Published On: Jul 25 2011 02:42:08 AM EDTUpdated On: Jul 24 2015 02:00:00 AM EDT
While the child stars who see their careers fade in a haze of controversy get most of the press, plenty of child stars managed to stay successful into adulthood, starting with Leonardo DiCaprio, who started with a recurring role on "Growing Pains."
DiCaprio also had a role on the TV series adaptation of the movie "Parenthood" as a young actor.
At the age of 19, DiCaprio was nominated for his first Oscar for "What's Eating Gilbert Grape."
DiCaprio has since become one of Hollywood's biggest stars, starring in such hits as "Inception," "The Departed" and "Shutter Island."
Leo wasn't the only young actor nominated by the Academy to find continued success. Take Anna Paquin, who starred in 1993's "The Piano" at the age of 11. The role won Paquin the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, making her the second youngest winner in history after fellow child star Tatum O'Neal, who was 10 when she won for "Paper Moon."
Paquin continued to act as a child, including movies such as "Fly Away Home" (pictured) and the "X-Men" movie series.
But it's her very grown-up role as Sookie Stackhouse on HBO's vampire drama "True Blood" that has earned her rave reviews as an adult.
Drew Barrymore had a breakout role as a 6-year-old in Steven Spielberg's "E.T." in 1982.
She followed that up with a role in 1984's "Firestarter," based off the Stephen King novel.
Barrymore's fame threatened to fade away thanks to a turbulent childhood marked by drug and alcohol abuse and two stints in rehab, but she rebounded to become one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood.
Natalie Portman earned rave reviews for her feature film debut as a 12-year-old orphan taken in by a hitman in 1994's "The Professional."
Portman's roles a child actress included movies such as "Beautiful Girls" (pictured), "Heat," "Everyone Says I Love You" and "Mars Attacks!"
Portman has developed in one of Hollywood's leading actresses, winning an Oscar for 2010's "Black Swan."
There's no shortage of actors who got their start as children on TV shows and blew up into big stars, such as Alyssa Milano, who started on "Who's the Boss?" at the age of 10.
Milano found renewed success with the drama "Charmed" from 1998 to 2006.
Few could have seen that Neil Patrick Harris, who found success starring in the teenage doctor TV series "Doogie Howser, M.D.," would still be famous nearly 30 years later.
But that's exactly what happened for one of the stars of the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother."
The 1980s classic sitcom "Silver Spoons" saw two of its stars go on to continued success as adults in both Ricky Schroder and Jason Bateman.
Now in his mid-40s, Schroder has shed his childhood image, thanks to roles on "NYPD Blue, "Lonesome Dove," "Scrubs" and "24." In 2010, he guest-starred in an episode of ABC's "No Ordinary Family" and played himself in the comedy "Get Him to the Greek." He most recently appeared in the 2013 Hallmark Channel movie "Our Wild Hearts."
"Silver Spoons" was hardly Bateman's first taste of acting, considering he played Michael Landon's adopted son on "Little House on the Prairie" as a 12-year-old.
Today, Bateman, is well known for roles on "Arrested Development" and in movies like "Horrible Bosses," "Up in the Air," "Juno" and "Identity Thief."
Sarah Jessica Parker co-starred with Amy Linker in the short-lived early '80s sitcom "Square Pegs."
Parker has since gone on to find fame with roles in TV and movie, most known for her "Sex and the City" role as Carrie Bradshaw.
You may not think of Christina Applegate as a child star, but she was only 16 when she started on the sitcom "Married with Children."
Today, the actress still remembered as dim-witted Kelly Bundy has established a much broader career for herself, including movie roles such as "Anchorman" and "Hall Pass," her own sitcoms "Samantha Who?" and "Up All Night."
Neither Fred Savage or Danica McKellar found continued success in front of the camera after "The Wonder Years," but that doesn't mean they are failures.
Savage found success as a television producer and director, working on shows such as "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Party Down," "Modern Family," "Franklin & Bash" and "Hannah Montana."
McKellar, forever known to "Wonder Years" fans as Winnie Cooper, has found success as a voice actress and also graduated Summa cum Laude from UCLA with a degree in math, using her degree to prove a new math theorem and write three books encouraging middle-school girls to have confidence and succeed in mathematics.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt began his acting career at the age of 6, but it was the role of Tommy Solomon, an alien in a teenage boy's body, on the sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun," that won him his first taste of fame.
After a break from acting to attend Columbia University, Gordon-Levitt returned in 2001, focusing on indie films like "Manic," "Brick" and "Stop-Loss." He's seen his fame increase with roles in films like "Inception," "(500) Days of Summer," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Looper."
But all the sitcom-kids-turned-stars owe a debt to little Ronny Howard, who started playing Opie Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" in 1960 as a 6-year-old child.
As he grew up, a teenage Ron Howard found a role as Richie Cunningham on the sitcom "Happy Days."
Howard left "Happy Days" in 1980 to focus on directing and never looked back. Today, he's known as the director of such movies as "Splash," "Apollo 13," "A Beautiful Mind" and "Frost/Nixon."
At the age of 12, Kirsten Dunst gained widespread recognition for her role of the child vampire Claudia in 1994's "Interview with the Vampire."
Dunst's career since then has included roles in such moves as "The Virgin Suicides," "Bring it On," "Marie Antoinette" and Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy.
Scarlett Johansson made her film debut at 9 years old as John Ritter's daughter in 1994's "North" and also appeared in movies such as "Just Cause," "If Lucy Fell," "Manny & Lo" and "Home Alone 3" (pictured.)
Today the actress is known for roles in such movies as "Lost in Translation," "Match Point," "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "The Avengers."
The star of "North," the movie Johansson made her debut in, was a 13-year-old actor named Elijah Wood. By that time, Wood was already a Hollywood veteran, with credits including "Avalon," "Internal Affairs," "Paradise," "Forever Young" and ...
... 1992's "Radio Flyer," along with Lorraine Bracco and Joseph Mazzello.
Wood is best known as the hobbit Frodo from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. His other roles include the movies "Bobby," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Sin City" and the FX sitcom "Wilfred."
Christina Ricci began acting in commercials at age 6 and made her film debut at the age of 10 alongside Cher, Bob Hoskins and Winona Ryder in 1990's "Mermaids."
She also gained fame as a young actress for her portrayal of Wednesday Addams in 1991's "The Addams Family" and its 1993 sequel, "Addams Family Values."
Ricci transitioned to adult roles in movies such as "The Ice Storm," "Buffalo 66" and "The Opposite of Sex," and is best known for roles in edgier movies such as "Sleepy Hollow," "Monster" and "Black Snake Moan."
Jodie Foster got her start in commercials at the age of 3, but her big breakout role was playing the preteen prostitute Iris opposite Robert De Niro in 1976's "Taxi Driver," a role that earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Today, the two-time Academy Award winning actress is best known for her roles in movies like "The Accused," "The Silence of the Lambs," "Contact," "Nell" and "Panic Room," which leads us to our next child actress.
Foster's costar in 2002's "Panic Room" was Kristen Stewart, who at the age of 11, played her daughter in the David Fincher-directed thriller.
Today, Stewart is well known for playing Bella Swan in the "Twilight" series of movies. She's also portrayed rock star Joan Jett in "The Runaways" and starred in the fantasy-adventure movie "Snow White and the Huntsman."
You may not recognize this little girl, who started playing "Stacy" on the Disney Channel kids band show "Kids Incorporated" in 1984 at the age of 9.
Stacy Ferguson, better known as Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, has mostly focused on her singing career since, but still occasionally acts, including several voice roles in animated films and TV series and appearances in movies like "Planet Terror" and "Nine."
The sixth season of "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club" in 1993-94 featured several budding stars, including Britney Spears (front, right) and Christina Aguilera (second from right), but let's focus on the two who went on to become established actors, Ryan Gosling (front, left) and Justin Timberlake (far right).
Gosling earned an Academy Award nomination for 2006's "Half Nelson" and has an acting resume that includes the likes of "The Notebook," "Lars and the Real Girl," "Blue Valentine," "Crazy Stupid Love" and "Drive."
Timberlake gained fame following his "Mickey Mouse Club" stint in the boy band 'N Sync and then as a solo artist, but he's also branched into acting, including roles in "The Social Network," "Bad Teacher," "Friends with Benefits" and "In Time."