Famous Celebs Who Started as Child Actors

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Leonardo DiCaprio, who will be celebrating his 45th birthday on Nov. 11, is among the world’s most famous movie stars. The actor’s impressive filmography includes such Hollywood blockbusters as “Titanic” (1997), “The Departed” (2006), and this year’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” His sensational success did not simply occur overnight, however.

Born in Hollywood in 1974, DiCaprio was a child actor long before he became a household name. His earliest acting credit dates back to 1979, when an exceedingly young Leo appeared on the children’s program “Romper Room and Friends.” Some years later, he would land a part on the more popular series “Growing Pains,” before becoming a teen heartthrob in the 1990s and eventually starring in some of the most popular movies of all time. These are the most popular movies released the year you were born.

The Oscar-winner is far from being the only celebrity to get their start in the industry prior to reaching adulthood. 24/7 Tempo has identified 31 famous entertainers who started out as child actors.

Though they all began acting in their childhood, they each began getting noticed at different points in their career. DiCaprio was still a teenager when he began appearing on “Growing Pains” in 1991. Reese Witherspoon was only 15 when she landed the lead role in the movie “The Man in the Moon” (1991) — her earliest acting credit.

Ryan Gosling, on the other hand, despite television appearances as a teenager, did not have his breakout role — “The Believer” (2001) — until he was in his 20s. Joaquin Phoenix, who landed television roles when he was just 8 years old, hadn’t even begun performing under the name “Joaquin” until the late 90s. Prior to that, he used the name Leaf Phoenix. Joaquin would discover great success in 2000, when he starred as Commodus in “Gladiator” at age 25. If these actors continue to work, they may join the ranks of the actors with the longest careers.

To identify 31 famous celebrities who started as child actors, 24/7 Tempo selected well-known entertainers whose earliest acting credits — according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) — occurred prior to their turning 18 years of age. Total acting credits also come from IMDb.