“Lindsay Lohan is living in la-la land, and should not be trusted to spread peanut butter on toast… in fact, keep her away from butter knives, toasters… and toast.”
I would actually call Lohan more of a mess than a moron. The spiral is going so quickly now, I don’t suppose anyone would be surprised to see her name in the obits sometime soon. You want to root for her; she can be good, it’s just that she can’t seem to make any good choices that would pull her out of the abyss she seems to have fallen into. Drugs, drinking, and idiots for parents will hasten the journey to moron-land for even the best-intentioned kid.
Here’s the deal, ItThing will proudly produce a fantastically positive and uplifting story the moment Lindsay Lohan turns it around… Until then, she may continue to end up in top-10 lists. For her sake, I hope it isn’t the Top-10 Most Tragic Kid Stars that were Gone too Soon.
1. Michael Jackson
Born/Died: August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009
Married: x2 Single at the time of death in June 2009
Talents: Singing, Dancing, Shape-Shifting
Who’s Bad? Certainly not Michael Jackson, at least when it came to his music. From his early childhood, right up until the day before his death, MJ could out perform… Anyone! We have all heard the tales of his childhood, his abusive father, (no one buys it, by the way, when old Joe Jackson denies he was an ass) how else could MJ have ended up the way he did, without having had his spirit crushed, leaving him with nothing more than a shell to spend the rest of his life trying to fill?
There are two definitive camps regarding MJ; there are those who hated him, that think he was a weirdo, “Wacko-Jacko,” and a child molester. Then, there are those who loved him, who think he was, perhaps odd, but the greatest performer who ever lived. I have a tent, but I’m not about to die on this hill… I do know this, however: There are two truths about Michael Jackson: His life: Odd, wonderful, horrifying, and always, fascinating. His ending: Tragic.
I don’t suppose that one could really survive the rigors of acting, money, and total access to everything at such a young age, without some really, really great parenting. The problem: Not many really great parents would ever allow their children to become stars! And there you have it: Child Star = Adult Morons = Fodder for Print till the end of time.