Then & Now - Best Child Actors

All-time best kid actors. Any and every era. Alphabetically.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Jenny Agutter
Actress, The Avengers
Jenny Agutter was born on December 20, 1952, in Taunton, Somerset, England, UK. The daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood traveling and living in different countries. Her film career began at the age of 12 in East of Sudan, which was quickly followed by Ballerina: Part 1 and Ballerina: Part 2...
 
2.
Liam Aiken
Liam Pádraic Aiken was born January 7, 1990, in New York City, to Moya and Bill Aiken, an MTV producer. His mother was born in Ireland, while his father was an American of Irish descent. It was apparent from the beginning that Liam was a natural actor. After securing a small part on Broadway in the award-winning production of Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House," Liam's big break came in 1997...
 
3.
Holly Aird
Holly Aird was born in Aldershot, Hampshire on the 18th May, 1969. She showed a huge interest in ballet so she started to attend a local dance school. At the age of nine, young Holly was picked out by a casting director to star in The History of Mr. Polly. Her first acting appearance went well, and she began getting even more roles, such as The Tale of Beatrix Potter and The Flame Trees of Thika...
 
6.
Sean Astin
Sean Astin is well known for his film debut portraying Mikey in Steven Spielberg's The Goonies, for playing the title role in the critically acclaimed Rudy, and for his role as the beloved Sam Gamgee in the Academy Award winning trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King...
 
9.
Christian Bale
Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different countries throughout Bale's childhood...
 
10.
Ivana Baquero
Ivana was born on June 11th, 1994, in Barcelona, Spain. She graduated High School at The American School of Barcelona in 2012. She got her big break in 2006 when Guillermo Del Toro cast her as the lead in his critically acclaimed fantasy thriller "Pan's Labyrinth." The role of Ofelia was originally intended for an eight-year-old girl...
 
11.
Drew Barrymore
Producer, Donnie Darko
Since melting audiences' hearts - at the age of six - in Steven Spielberg's beloved sci-fi blockbuster, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Drew Barrymore has emerged as one of the most endearing and talented actresses of her generation. Drew Blyth Barrymore was born in Culver City, California, to actors John Drew Barrymore and Jaid Barrymore (née Ildiko Jaid Mako)...
 
12.
Freddie Bartholomew
Child superstar Freddie Bartholomew was born Frederick Cecil Bartholomew in Harlesden, London, the son of Cecil Llewellyn Bartholomew and Lilian May Clarke Bartholomew. From age three he grew up in the town of Warminster under the care of his father's unmarried sister Millicent. A precocious lad, Freddie was reciting and performing on stage at three years of age...
 
14.
Scotty Beckett
Scotty Beckett was one of the cutest, most successful child actors of the 1930s and 1940s. His descent into a life of alcoholism, drugs, and crime remains one of the most tragic of Hollywood stories. Born Scott Hastings Beckett on October 4, 1929 in Oakland, California, he and his family moved to Los Angeles when Scotty was 3 years old...
 
15.
Jamie Bell
Jamie Bell was born in 1986 in Billingham, England, UK, to Eileen (Matfin) and John Bell, a toolmaker. He comes from a family of dancers including his grandmother, mother, aunt, and sister. It was at his sister's dance practices that he would stand outside the door and imitate the movements of the dancers inside...
 
16.
Thora Birch
From Monkey Trouble to American Beauty-- that's Hollywood "Hocus Pocus"! Thora Birch was born on Thursday (as in Thor's Day) March 11, 1982. Her father, Jack Birch, and mom, Carol Connors, named her after the Norse God Thor ("Thora" being the feminine), the God of Thunder; she has a younger brother named Bolt Birch...
 
17.
Lucas Black
Lucas York Black was born on November 29, 1982 in Decatur, Alabama, to Jan (Keenum), an office worker, and Larry Black, a museum worker. Without any formal acting lessons, Lucas made his film debut with a small part in the Kevin Costner film The War at the age of 11. The small role helped him land his next job in the series American Gothic...
 
18.
Linda Blair
Actress, The Exorcist
From the age of five, Linda Blair had to get used to the spotlight, first as a child model and then as an actress, when out of 600 applicants she was picked for the role of Regan, the possessed child, in The Exorcist. Linda quickly rose to international fame, won the Golden Globe, and seemed to be set to take the Academy Award for that role...
 
19.
Andrea Bowen
Andrea Lauren Bowen began acting at age 6 as "Young Cosette" in the Broadway production of "Les Miserables". She went on to star in the original Broadway casts of "Jane Eyre" (Adele) and "The Sound of Music" (Marta). Other New York stage credits include the role of "Young Dorothy" in a Lincoln Center Workshop production called "WAS" and Alison in Disney's new production...
 
20.
Robert Blake
Actor, Baretta
American actor who began as a child in Our Gang comedies and reappeared as a powerful adult performer of leading and character roles. Born in New Jersey, the young Mickey Gubitosi won a role in MGM's Our Gang series at the age of 5. As one of the more prominent children in the Gang, he gained attention for his cute good looks and his lovable, if somewhat melancholy, personality...
 
21.
Abigail Breslin
Academy Award-nominated actress Abigail Breslin is one of the most sought-after actors of her generation. Her unique and charismatic talents have contributed to her versatile roles in both comedy and drama. Most recently, Breslin starred in the first season of the horror-comedy series, "Scream Queens" opposite Emma Roberts...
 
24.
Asa Butterfield
Actor, Hugo
Asa Butterfield was born in Islington, London, England, to Jacqueline Farr and Sam Butterfield. He began acting at the age of 8, after a talent spotting casting director saw him at his local after school drama club, The Young Actors Theatre in Islington. Following on from a couple of small roles in films...
 
25.
Ridge Canipe
Ridge Canipe was born and lives in California with his sister, mom and dad. He started acting when he was five and loves doing it. He enjoys playing guitar and drums every day.
 
27.
Veronica Cartwright
Actress, Alien
Born in Bristol, England, Veronica is the older sister of the popular child actress Angela Cartwright. In her early career, Veronica was cast in a number of popular movies such as The Children's Hour, Spencer's Mountain and Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. As such, she was cast as "Jemima Boone" in the popular television series Daniel Boone...
 
29.
Field Cate
Following a lineage of Hollywood entertainers, Field Cate is steadily establishing a name for himself in the entertainment industry; it is, after all, in his blood. His great-aunt Esther Ralston's success as a silent film actress garnered her a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, his great-grandmother provided the first voice of Minnie Mouse...
 
30.
Lacey Chabert
Actress, Party of Five
Lacey Nicole Chabert was born in Purvis, Mississippi, to Julie (Johnson) and Tony Chabert, a representative for an oil company. She is of Cajun (French), Italian, English, and Scottish ancestry. Chabert started in drama and music performances in and around her hometown in Mississippi from an early age...
 
32.
Anna Chlumsky
Actress, Veep
 
33.
Spencer Treat Clark
Spencer Treat Clark is from the New York City suburbs. He began acting at an early age, appearing in films like Gladiator and Unbreakable. He attended Columbia University in New York City where he studied political science and economics. His older sister, Eliza Clark, is a playwright and screenwriter...
 
34.
 
36.
 
38.
Jackie Coogan
Actor, The Kid
Jackie Coogan was born into a family of vaudevillians where his father was a dancer and his mother had been a child star. On the stage by four, Jackie was touring at the age of five with his family in Los Angeles, California. While performing on the stage, he was spotted by Charles Chaplin, who then and there planned a movie in which he and Jackie would star...
 
39.
Jackie Cooper
Actor, The Champ
Jackie Cooper was born John Cooper in Los Angeles, California, to Mabel Leonard, an Italian-American stage pianist, and John Cooper. Through his mother, he was the nephew of actress Julie Leonard, screenwriter Jack Leonard, and (by marriage) director Norman Taurog. Jackie served with the Navy in the South Pacific toward the end of World War II...
 
40.
Joel Courtney
Actor, Super 8
Joel was born in Monterey, California, and raised in Moscow, Idaho. His parents are both school teachers. He is the youngest of four children and has two older brothers (Caleb and Josh) and an older sister (Chantelle). At age 14, Joel went to visit his brother, Caleb, during summer vacation. His brother was pursuing an acting career in Los Angeles...
 
41.
Joey Cramer
Joey Cramer was born on August 23, 1973 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada as Deleriyes August Joe Fisher Cramer. His debut was in the Sci-Fi movie Runaway, directed by Jurassic Park's writer, Michael Crichton. 1986 was his most successful year after having a brief role as young Broud, in The Clan of the Cave Bear...
 
44.
Kieran Culkin
Kieran Kyle Culkin was born September 30, 1982 in New York City, New York. He is the son of Christopher Culkin, a former stage and child actor, and Patricia Brentrup. He is the brother of Shane Culkin, Dakota Culkin, Macaulay Culkin, Quinn Culkin, Christian Culkin, and Rory Culkin. His mother...
 
45.
Macaulay Culkin
Actor, Home Alone
Macaulay Carson Culkin, one of the most famous American child stars, was born on August 26, 1980 in New York City, New York, USA, as the third of seven children of his father Christopher Culkin (a former stage and child actor and also Macaulay's former manager) and mother Patricia Brentrup. He is the brother of Shane Culkin...
 
46.
Rory Culkin
Actor, Signs
Rory Culkin was born in New York City, New York. He is the youngest son of Christopher Culkin, a former stage and child actor, and Patricia Brentrup. He is the brother of Shane Culkin, Dakota Culkin, Macaulay Culkin, Kieran Culkin, Quinn Culkin, and Christian Culkin. His mother, who is from North Dakota...
 
47.
Madison Davenport
Actress, Noah
Madison Danielle Davenport was born in San Antonio, Texas. She started her career in 2005 when she had a small role in Conversations with Other Women. Soon after she appeared in the television series Numb3rs, Close to Home, CSI: NY, and Hot Properties. In 2006, Davenport's voice could be heard in Over the Hedge as Quillo...
 
48.
Leonardo DiCaprio
Actor, Inception
Since the 2000s, DiCaprio has received critical acclaim for his work in a wide range of film genres. His subsequent films include The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), the biographical crime drama Catch Me If You Can (2002) and the epic historical drama Gangs of New York (2002) which also marked his first of many collaborations with director Martin Scorsese...
 
50.
Micky Dolenz
Actor, Circus Boy
Micky Dolenz was born in Los Angeles on March 8, 1945. His dad, George, had starred in a number of films, and played the title character in the mid-1950s television series The Count of Monte Cristo. Micky first established himself as a performer at age ten when, under the stage name of 'Micky Braddock,' he starred in his first TV series...
 
51.
Patty Duke
Patty Duke was born Anna Marie Duke on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, New York, to Frances Margaret (McMahon), a cashier, and John Patrick Duke, a cab driver and handyman. She is of Irish, and one eighth German, descent. Her acting career began when she was introduced to her brother Ray Duke's managers...
 
52.
Kirsten Dunst
Actress, Spider-Man
Kirsten Caroline Dunst is an American actress, who also holds German citizenship. She was born on April 30, 1982 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, to parents Inez (née Rupprecht), who owned an art gallery, and Klaus Dunst, a medical services executive. She has a younger brother named Christian Dunst, born in 1987...
 
53.
 
54.
Dakota Fanning
Hannah Dakota Fanning was born on the 23rd of February 1994, in Conyers, Georgia, USA, to Heather Joy (Arrington) and Steven Fanning. Her mother played professional tennis, and her father, now an electronics salesman, played minor league baseball. She is of German, Irish, English, French, and Channel Islander descent...
 
55.
Elle Fanning
Actress, Maleficent
Mary Elle Fanning was born on the 9th of April 1998 in Conyers, Georgia, USA, to Heather Joy (Arrington) and Steven J. Fanning. Her mother played professional tennis, and her father, now an electronics salesman, played minor league baseball. She is of German, Irish, English, French, and Channel Islander descent...
 
56.
Corey Feldman
Corey Scott Feldman began his career at the age of three, starring in a Clio Award-winning McDonald's commercial and has sustained a 35-year career as a steadily working actor, with more than 80 films under his belt. Corey began his career in guest-starring roles on television series such as Mork & Mindy...
 
57.
Jodelle Ferland
Actress, Tideland
Jodelle Micah Ferland has built up an impressive resume filled with roles in film, television and, at the beginning of her career, commercials. Born on October 9, 1994, she got her start in an episode of CTV's Cold Squad, before landing the lead role in her first film, Mermaid at an early age...
 
58.
Sally Field
Actress, Forrest Gump
Sally Margaret Field was born in 1946 in Pasadena, California, to actress Margaret Field (née Morlan) and salesman Richard Dryden Field. Her parents divorced in 1950 and her mother then married stuntman Jock Mahoney, and they had a daughter, Princess O'Mahoney. She also has a brother, Richard Field. Sally attended Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, California...
 
60.
Colin Ford
Actor, Push
The "Supernatural" kid isn't so supernatural. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, he soon aspired to the career of acting at the age of 4, where he first got his modeling job in Atlanta, Georgia. He broke into feature films at the age of 5 where he played as Clinton Jr, in "Sweet Home Alabama". He made more films after that...
 
61.
Jodie Foster
Alicia Christian Foster was born in Los Angeles on November 19, 1962. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond) and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and later real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children with Lucius, but the exes had a brief re-encounter in 1962 which resulted in Alicia's birth...
 
62.
Pamela Franklin
British actress Pamela Franklin has worked with many notable actors and directors throughout her career. A somewhat underrated actress, she had a wide range of emotions that she brought to her many versatile characters. Franklin was born in Yokohama, Japan, and her father was an importer/exporter. She...
 
63.
Annette Funicello
Annette Joanne Funicello achieved teenage popularity starting in October, 1955 after she debuted as a Mouseketeer. Born on October 22, 1942 in Utica New York, the family had moved to California when she was still young. Walt Disney himself saw her performing the lead role in "Swan Lake" at her ballet...
 
64.
Isabelle Fuhrman
Actress, Orphan
Isabelle was born in Washington, DC but grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She has one older sister, Madeline, and her parents are Elina and Nick Fuhrman. Her career began when a casting director from Cartoon Network spotted her waiting for her sister and cast her for one of the shows, Cartoon Fridays. Isabelle's first acting gig came in 2006 when she booked a commercial for Rooms to Go furniture...
 
65.
Edward Furlong
Edward Walter Furlong was born in Glendale, California. His mother, Eleanor (Tafoya), is from a Mexican family, and worked at a youth center. Furlong had no acting ambitions until he was approached by casting agent Mali Finn, who was looking for a young actor to play the role of John Connor in what turned out to be one of the the biggest box-office hits of the 1990s...
 
66.
Judy Garland
One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals. She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in Minnesota...
 
68.
Peggy Ann Garner
Actress, Jane Eyre
Actress Peggy Ann Garner was was born Feb. 3, 1932, in Canton, Ohio. Her father was an English-born attorney, William H. Garner, who served as a U.S. Army officer during World War II. Virginia, her determined mother, got Peggy into summer stock and modeling before she was six. Estranged from her husband...
 
69.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Emmy Award-winning Sarah Michelle Gellar was born on April 14, 1977 in New York City, the daughter of Rosellen (Greenfield), who taught at a nursery school, and Arthur Gellar, who worked in the garment industry. Her maternal grandparents were Hungarian Jewish immigrants, and her father was also from a Jewish family...
 
71.
Jared Gilman
A resident of South Orange, New Jersey, Gilman has attended Newark Academy. He is on his school's cross-country running and fencing teams and he enjoys golf. Gilman had his Bar Mitzvah in 2012. When eleven or twelve years old, he got the co-starring role of Sam Shakusky in Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom'...
 
72.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Actor, Inception
Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt was born February 17, 1981 in Los Angeles, California, to Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt. Joseph was raised in a Jewish family with his late older brother, Dan Gordon-Levitt, who passed away in October 2010. His parents worked for the Pacifica Radio station KPFK-FM and his maternal grandfather...
 
74.
Kerri Green
Actress, The Goonies
Auburn haired Kerri Green was born in Fort Lee, New Jersey, USA on 14 January 1967. In 1984, Kerri decided to skip summer camp and attend some movie auditions in New York City instead. This led her to the attention of none other than Steven Spielberg, who cast her as Andy in Richard Donner's adventure movie The Goonies...
 
75.
Rupert Grint
Rupert Alexander Lloyd Grint was born in Harlow, Essex, England, the elder son of Joanne (Parsons) and Nigel Grint, who dealt in memorabilia. The first of 5 children, Rupert has one brother and 3 sisters. His brother James was born when Rupert was a year old, Georgina and Samantha were born in 1993 and 1996 respectively, and last, but not least, Charlotte, who was born in 1999...
 
76.
Lukas Haas
Actor, Inception
At the age of five Lukas Haas was discovered in his kindergarten class by casting director Marjorie Simkin. His first film role was that of the youngest of the doomed children in Testament. In 1985 he gained notice when he starred as Samuel, the little Amish boy who witnesses a murder in Witness...
 
77.
Corey Haim
Corey Haim was born in Toronto, Ontario, to Judy Haim, an Israeli-born data processor, and Bernie Haim, a Canadian-born clothing sales representative. He has a sister, Carol, and a half-brother, Daniel. His family is Jewish. Haim broke into the film industry in 1984, playing a young child caught up in a family war in the movie Firstborn...
 
78.
 
80.
Adam Hann-Byrd
Adam Hann-Byrd was born on February 23, 1982 in New York City, New York, USA. He is an actor and writer, best known for his work on Jumanji (1995), The Ice Storm (1997), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), and as the title character in Jodie Foster's directorial debut, Little Man Tate (1991).
 
81.
Alyson Hannigan
Alyson Hannigan was born in Washington, D.C., to Emilie (Posner), a real estate agent, and Al Hannigan, a truck driver. She began her acting career in Atlanta at the young age of 4 in commercials sponsoring such companies as McDonald's, Six Flags, and Oreos. She is a seasoned television actress veteran...
 
82.
 
84.
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on June 15, 1973. His parents, Sheila Gail (Scott) and Ronald Gene Harris, were lawyers and ran a restaurant. He grew up in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a small town 120 miles south of Albuquerque, where he first took up acting in the fourth grade. While tagging along with his older brother of 3 years...
 
86.
Kara Hayward
Kara Hayward was born to John and Karen Hayward on November 17, 1998 in Massachusetts. She is the older of two children. She acted in her first play during summer camp, discovering a passion for acting. Later she was discovered at an open call, landing her first movie role,in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom,.and...
 
87.
Kåre Hedebrant
Kare lives with his mother, father and sister in the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden. He attends Adolf Fredrik's School of Music, the oldest specialized elementary school in Sweden. In 2008 Kare starred in his first feature film "Let the Right One In". Before that he played the title role in a theatrical production of one of Astrid Lindgren's children's books...
 
88.
Carrie Henn
Actress, Aliens
 
89.
Justin Henry
Justin Henry had a dream start in the business, when he was chosen for a pivotal role in Kramer vs. Kramer at the age of seven, without any acting experience. He was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Kramer vs. Kramer, becoming one of the youngest actors ever nominated...
 
91.
Dana Hill
Dana Hill was born Dana Lynne Goetz on May 6, 1964, in a suburb of Los Angeles, to parents Sandy Hill and Ted Goetz, a commercial director. Despite diabetes ending a promising future in athletics when she was just ten years old, Dana gamely threw herself into acting when still in her early teen years...
 
93.
Darla Hood
Darla Hood was born in a small rural Oklahoma town on Sunday, November 8th, 1931, she grew up as dark-banged cute girl, Darla Hood began her association with the motley "Our Gang" group at the tender age of 2 1/2, as she stated on the The Jack Benny Program. Her father, James Claude Hood, Jr., a banker...
 
96.
Ron Howard
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation's most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 to the hit comedies Parenthood and Splash, he has created some of Hollywood's most memorable films. Howard directed and produced "Cinderella Man" starring Oscar winner Russell Crowe...
 
97.
Miko Hughes
Actor, Apollo 13
Miko started his acting career in a public service announcement when he was 22 months old and followed that up by appearing in his first feature film at 27 months old. Since that early start Miko has consistently been one of the busiest young actors in Hollywood. Miko is best known on film for his dramatic portrayal of an autistic boy opposite Bruce Willis in the blockbuster hit Mercury Rising...
 
100.