What Your Favorite 1980s Child Stars Look Like Now
Have you ever caught an episode of an old '80s TV show or watched a movie from the era featuring a once-beloved child start and thought, “Hmm, I wonder what they look like now?” It’s quite common to find ourselves thinking about the famous kid and teen actors of yesteryear and curious about how good — or not so good — time was to them.
It's time to satisfy that curiosity. This list looks at 30 of the most famous child stars of the 1980s and provides that much-needed update.
Born: Sept. 4, 1972
Famous for: Acting as Luis Daniel Ponce; he had a starring role on the popular prime-time soap opera “Knots Landing,” though he was best known as middle brother Willie Hogan on “Valerie.”
Where Is Dan Ponce Now?
Though Ponce was a popular teen idol from the 1980s into the '90s, he eventually found his television career fading as guest roles became fewer and fewer.
He is still acting, most recently appearing in the “Here to There” TV series as the character Raul.
Born: Feb. 11, 1976
Famous for: Fans of 1980s family sitcoms will undoubtedly remember Beckham for playing youngest child Wesley T. Owens on the hit series “Mr. Belvedere.”
Where Is Brice Beckham Now?
Beckham continues acting into adulthood, most notably appearing on the VH1 show “I Hate My 30s.”
Today, he lives in Los Angeles and is part of the renowned Namaste theater company.
Born: May 5, 1973
Famous for: Yothers starred as the second-youngest sibling on the hit series “Family Ties.”
Where Is Tina Yothers Now?
Though blonde as a kid, Yothers is now a raven-haired adult. Like many ex-child stars, Yothers soon found her way to reality television; she featured on multiple seasons of “Celebrity Fit Club” and appeared on“Celebrity Wife Swap.”
Yothers, who married an electrician, currently lives with her family in Ontario, Canada.
Born: Jan. 6, 1976
Famous for: Pintauro played the convincingly terrified little boy in the movie adaptation of “Cujo” and Jonathan Bower on “Who’s the Boss?”
Where Is Danny Pintauro Now?
Though initially blindsided after getting outed as gay by the National Enquirer in the late 1990s, Pintauro continued his work as an actor and producer.
He eventually married the love of his life, Wil Tabares, and the pair relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2016. Today, Pintauro works as a veterinary technician at Austin Pets Alive.
Born: May 12, 1969
Famous for: Fields is best known for her role as the adorable gossiping Tootie on the “The Facts of Life.”
Where Is Kim Fields Now?
Fields followed up her childhood success in the 1990s with a starring role as Regine Hunter on the Fox comedy “Living Single.” She had a few guest-starring roles into the 2000s and was briefly on the popular Bravo reality TV show “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” before no doubt deciding the drama-laden series was just not for her.
At present, Fields stars in the Netflix sitcom “The Upshaws.”
Born: Sept. 9, 1971
Famous for: Thomas’ best-known work to date is his starring role in the Steven Spielberg sci-fi classic “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”
Where Is Henry Thomas Now?
Aside from his work in “E.T.,” Thomas appeared in hit movies “Legends of the Fall” and “Gangs of New York.” Additionally, he has made numerous TV and movie appearances over the years. He had a recurring role on the CW superhero series “Stargirl,” but more recently, he gave paranormal horror a turn with roles on Netflix shows “The Haunting of Bly Manor” and “Midnight Mass.”
Thomas has many projects in the works, including a Netflix adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher.”
Born: July 29, 1972
Famous for: Though he also starred in “Stand By Me” and “Toy Soldiers,” Wheaton’s most famous role was as the teen “Star Trek” character (and male Mary Sue) Wesley Crusher.
Where Is Wil Wheaton Now?
Wheaton is still active in the entertainment industry, especially as a voice actor for cartoons like “Teen Titans GO!” and “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.” He also lent his voice talents to many audiobooks.
As for live-action work, Wheaton guest-starred on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” You can also catch Wheaton through his website’s blog and various social media accounts.
Born: Jan. 3, 1975
Famous for: McKellar will always be known for playing the girl-next-door Winnie Cooper on “The Wonder Years.”
Where Is Danica McKellar Now?
Since 2010, McKellar voiced the character “Miss Martian” on the popular animated series “Young Justice.” She also wrote a slew of nonfiction books aimed at helping young girls grasp and succeed in mathematics.
Acting-wise, McKellar starred in multiple Hallmark Channel romance movies, mostly Christmas-themed in nature. Most recently, she became a show judge on Fox’s reality TV competition “Domino Masters.”
Born: Aug. 1, 1973
Best known for: Bledsoe is without a doubt best known as the second-youngest sister, Vanessa Huxtable, on “The Cosby Show.”
Where Is Tempestt Bledsoe Now?
Once popular enough to have her own daytime talk show, “The Tempestt Bledsoe Show,” her career did cool a bit, even though she had a role as the voice of Abby on the 2008 show “The Replacements.”
She got in shape throughout her appearance on “Celebrity Fit Club.” Bledsoe was also on “Househusbands of Hollywood” with her husband, actor Darryl M. Bell. She last appeared on TV in a 2019 episode of “Family Reunion.”
Born: April 13, 1970
Famous for: Schroder is known for playing the rich child every 1980s kid envied on “Silver Spoons.”
Where Is Ricky Schroder Now?
The former child actor moved on to more mature acting gigs, from the stellar western miniseries “Lonesome Dove” to the hard-hitting cop procedural “NYPD Blue.” Schroder also directed various TV projects over the years.
Unfortunately, Schroder might be more recently known to members of the public for his far-right beliefs and controversies. Those include a series of domestic violence charges and backlash from harassing a Costco employee over the store’s COVID mask policies.
Born: Oct. 21, 1976
Famous for: Miller played the precocious Ben Seaver on the ABC classic “Growing Pains.”
Where Is Jeremy Miller Now?
After “Growing Pains” wrapped in 1992, he later reprised his role for the 2004 TV movie. Additionally, he was a regular on the kids' series “Ghostwriter” before taking a lengthy hiatus from acting roles. The former child star suffered from alcohol abuse but has since gotten treatment and is in recovery.
Seaver returned to acting in the early 2000s to reprise his role as Ben Seaver. More recently, Miller and a group of former child actors coped with the nightmarish 2020 quarantine by way of a reality TV show called “The Quarantine Bunch.”
Born: Dec. 23, 1971
Famous for: Haim will always be known as one of the “The Coreys,” alongside actor Corey Feldman and starring in a slew of 1980s teen movies, including “Lucas” and “The Lost Boys.”
Where Is Corey Haim Now?
Early success and a troubled youth caused Haim to head into a downward spiral, from which he never recovered. Sadly, Haim passed away in March 2010 following a bout of pneumonia.
He is laid to rest at the Pardes Shalom Cemetery in Maple, Ontario, Canada.
Born: July 16, 1971
Famous for: Feldman starred in “Stand By Me” and “The Goonies,” and is probably best known for acting in a variety of 1980s films with his best friend, Corey Haim.
Where Is Corey Feldman Now?
Feldman starred in the 2008 and 2010 sequels to the “Lost Boys.” In addition to acting, Feldman also kept up with his music career aspirations. He briefly went viral for his Today Show performance of his single “Go for It.”
Feldman is also an outspoken advocate for children’s rights and protection. Feldman found himself involved in misconduct accusations culminating in his voluntary removal from the SAG-AFTRA Sexual Harassment Committee.
Keshia Knight Pulliam
Born: Dec. 7, 1966
Famous for: Pulliam is best remembered as the adorable youngest daughter, Rudy Huxtable, on “The Cosby Show.”
Where Is Keshia Knight Pulliam Now?
Pulliam starred in various movies before settling into a long-time TV sitcom gig as Miranda Payne on the TBS comedy-drama “House of Payne.”
She married actor Brad James in a private ceremony in 2021.
C. Thomas Howell
Born: Dec. 7, 1966
Famous for: Howell starred in “Red Dawn” and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” but is probably most easily recognized for his role as Ponyboy Curtis in “The Outsiders.”
Where Is C. Thomas Howell Now?
Following Howell’s controversial starring role in “Soul Man,” his white-hot career cooled considerably. Even so, he steadily acted from the 1980s through the 2000s.
His behind-the-camera work included multiple collaborations with director Francis Ford Coppola. Howell’s latest on-screen appearances include roles on CBS’s “Seal Team” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
Born: May 16, 1969
Famous for: Many fans will remember Gold as sister Carol Seaver on “Growing Pains.” She’s also the sister of fellow child actor Missy Gold, who played on the1980s show “Benson.”
Where Is Tracey Gold Now?
Despite her much-publicized struggles with anorexia, Gold was able to forge ahead in her career and personal life. She starred in a number of TV movies and shows over the years.
Gold married Roby Marshall, whom she met through her “Growing Pains” co-star Joanna Kerns. Gold ran into trouble in 2004 with DUI charges. She received probation in 2015 and later toured the country, speaking at schools about the dangers of drunk driving.
Born: March 9, 1971
Famous for: O’Connell’s first starring role was as the chubby, awkward friend in “Stand By Me” before growing into a teen heartthrob via his hit show, “My Secret Identity.”
Where Is Jerry O’Connell Now?
Following his childhood acting career, O’Connell blossomed into a successful leading man on the big and small screen alike, most notably on the popular sci-fi series “Sliders,” a show on which his real-life younger brother Charlie also starred.
O’Connell most recently acted on the TV show “Billions” and voiced Commander Jack Ransom on the animation “Star Trek: The Lower Decks.”
Born: March 9, 1971
Famous for: Lewis is easily remembered as the cute-as-a-button adopted orphan on “Webster.” He was also the child spokesperson for Burger King’s Whopper sandwich.
Where Is Emmanuel Lewis Now?
Lewis’ unusually short height helped extend his ability to nab child roles for which he’d otherwise be visibly too old. Still, he was unfortunately unable to do much serious acting as an adult.
Lewis presently divides time between his homes on the East and West coasts of the U.S. Though he is over 50, many fans note that his youthful looks have hardly faded.
Soleil Moon Frye
Born: Aug. 6, 1976
Famous for: Frye is best recognized for portraying the spunky street-smart orphan Punky Brewster on the TV sitcom of the same name.
Where Is Soleil Moon Frye Now?
Frye brought back “Punky Brewster” for a 2021 follow-up series that saw the adult Punky navigating motherhood in the 21st century. Along with live-action roles, Frye has done considerable voice work.
Frye’s latest gig has her lending her voice to another reboot; she voices Zoey on Disney’s “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.”
Anthony Michael Hall
Born: April 14, 1968
Famous for: Hall was one of the 1980s “Brat Pack,” starring in movies such as “Sixteen Candles,” “Weird Science” and “The Breakfast Club.”
Where Is Anthony Micael Hall Now?
Though he started out as a geeky kid actor, he eventually blossomed into a hunk, even turning stereotypes on their head to play the beefy bully in Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands.”
Later, he had a hit in the TV series “The Dead Zone.” Hall has worked on various shows and movies, most recently wrapping up a role on “The Goldbergs.”
Born: Sept. 21, 1971
Best known for: In the 1980s, Ribeiro played the best friend character on “Silver Spoons.” He also had success as a child actor on Broadway in a musical called “The Tap Dance Kid.”
Where Is Alfonso Ribeiro Now?
At the tail end of his 1980s career, Ribeiro found himself cast in the role of Carlton Banks on “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Ribeiro struggled to find new TV parts after the series ended. He did experience some ups, coming away as the winner of Season 19 on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Ribeiro's latest work was hosting the 2021 reboot of “America’s Funniest Home Videos: Animal Edition.”
Born: Feb. 8, 1968
Famous for: Coleman played the mischievous but loveable Arnold Jackson on “Diff’rent Strokes.”
Where Is Gary Coleman Now?
Coleman enjoyed much fame and success in the 1980s and even sued his parents and business manager over mismanaging his earnings. He saw few starring roles after his child star career ended, instead, staying in the headlines due to various controversies.
Coleman passed away in 2010 due to complications caused by an accidental fall. Loved ones scattered Coleman’s ashes at the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Utah.
Born: Oct. 12, 1970
Famous for: Cameron played the smart-alec, yet ultimately well-meaning, oldest brother Mike Seaver on “Growing Pains.”
Where Is Kirk Cameron Now?
Kirk Cameron’s conversion to Christianity at the height of his “Growing Pains” fame set the tone for the rest of his career, on and off-screen. Cameron starred in a host of Christian-themed movies, the best known of which was the “Left Behind” series.
More recently, Cameron was a guest star on the “Fuller House” reboot.
Born: May 31, 1965
Famous for: Shields worked as a child actor and model for much of the 1980s, starring in “Endless Love” and “The Blue Lagoon” and modeling for Calvin Klein.
Where Is Brook Shields Now?
Millennials and some zoomers may recognize Shields as Miley’s mother on “Hannah Montana.” She also occasionally was the guest host on the Today show.
In 2021, Shields suffered a severe health scare caused by a staph infection she developed in her arm following a broken femur. As of this article, she continues her recovery.
Born: Feb. 22, 1975
Famous for: Barrymore stole everyone’s hearts as the baby sister who taught E.T. to talk in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”
Where Is Drew Barrymore Now?
Barrymore grew from a troubled child star into a Hollywood wild child before finally getting her act together. She’s starred in a few hits over the years, including the “Charlie's Angels” remake and the romantic comedy “Never Been Kissed.”
Barrymore worked as an actress, producer and author. She now has her own daytime talk show, “The Drew Barrymore Show.”
Born: Feb. 25, 1971
Famous for: Astin featured in movies throughout the 1980s, but perhaps none so beloved as “The Goonies.”
Where Is Sean Astin Now?
Astin’s ability to cry at the drop of a hat probably won him the role of Samwise Gamgee in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. He recently put his connection to 1980s nostalgia to good use, playing the boyfriend of fellow child actress of the era, Winona Ryder, in the popular Netflix show “Stranger Things.”
Austin is currently starring in two TV shows: “Young Rock” and the “Perry Mason” reboot.
Born: Dec. 19, 1972
Famous for: Milano starred as Tony’s daughter, Samantha “Sam” Micelli, on “Who’s the Boss?”
Where Is Alyssa Milano Now?
Milano landed multiple acting gigs on popular shows in the 1990s, including “Melrose Place,” “Spin City” and “Charmed.”
Her latest long-term work was on the TV series “Insatiable.”
Born: Feb. 18, 1968
Famous for: Ringwald was a trendy actress during the 1980s and one of the best-known members of the “Brat Pack.”
Where Is Molly Ringwald Now?
Ringwald was a reigning movie queen of the 1980s, and though she continued to work through the 1990s, it was hard to hit the heights of the previous decade. Fortunately, Ringwald enjoyed a kind of resurgence in the 2000s thanks to her part in the popular series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”
Ringwald’s latest TV appearance was as Mary Andrews in the CW series “Riverdale.”
Born: Jan. 14, 1969
Famous for: Bateman’s first major starring role was on “Little House on the Prairie” as James Cooper Ingalls, before moving on to “Silver Spoons. He later starred as big brother David Hogan on “Valerie.”
Where Is Jason Bateman Now?
Bateman might be, in many ways, among the most successful former child actors, able to bridge the professional gap between youth and adulthood, working as an actor, producer and director.
During the 2000s, Bateman was best known for his work on “Arrested Development,” for which he won a Golden Globe. He later won his first directing Emmy in 2019 for his smash hit Netflix series “Ozark.”