April 21, 2007: Child Stars. Whatever Happened To...?
This morning I went on an Internet hunt ISO Michael Schoeffling, Eve Plumb, and Kristy McNichol. Do you know who they are?
Answer: Jake Ryan, Jan Brady, and the girl from "Family" and "Little Darlings," a teen movie that only Matt Dillon survived with career intact.
I can't say why I woke up nostalgic, wanting to revisit some of those actors who I related to when I was a teenager. But there I was, drinking coffee and remembering how much I:
- Liked Jake Ryan's characters in Sixteen Candles and Mermaids; he was the ideal teenage guy of my teenage era. No one else came close. It was James Dean, then teen idols like Keith Partridge, then him.
- Loved all the older kids in The Brady Bunch, but Eve is the only one who never shows her face now so I am most curious about her. I also liked her in the Dawn, Portrait of a Teenage Runaway movies with Leigh McCloskey. I used to imagine running away with both of them and living on the streets of Venice Beach as they did, with a bunch (pun intended) of other misunderstood teens.
- Related to Kristy, the daughter on Family, my 70's favorite show for a couple of formative years. I used to watch their so-called dramas and think this is nothing compared to real life, but still it was the only show that attempted to show a darker side of family life. I could tell that Kristy, who is about my age, agreed with me, and that drew me into the weekly story. Plus, big surprise, she played a tomboy named "Buddy" who might as well have worn rainbow beads and played the Indigo Girls. The first really obvious teenage gay character on TV? Maybe.
I spent fifteen minutes finding three former actors, who had a white hot fifteen minutes of fame at least two decades ago, via this site. It updates you on their lives since their entertainment heyday. I am curious the child stars who made an impression on me when I was a teen, and where life has taken them. Were they done when they left, ready to move on? Or, did the offers dry up, and if so, were they bitter about that?
Unlike the child stars who OD (Dana Plato), move to Lifetime movies and industry slots at SAG (Melissa Gilbert), or simply refuse to leave until the last, exhausted-15- minutes -of-fame-breath is sucked out in his presence (Danny Bonaduce), these three keep a mighty low profile.
Want to know what happened to them? Here's the update on Michael, Eve, and Kristy.
Which child stars are you curious about, and why?