The appeal which children have to adults was made
out early. To the first child or youth stars belonged Mary Pickford who
already appeared in 15 short movies by D. W. Griffith in 1909 (at the age
of 17). However her greatest popularity she obtained as an adult in the
first true child star was Jackie Coogan in Chaplin's "The Kid" (1920).
But already for him it turned out that there exist great disadvantages
which a tiny actor has to go through. Coogan became an international idol
in no time and he earned an immense fortune. When his career ended abrupt,
aside from some later movies, he had to sue his mother and his stepfather
in order to save the rest of his fortune at least (in the following years
Coogan acted in small parts and with the serial "The Addams Family" (64-65)
he succeeded in a late comeback).
The process lead to the so-called CooganLaw. On January
1st, 2000, the Revised Coogan Law goes into effect in California.
It's main features are these:
The ownership of the child's income now will belong
to the child. Fifteen percent of all gross income from professional
activities in Sports, Show Business in all its forms, and acts of creation
in any field, will be placed in a Trust Account and held for the benefit
of the Minor until the age of majority.
similar destiny happened to Freddie Bartholomew - he was besides Shirley
Temple the great star in movies like "David Copperfield" (34) and "Little
Lord Fauntleroy" (37).
In the 20s the later discoverer of Laurel & Hardy
- Hal Roach - launched the serial "Our Gang - The
Little Rascals". Because it concerned a group of children, not the
individual became famous (except Spanky and Alfalfa) but could assert themselves
as a group, where the one or the other could be replaced if required. The
gang enjoyed enormous popularity till the mid-40s.
With Shirley Temple at the latest it turned out what
a fascination children have in movieland. Rom 1936 till 1938 she was the
leading crowd-puller, even ahead of Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Bing
Crosby. When she was 10 years old the demand for Shirley-Temple movies
satisfied. She turned towards the politic in the 60s and became a representative
of the United Nations, from 1974 to 1976 she was an US ambassador in Ghana,
later on she acted as chief of protocol of the White House.
When she wanted paid out her three million dollars
she earned in her childhood, she found out that her parents had left only
44'000 dollars. She let this fact rest in order to protect the family peace
Till the end of the 80s the phenomenon, that the name
of a child star could fill the cinemas, seems to be limited to the 20s
and 30s. But since Macaulay Culkins appearance in "Home Alone" the status
of a child stars was lauchned anew.
Stark-Gstettenbaur (in the 20s), Klaus-Detlef Sierck
(in the 30s), Michael Ande and especially Oliver Grimm (both in the 50s)
could get a great name recognition and popularity in Germany.
At first sight the life of a child star in Hollywood
seems to be enviable. But to become such a state at all you need a lot
of luck. Expectant parents with their descendants arrive Hollywood by the
thousand and all hope for a great career of their children. In fact only
five of 100'000! children in Hollywood earn their living through the film.
And only a few of them become real stars.
The jump from a child star to an adult actor constitutes
as a invincible wall for the most of them. The actress Inger
Nilsson, who played the legendary Pippi Longstocking, is still working
as an actress but her occupation is limited to smaller theater engagements.
The fame she could enjoy as a child she couldn't transfer into her adult
life. The same destiny happened to Butch
Patrick, who played Eddie Munster in der cult serial "The
Munsters" in the 60s.
Among the experts they grant the biggest chance for
this jump to Elijah Wood, who belonged to the most successful youth actors
in the 90s besides Culkin.
the way to a child star is paved then the life of suffering often just
begins. Besides of the above-mentioned financial exploitation through relatives
they also go through several lows and heights with drugs, depressions and
isolation during and after their active career. As child stars they were
handled like kings and they grew up in a artificial world, far away of
reality. In their early years they possess a lot of money, and luxury has
become usual. Nothing seems to turn them on except of consuming drugs and
the like. Unfortunately River Phoenix is a sad example with fatal end when
he died because of an overdose at the age of 23.
The everyday things which come along with a normal
childlife are normally not involved in their lifes. Eric Scott (he played
the red-haired Ben in the serial "The Waltons" since he was 13 years old)
replied to the question if he has missed his lost childhood: "Ask a one-armed
person if he has the feeling to miss something".
foundations of problems of a lot of children are laid in a instable home.
Because of the sudden fame and the financial side effects for many parents
this is more than they can handle.
Many celebrities have gone through teen
drug abuse, while some even started abusing
alcohol and other substances way before they hit their teens.
Furtunately the negative concomitants mentioned here
aren't inevitable but represent more likely extreme situations. Beside
it there is also the success story of a former child star who found his
place in the world of adults. A classic example is definitely Jodie Foster
who already appeared at the age of three as a model for sun cream. She
shot several movies as a child. Today she belongs to the most influential
persons in Hollywood.
At the example of Drew Barrymore you can see both sides
of success very clear. Became famous in young years because of E.T. (82)
she went through lows in her teenage age with alcohol and drugs. Already
at the age of 10 she smoked grass, with 12 she took snuff of cocaine. It
followed two withdrawal treatments and an attempted suicide. Fortunately
she found her way out of this low and counts now to the very busy actresses.
A club called "A
Minor Consideration" was founded for child players from then and now.
The group comprises more than 400 members, from the Olsen twins to Sybil
Jason (the former competitor of Shirley Temple).
The organization supports child players who got problems
with their life and with it the organization offers an important service
for the pubertiing youth.
|The shown child player pictures in this
Shirley Temple (1928)
The Red-Haired Alibi (32) Out All Night (33) Bright Eyes
(34) The Littlest Rebel (35) Curly Top (35) Heidi (37) The Little Princess
(39) Kathleen (41) Honeymoon (47) Fort Apache (48) The Love Goddesses (65)
Fred Savage (1976)
The Boy Who Could Fly (86) The Princess Bride (87) The
Wonder Years (88) The Wizard (89) Little Monsters (89) No One Would Tell
(96) Face the Music (00)
Neil Patrick Harris (1973)
Purple People Easter (88) Clara's Hearts (88) Doogie
Howser, M.D. (89) My Antonia (95) Starship Troopers (97) Joan of Arc (99)
Mason Gamble (1986)
Dennis the Menace (93) Spy Hard (96) Just in Time (96)
Moon (96) Gattaca (97) Rushmore (98) Arlington Road (99) The Rising Place
(99) Anya's Bell (99)
Elijah Wood (1981)
Back to the Future II (89) Avalon (90) Paradise (91)
The Witness (92) Forever Young (92) North (94) Flipper (96) Oliver Twist
(97) Black and White (99) Chain of Fools (00)
Sybil Jason (1929)
Little Big Shot (35) I Found Stella Parish (35) Barnacle
Bill (35) The Singing Kid (36) The Great O'Malley (37) The Captain's Kid
(37) The Little Princess (39) The Blue Bird (40)
Kevin Corcoran (1949)
Violent Saturday (55) Untamed (55) Old Yeller (57) The
Rabbit Trap (59) Daniel Boone (60) Swiss Family Robinson (60) Babes in
Toyland (61) Johnny Shiloh (63) Blue (68)
Jon Provost (1950)
So Big (53) Lassie (54) Back from Eternity (56) Escapade
in Japan (57) All Mine to Give (57) The Secret of the Sacred Forest (70)
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (70)
Henry Thomas (1971)
Raggedy Man (81) E.T. (82) Cloak & Dagger (84) The
Quest (86) Muder One (88) Valmont (89) Fire in the Sky (93) Bombshell (96)
Suicide Kings (97) Moby Dick (98) Fever (99) At the Pretty Horses (00)
Drew Barrymore (1975)
Suddenly, Love (78) Bogie (80) E.T. (82) Firestarter
(84) Cat's Eye (85) Babes in Toyland (86) Far from Home (89) Poison Ivy
(92) Wayne's World 2 (93) Bad Girls (94) Batman Forever (95) Ever After
(98) Charlie's Angels: The Movie (00)
Jan Ohlsson (1962)
Emil i Lönneberga (71) Emil och griseknoen (73)
Victor Frankenstein (76) Dante - akta're för Hajen! (78)
Jackie Coogan (1914-1984)
A Day's Pleasure (19) The Kid (21) Trouble (22) Oliver
Twist (22) Little Robinson Crusoe (24) Old Clothes (25) Tom Sawyer (30)
Million Dollar Legs (39) Sky Patrol (40) The Space Children (58) The Addams
Family (64) The Specialist (75)
Gustl Stark-Gstettenbaur (1914)
Wolga Wolga (28) Die Herrin und ihr Knecht (28) Die Frau
im Mond (29) Strich durch die Rechnung (32) Musketier Meier III (38) Grenzstation
58 (50) Ehestreik (53) Jägerblut (57) Der gestohlene Himmel (74)
Kurt Russell (1951)
Sugarfoot (57) Guns of Diablo (64) Follow Me, Boys! (66)
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (70) The Quest (76) Elvis (79) Escape from
New York (81) Silkwood (83) Overboard (87) Tango & Cash (89) Backdraft
(91) Tombstone (93)
Margaret O'Brien (1937)
Journey for Margaret (42) Lost Angel (43) Thousands Cheer
(43) Madame Curie (43) Jane Eyre (44) Three Wise Fools (46) Big City (48)
Little Women (49) Glory (56) Annabelle Lee (68) Amy (81)
Michael Ande (1944)
Zärtliches Geheimnis (56) Die Trapp-Familie (56)
El Hakim (57) Der Arzt von Stalingrad (58) Verdammt zur Sünde (64)
Die Schatzinsel (64) Der Alte (77)
Elephant Boy (37) The Drums (38) The Thief of Bagdad
(40) Jungle Book (42) Arabian Nights (42) Taniger (46) Savage Drums (51)
Baghdad (54) Jaguar (56) Rampage (63)