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  • Starstruck

    Superb list! kudos

    • Jet2010

      I agree Superb list.

      But I’m not sure how Dana Plato & others who actually losed their lifes aren’t mentioned. I understand they want to list just well known child actors.
      I mentioned this on another post & I’ll briefly mention it here. I worked mostly as a child actor during my teenage yrs. I didn’t have to be secluded with a private tudor, because of my lack of work as a child actor I was able to go to a public school and hang out with my friends. I also got work playing a teenager while in my 20’s and eventually stopped acting around 30 yrs old because of the lack of work I was getting.
      As an adult, I deplore children working as a child actor & MISSING out on being a CHILD! I would never allow one of my children after what I have seen, to become a child actor. Take my word for it, because I seen it first hand, People don’t realize how incredibly addicting acting is on TV and on the big screen, ESPECIALLY to a child actor who all of a sudden after being so successful is now out of work and some of them when they were very successful think in their own young mind they can do whatever they want-spoiled- because of the way people look up to them.

      But, when acting is taken away from a successful child actor because they aren’t getting work anymore & that’s some thing you only know, & you don’t know anything else & again ESPECIALLY when you were a very well known child actor, it’ll destroy you. In your still young mind, you feel you’re a has been, a nobody &nobody cares about you anymore. Unfortunately, this child actor was put in a postion at one time, where they were looked upon as a hero-somebody very special to their many fans & poof just like that it’s all gone & they are still young & unfortunately too many are also very lost!

      • Jet2010

        I’m sorry, I meant to say, I don’t agree in this being a superb list. Some exellent reasons are given below.

  • Tony

    Dont forget Leif Garrett.

    • big d

      i thought he was a musician, not an actor. but i may be wrong.

      • staci towery

        he was both, but i think he is still alive.

  • Bob Canter

    This list is okay, but you missed some real biggies, including Rusty Hamer, the poster child for all self-destructive child actors and who, by the way, should be #1 on this list. Haley Joel shouldn't even be on here — one driving under the influence? Give me a break. Here's what happened to Rusty Hamer, who played Danny Thomas's little boy on the TV show "Make Room for Daddy":

    "…and in 1964 Hamer, at age 17, found himself out of work for the first time. The talented kid had become an awkward teen and the offers dried up immediately. He left Hollywood and came back only once for "Make Room for Granddaddy" (1970) in 1971. The show was not a success and nothing else came his way. The aimless, embittered man left for good this time and his life quickly fell apart. Left with no job skills, he found obtaining work extremely difficult and found himself living a rather wanderlust lifestyle working on everything from oil rigs to cafes. He spiraled into deep depression, alcohol and poverty that led to an increasingly violent and delusional state. He shot himself to death in 1990 at the age of 42, chalking up another child star statistic who met a tragic, untimely end."

    You missed another biggie too — Carl Switzer, who played "Alfalfa" in the Little Rascals series in the 1940's. A bit on him:

    Although one of the most popular members of "Our Gang," Switzer's later life became an almost textbook example of the former child star whose life takes a turn for the worse. Numerous brushes with the law, a broken marriage, and grade-Z film work (when he could get it) all led up to his sudden, violent death in January 1959 at the age of only 31."

    There are others. Need to do a little more historical research and not concentrate so much on talentless pop sensations like the Olsen twins.

    • Genelise

      Bob, you should’ve written the article.

    • Violet

      Excellent commentary! I would love to see a list of yours. The stories of Carl Switzer and Ruster Hamer are MUCH more stirring and sad than — The Olsen Twins? They’re gajillionaires and they party too much. Not exactly what one would call self-destructive behavior. Dana Plato could have easily been on this list as well.

      • DIrty D

        By very definition of self destructive behavior partying too much definatley qualifies them for this list. Think out your responses carefully before you post it. Internet privelages for you two are hereby revoked. Now go!

        Haley Joel Osment really does not belong.

    • Gabbie

      I agree completely.

  • Thanks Bob, for the additional information. These lists are for entertainment purposes so give the author's a little slack. These posts are creative for fun so there is less subjectivity than you are likely to find elsewhere.

    I do agree the Olsen twins have no more talent that 85% of the rest of humanity. Right place, right time and an obsessive mother.

  • big one

    i agree with bob

  • Justin

    Of what I hear, Drew Barrymore is not sober. She has been in bars a lot here lately, sometimes very late drinking. Some people have clamed to have seen her using cocaine. Once in October 07 and once in July 08. There is also a photo of her passing a joint taken in 2/ 07.

  • Paige

    what happened to Lindsay Lohan? she should be on here too!

  • AJG


  • Robert Palmer

    Ed furlong should be higher on the list after the setting the lobsters free eposode.

  • Graham Eldridge

    I disagree with the Olsen twins. Anorexia is a mental disease. She does not mean to do it to herself. Oh and those were rumored drug problems. Rumors aren't always true. Mary Kate did not supply drugs to Heath Ledger. He could have been dating her but was not supplying drugs. Heath was suffering from pneumonia at the time and accidentally took an overdose of his medication prescribed by a doctor.

  • lissafaith

    Danny Bonaduce. Though he's one funny self-destructive mofo.

  • Claus

    Tatum O’Neal wasn't the youngest academy award winner. that was shirley temple at age 6.

    • rookgaroo

      Shirley Temple was presented with something called the "Juvenile Award". It wasn't an Academy Award

  • Dumbfounded

    Osment? Are you kidding me? How about any of the three kids from Diff'rent Strokes, especially the very *dead* Dano Plato and all the pathos that surrounds her descent into her own personal Hell? You definitely dropped the ball on this one!

  • rookgaroo

    This list was awful. Child stars were screwing up far earlier than the 80's. Look at Jay North (Dennis the Manace), Stanley Fafara (Whitey from Leave it to Beaver, who managed to straighten himself out a few years before he died), there are of dozens of more tragic stories of self destruction than many on your list, who are still making millions of dollars and working.

  • spunk

    Yes Lindsay Lohan should be on here.

    What about Screech from Save by the Bell? Now he's a real looser.

  • spap oop

    as others stated, haley joel osment? one dui? hell id rather have done the week in jail over 26 AA meetings myself.

    Alfalfa also came to my mind immedietly. altho it was funny in the simpsons ep. where moe was a little rascal and killed "the original" alflafa. someone even exclaimed: "O No youve killed the original alfalfa."

    poor kid actors like gary coleman paved the way for laws that let the olsen twins keep their fortune w/they became of age.

  • Mickey

    You should've mentioned Jonathan Brandis as well. Suicide by hanging – nasty stuff, man.

  • WildStuffToCareAbout

    Well Corey Haim is now Dead. 03/02/10 RIP. Oops…..a typo was made in his last name in this story.

  • TT

    I think 10-5 should be flipped to 5-1.

  • Kia

    Anissa Jones from "Family Affair" (show from the mid 60's to early 70's, was found dead at a friends house from a cocktail of drugs including cocaine and angel dust among others. She was a very depressed young lady after failure to move on after the show and serious family issues. She was only 18 when she died.

    • rookgaroo

      Anissa Jones is an excellent example. And the topic is great. Unfortunately, the maker of this list is far too young and uninformed to appreciate the subject matter.

  • B

    What many people don't remember is that Robert Downey Jr. was a child actor, albeit in very, very odd films (most notably Greaser's Palace). As for the self-destructive part, that goes without saying.

  • Kendra

    this article is obviously old. Like seriously, there are missing sooo much ppl like Linsey Lohan, kids from Different strokes, and anissa Jones. Rip Gary coleman.

    • Violet

      I think it’s more that the listmaker tried to keep it current instead of featuring historical child actors who have exhibited self-destructive behavior. Maybe they didn’t know about Anissa or Rusty or any of the older child actors who REALLY went through some drama. Partying and one DUI do not a destructive life make.

  • Montesquieu

    Tatum O’Neal may have chosen to turn to drugs, but I think it's important to know that she had been molested by her father's friend from an early age, and on top of the sexual abuse her father had tormented her emotionally.

    Similarly River Phoenix was molested in the cult his crazy parents had decided to partake in.

  • twisterio

    Bob Canter and rookgaroo are right. i couldn't agree with them more.. also Corey Haim should be moved up on the list now that he died.. and take Feldman off the list, he's sorted his life out. its not fair to judge that guy anymore… someone also mentioned Jonathon Brandis. i totally agree.- culkin, Hailey Joel and the Olsen twins must be removed from the list entirely. possibly Furlong too. they have no place on this list.. and Drew at # 2? honestly….

  • lamontem

    i not really surprise that child actor duing drugs because 90% of actor are on booze and drugs .

  • lamontem

    also actress too . that why my kids dont watch most program on tv

  • sportsgal

    How in the world was Dana Plato (Different Strokes) get left off the list? The woman robbed a convenience store, and later died of an overdose. Some people who knew her well say she was doing well and wouldn’t have killed herself. And to make the story even sadder, her son committed suicide on the 11th anniversary of her death.

  • mur308

    Don’t forget Aussie band TISM’s musical tribute to River Phoenix, (He’ll Never Be An) Old Man River.

  • brian

    I dont think Jodi Sweetin is actually clean now. I heard she was just saying that to get interviews to buy more drugs.

  • Me

    Where is bobby Driscoll in this list?? He was a child actor who died at the age of 31 after a heroine overdose. He was the voice of Peter pan….

  • Ana

    You forgot Lindsay Lohan!

  • Larry Sell

    How about Tommy Retig? When I was a kid, he was a hero. What a sad life.

  • Ben

    I can’t believe Lindsay Lohan isn’t even mentioned in this list.

    • This list may have been written before she imploded. This list was published Oct. 1, 2008.

  • big d

    where is Dana Plato and Danny Bonaduce? they should DEFINITELY be on this list.

  • Dee

    Trent Lehman, Butch from The Nanny and the Professor. Another suicide by hanging. At the age of 20. I agree list maker must have been too young to know about many of them.