Child Star Survivors: Then & Now
Then: The world fell in love with little Drew when she played Gertie in 1982’s “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.” The doe-eyed, pig-tailed innocent was on her way to stardom… and rehab. Oops. But lucky for all of us, Drew made it through those rough years and came out all the better on the other side with great films like “Boys on the Side,” “The Wedding Singer,” and “Fever Pitch.”
Now: In addition to her critically acclaimed performance in this spring’s “Grey Gardens,” Drew most recently appeared as the voice of Chloe the Chihuahua in “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and in her production company, Flower Film’s “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
Then: Christian Slater was 12 when he made his first TV appearance on “Sherlock Holmes,” but he transitioned so smoothly into adult roles we don’t really remember him doing it. There were teen flicks “Heathers” and “Pump Up the Volume” and next thing we knew he was doing “True Romance” and “Untamed Heart,” and poof… he’s a leading man. Sure, there were a few missteps along the way — an unlicensed gun on a plane, a DUI, and a scuffle with the cops — but a little slammer time only made him a more tortured artist and better actor.
Now: We were sad to see his TV series, “My Own Worst Enemy,” come and go so quickly. The show was pretty bad, but he played the subtlety of his dual suburban father/trained killer role with mastery. But with three films in production for this year, we hope to see a lot more of Christian soon.
Then: Before “The Piano,” Anna’s only acting experience was as a skunk in a school play in New Zealand, her childhood home. At age 11 she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the film, becoming the second youngest behind Tatum O’Neal to win the award. She’s worked consistently ever since, and, miraculously, seems to have emerged into adulthood unscathed.
Now: “X-Men” (2000) brought her back to the public eye big time, and she’s got three films in the works this year. Best of all, her HBO TV series, “True Blood,” is set to begin its sophomore season in June. We’re loving it…and her.
Then: Brooke has managed to survive a child-pornography outrage over “Pretty Baby,” teenage nude love scenes in “The Blue Lagoon,” dating Michael Jackson, a rocky marriage to Andre Agassi, postpartum depression, and a public catfight with Scientology-slinging Tom Cruise.
Now: Most recently, Brooke appeared as Miley’s mom on two episodes of “Hannah Montana” and landed her first leading TV role since “Suddenly Susan” in the short-lived, but much-loved “Lipstick Jungle.” Our love for Brooke? Endless!
Then: Like quite a few child stars forced to grow up too fast, this star of the “Home Alone” series sued his parents and manager/father for emancipation at the age of 15. By 18 he was married to fellow teen actress Rachel Miner (they divorced two years later). He pretty much steered clear of the booze and drugs as a kid, but did have a run-in with the law and a misdemeanor possession offense in 2004, resulting in three one-year-suspended prison terms.
Now: After an almost ten-year screen absence, Macaulay revived his career with critically acclaimed performances in the films “Party Monster” (2003) and the following year’s “Saved!,” but his appearances have been few and far between, apart from the 2007 dark comedy “Sex and Breakfast” and a guest role on the TV series “Kings.” He has not reached the adult level of success as some of his contemporaries, but we’re rooting for him. Maybe he and brothers Rory and Kieran should consider a joint project. The Three Stooges are spoken for, but maybe a Hudson Brothers biopic? Any takers?
Then: Tatum stole our hearts at the age of ten as the youngest actress to ever win an Oscar, for her role as Addie Loggins in “Paper Moon.” We grew up with Tatum from there on. We played baseball with her in “Bad News Bears,” joined her at summer camp in “Little Darlings,” and married a tennis star — oh, no, wait. We didn’t do that. But she did have a tumultuous eight-year marriage to John McEnroe. Through it all Tatum battled her demons, including sex and drugs as a teen and a serious struggle with heroin addiction.
Now: Despite a recent arrest and drug-treatment sentence for possession of crack cocaine, Tatum is doing her best to join the list of actors who have come out the other end successfully. She hasn’t made it all the way yet, but we’re thinking her regular stint as Denis Leary’s sister on “Rescue Me” will keep her on the right path. And we’re hoping her two films in production, “Last Will” and “Saving Grace B. Jones,” will mark a triumphant big-screen return.
Then: What ’70s teenager didn’t want to either be or be with Marcia, Marcia, Marcia? The Bradys’ oldest daughter had it all: looks, brains, and a date with Davy Jones. Unfortunately for Maureen, the Marcia image was so perfect she couldn’t shake it. The rest of her early career consisted of guest spots on shows like “Happy Days,” “The Love Boat,” and “Fantasy Island,” and “Brady Bunch” spin-offs like “The Brady Bunch Hour,” “The Brady Brides,” and “A Very Brady Christmas.”
Now: Maureen returned to the entertainment world in 2007 to conquer reality TV. First there was “Celebrity Fit Club.” After a 34-pound weight loss, she won the title of the show and the hearts of many fans. This exposure led to “Gone Country” and the spin-off “Outsider’s Inn,” where she ran a bed and breakfast in Tennessee. Her TV comeback also led to a bestselling autobiography, “Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice,” in which she reveals the well-hidden tales of her teen relationship with Greg Brady (Barry Williams), her battle with bulimia, and the cocaine addiction she claims destroyed her career.