As both a child and animal lover, the 1996 film Shiloh totally captured my heart. The story of the kind hunting dog, Shiloh, and his rescuer, Marty, totally tugged at my heartstrings, not to mention that it sparked off my lifelong desire to one day own a beagle (which took over from my previous preferred breed of Saint Bernard – thanks Beethoven!).
The film was first released a massive two decades ago at the Heartland Film Festival, and was so popular it spawned two sequels, one in 1999 and another in 2006. At the time of release the human star of the film, Blake Heron, was just a cute 14-year-old, but now Blake is all grown up, and you won't believe what he looks like now:
These days 34-year-old Heron is still acting, though sadly isn't still rocking those long blonde locks.
Following Shiloh, Heron went on to appear in the TV series Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher and Good vs Evil and as well as the lead in the 2000 film Wind River.
Following his high school graduation, Heron chased more adult roles, appearing in the 2002 Mel Gibson film We Were Soldiers, and the 2003 film 11:14 alongside Colin Hanks, Patrick Swayze and Hilary Swank.
Between 2005 and 2012 Heron took a break from acting, though in recent years you may have caught sight of him in guest roles on TV series such as Justified, NCIS: New Orleans and also a 2015 episode of Criminal Minds. On his Instagram he shared his happiness at having persevered with his acting career, posting a photo with the caption "The face of a man who’s EXTREMELY happy he didn’t give up on a lifelong dream even though he thought about it many times in the past few years.”
But despite it being 20 years since Shiloh was first released, Heron obviously still has a soft spot for his first leading role, having shared a number of throwback snaps to his Instagram account, for which we are totally thankful!
Was Shiloh one of your favorite childhood films?