Famous Child Stars
Best known as Screech from Saved by the Bell, Dustin played the character for 13 years. However once the show was cancelled Dustin's only TV work was to appear on a number of game shows and reality TV shows such as The Weakest Link and Celebrity Boxing 2. Dustin claims when working as a child actor on Saved by the Bell, he experienced emotional turmoil that hurt his life at home and his future. It has since emerged that he is deeply in debt, and earlier this year he lost his home, as he owed substantial mortgage payments.
James Harries became a TV star for being a child prodigy in the field of antiques, and famously appeared on Wogan. However Harries's schooling suffered from the heightened publicity. As a child Harries had been taken to see a doctor about his female mannerisms; while the father, Mark, was in prison Harries decided to change her name to Lauren, transition to female, and investigate sex reassignment surgery, which was carried out in 2001. On 8 July 2005, a gang of five to seven men attacked Lauren, her father and her brother in the family home. Harries now works as an artist.
Famous for his role as Arnold Jackson in Diff'rent Stokes, Coleman had great potential as a child star. However his adulthood was blighted by debt, legal troubles, and family disputes. In a 1993 television interview, Coleman said he had twice attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on pills. Coleman died in May of this year, after falling at his home.
You've probably never heard of Heather Ripley, but you will have seen her film: Heather played Jemima in the 1968 film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Once the fuss surrounding the film died down, Heather returned to her native Scotland, where she was bullied at school. Miss Ripley developed drink and drug problems and became a single mother living on benefits. She insists that her early career as an actress was "the worst thing that ever happened to me".
Macaulay is regarded as the greatest child star of our time, and is famous for his role in the Home Alone franchise. His acting career began at the age of four, and he was a massive Hollywood success until 1994, when his career hit the rocks. In 2004 Macaulay was arrested for drug possession and although he married in 1998, he was divorced by 2002.
Arguably the most famous child star gone bad, Lohan has just completed a short stint in prison. Lindsay began her career as a child model before landing the lead role in Disney's remake of The Parent Trap when she was just 11. She went on to star in several other popular family-friendly films. However her career stalled in 2007 as two driving under the influence (DUI) incidents and three visits to drug rehabilitation facilities led to several lost movie deals. Now more infamous than famous, it will be interesting to see if she can revive her career again.