12 child stars who are still ruling Hollywood

Talia Lakritz
natalie portman then and now
Natalie Portman then and now. Patrick Camboulive/Sygma via Getty Images, Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Some child actors quit Hollywood for good and retire to a life of relative anonymity. But these stars have continued to give stellar performances, dominate at the box office, and earn prestigious awards.

Here are 12 child stars who are still famous and show no signs of slowing down.

Drew Barrymore was just 6 years old when she appeared in "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."

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Drew Barrymore on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson in 1982. Gene Arias/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

She was 7 when the movie was released in 1982. Her parents and paternal grandparents were also actors.

She has appeared in iconic movies like "The Wedding Singer," "Charlie's Angels," and "50 First Dates."

Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore today. Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

She starred in and executive produced "Santa Clarita Diet" on Netflix, and now hosts "The Drew Barrymore Show" on CBS.

Mayim Bialik became famous playing Blossom Russo in the '90s TV show "Blossom."

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Mayim Bialik. Harry Langdon/Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Bialik landed the role as a teenager and played Blossom for six seasons.

Bialik is now a four-time Emmy-nominated actress and won the Critics' Choice award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2016 and 2018.

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Mayim Bialik at the Emmys. Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Bialik played Amy Farrah Fowler for nine seasons of "The Big Bang Theory," which aired its series finale on May 16, 2019. She also uses her platform to speak out about parenting and the pressure new mothers often face.

Dakota Fanning was the youngest nominee in the history of the Screen Actors Guild Awards at age 8.

Dakota Fanning
Dakota Fanning on the red carpet. Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Her performance in the 2001 movie "I Am Sam" put her on the map.

Fanning hasn't slowed down, and will star in "The Nightingale" with her sister, Elle Fanning, next year.

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Dakota Fanning attends the Cannes Film Festival in 2019. Oleg Nikishin\TASS via Getty Images

She also starred in the "Twilight" saga movies and "Ocean's 8," and last year, she appeared in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood."

Natalie Portman's first onscreen role was Mathilda in "Léon: The Professional" in 1994.

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Natalie Portman on the set of the film. Patrick Camboulive/Sygma via Getty Images

She then became famous worldwide for her role as Padmé Amidala in the "Star Wars" prequels.

She won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her role in "Black Swan" and starred in films such as "Annihilation," "Vox Lux," and "The Death and Life of John F. Donovan."

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Natalie Portman at the premiere of "Annihilation." Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Portman is set to star as a female Thor in "Thor: Love and Thunder" in 2022. She's also one of the smartest celebrities in Hollywood with a bachelor's degree in psychology from Harvard. 

At 12 years old, Jodie Foster starred in "Taxi Driver" with Robert De Niro.

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Jodi Foster in "Taxi Driver." Columbia Pictures

Before that, she'd started her acting career on TV shows such as "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" and "The Doris Day Show."

She has been nominated for four Oscars and won two for best actress.

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Jodie Foster today. Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Foster was named best actress at the Academy Awards for "The Accused" in 1989 and "Silence of the Lambs" in 1992. She has directed episodes of "Black Mirror" and "Orange is the New Black," and is set to star in the thriller "The Mauritanian" in 2021.

Kristen Stewart appeared alongside Jodie Foster in "Panic Room."

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Kristen Stewart in "Panic Room" in 2002. Sony

Her performance earned her a Young Artist Award nomination.

Best known for playing Bella Swan in the "Twilight" movies, she has gone on to earn critical acclaim in other blockbusters.

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Kristen Stewart now. Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Stewart was the highest-paid actress in 2012, according to Forbes. She appeared in "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" in 2016 and "Lizzie" in 2018, and joined the reboot of "Charlie's Angels" in 2019. She most recently starred in the groundbreaking Hulu holiday rom-com "Happiest Season."

Daniel Radcliffe was 11 years old when he played Harry Potter in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

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Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Warner Bros.

He was the same age as the titular character when he finds out he's a wizard.

Radcliffe has experimented with different movie genres since leaving "Harry Potter" behind.

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Daniel Radcliffe post-Potter. John Sciulli/Getty Images

He also appeared on Broadway in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," "The Cripple of Inishmaan," and "The Lifespan of a Fact." He most recently appeared in the TV series "Miracle Workers" and the interactive TV movie "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs the Reverend" on Netflix.

Rupert Grint played Harry's best friend, Ron Weasley.

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Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley. Warner Bros.

Grint was also 11 years old when he was cast.

Grint has moved into television with starring roles in "Sick Note," "Snatch," and "Servant."

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Rupert Grint attends the "Snatch" TV show premiere in 2017. Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

He has also worked on indie films and appeared in the West End's production of "Mojo" and "It's Only a Play" on Broadway.

Emma Watson played Hermione Granger in all eight "Harry Potter" movies.

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Emma Watson in 2000. Stefan Rousseau - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

She had only ever acted in school plays before landing the life-altering role.

Watson played Belle in Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast" in 2017. More recently, she played Meg in "Little Women" in 2019.

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Emma Watson on the red carpet for "Beauty and the Beast." Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Disney

She's also something of a real-life Hermione with her feminist book club and gender equality advocacy through HeForShe in partnership with the United Nations.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt got his start on shows such as "Family Ties" and "Quantum Leap" before his breakout role in "10 Things I Hate About You."

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 1994. Jean Krettler/ABC via Getty Images

After a brief break from acting to attend Columbia University, he returned to show business.

Gordon-Levitt played Edward Snowden in "Snowden" in 2016.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt today. Rich Fury/Getty Images

Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed, and starred in the 2013 movie "Don Jon" and had a cameo in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." He most recently appeared in "The Trial of the Chicago 7" and "Knives Out." He also runs hitRECord, an online production company. 


Abigail Breslin's acting career started off strong with an an Oscar nomination for her role in "Little Miss Sunshine" in 2006.

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Abigail Breslin in 2002. Mark Mainz/Getty Images

At 10 years old, she was one of the youngest actors ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. She also appeared in several films with her brother Spencer, including "Raising Helen," "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," and "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause."

Breslin starred in a 2017 remake of "Dirty Dancing" and the TV show "Scream Queens," and has more films in the works.

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Abigail Breslin. Kevin Winter/Getty

Her latest role was Little Rock in "Zombieland: Double Tap" in 2019. She is set to appear in more movies, including "Stillwater," "Saturday at the Starlight," and "Slayers."

Thomas Brodie-Sangster got his start in TV movies before starring as the lovestruck Sam in "Love Actually."

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Thomas Brodie-Sangster in "Love Actually." Universal Pictures

Brodie-Sangster reprised the role for charity in the mini-sequel "Red Nose Day Actually" in 2017.

His star has continued to rise with roles in "Game of Thrones," the "Maze Runner" movies, and "The Queen's Gambit."

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Thomas Brodie Sangster in 2020. Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Brodie-Sangster voiced Ferb Fletcher in Disney's "Phineas and Ferb," played Jojen Reed in seasons three and four of "Game of Thrones," and played Newt in the "Maze Runner" movies.

He most recently starred as chess prodigy Benny Watts in "The Queen's Gambit" miniseries on Netflix.

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