Teen Spirit - Best Teen Actors

Not exactly child actors, not yet adults. Most were already teens when they broke through (some got a head start). All awesome. All-time. Alphabetically.
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1.
Amber Benson
Amber Benson was born on January 8, 1977 in Birmingham, Alabama. As a young girl, she studied singing, dancing as well as acting. While still in her teens, she was involved in productions at the local community theatre. Her family moved to Los Angeles soon afterwards in 1992 so she could pursue a career in acting...
 
2.
Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly was born in the Catskill Mountains, New York, to Ilene (Schuman), a dealer of antiques, and Gerard Connelly, a clothing manufacturer. Her father had Irish and Norwegian ancestry, and her mother was from a Jewish immigrant family. Jennifer grew up in Brooklyn Heights, just across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan...
 
3.
John Cusack
John Cusack is, like most of his characters, an unconventional hero. Wary of fame and repelled by formulaic Hollywood fare, he has built a successful career playing underdogs and odd men out--all the while avoiding the media spotlight. John was born in Evanston, Illinois, to an Irish-American family...
 
4.
Elisha Cuthbert
Actress, 24
Elisha Ann Cuthbert (born November 30, 1982) is a Canadian actress and model. She became internationally known for playing Kim Bauer in the series 24; Danielle in the teen comedy film The Girl Next Door and Carly Jones in the 2005 in of House of Wax. She was voted the sexiest actress in the world in 2015 by the magazine Glam'Mag...
 
5.
Claire Danes
New Yorker Claire Catherine Danes was born in Manhattan, the daughter of Carla (Hall), a day-care provider and artist, and Christopher Danes, a computer consultant and photographer. She has an older brother, Asa. Her paternal grandfather, Gibson Andrew Danes, was a Dean of the Yale School of Art and Architecture. She is of mostly German and British Isles descent...
 
6.
Matt Dillon
Matt Dillon's successful film career has spanned over three decades and has showcased his wide range of dramatic and comedic talents. Dillon displayed his versatility with an arresting performance co-starring as a racist cop in the critically acclaimed Paul Haggis film Crash. This role earned him nominations for an Academy award...
 
7.
Shannen Doherty
Actress, Charmed
Shannen Doherty was born in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, on April 12, 1971, to Rosa (Wright) and John Doherty. Her father worked in a bank, while her mother owned a beauty parlor. She has an older brother, Sean. Her ancestry includes Irish, English, Scottish, and remote French. In 1978, at the tender age of seven...
 
8.
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...
 
9.
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox was born Michael Andrew Fox on June 9, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Phyllis Fox (née Piper), a payroll clerk, and William Fox. His parents moved their ten-year-old son, his three sisters, Kelli Fox, Karen, and Jacki, and his brother, Steven, to Vancouver, British Columbia...
 
10.
Patrick Fugit
Actor, Gone Girl
Patrick Fugit was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Jan Clark-Fugit, a dance teacher, and Bruce Fugit, an electrical engineer. He has two siblings. He began acting in a summer Theater program through the University of Utah at eleven. He continued on through high school and regional productions. He enjoys biking and skating...
 
11.
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. She is of half Russian Jewish and half Hungarian Jewish descent. Eating in a local restaurant...
 
12.
Jami Gertz
Actress, Twister
 
13.
Seth Green
Seth Green has starred in numerous films and television series including the Austin Powers trilogy, The Italian Job, Party Monster, Without a Paddle, Can't Hardly Wait, Old Dogs and dozens more, including starring roles in 2013's Sexy Evil Genius, The Story of Luke and 2014's Yellowbird. He's portraying Christopher Guest in Netflix's upcoming National Lampoon origin film...
 
14.
Devon Gummersall
Director, Nashville
An actor since the age of 14, Devon Gummersall is best known for his work on My So-Called Life Devon grew up in a creative household that supported his interest in acting. Born in Durango, Colorado, he spent part of his developing years in Northern California before settling in the Los Angeles area. The son of visual artist C...
 
15.
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...
 
16.
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...
 
17.
Melissa Joan Hart
Melissa grew up in Sayville, New York. Her acting career started at the age of four, when she did a commercial for a bathtub toy called Splashy. Her mother, Paula Hart, has been her agent from the beginning. Melissa is the oldest of eight children, some from her mother's second marriage. Six sisters...
 
18.
Barbara Hershey
Actress, Black Swan
Barbara Hershey was born Barbara Lynn Herzstein in Hollywood, California, to Melrose (Moore) and Arnold Nathan Herzstein, a horse racing columnist. Her father, born in Manhattan, was from a Jewish family (from Hungary and Russia), and her mother, originally from Arkansas, had English and Scots-Irish ancestry...
 
20.
Emile Hirsch
Emile Davenport Hirsch was born in Palms, California, to Margaret Esther (Davenport), a teacher and visual artist, and David M. Hirsch, an entrepreneur and producer. He grew up in Los Angeles and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and having been introduced to acting while still at school, he got his first acting job on TV at the age of 11 in an episode of Kindred: The Embraced...
 
21.
Kate Hudson
Almost everyone who has spent time with Kate Hudson -including directors, family members, co-stars and interviewers - is quick to comment on her ability to light up a room. Through some combination of a winning smile, solid work ethic, and good old-fashioned talent, the young actress has gone from indie beginner to Vanity Fair cover girl in just three years...
 
22.
Joshua Jackson
Actor, The Affair
Joshua Carter Jackson was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. His Irish mother, Fiona Jackson, is a casting director originally from Dublin. His American father, John Carter Jackson, is from Texas. Josh spent the first eight years of his life in California before returning to Canada. At the age of 11...
 
23.
Glynis Johns
Actress, Mary Poppins
Husky voiced Glynis is the daughter of actor Mervyn Johns. Best known for her light comedy roles and often playful flirtation, Glynis was born in South Africa while her parents were on tour there (her mother was a concert pianist) but was always proud of her Welsh roots and took delight in playing the female lead (opposite Richard Burton) in the classic Under Milk Wood...
 
24.
Nick Krause
Born in Austin and raised in Georgetown, Texas, Krause was a smart and athletic kid. He went to college at age 10 and, after that, decided to attend the charter school, NYOS, in order to grow around people his own age. He graduated early from Georgetown High School to begin shooting The Descendants out in Hawaii...
 
26.
A.J. Langer
A.J. Langer was born in Columbus, Ohio. At age 5, her family moved to the San Fernando Valley, just outside of Los Angeles. She first began using her initials to join an all-boys baseball team, and the nickname stuck. She was introduced to Ernie Lively, who became her acting coach. After roles on television shows...
 
27.
Jennifer Lawrence
The highest-paid actress in the world, with her films grossing over $5.5 billion worldwide, Jennifer Lawrence is often cited as the most successful actor of her generation. She is thus far the only person born in the 1990s to have won an acting Oscar. Jennifer Shrader Lawrence was born August 15, 1990 in Louisville...
 
28.
Heath Ledger
When hunky, twenty-year-old heart-throb Heath Ledger first came to the attention of the public in 1999, it was all too easy to tag him as a "pretty boy" and an actor of little depth. He spent several years trying desperately to sway this image, but this was a double-edged sword. His work comprised nineteen films...
 
30.
Jason London
Jason London and his twin brother, Jeremy London, were born in San Diego, California, and were raised in Oklahoma and DeSoto, Texas. Jeremy was the first of the two to start auditioning, but it was Jason who nabbed the first role, in the movie The Man in the Moon. Jason also got a role in the dramatic series...
 
31.
Jeremy London
Actor, Mallrats
Jeremy London and his twin brother Jason London were born in San Diego, California, but were raised in small towns in both Texas and Oklahoma. Jeremy began acting on stage at the age of seventeen, where he impressively portrayed the leading role in The Music Man and fell in love with performing....
 
32.
Tobey Maguire
Actor, Spider-Man
Tobias Vincent Maguire was born in Santa Monica, California. His parents were 18 and 20, and not yet married, when he was born. His mother, Wendy (Brown), did advertising, publicity, and acting in Hollywood for years as she coached and managed Tobey. His father, Vincent Maguire, was a cook and sometimes a construction worker...
 
34.
Chris Marquette
Christopher Marquette was born in Stuart, Florida, on October 3, 1984. He began modeling at the age of four in Dallas, Texas. He landed his screen acting debut at the age of eight, starring as the son of Mira Sorvino in Sweet Nothing. He played a lead in The Tic Code with the legendary Gregory Hines and on Broadway as Tiny Tim...
 
35.
Samantha Mathis
Samantha Mathis was born in 1970 in New York, to Donald Mathis and Austrian-born Bibi Besch, an aspiring actress at the time. Her maternal grandmother was actress Gusti Huber. Her first acting job was in a commercial for baby products with her mother. Since her parents divorced when she was only three years old...
 
36.
Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy was born Brittany Anne Bertolotti on November 10, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia, to Sharon Kathleen Murphy and Angelo Joseph Bertolotti. Her father's ancestry is Italian, and her mother is of Irish and Slovak descent. Her father moved the family back to Edison, New Jersey as a native New Yorker and to be closer to other siblings from previous marriages...
 
37.
 
38.
Larisa Oleynik
Larisa Oleynik was born in Santa Clara County, California, to Lorraine (Allen), a nurse, and Roman Oleynik, an anesthesiologist. Her father is of Ukrainian and Rusyn descent. Larisa's big break came when she was eight. She had gotten the part of young Cosette in a production of "Les Misérables". Her costar was Rider Strong...
 
39.
Ryan Phillippe
Ryan Phillippe was born on September 10, 1974 in New Castle, Delaware, to Susan (Thomas), a nurse, and Richard Phillippe, a chemical technician. He has three sisters, Kirsten, Lindsay, and Katelyn, and attended New Castle Baptist Academy. Ryan's acting career began with the soap opera One Life to Live...
 
40.
Joaquin Phoenix
Actor, Gladiator
Joaquin Rafael Phoenix was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Arlyn (Dunetz) and John Bottom, and is the middle child in a brood of five. His parents, from the continental United States, were then serving as Children of God missionaries. His mother is from a Jewish family in New York, while his father...
 
41.
Martha Plimpton
Actress, Raising Hope
She has show biz in her blood. Martha Plimpton was born November 16, 1970, in New York City to two actors: Keith Carradine and Shelley Plimpton. Martha began her career at age 8, when her mom had a friend of hers, composer Elizabeth Swados, enroll her in an actors' workshop. At age 10, she got a small part in Rollover, and also made a series of Calvin Klein commercials...
 
42.
Molly Ringwald
Molly Ringwald was born in Roseville, California, to Adele Edith (Frembd), a chef, and Robert Ringwald, a blind jazz pianist. Her ancestry includes German, English, and Swedish. She released an album at the age of 6 entitled, "I Wanna Be Loved By You, Molly Sings". She is the youngest daughter of Bob Ringwald...
 
43.
Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder was born Winona Laura Horowitz in Olmsted County, Minnesota, and was named after a nearby town, Winona, Minnesota. She is the daughter of Cynthia (Istas), an author and video producer, and Michael Horowitz, a publisher and bookseller. Her father's family is Russian Jewish and Romanian Jewish...
 
44.
Meredith Salenger
Meredith Salenger was born and raised in Malibu, California, the daughter of Dottie, an interior designer, and Gary Salenger, a dentist. As a child, she enjoyed performing in front of her family and friends. When she was eight years old, her mother took her to an acting class and Meredith found her calling...
 
46.
Alicia Silverstone
Actress, Clueless
Alicia Silverstone was born on October 4, 1976 in San Francisco, California, the youngest of three children. She is the daughter of Didi (Radford), a former flight attendant, and Monty Silverstone, a real-estate investor. Her English-born father is from a Jewish family, while her Scottish-born mother converted to Judaism...
 
47.
Jean Simmons
Actress, Spartacus
Demure British beauty Jean Simmons was born January 31, 1929 in Crouch End, London. As a 14-year-old dance student, she was plucked from her school to play Margaret Lockwood's precocious sister in Give Us the Moon, and she went on to make a name for herself in such major British productions as Caesar and Cleopatra...
 
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49.
Christian Slater
Christian Michael Leonard Slater was born on August 18, 1969 in New York City, to Michael Hawkins, a well-known soap actor, and Mary Jo Slater (née Lawton), a casting agent. Christian started in show business early, appearing on the soap opera The Edge of Night in 1976 at the age of 7. He went on to star in many Broadway shows in the early-1980s...
 
50.
Julia Stiles
Julia O'Hara Stiles was born on March 28, 1981 in New York City, the outgoing daughter of a Greenwich Village artist mother, Judith Newcomb Stiles, and an elementary school teacher father, John O'Hara. She is the eldest of three children, and has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Encouraged to take modern dance lessons at an early age...
 
51.
Emma Stone
Actress, The Help
Emily Jean "Emma" Stone was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, to Krista (Yeager), a homemaker, and Jeffrey Charles Stone, a contracting company founder and CEO. She is of Swedish (from her paternal grandfather), English, German, Scottish, and Irish descent. Stone began acting as a child as a member of the Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix...
 
52.
Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland was born in London, England, UK, to Canadian actors Shirley Douglas and Donald Sutherland, who moved to California shortly after his birth. His maternal grandfather, Tommy Douglas, was a Scottish-born Canadian politician who was a Premier of Saskatchewan for over 17 years and led the national NDP party for almost 10...
 
53.
Amber Tamblyn
Actress, 127 Hours
Amber Rose Tamblyn was born May 14, 1983 in Santa Monica, California. Amber caught an agent's eye at the age of ten after a performance in "Pippi Longstocking". She has appeared in Live Nude Girls and Johnny Mysto: Boy Wizard. In addition, her most popular role has been the role of "Emily Bowen-Quartermaine" of the popular soap General Hospital...
 
55.
Liv Tyler
Liv Tyler was born in New York City, New York. She is the daughter of Steven Tyler of the band Aerosmith, and Bebe Buell, former model (and Playboy Playmate of the Month) and stalwart of the backstage rock scene of the 1970s. Liv grew up thinking that rock star Todd Rundgren was her father...
 
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57.
Emily Warfield
Throughout her early childhood, Emily Warfield moved from city to city (and sometimes country to country) every year. It was during this time that she began to rely on her imagination for companionship. She read constantly and acted out the scenes in her head. Emily had wanted to act since she was five years old but was never allowed to pursue it until her family finally settled in Arlington...
 
58.
Kate Winslet
Actress, Titanic
Ask Kate Winslet what she likes about any of her characters, and the word "ballsy" is bound to pop up at least once. The British actress has made a point of eschewing straightforward pretty-girl parts in favor of more devilish damsels; as a result, she's built an eclectic resume that runs the gamut from Shakespearean tragedy to modern-day mysticism and erotica...
 
59.
Reese Witherspoon
Actress, Walk the Line
Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon was born on March 22, 1976 at Southern Baptist Hospital (now Memorial Medical Center) in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the second child of Mary Elizabeth "Betty" (Reese) and Dr. John Draper Witherspoon, Sr. Her father was a military surgeon specializing in ear, nose and throat...