ByOlivia van der Will, writer at

This nostalgic trip down memory lane features some truly memorable child actors who dipped their toes in the light of Hollywood and ran away while they could! Despite leaving the silver screen they are still making an impact on other people's lives. You may be surprised at the new chosen careers of these former child stars. Instead of staying in the realm of the acting world they have chosen to take different paths. These kind hearted people are now doing what they can for their communities and trying to make a positive impact on the world.

Can you guess what they do now?

5. Paul The Wonder Years a.k.a. Josh Saviano

This one is going pretty far back in time, but who could forget the former BFF of Kevin and his bizarre outfits. Remember Kevin's side-kick Paul Pfeiffer? The actor behind that sweet little Kid is Josh Saviano. Since starring on the hilariously uplifting Wonder Years he has dabbled a little with acting. But, his chosen career path has taken a totally different turn.

After leaving the Wonder Years behind he decided that University was the place for him. This hard working former actor studied and got himself a major in Political Science. He then got picked up as a paralegal at New York Law Firm followed by an Internet film. I cannot believe that Paul the lovable child actor, now has his hands placed firmly on the legal world. He has taken on being a Senior Counsellor. Paul lends his knowledge to clients, guiding them through complex times and even works with celebrity corporate brands. Nice going Josh!

4. Chunk The Goonies a.k.a. Jeff Cohan

Awe Chunk the lovable chronic liar from The Goonies. Thankfully the actor behind the character did not take a leaf out of his script and has grown up to be a fantastic lawyer! Despite quitting acting in the '90s he is still managing to live like an A-lister, but swapped his scripts for papers and headed to Berkley to do an undergraduate degree and then followed it up by taking on Law School at UCLA. He has taken a little twinkle of the Hollywood stars into his career by working as a professional Entertainment lawyer.

"Being an entertainment attorney is really a fantastic job. You don’t have to audition, and you still get invited to the parties."

He may not be part of the industry as an actor anymore, but he is doing what he can for the industry. I must admit, it would be pretty hard to concentrate heading into a boardroom and recognizing this guy as his former character! Could you hold a straight face?

Jeff also helps with the rewarding non-profit organization called GameDesk, stating:

"I recently joined the board of advisors of GameDesk, a not for profit which develops and utilizes gaming technology to improve education."

3. Colin Secret Garden a.k.a. Heydon Prowse

Wow, even researching this former child star brought back so many memories of watching this film when I was little and being mesmerized by the beautiful garden. This film really had me going through every emotion! Heydon dabbled with some acting after starring in this film but what he is doing now may just really surprise you.

Heydon has managed to keep a foot in the media world by becoming the head of production for Don't Panic, an online entertainment and newsy magazine. But, the other side of his career is entirely different than what you may be thinking. To start his new beginning, he changed his name to Michael Green taking on environmental activism and politics. Yes, really that angel faced former actor is now an activist! He even made a controversial film called All White People Are Warmongers to make a stand against the police campaign to crack down on terrorists. Amazingly he even stood for election in the UK. Take a look at his bizarre campaign video here!

2. Peter Shepherd from Jumanji a.k.a. Bradley Pierce

Remember this cute little boy from Jumanji? He may have left the limelight, but he is still working hard. This very much grown up former child star works as a youth ambassador alongside the ace ''Kids with a Cause'' organization who "enrich the lives of less fortunate kids and teens." Helping children to believe in themselves by showing them how they can make a difference in the lives of one another through interactive programs.

His work does not stop here either; Bradley's kind hearted work stretches to The Red Cross and also Los Angeles Children's Hospital. There is no stopping this guy and his pledge to help others. He even finds time to work with the YMCA. Here he raises smiles and helps the youth find hope through his counseling work. The youth who are part of the center even have Bradley as their outdoor skills instructor too.

1. Matilda a.k.a. Mara Wilson

Matilda may have thrown Mara into the spotlight, but it was something she happily wavered from. I loved Matilda growing up and liked how inspiring and kind the little girl was. Mara Wilson is the actress behind Matilda, who, despite being a really successful and endearing young actress, decided to leave acting in 2000.

"Here is something no real celebrity will ever tell you: film acting is not very fun. Doing the same thing over and over again until, in the director’s eyes, you “get it right,” does not allow for very much creative freedom. The best times I had on film sets were the times the director let me express myself, but those were rare."

But, fear not Mara has not done a vanishing act. Just like her character, she has gone on to make her impact on the world in a super heart warming way. If she is not telling stories over podcasts, doing voice-overs or writing on her blog, you can find her working for Publicolor.

You are probably wondering what Publicolor may be. They are a fantastic non-profit organization who help at-risk youth find something to focus on again through painting.

"We teach at-risk students how to think critically about their future and prepare for college and career, Publicolor is able to steer high-risk students from struggling to successful
Through learning commercial painting and working as a team, students develop critical thinking, resilience, confidence,and productive work habits."

There are so many child stars out there who hit a bumpy road during their acting careers, like Lindsay Lohan, Macaulay Culkin, Britney Spears, and so many more. But, honestly, who can blame them when your entire life is under a magnifying glass; it must be hard not to crack somewhere along the way. It is fantastic, however, to see that these former child stars were not totally jaded by Hollywood and despite leaving the acting world they have stayed on the right track.

(Sources:,,, MaraWilsonWritesStuff, KidsWithACause,


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