The Most Famous ’90s Child Actors And Where They Are Now
The ’90s were full of family sitcoms and mind-bending thrillers that starred some impressively talented kiddos. Now those young stars are full-fledged adults with careers both in and out of Hollywood. From neuroscience to painting, these celebrities didn’t stop short at acting. Read on to see what your favorite ’90s kids are up to now.
Haley Joel Osment Starred In The Sixth Sense
Haley Joel Osment made his first silver screen appearance at just five years old when he played the title character’s son in Forrest Gump. He went on to act in various series, including Murphy Brown, Touched by an Angel, and The Pretender.
Osment became a ’90s star when he snagged the lead role in The Sixth Sense. The role earned him a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor. He also became the second-youngest person to receive an Academy Award nomination for a supporting role.
Haley Joel Osment Is Still Performing In Film And TV
After The Sixth Sense, Osment went on to star and voice characters in major films throughout the early 2000s. These included A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Country Bears, The Jungle Book 2, and Secondhand Lions.
Despite starring in numerous films over the years, Osment still elected to get a degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. More recent productions that Osment has been in includes Tusk, Yoga Hosers, Silicon Valley, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, and The Boys.
Tatyana Ali Was Ashley On The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
Tatyana Ali was just six years old when she made her television debut as a regular on Sesame Street. She also appeared on the popular talent show Star Search. At the age of 11, Ali got her big break when she landed the role of Ashely Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Ashley essentially grew up on the set, remaining one of the show’s leads throughout its six-season run. The actress took advantage of her launch into stardom by releasing her debut album shortly after the series finale. The 1998 album was certified gold and featured the hit “Daydreamin’.”
Tatyana Ali Went On To Star In Love That Girl!
Though Tatyana Ali’s first album was a success, she waited another 16 years before releasing new music, putting out an EP titled Hello in 2014. She was more active when it came to her acting career, which included roles in the films The Brothers, Glory Road, and Nora’s Hair Salon.
In 2010, Ali landed the lead role in the series Love That Girl!, for which she received three NAACP Image Award nominations over her three seasons on the show. Simultaneously, Ali landed a recurring role on The Young and the Restless, which garnered her two NAACP Image Award wins.
Mayim Bialik Was The Title Character In Blossom
Mayim Bialik rose to prominence in the late ’80s when she received rave reviews for her portrayal of Bette Midler’s character’s younger self in Beaches. After her impressive performance, Bialik got starring roles in two series simultaneously, Molloy and Blossom.
When Molloy was canceled, Blossom filled in the time slot and took off. The show lasted for 4 seasons and made Bialik a bonafide ’90s star. She rounded out the decade by voicing characters on some prominent cartoon shows. These included Kim Possible, Recess, Johnny Bravo, and Hey Arnold!
Mayim Bialik’s Neuroscience Degree Helped Her With This Role
Amid her flourishing acting career, Mayim Bialik landed a deferred acceptance into the University of California, Los Angeles. Though she got in due to her acting achievements, she blew everyone’s mind by instead getting a Ph.D. in neuroscience!
As fate would have it, The Big Bang Theory premiered the same year that Bialik got her degree. In Season 3, they added her to the cast as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, a neurobiologist, and brainy Sheldon’s love interest. Bialik also started her own production company, Sad Clown Productions, which enabled her to produce and star in Call Me Kat.
Jaleel White Was A Star On Family Matters
It’s hard to believe that the Family Matters character Steve Urkel was only intended to appear on the show once. Audiences loved Jaleel White’s portrayal of the nerdy teen so much that he became one of the characters the show is most known by!
White ended up playing Steve Urkel for all nine seasons that the series aired! The role got him three NAACP Image Awards and a Young Artist Award for Outstanding Young Comedian in a Television Series. White also became hugely famous, though he later clarified that he was much more of a jock in real life than he was a nerd.
Jaleel White Still Appears On Television
After becoming well-known as Steve Urkel, it was challenging for Jaleel White to break his association with the show. That didn’t stop him from continuing to build his career as an actor, though. Since the ’90s, White has appeared in numerous shows and movies.
He had a supporting role in the films Dreamgirls and The 15:17 to Paris. He’s also appeared in the shows House, NCIS, Hawaii Five-0, Bones, and Fresh Off the Boat. White has also voiced characters in Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, DuckTales, and Teen Titans Go.
Ariana Richards Was A Lead In Jurassic Park
While Ariana Richards made it big for her role as Lex Murphy in Jurassic Park, she actually had numerous appearances in both film and television before the major blockbuster. Richards started her professional acting career in the late ’80s, landing roles in The Golden Girls, Spaced Invaders, Switched at Birth, and others.
By the time Richards performed in Jurassic Park, she’d already been in eleven films and four shows. However, her role as Lex Murphy is to this day the one she’s most known for. It also garnered the young actress five awards!
Ariana Richards Is Now A Professional Painter
After becoming a ’90s star, Ariana Richards attained a degree in Fine Art and Drama from Skidmore College. She stepped away from acting to delve deeper into the world of painting, attending the Art Center College of Design to further her education.
Richards was only in two productions in the 2000s: the 2001 film Tremors 3: Back to Perfection and the 2013 movie Battledogs. She became known for her impressionist paintings of landscapes and portraits. The artist even won the Art of the West’s Award of Excellence and placed first at The National Professional Oil Painting Competition.
Macaulay Culkin Was The Star Of Home Alone
Macauley Culkin first appears on the big screen in the late ’80s, acting in films such as See You in the Morning and Uncle Buck. 1990 was when Culkin became a bonafide superstar thanks to his stellar performance as the lead in Home Alone.
The role garnered Culkin a Golden Globe nomination and he won the American Comedy Award and the Young Artist Award. The following year, the young actor starred in My Girl before reprising his role in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He had a string of 15 films before retiring from acting in 1994 to attend a private high school.
Macaulay Culkin Is A Musician And Podcaster
Though Macaulay Culkin retired from acting at the young age of 14, he took to the stage in 2000 to perform in West End’s Madame Melville. He also appeared in the show Will & Grace, voiced a character in Robot Chicken, and was in the films Saved! and Party Monster.
In 2013, Culkin combined his acting and musical skills to co-found the comedy rock band The Pizza Underground, which split three years later. Culkin is now the publisher and CEO of Bunny Ears, a satirical pop culture website and podcast. In 2021 he welcomed his first child with his girlfriend, Brenda Song
Jonathan Lipnicki Starred In Jerry Maguire And Stuart Little
Audiences first fell for Jonathan Lipnicki when he played the adorable son of Renée Zellweger’s character in Jerry Maguire. The young actor also appeared in the hit ’90s show Dawson’s Creek. Lipnicki had his big break when he landed the lead role in Stuart Little.
The film made him an official star, and the young actor went on to do many more movies in the early 2000s. He reprised his role in Stuart Little 2 and also acted in the films The Little Vampire and Like Mike.
Jonathan Lipnicki Is An Independent Film Actor
After winning awards for his roles in Jerry Maguire, Stuart Little, and The Little Vampire, Jonathan Lipnicki transitioned from big-budget films and honed in on independent productions. While it may seem that the actor fell off the map, he’s actually been quite active since the ’90s.
Some of his more recent films include For the Love of Money, Bering Sea Beast, Circus Kane, and Andover. Lipnicki has also been in several short films and played himself in numerous series such as Drop the Mic, Celebs Go Dating, and Worst Cooks In America.
Danica McKellar Was Winnie On The Wonder Years
Danica McKellar was just seven years old when she started studying acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute. The classes paid off because she made her big break as a young teen when she got the part of Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years.
McKellar was the main love interest in the show, being paired with Fred Savage’s character, Kevin Arnold. As adorable as they were together on-screen, McKellar confirmed in an interview that they were more like brother and sister in real life. Either way, audiences loved watching them grow up through their six seasons on the show.
Danica McKellar Is Now A Mathematics Writer
Five years after wrapping up The Wonder Years, Danica McKellar graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics! She went on to collaborate with others on scientific research papers and to author multiple math books aimed at teens.
Her first math book was a New York Times bestseller and was praised for shedding a positive light on math. McKellar has also continued her acting pursuits, appearing in television series and starring in multiple Hallmark Channel movies. She voiced Jubilee and Invisible Woman in various video games and Miss Martian in the series Young Justice.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas Of Home Improvement
Jonathan Taylor Thomas was cast in Home Improvement when he was 10 years old, in 1991.
A few years later, his career picked up even more steam when he voiced Simba in the 1994 Disney animated film The Lion King, which became the second-highest grossing film of all time.
Today Jonathan Taylor Thomas Is A Scholar
His career quickly skyrocketed in his childhood years and into his early teens, through 2006. That’s when Jonathan Taylor Thomas tried his hand at directing. He earned his first directing title in the short film The Extra, and again when he appeared on his former TV dad’s sitcom, Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing.
Outside of the entertainment industry, Thomas has an impressive education. He graduated from Columbia University and attended Harvard.
Mara Wilson Was The Title Character In Matilda
After appearing in commercials, Mara Wilson had her big break when she got the part of Robin Williams’ youngest daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire. She was then cast in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street and scored a recurring role on Melrose Place.
After winning the ShoWest Award for Young Star of the Year, Wilson was offered the title role in Matilda. Her performance garnered her the YoungStar Award, and a year later, she starred alongside Martin Short in the film A Simple Wish.
Mara Wilson Became A Writer And Voice Actor
After quickly rising to fame, Mara Wilson studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy and got her degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She stepped away from acting to focus on writing, creating the play Sheeple for the New York International Fringe Festival.
While away from acting, Wilson became part of numerous web series and podcasts. In 2016, she entered the realm of voice acting, landing a recurring role on the shows BoJack Horseman and Big Hero 6: The Series.
Madeline Zima Was Grace In The Nanny
Madeline Zima was just two years old when she booked her first job, a television commercial for Downy fabric softener. She later played Emma Bartel in the 1992 thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, which garnered her a Young Artist Award nomination.
The following year, Zima snagged the role of Grace Sheffield in The Nanny, which she would go on to play throughout the show’s six seasons. She also starred in a film called Mr. Nanny alongside Hulk Hogan. The actress also appeared in Law & Order, JAG, and Touched by an Angel in the ’90s.
Madeline Zima Starred In Californication
After rising to fame in the ’90s, Madeline Zima continued to appear in numerous films and television shows. These include A Cinderella Story, Gilmore Girls, 7th Heaven, Ghost Whisperer, and Grey’s Anatomy. In 2007, she landed the part of Mia Lewis in Californication.
She also had the recurring role of Gretchen Berg in Heroes. More recently, Zima appeared in the shows You, Good Girls, and Perry Mason. She was also in the films Bombshell and Bliss.
Kenan Thompson Was In The Original All That Cast
Kenan Thompson landed a role as an entertainment reporter on CNN’s “Real News For Kids” before becoming a star as one of the original cast members on All That. The children’s comedy sketch show introduced Kenan to fellow actor Kel Mitchell.
The two had such noticeable chemistry that they landed their own show, Kenan & Kel, in 1996. The series won the 1998 Kids’ Choice Awards and spurred the comedy film Good Burger, which also starred Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell.
Kenan Thompson Is The Longest-Tenured SNL Cast Member
Kenan Thompson was in a string of films through the late ’90s and into the 2000s. These included Heavyweights, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Barbershop 2: Back In Business, and Snakes on a Plane. In 2003, the actor became the first Saturday Night Live cast member born after its 1975 premiere.
Thompson has remained on the show ever since, making him the longest-tenured SNL cast member yet. His performance has earned him four Emmy nominations, one of which he won. Most recently, Thompson became the lead in the NBC series, Kenan.
Keshia Knight Pulliam Was Rudy In The Cosby Show
From 1984 until 1992, Keshia Knight Pulliam played the adorable Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Her performance made her one of the youngest to ever be nominated for an Emmy! Pulliam continued to perform throughout the ’80s and ’90s.
She was in the films The Last Dragon, The Little, and The Little Match Girl. Pulliam also had the title role in the television movies Polly and Polly: Comin’ Home! She reprised her role as Rudy Huxtable in Back to Next Saturday, A Different World, and The Earth Day Special.
Keshia Knight Pulliam Starred In Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne
After the ’90s, Keshia Knight Pulliam won the celebrity version of both Fear Factor and The Weakest Link! She continued her acting career by appearing in the films Motives, Beauty Shop, The Gospel, Cuttin Da Mustard, Death Toll, and Madea Goes to Jail.
Pulliam also appeared on numerous television series and movies, but she is perhaps best known for her role as Miranda Lucas-Payne on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. Her performance landed her four NAACP Image Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, three of which she won!
Anna Chlumsky Was the Lead In My Girl
After becoming a child model, Anna Chlumsky became a star when she landed the lead role in the film My Girl. It wasn’t the first time that she and her costar, Macauley Culkin, had been on set together. Chlumsky played a schoolgirl in the film Uncle Buck, which Culkin had a supporting role in.
My Girl and its sequel earned Chlumsky two Young Artist Awards. She went on to star in the films Trading Mom and Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain. The young actress was also in television films and appeared on the series Cupid and Early Edition.
Anna Chlumsy Got Six Emmy Nominations For Her Role In Veep
After the ’90s, Anna Chlumsky took a break from acting to attain a BA in International Studies from the University of Chicago. After serving as a fact-checker and an editorial assistant, Chlumsky attended the Atlantic Acting School in Manhattan.
She appeared on various television series, including Law & Order, 30 Rock, Covert Affairs, and White Collar. In 2012, Chlumsky landed the role of Amy Brookheimer in Veep. She remained on the show for seven seasons, garnering six Emmy nominations! More recently, Chlumsky appeared in the film Hala and landed main roles in Inventing Anna and Rugrats.
Christina Ricci Was Wednesday In The Addams Family
Christina Ricci got her big break when she appeared in a pair of spoof commercials on Saturday Night Live. She then had her film debut as Kate in the 1990 film Mermaids. Ricci became a bonafide star when she landed the role of Wednesday in The Addams Family.
She reprised the role in the film’s equally successful sequel before starring as Kat in Casper. Ricci went on to perform in Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain, Now and Then, That Darn Cat, The Ice Storm, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Sleepy Hollow.
Christina Ricci Has Performed Almost Every Year Since The ’90s
Christina Ricci hasn’t slowed down since her surge of productions in the ’90s. She starred in the 2003 drama Monster alongside Charlize Theron and the 2006 rom-com Penelope with James McAvoy. She’s also appeared in television series such as Grey’s Anatomy and The Good Wife.
Ricci was also the lead in the shows The Lizzie Borden Chronicles and Z: The Beginning of Everything. She has additionally voiced characters in Alpha and Omega, The Smurfs 2, The Hero of Color City, and Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.
Tia And Tamera Mowry Were Sister Sister
There’s an interesting story behind Tia and Tamera Mowry’s rise to fame. A producer happened to spot them on the set of Full House, a show that their younger brother, Tahj Mowry, recurring appeared in.
As though by fate, they spurred the production of Sister, Sister, the show that launched the pair into stardom. Their performances won them two NAACP Image Awards and three Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. The sisters also appeared on Tahj’s sitcom Smart Guy and voiced characters for the show Detention.
Tia And Tamera Mowry Are Book Authors
While Tia and Tamera have done plenty of projects independently, they always seem to come back together to collaborate. After Sister, Sister, they starred together in the films Seventeen Again and Twitches, and Twitches Too. They also both studied psychology at Pepperdine University.
In 2011, the twins landed a reality television show together called Tia & Tamera. They jointly started the brand NEED with products for new mothers. The pair also released a children’s book series consisting of Twintuition: Double Vision, Twintuition: Double Trouble, and Twintuition: Double Dare.