12 Former Child Actors Who Should’ve Quit While They Were Ahead
Kirsten Dunst, who’s been a working actor in Hollywood ever since she was six years old, celebrated her birthday this past week. You maybe didn’t realize this, but Kirsten began her career as a child star, taking a role in a Woody Allen short film anthology called Oedipus Wrecks, another as Tom Hanks’ daughter in Bonfire of the Vanities, and an appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation, all while she was under ten years of age.
Her real breakthrough came when she was twelve, however, in the movie Interview with a Vampire. The movie itself wasn’t especially popular with the critics, but everyone was blown away by Kirsten’s portrayal of the vampire, Claudia, particularly with her ability to convey great age and maturity as a young girl. She received a Golden Globe nomination for her acting… and from that moment on, we all decided she was a really great actor.
And we never really reevaluated that decision! Even through the crappy movies she’s made since, the very public meltdown that she experienced in early adulthood and the inane things she insists on saying to this day, we’re like, ‘Sure! Kirsten Dunst is great!’ Even though with every year that passes, she’s getting further and further away from her greatest critical success. She’s spoken about not really enjoying acting all that much, but it’s like she doesn’t know how to quit.
Which got me to thinking about other child actors who had their first and greatest success early… and there are kind of a lot of them! People who knocked it out of the park on the first try and probably should’ve left it at that, while they were ahead. But instead, they keep coming up to bat until finally we’re just waving them on base so we don’t have to watch them wiff it anymore.