The entertainment industry is no stranger to child actors, but only a few manage to break into mainstream stardom.
These are the most successful child actors as adults who started as kids and worked their way up to become some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Child Actors Who Got Their Big Break in Hollywood
There are many child actors in Hollywood who, despite their young age, have managed to make it big.
From Drew Barrymore and Justin Bieber to Kristen Stewart and Emma Watson, these stars have found success on the silver screen at a young age.
Let’s look at some child actors who made it big in Hollywood.
1. Drew Barrymore
She quickly became one of the successful child stars in Hollywood and went on to star in many other films, including Firestarter, Poison Ivy, Scream, and The Wedding Singer.
Drew Barrymore is a shining example of success for all child actors who have dreams of making it big in Hollywood.
She has won several awards in her adult acting career, including the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss and the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television.
Drew Barrymore is an inspirational success story for young actors and actresses. As a child actor, Drew has achieved great success in Hollywood through her immense talent and dedication to the craft.
She is now a successful entrepreneur with her own beauty brand Flower Beauty which has become wildly popular.
Shop Flower Beauty for the latest make-up trends from a true show business veteran.
2. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber became famous after his YouTube channel went viral when he was 13. He began recording music shortly after that, and his debut album My World 2.0 was released when he was 16.
Since then, he has become one of the most successful musicians in history, with Billboard naming him “the biggest pop star in the world” in 2016, and Forbes ranked him as one of the highest-paid celebrities for 4 years running from 2011–2014.
3. Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart first rose to fame when she starred alongside Jodie Foster in Panic Room at just 12 years old. She later appeared in Twilight, where she played Bella Swan opposite Robert Pattinson’s Edward Cullen—a role for which she received critical acclaim and several award nominations, including a BAFTA Rising Star Award nomination for Best Actress in 2010. Since then, she has gone on to appear in several more films, including Snow White and The Huntsman (for which she received a Critics Choice Award nomination) and Clouds of Sils Maria (for which she won a Cesar Award).
4. Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris started his career as a successful child star when he was 15 years old and starred in commercials before appearing in television shows such as Doogie Howser, M.D., a show created specifically for him. He went on to appear in films such as Starship Troopers and Cruel Intentions, and his career skyrocketed when he starred in the popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother from 2005–2014. Today, he is an award-winning actor with several Emmys and Golden Globe Awards.
5. Emma Watson
Emma Watson first gained recognition when she starred as Hermione Granger in all eight Harry Potter movies starting when she was just 11 years old—a role for which she earned several awards, including two MTV Movie Awards for Best Female Performance and Global Superstar, respectively. She used her newfound fame to advocate for women’s rights, becoming UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014 before starring alongside Dan Stevens as Belle in Disney’s 2017 live-action adaptation of Beauty And The Beast, which grossed over $1 billion worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing films ever made!
6. Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple was a famous child actress in history. She began her career as a three-year-old with film roles for Fox Film Corporation and quickly became one of the highest-paid stars in the world by 1935. Her films were so successful that she received a special Juvenile Academy Award for her work. She continued to act into adulthood and has left behind an impressive legacy.
7. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is perhaps one of the biggest names in Hollywood today. Still, he got his start as a child actor on television shows such as Parenthood and Growing Pains before transitioning to film roles such as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Titanic. Over the years, he has won multiple awards for his performances and has become one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars today.
8. Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe is best known for playing Harry Potter in all eight films based on JK Rowling’s books, but he had already appeared on screen before taking on this iconic role. He was cast as David Copperfield at just 11 years old and went on to star in other films, such as The Tailor Of Panama and Miracle Workers, before becoming a household name for his portrayal of Harry Potter.
9. Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster began her career when she was just three years old with an appearance on a TV show called Mayberry R.F.D., and then went on to star i.” several more TV shows throughout her childhood. But her role as Clarice Starling in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs made her a household name and earned her two Academy Awards for Best Actress—making her one of the youngest-ever recipients of this prestigious award.
Foster has done just that, being named the recipient of the Golden Globe’s Cecigeneration. DeMille Award in 2013 and won her third Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2021’s The Mauritanian.
10. Haley Joel Osment
Haley Joel Osment first caught people’s attention when he starred alongside Bruce Willis in 1999’s The Sixth Sense, earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor at 11 years old—the second youngest person ever nominated for this award! Since then, he has starred in several other films such as A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Pay It Forward, and Secondhand Lions.
11. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Levitt started his career on television on shows such as “Family Ties” and “Murder She Wrote”. In his teens, he worked on the tv series “3rd Rock from the Sun” and “That 70s show”. He moved into adult roles in films such as “500 Days of Summer,” and the “Dark Knight Rises.”
Some child actors have made it in Hollywood despite their young age. These are some of the true trailblazers who have gone against the odds. It shows that age doesn’t have to be an obstacle to success in show business.