90s child stars that gave up acting
I will never forgive my parents for not forcing me into a child acting career.
I mean, if they had, I wouldn’t just be a depressed manchild with childhood trauma and no sense of responsibility — I’d be all those things and rich. Which, you know, kind of justifies the lifestyle.
Some child actors get out of the game early for one reason or another, usually bad ones, but some because — get this — they want to be normal.
These are 10 child actors from the 1990s that quit acting and their reasons why.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Having a twin as a child actor is like a cheat code. You only have to do half the work, but get all the fame! Plus, once you got older, you could either stick together and really play that twin card, or split and ride that notoriety as far as it will take you.
Mary-Kate and Ashley were set for life for basically just saying “You got it, dude” every once in a while.
They were in shows, movies, songs, and even their own toys and video games, but gave it all up because they “don’t feel like I can give you 100 percent of my time.”
Wow, really kid?
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
It might be controversial to say now, but back in the ‘90s we all secretly wanted Tim Allen to be our dad. JTT got that wish as one of the sons on Home Improvement, which set him up to be the next teen hearthrob when he got older.
Instead, this idiot decided to quit before he was ahead and go to college.
Let me repeat that. This kid, who could’ve coasted on his looks and make millions acting, decided he’d rather go to school and basically vanish from the world completely.
OK, this one is kind of rough.
Jake Lloyd, in theory, got every kid’s dream — to star in a Star Warsmovie. The only problem was, well, it was the first prequel film when Lucas decided to flip the fanbase the middle finger.
Unfortunately, Lloyd, despite doing the best he could with what was given to him, was ripped to shreds by everyone around him. It got so bad, in fact, that the last we heard of him was from when his mother gave a statement on him in 2020 where she revealed he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Another kid actor who could’ve coasted for life is best known for some actually good kids movies: The Sandlot, where he played Benny, and as Mendoza in the two Mighty Ducks sequels.
And then, after 1997 he just kind of … vanished?
To my knowledge, no one knows why he quit pretending to play sports and instead become a firefighter. Yeah, I don’t get it.
You may not know the name, but Lisa was one of the kids in the Robin Williams hit, Mrs. Doubtfire, plus a role in Independence Day. Between those two massive hits alone, she has a better resumé than Nick Cage. She even met Princess Diana.
Of course, she wouldn’t be on this list if she didn’t decide to quit. However, unlike many other numbskulls on this list that gave up both fame and fortune, Lisa wrote books about being a child star.
This story is a similar outline to Lloyd’s, where Ariana only really had one big role, but man was it a big one.
She was Lex. You know, the girl who just knew how to hack everything on the computers in Jurassic Park. Oh, and that Jell-O scene. That was tight.
Besides that, she’s just a stupid painter. I mean, fine, she’s won a bunch of awards and stuff, but what could compare to fighting dinosaurs?
The Little Rascals kick ass. You know what else? Buckwheat kicks ass, and Ross Bagley killed that role at just four years old.
What did this little rockstar do after that? Oh, you know, just chill with Will Smith on The Fresh Prince.
What a fall from grace that after the latter show ended, we never saw him again. Well, unless you’re looking to buy some property, because he’s now a real estate agent. Talk about a one-eighty.
While she wasn’t a major character, Crystal McKellar played Kevin’s first real girlfriend in The Wonder Years, Becky Slater — even before Winnie. Kevin was just using her to make Winnie jealous, which fuels her character to torment him whenever possible for years.
Perhaps she learned something from playing such a scheming character, because Crystal went to Yale and Harvard Law School and now manages a VC fund.
Ironically, Danica McKellar, who played Winnie and is still out there acting, is Crystal’s real-life sister.
Another Ms. Doubtfire vet, Mara Wilson was also a leading lady in the hit Matilda. Again, she had it all! Robin Williams! Psychic powers! I’d joke some more, but this one is actually kind of tragic.
Mara quit not long after her mother passed away, and now focuses on writing her own stories.
Omri Katz isn’t the biggest name or face, but was doing good and constant work. He was on Dallas, Eerie, Indiana, and had a big role in Hocus Pocus. That last one, I believe, may be the cause of his career switch.
I’m specifically talking about the outrageous hairstyles in the movie. If my theory is correct, and no one can tell me it’s not, that experience was so influential he just had to become a hairdresser. Prove me wrong.