We hear nearly everyday about some child star these days who’s gone off the rails, not to mention the many horror stories from Hollywood. Between professional Momagers and the excesses of drugs and alcohol, so many young stars ended up with chemical dependencies, legal problems, or much worse. But, there are a handful of child stars who made good on their lives and grew up to join the military, become advocates, or public servants. Here are 10 child stars who actually turned out ok.
10) Ron Howard
First on the Andy Griffith Show and then on Happy Days, Ron Howard showed his acting skill. As an adult, he’s shown great aptitude for directing and producing TV and film, with such hits as A Beautiful Mind and Solo: A Star Wars Story under his belt. His family was adamant that he stay in public school, have a limited professional workload, and be able to really experience his childhood. Perhaps that’s why her turned out so well!
9) Peter Billingsly
His role on A Christmas Story (1983) earned him a place in the hearts of everyone who loved the film. He had appeared in an episode of Little House on the Prairie a year before. But, Billingsley went on to continue acting while also becoming quite the producer. He worked on the movie Couples Retreat and the Netflix show F is for Family.
8) Jerry Mathers
The Beave had already been acting in commercials for years by the time he joined the cast of Leave It to Beaver in 1957. After the show ended in 1963, Mathers went on to pursue education and sports, and graduated with a bachelors in philosophy and also joining the Air Force National Guard. Mathers has written 2 books and has continued acting over the years.
7) Shelley Fabares
After the success of her three films with Elvis, The Donna Reed Show, and her cover of “Johnny Angel” went off the charts, Shelley Fabares continued acting and recording, eventually making a comeback with her role as Christine on Coach. Fabares also had to undergo a liver transplant after her own liver succumbed to autoimmune hepatitis.
6) Patty Duke
Patty Duke was known for her Oscar-winning role in The Miracle Worker (1962) which helped her land The Patty Duke Show, for which she became an icon. In the ’80s and ’90s, Duke opened up about her struggles with bipolar disorder, a fact which did not stop her from finding contentment with her fourth husband late in life after decades of acting work.