Some kids may have had a newspaper route, or a part time job bagging groceries. But Hollywood has always had a need for kids to play roles as well, and over the years, some of the youngest among us have made their mark in Tinseltown. Whether in television shows, or up on the big screen, we can think of the children who have entertained us over the years in comedies, dramas, and musicals. Some of these kids eventually outgrew their roles, and were never heard from again. But some of them went on to take on other roles, and become major stars. Any of them come to mind? We can think of quite a few. Here’s our list of our Top Ten Most favorite Young Stars.
List of Top 10 Most Favorite Young Stars of All Time until in 2017
10. JERRY MATHERS
Who can forget the innocent face of one of Hollywood’s most enduring situation comedies, Leave It To Beaver? Debuting in 1957, this simple comedy ran for six seasons, featuring the Cleaver family: father Ward, mother June, brother Wally, and of course, Jerry Mathers as the Beaver. It was a different time and a different world with simple problems that were easily solved. Mathers eventually grew up, and no other roles seemed to come his way. He’s forever destined to be known as the Beaver. And that’s alright with us.
9. LEONARDO DICAPRIO
Who knew how bright the future was for this young star? His first appearance on television was on the children’s show Romper Room, way back in 1979. Before too long, Leo would be a regular on the sitcom Growing Pains, starring as Luke Brower. But the big screen was calling the little man, and DiCaprio was soon starring with Johnny Depp in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? A few more films followed before he got his breakout role in the epic 1997 film Titanic, lifting Leo to superstar status in Hollywood. Today, the former child star remains a major force in Hollywood, starring in a string of hit movies.
8. ELIZABETH TAYLOR
The young beauty made her film debut at age ten, soon appearing in Lassie Come Home. One year later came the movie that made her a star: National Velvet capitalized on Taylor’s natural beauty, and propelled her career, alongside another young actor, Mickey Rooney. Taylor continued acting in a string of successful movies, from A Place In The Sun to Ivanhoe, Raintree County and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. But her career reached its apex when she took home the coveted Oscar statue in 1960 with Butterfield 8. Married eight times, most notably to Richard Burton twice, Taylor remains one of our favorite young stars.
7. SHIRLEY TEMPLE
Forever destined to be a child star, there were none bigger than Shirley Temple. With her golden curly hair, young Shirley was singing, dancing and acting on the big screen at the tender age of five, appearing in a long list of films such as the Little Princess, Heidi and Little Miss Broadway. Hollywood cashed in on Temple’s star, and she was soon marketed on everything from school lunch boxes, to dolls and dresses. She was a financial bonanza for Hollywood, but when she grew up, there was little offered for her. Shirley Temple last acted on The Red Skelton Hour in 1963. Eventually, however, Washington came calling, and Shirley was named U.S. ambassador to to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
6. MACAULAY CAULKIN
Guided by his father, a former child stage actor who served as his manager, Mack got started in show business at age four, appearing in off-Broadway productions. When he was nine, he appeared opposite John Candy in Uncle Buck, which led to his most famous role as Kevin McAllister in Home Alone. The movie was a huge box office success, and propelled young Caulkin to stardom. The sequel did very well, but Macaulay’s career soon went south. Due to family battles over his income, and his growing up, demand for the child star soon waned, and Culkin was never able to repeat the success he found with Home Alone.
5. MELISSA GILBERT
She is one amongst the Top 10 Most Favorite Young Stars of All Time until 2017. After a few minor roles, Melissa Gilbert was cast in the role of Laura Ingalls in the enduring family television series Little House On The Prairie, which lasted nine seasons. Starring with Michael Landon as her screen father, young Melissa brought the series to life, and became a huge child star. Gilbert grew as an artist, eventually directing a few of the episodes. Little House remains the highlight of her screen career. While appearing in many other series and made-for-TV movies, she seems destined to always be remembered as the little girl on the mid-western plains.
4. MILEY CYRUS
The daughter of country music superstar Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley enjoyed a few minor roles until her huge breakout success as Hannah Montana, the Disney vehicle that launched her to stardom at the young age of 15. She remained in the title role for several years, even touring in concerts in character. But young Miley didn’t stay in character forever. Eventually, Cyrus broke out on her own with a musical career that has brought her worldwide fame and fortune.
3. RICKY SCHRODER
Forever our boy next door, a nine year-old Ricky Schroder exploded on the scene in 1979, starring in The Champ, alongside screen veteran Jon Voight. Several movie roles followed, until young Ricky hit it big on the small screen in the sitcom Silver Spoons. He starred in the show for five years, soon taking the role of Newt Dobbs in the western epic mini series Lonesome Dove, alongside screen legends Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. Schroder would go on to appear in a series of films, both on the big screen and on television, before being cast as Detective Danny Sorenson on NYPD Blue. More series appearances and movies followed, and Schroder has made the most of the career that started when he was just a young boy.
2. DREW BARRYMORE
Possessing a Hollywood pedigree, young Drew inherited the family ties to Tinseltown and burst upon the scene in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 epic E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial, at the tender age of six. A troubled adolescence soon followed, but Drew was still able to make a successful string of films, until the landmark horror film Scream, released in 1996. More big hits followed, such as The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed and 50 First Dates, and Barrymore branched out, beginning her own production company, as well as making appearances in assorted television shows.
1. RONNIE HOWARD
Okay, now he’s all grown up, and we call him “Ron.” But to us, he will always be remembered fondly as Opie Taylor, son of the good sheriff of Mayberry. Just six years old when he was cast in the part of one of America’s most beloved sitcoms, Ronnie grew up with small screen giants Andy Griffith and Don Knotts. After the series ended, Howard would find further success as Richie Cunningham in the hit comedy Happy Days. But he was destined for greatness behind the camera, becoming one of Hollywood’s most successful directors, giving us films such as Apollo 13, Parenthood, and A Beautiful Mind. No child actor has ever been more successful than Mayberry’s Opie Taylor, our all time favorite young star.
So, these above are the Top 10 Most Favorite Young Stars of All Time until 2017. Being stereotyped is a big issue for actors of any age in Hollywood, and it’s even more of a challenge for young stars, who usually find it hard to grow into bigger roles as they begin to grow out of their youthful appearances. Whether they are successful in transitioning to success as adults, they remain our favorites.