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Top 10 Kids Movie Stars Who Dropped Off the Map
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Top 10 Kids Movie Stars Who Dropped Off the Map

Top 10 Kids Movie Stars Who Dropped Off the Map

VOICE OVER: Patrick Mealey WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
Remember that guy? What was his name... For this list, we'll be looking at stars known for appearing in children's films before they eventually disappeared from the limelight. Our countdown includes Judith Hoag, Jeff Cohen, Barret Oliver and more!

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Kids Movies Stars Who Dropped Off the Map. For this list, we’ll be looking at stars known for appearing in children’s films before they eventually disappeared from the limelight. We’ll be considering actors of all ages, just as long as their fame came from starring in movies for kids. Which of these stars do you have fond memories of watching? Share your thoughts in the comments!

#10: Sam J. Jones


Based on the beloved comic strip, 1980’s “Flash Gordon” starred relative newcomer Sam J. Jones in the lead role. Jones reportedly clashed several times with Dino de Laurentiis, prompting the producer to use a different actor to dub some of Jones’ lines in post. In fact, Jones was in danger of being recast for the rest of the trilogy, though it didn’t end up mattering since “Flash Gordon” disappointed at the box office. It has since reached cult status, though Jones never did find a bigger role. He did, however, make a special appearance in Seth MacFarlane’s “Ted” and its sequel. The former Marine has been taking on smaller gigs ever since and also deviated from acting to professional security for a while.

#9: Judith Hoag


By the time the first live-action “Ninja Turtles” movie released, kids couldn’t get enough of the mutant crimefighters. The movie was a major hit, but April O’Neil actress, Judith Hoag, wouldn’t reprise her role for the two sequels. According to her, she wasn’t asked back because producers thought she complained too much about the level of violence and long shooting schedules. Though Hoag did appear in popular films after that, they were mostly minor parts until she landed her second most defining role as Gwen Piper in the Disney Channel original movie, “Halloweentown.” She reprised the role across three sequels, the last of which aired in 2006. Other than a lengthy stint on the series “Nashville,” Hoag has mainly picked up smaller TV roles ever since.

#8: Daniel Tay


Even if you don’t know him by name, chances are good you watch Daniel Tay every holiday season. Tay played Buddy the Elf’s half-brother, Michael, in the Christmas classic “Elf.” At eleven years old, it was his acting debut, and he certainly showed potential. You may have also heard his voice in the critically panned animated family film, “Doogal,” though Tay wouldn’t appear in much else. He voluntarily left the world of acting behind when he found his true calling: teaching. He attended Yale, where he earned a BA in Economics, and, afterwards, went to work at Veritas Prep as an SAT instructor. As far as we can tell, he’s much happier in his second career choice.

#7: Jeff Cohen


“The Goonies” is a quintessential coming-of-age adventure movie. Jeff Cohen made every audience member laugh as Chunk, the group’s portly, clumsy member. Unfortunately, he became a victim of typecasting after the movie was released. According to Cohen, he struggled to earn roles outside of the ‘chubby kid’ persona, a feat that became rather impossible once he began to grow up and slim down. Thankfully, with help from director Richard Donner, Cohen was able to pivot. He got his Bachelor’s in Business at Berkeley before earning a Law Doctorate at UCLA. In 2002, he co-founded his own law firm and, as of 2014, some of his writing can be read in “The Huffington Post”.

#6: Jamie Waylett


Appearing in the “Harry Potter” movies, no matter the size of the role, must have been a dream for any child actor. But, Jamie Waylett sadly never got to see it through to the end. Waylett played Vincent Crabbe, one half of Draco Malfoy’s duo of minions. In 2009, he was charged with possession of cannabis and given 120 hours of community service. This would mark the end of his film career, as evidenced by his absence in both parts of “Deathly Hallows.” In 2011, he was arrested for taking part in the London riots, and was sentenced to two years in prison. In the years since, he’s taken up rapping and fans can get personalized messages from him on Cameo.

#5: Omri Katz


After getting started on primetime TV shows like “Dallas,” Omri Katz took on the role that would keep him famous among children for years to come. Katz played Max Dennison, the teen hero who accidentally resurrects the Sanderson Sisters in Disney’s “Hocus Pocus.” He’s since spoken about being high during the filming of the movie, to the point where director Kenny Ortega had to pull him aside. Katz would leave the world of acting in the early 2000s, but, interestingly, he kept up his ties with the recreational activity and now owns an online merchandise store themed around the substance.

#4: Barret Oliver


“The NeverEnding Story” continues to capture the imagination of children to this day. However, the majority of its cast dropped off the map for various reasons. For example, Tami Stronach, who played the Childlike Empress, opted to focus on dancing instead. At the core of the film, however, was Barret Oliver’s Bastian, a young boy who discovers a magical world through a mysterious book. Though this is certainly his most famous role, Oliver still gained prominence through other films like Ron Howard’s “Cocoon.” His final film role was in 1989, and he quit acting after that in order to pursue photography. In 2007, he published a book focusing on the process he uses in his craft: the Woodburytype. Today, he enjoys a much more private life.

#3: Mara Wilson


If you were a kid growing up in the early ‘90s, chances are you enjoyed at least one Mara Wilson movie. Maybe it was her debut in “Mrs. Doubtfire” or her starring role in the adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda.” Regardless, Wilson seemed poised to become a major star, yet she left Hollywood at age 12. Her mother’s passing in 1996 certainly impacted her passion, though she would later write about how the world’s reaction to her going through puberty also made her step away. Wilson would make her return to the public eye in 2012 primarily through web series such as “Welcome to Night Vale”. You can also catch her in Disney’s “Big Hero 6: The Series”.

#2: Peter Ostrum


Peter Ostrum got to live out every kid’s fantasy as the main character, Charlie Bucket, in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” He was only 12 at the time, yet the role earned him the offer of a three-film contract. Ostrum turned it down over concerns he wouldn’t get to pick his own roles, and this wound up being the right decision. After filming wrapped, he found his true passion, largely owing to the veterinarian who would take care of his family’s horses. In 1984, he earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. He currently lives in New York where he primarily works with horses and cows, though he still makes the occasional appearance for events.

#1: Rick Moranis


Although not all of Rick Moranis’ movies were for kids, some of his best were. Whether it was through wacky science hijinks in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” or sheer awkwardness in “Ghostbusters,” Moranis’ warmth and comedy lit up the screen. Sadly, it was tragedy that caused him to drop off the map. Moranis’ wife, Ann Belsky, passed away in 1991. He found it too difficult to raise two kids as a single parent while being in the spotlight, so, by 1997, he’d stepped away from the industry. He would, however, pick up a voice role every now and then. He’s since returned for a commercial with Ryan Reynolds’ Mint Mobile and will reprise his role as scientist Wayne Szalinski in the upcoming “Shrunk.”
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