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November 27, 2014

10 Former TV Child Stars Who Aren't Crackheads

by Patricia Chui, posted Sep 3rd 2009 3:45PM
Jason Bateman in Extract'Extract,' the new Mike Judge comedy opening in theaters this weekend, stars Jason Bateman as a bored factory manager. Those of us who grew up on '80s TV are thrilled that former child star Bateman's become such a success as an adult -- especially since we still think of him as Ricky Schroder's rambunctious best friend on 'Silver Spoons.' (Did anyone else watch 'It's Your Move' religiously? Just us?)

It's quite a feat for Bateman to have come this far, as the list of former child stars is littered with tales of drug abuse, DUIs, anorexia, obscurity and death. And then there are those who pop up in the news for doing random things, such as Soleil Moon Frye resurrecting Punky Brewster to celebrate her massive Twitter following.

But why dwell on the negative and the bizarre? Here's a list of 10 formerly famous tykes who bucked the odds and emerged from childhood TV stardom -- often after long periods in which they took time off or struggled to find work -- and became famous adults in their own right. We couldn't be more proud.

Tatyana AliTatyana Ali
Claim to Fame: Ashley Banks on 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' (was also 'Sesame Street')
How Old Was She? 11
What She's Up to Now: The 30-year-old has a recurring role on 'The Young and the Restless' as Roxanne; she also headed voter registration drives during the last presidential election and appeared in Will.i.am.'s 'Yes We Can' video.

Jason BatemanJason Bateman
Claim to Fame: James Cooper Ingalls on 'Little House on the Prairie,' Derek Taylor on 'Silver Spoons'
How Old Was He? 12
What He's Up to Now: A decade after his 'Teen Wolf' years, Bateman emerged as the star of the cult hit show 'Arrested Development' and proved a scene-stealer in movies like 'Juno' and 'Hancock.' At the age of 40, he's graduated (back) to leading-man status in Mike Judge's 'Extract.'

Candace BureCandace Cameron Bure
Claim to Fame: D.J. Tanner on 'Full House'
How Old Was She? 11
What She's Up to Now: After taking time off to raise a family (she's married to Russian hockey player Valeri Bure, brother of famed NHL star Pavel Bure), the 33-year-old came back to play Summer Van Horn on ABC Family's teen-gymnast show 'Make It or Break It.' Her character is dating the dad of gymnast Lauren, whose last name, interestingly enough, is Tanner.

Melissa GilbertMelissa Gilbert
Claim to Fame: Laura Ingalls on 'Little House on the Prairie'
How Old Was She? 10
What She's Up to Now: She beat Valerie Harper to become president of the Screen Actors Guild in 2001, and served two terms before stepping down in 2005. Her autobiography 'Prairie Tale: A Memoir' was published in June, and she's married to Bruce Boxleitner; their son is named Michael in honor of 'Little House' star Michael Landon. Gilbert is 45.

Sara GilbertSara Gilbert
Claim to Fame: Darlene Conner on 'Roseanne'
How Old Was She? 13
What She's Up to Now: Melissa's adoptive half-sister, now 34, has spent three seasons on 'The Big Bang Theory' as Leslie Winkle, a scientist who's romantically involved with Leonard -- played by Johnny Galecki, who was Darlene's boyfriend (and later husband) on 'Roseanne.'

Joseph Gordon-LevittJoseph Gordon-Levitt
Claim to Fame: Tommy Solomon on 'Third Rock from the Sun'
How Old Was He? 15 (also appeared on the 'Dark Shadows' remake at 10)
What He's Up to Now: After a string of critically acclaimed but underseen indies ('Mysterious Skin,' 'Brick,' 'The Lookout'), Gordon-Levitt finally scored an indie success this summer with the sleeper hit '(500) Days of Summer.' And he's still only 28 years old.

Neil Patrick HarrisNeil Patrick Harris
Claim to Fame: Doogie Howser on 'Doogie Howser, M.D.'
Age (Then): 16
How Old Was He? He's the legendary Barney Stinson on 'How I Met Your Mother,' and this year will achieve the grand distinction of hosting both the Tonys and the Emmys. 'HIMYM' fans are hoping that Harris, now 36, will host the Emmys and win one, too, as he heads into the show with his second Supporting Actor nomination.

Alyssa MilanoAlyssa Milano
Claim to Fame: 'Who's the Boss?'
How Old Was She? 12
What She's Up to Now: Her TV series 'Romantically Challenged' almost made it onto ABC's fall schedule; it looks to be picked up for midseason. In real life, the 36-year-old may be romantically challenged no more: She recently wed agent David Bugliari, and she extols her love of baseball in her book: 'Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic.'

Fred SavageFred Savage
Claim to Fame: Kevin Arnold on 'The Wonder Years'
How Old Was He? 12
What He's Up to Now: Having mostly left acting behind, he's found renewed success at 33 as a TV director, directing episodes of kids' series 'Drake & Josh' and 'Hannah Montana' as well as the very adult series 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.'

Ricky SchroderRicky Schroder
Claim to Fame: Ricky Stratton on 'Silver Spoons'
How Old Was He? 12
What He's Up to Now: He's kicked the child-star label at last with lead roles on 'NYPD Blue,' 'Strong Medicine' and '24.' And if you're keeping track at home, after trying on the more adult-sounding "Rick" for a while, Schroder announced in 2007 that he was going back to the name Ricky. It seems at 39 years old, he's got those insecurity issues licked.

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