23 Child Stars Who Quit Acting

Being a child star is hard. Young actors and actresses who are exposed to the immense pressures of Hollywood often buckle or find it tricky to get roles as an adult.

It's uncommon—but far from unheard of—for people who act during their childhood to stay in front of the camera as adults.

Here are 25 child actors who got out of the game to live a (mostly) quieter life.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Mary Kate and Ashley
Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen pose for photos at the 2019 CFDA Fashion Awards. Taylor Hill / Contributor/FilmMagic

The Olsen twins were household name in the 1990s, having starred in a string of high profile children's movies and TV shows.

The pair got their break into the industry on Full House. Due to child labor laws they took turns playing the same role in the ABC sitcom. These days they've quit acting and are involved in the fashion industry.

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple
A smiling Shirley Temple holding a microphone. Bettmann / Contributor/Bettmann

From "The Good Ship Lollipop" to international diplomacy, Shirley Temple's career went in a direction that no-one could have possibly predicted.

Temple quit acting when she became an adult, following a run as the biggest box office draw in the United States throughout the 1930s.

She became active in politics at the highest level, serving as the US ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia. Her autobiography, Child Star, was released in 1988. Temple died in 2014.

Angus T. Jones

Angus T. Jones
Angus T. Jones with 'Two and a Half Men' co-start Jon Cryer David Livingston / Contributor/Getty Images North America

The "half" in Two and a Half Men became disillusioned with acting around the same time as a religious conversion in 2012, after which Jones said he no longer wished to appear on the show.

As of 2021 he's keeping a low profile, though some reports indicate that he's open to stepping in front of the camera again, should the right role come up.

Eva Amurri

Eva Amurri
Eva Amurri with her mother, actress Susan Surandon, at the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Jeff Kravitz / Contributor/FilmMagic, Inc

Eva Amurri, daughter of actress Susan Surandon and director Franco Amurri, had a successful acting career that began when she was just 7 years old, with a role in the film Bob Roberts, starring Tim Robbins. She went on to land roles in TV shows like Californication, New Girl, and The Mindy Project.

In 2019, Amuri announced that she was retiring from acting, much to the surprise of her fans. She now runs a lifestyle blog.

Jamie Waylett

Jamie Waylett
Jamie Waylett during the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban New York Premiere. Jim Spellman / Contributor/WireImage

The star of six Harry Potter films, Jamie Waylett was sentenced to two years in prison for participating in the 2011 England riots.

Waylett, who played Hogwarts student Vincent Crabbe in the film version of J.K Rowling's books, hasn't acted since. Little is known about his life in 2021.

Danny Lloyd

Actors Danny Lloyd
Danny Lloyd with Shelley Duval in a scene from 'The Shining' . Michael Ochs Archives / Handout/Michael Ochs Archives

Ah, Danny Torrace. The Shining was by far the biggest role in Danny Lloyd's career; he appeared in a few small movies after riding around the Overlook Hotel on his tricycle, but decided to retire from the big screen at the age of just 10.

Lloyd now works as an associate professor of biology at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

After a 38-year gap in his acting résumé, Lloyd made a cameo appearance in 2019 as a spectator at a baseball game in the Shining sequel Doctor Sleep.

Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen
Jeff Cohen enjoys the sunshine in California. gotpap/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor/GC Images

Chunk from The Goonies went on to become a lawyer in real life. Jeff Cohen stopped acting as he entered adulthood, opting instead to pursue a J.D. degree from the UCLA School of Law in 2000.

In 2002, he founded the law firm Cohen & Gardner.

Peter Ostrum

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Peter Ostrum with Gene Wilder in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'. Silver Screen Collection / Contributor/Moviepix

While playing Charlie in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (his only film role to date), Peter Ostrum took an interest in the animals on set.

This prompted him to leave Hollywood at a young to become a vet. Now 63 years old, he lives in New York with his family.

Jason Zimbler

Ferguson
Jason Zimbler as Ferguson in 'Clarissa Explains it All'. Nickelodeon/Nickelodeon

Anyone who saw Ferguson pop up on a computer screen in Clarissa Explains it All may be interested to know that he's still involved with computers.

Jason Zimbler now works as a software developer, after years and years of irritating his fictional sister.

Jennette McCurdy

Jennette McCurdy
Jennette McCurdy at the premiere for 'Damsel', in 2018. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor/FilmMagic

One of many Nickelodeon child stars who have stepped away from the camera, iCarly star Jennette McCurdy is currently focusing on her singing career, as well as her podcast, Empty Inside.

Leanna Creel

Leanna Creel
Leanna Creel at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2001. J. Vespa / Contributor/WireImage

Leanna Creel was drafted to the halls of Bayside as Tori, a leather jacket-wearing girl who temporarily replaced Jessie and Kelly, played by Tiffani Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley.

Like many short-term Saved by the Bell characters, Tori simply disappeared and was never mentioned again.

Creel hasn't acted in over 20 years. Today she runs Creel Studio, a successful production company that specializes in travel and lifestyle content.

Ariana Richards

Ariana Richards
Anna Chlumsky, Ariana Richards and Austin O'Brien at the 1994 Kid's Choice Awards. Jeff Kravitz / Contributor/FilmMagic, Inc

Audiences will never forget the scene involving a raptor and a kitchen towards the end of Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park, which saw a young Ariana Richards play the role of Lex, running from prehistoric beasts. She's now a painter.

Kay Panabaker

Kay Panabaker
Kay Panabaker at a Nickelodeon event in 2011. Jason Merritt/TERM / Staff/Getty Images North America

As a child Panabaker worked on a number of Disney projects, including Monsters Inc, though perhaps her most famous role was Nikki in the drama series Summerland.

She studied zoology in UCLA, and as of 2016 was working in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Lisa Jakub

Lisa Jakub in 1991 movie "Rambling  Rose."
Lisa Jakub (right) sits with Laura Dern (left) in a scene from the 1991 film "Rambling Rose." Seven Arts/Getty Images

The eldest of Mrs. Doubtfire's (Robin Williams) three children in the 1993 comedy. Jakub had roles in other big movies, including Independence Day, though she left acting behind in 2000.

She's now a yoga teacher, and has written two books, You Look Like That Girl: A Child Actor Stops Pretending and Finally Grows Up, and Not Just Me: Anxiety, Depression, and Learning to Embrace Your Weird.

Ross Malinger

Ross Malinger
Ross Malinger starred as Jonah in Sleepless in Seattle. TriStar Pictures

Ross Malinger got an early start in Hollywood. He appeared alongside Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle, and Kirstie Alley in the Disney Film Toothless.

Now an adult he took his last role in 2006 and currently runs a car dealership in Los Angeles.

Liesel Matthews

Liesel Matthews
Liesel Pritzer Simmons speaks onstage during the My Big Idea For Building A Better Future panel at Fortune MPW Next Gen 2016. Joe Scarnici / Stringer/Getty Images North America

Philanthropist Liesel Pritzker Simmons was once known as Liesel Matthews, playing Sara Crewe in The Little Princess and the president's daughter in Air Force One.

She founded Young Ambassadors for Opportunity, which seeks to end global poverty. Matthews is also involved with Blue Haven Initiative, and the IDP Foundation, Inc.

Carrie Henn

Actress Carrie Henn
Actress Carrie Henn attends the "Aliens: 30th Anniversary" panel during Comic-Con International 2016 . Albert L. Ortega / Contributor/Getty Images North America

Carrie Henn played Newt in the iconic second Alien film, and even picked up a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor/Actress in doing so.

She left the industry shortly after to live a normal life. Now she's a teacher.

Jake Lloyd

Jake Lloyd
Jake Lloyd attends Wizard World's Philadelphia Comic Con in 2011. Gilbert Carrasquillo / Contributor/FilmMagic

Though he occasionally made appearances at comic book conventions prior to quitting acting, Jake Lloyd didn't take on any major roles after playing Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode One — The Phantom Menace.

He struggled with mental health in recent years, and today lives in a residence near his family.

Phoebe Cates

Phoebe Cates
Phoebe Cates at the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York. Jim Spellman / Contributor/WireImage

Gremlins star Phoebe Cates opted to quit movies over a decade ago, opening a New York boutique instead.

If you purchase anything from the store, don't expose it to bright light, don't get it wet, and definitely don't feed it after midnight.

Barret Oliver

Barrett Oliver
Barrett Oliver starred in 'The NeverEnding Story' United Archives / Contributor/Hulton Archives

It can't be easy following up a film like The NeverEnding Story, which tells the tale of a young boy who finds a magic book about a young warrior on an adventure.

Barret Oliver now makes his own books instead, having become a printer and photographer. His work has been displayed in galleries around the world.

Troy Slaten

What a pleasure to share the studio at #cnn with @drlillianglass as we appeared today on @NancyGrace pic.twitter.com/iqaw5w0qYY

— TROY SLATEN (@troyslaten) June 28, 2016

Troy Slaten had plenty of film and TV roles as a child, even appearing in episodes of Different Strokes and Roseanne. He went on to become an attorney, as well as a media pundit.

Brian Bonsall

 Brian Bonsall
Sabrina Lloyd and Brian Bonsall in 1993's 'Father Hood'. Moviepix/Archive Photos / Stringer

After playing Andy Keaton on Family Ties, as well as Patrick Swayze's son in the 1993 flick Father Hood, Brian Bonsall stopped acting to go on to become a musician, founding the band Late Bloomers.

He currently plays with punk rock outfit Sunset Silhouette.