Top 10 Child Stars Who Came Back to Their Roles

Top 10 Child Stars Who Came Back to Their Roles
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Don Ekama
How they've grown! For this list, we'll be looking at the most notable former child actors who reprised their famous roles as adults. Our countdown includes Michael Cera, Sara Gilbert, Miranda Cosgrove and more!

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Child Stars Who Came Back to Their Roles. For this list, we’ll be looking at the most notable former child actors who reprised their famous roles as adults. Which of your favorite young stars would you like to see return as their signature character? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Michael Cera

“Arrested Development” (2003-06; 2013-19)

Upon its premiere in 2003, the Fox sitcom “Arrested Development” was widely acclaimed by critics for its oddball humor and exceptional performances. Among its ensemble cast of characters was the awkward and painfully shy teenager George Michael Bluth, brought to life by Michael Cera. Cera played the role for three years, until the show was axed in 2006, due to poor ratings. Following the cancellation, Cera achieved even greater fame, picking up major roles in coming-of-age films such as “Juno” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”. After Netflix revived “Arrested Development” for a fourth season in 2012, Cera returned to the sitcom, this time, adding ‘Writer’ and ‘Consulting Producer’ to his list of credits.

#9: Jaleel White

“Family Matters” (1989-98) & “Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?” (2019-21)

Jaleel White was only 12 years old when he landed the gig of a lifetime, playing Steve Urkel on the ABC sitcom “Family Matters.” Initially billed as a guest appearance, the nosy neighbor of the Winslow’s caught on with audiences and eventually became the show’s main character. After appearing on the sitcom for nine years, White reportedly became jaded with the role and tried to distance himself from it. That didn’t last too long, however, as the California actor donned his thick glasses and suspenders for a 2019 appearance in the animated series “Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?”. The episode also featured the Urkel-Bot, one of his inventions, and came complete with his signature catchphrases.

#8: Mario Lopez & Elizabeth Berkley

“Saved by the Bell” (1989-93; 2020-21)

Equal parts entertaining and informative, the NBC sitcom “Saved by the Bell” became a hit with teens and young adults. Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley rose to fame as part of the main cast of the series playing the characters of A.C. Slater and Jessie Spano respectively. Nearly three decades after its original run, it was announced that the show would be revived on the NBC streaming service Peacock, uniting some of the classic characters with a new generation. Lopez and Berkley reprised their roles on the reboot, this time as staff members of their Bayside alma mater. The revival also saw the return of Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen and Lark Voorhies, who make guest appearances throughout the series.

#7: Sara Gilbert

“Roseanne” (1988-97; 2018) & “The Conners” (2018-)

Like many other child actors, Sara Gilbert got her start making appearances in TV commercials. She then rose to prominence at the age of 13, when she was cast as Darlene Conner on the hit ABC sitcom “Roseanne,” receiving two Emmy nominations for her performance. Years after the show ended, Gilbert ignited the spark that ultimately led to it being pulled out of retirement. Alongside the rest of the original cast, including her on-screen sister Lecy Goranson, Gilbert returned as Darlene for a tenth season revival that became an unexpected success. Following its cancellation due to Roseanne Barr’s controversial remarks, the show was retooled as “The Conners,” focusing on the rest of the eponymous family.

#6: Soleil Moon Frye

“Punky Brewster” (1984-88; 2021)

Out of over 3,000 girls, seven-year-old Soleil Moon Frye was chosen to play the titular role in the ‘80s sitcom “Punky Brewster.” Frye starred as the precocious, pig-tailed girl who is raised by a cranky building manager after being abandoned by her parents. While this served as her breakthrough performance, the former child star became even more recognizable in adulthood for a three-season stint as Roxie King in “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” In 2021, Frye rediscovered her ‘Punky Power,’ returning as the iconic character, who had become a single mother of three, helping out a rebellious orphan reminiscent of her past self. This reboot, which reunited Frye with her co-star Cherie Johnson, was sadly canceled after one season.

#5: Kel Mitchell

“All That” (1994-2000; 2002-05; 2019-20)

The beloved sketch comedy series “All That” was created to serve as “a kid-friendly version of Saturday Night Live.” The show, which premiered in 1994, became a staple on Nickelodeon and helped launch the careers of several actors, most notably Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell. The two soon began working closely together, eventually landing their own sitcom “Kenan & Kel.” While Thompson moved on to SNL afterwards, Mitchell took on a string of supporting performances in movies and TV shows, and lent his voice to several animated characters. More than a decade after it last aired, “All That” was revived for an eleventh season that saw the return of Mitchell, not only as his trademark characters, but as an executive producer.

#4: Ben Savage & Danielle Fishel

“Boy Meets World” (1993-2000) & “Girl Meets World” (2014-17)

The ‘90s arguably was the golden age of teen-oriented TV shows. And no discussion of that era is ever complete without the hit coming-of-age sitcom “Boy Meets World.” The series detailed the adolescent experiences of Cory Matthews, from middle school all the way to adulthood. Ben Savage starred in the lead role, with Danielle Fishel playing his romantic interest and eventual wife, Topanga Lawrence. Fans were surely hit with a wave of nostalgia when a spin-off series premiered in 2014. Centered around Cory and Topanga’s young daughter Riley, “Girl Meets World” featured Savage and Fishel back in the roles that shot them into the limelight. It presented a modern perspective on the original’s premise, but only lasted three seasons before Disney pulled the plug.

#3: Miranda Cosgrove

“iCarly” (2007-12; 2021-)

Miranda Cosgrove first gained prominence for her performance in the 2003 cult comedy “School of Rock.” Soon after, she made her Nickelodeon debut, starring as the troublesome Megan Parker on “Drake & Josh.” This paved the way for what has become her most recognizable role yet, as the titular character on “iCarly.” Cosgrove remained on the show throughout its six-season original run, winning several awards for her endearing performance. After earning a degree in Psychology from the University of Southern California, Cosgrove made a splashing comeback to her signature role in a revival series that premiered in 2021. With original cast members Jerry Trainor and Nathan Kress also returning, the new series sure feels like you’re just catching up with an old friend.

#2: Candace Cameron Bure & Jodie Sweetin

“Full House” (1987-95) & “Fuller House” (2016-20)

Candace Cameron Bure and Jodie Sweetin were just kids when they were cast on ABC’s “Full House.” Bure and Sweetin played D.J. and Stephanie Tanner respectively - two of three daughters whose dad is left to raise them after their mum’s sudden demise. Also helping out are their uncle and their father’s best friend, who subsequently move into the family house. The sitcom consistently garnered high ratings and spawned a sequel series which premiered on Netflix in 2016. “Fuller House” follows an adult D.J., now a widowed mother of three, who enlists the help of her sister Stephanie and best friend Kimmy to raise her kids. Bure and Sweetin reprised their roles, alongside Andrea Barber, who played Kimmy in the original show.

#1: Raven-Symoné

“That’s So Raven” (2003-07) & “Raven’s Home” (2017-)

Raven-Symoné first graced our screens at the tender age of three, as the precocious Olivia Kendall on “The Cosby Show.” She landed her first lead role, playing the psychic title character on Disney Channel’s “That’s So Raven.” In what is largely considered her breakthrough performance, Raven-Symoné received wide acclaim for the show and was catapulted to international fame. Like many other beloved teen series, “That’s So Raven” was revived a full decade later, as the spin-off “Raven’s Home.” The new show also stars Raven-Symoné and Anneliese van der Pol, reprising the roles they’re now best known for. Only this time, they’re both single mums living in the same house, who soon discover that one of Baxter’s kids also possesses psychic abilities.