Being a child actor seems great, but not every kid wants acting to be their forever career. For many former child actors, choosing to leave the business was the best thing that ever happened to them. Although they could have had it all, it wasn’t necessarily their agenda to continue a life in Hollywood once they grew up.
For those child stars who were on television shows, leaving acting behind isn’t the easiest thing. They have to figure out how to make a life for themselves where they might be recognized for who they used to be. It's not like most people want to be remembered most for something they used to do when they were a kid.
It’s surprising to learn that plenty of child actors go into regular careers. Many of them choose to live relatively quiet lives out of the spotlight. It just takes some time for them to get used to it. It’s especially strange for child actors having to leave their television shows. It’s a major change and not everyone is interested in starting something new after a long run on a show.
For those child actors who choose to leave the spotlight after their television shows have ended, it’s great. However, a lot of fans always wonder about what happened to their favorite child actors.
Here are the 15 Child Stars Who Disappeared From The Spotlight After Just One Show.
15 Angus T. Jones (Two and a Half Men)
Angus T. Jones was living it big while on Two and a Half Men. The young actor was in fact one of the most well-paid child actors of his time. However, after years of working on a show opposite Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and eventually Ashton Kutcher, Jones essentially left Hollywood for good.
Now 24, Jones went to college at University of Colorado Boulder after leaving the CBS sitcom. He claimed that he didn't want to be part of the show any longer due to his religious views.
Jones insinuated that working on the show went against what he believes in as a religious person, going so far as to calling the show that made him famous absolute "fifth". He has only made rare appearances since ending his time on television.
14 Josh Saviano (Wonder Years)
Josh Saviano portrayed Paul Pfeiffer, the best friend to Kevin Arnold, on the classic television show, The Wonder Years. Since then though, he’s only made one other official appearance since the series and that was on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit from 2014 to 2016. After The Wonder Years ended, Saviano ended up choosing to go on the academic path instead.
Saviano ended up going to Yale University where he majored in political science. Afterwards, he pursued his Doctor of Law degree from Yeshiva University and shortly after, he became a lawyer in New York.
This is how he ended up doing Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. While he no longer acts, Saviano made an appearance on the show as a lawyer, bringing his two worlds together. He hasn’t made an onscreen appearance since then.
13 Lindsay Ridgeway (Boy Meets World)
Corey and Eric’s little sister on Boy Meets World had her own mysterious backstory. The actress who originally portrayed Morgan Matthews left the show early on. Morgan disappeared for a while, only for Lindsay Ridgeway to appear in the role in season 3.
The show addressed Morgan’s disappearance briefly, saying she had just been in time out for a long time and that's why she was missing.
Since becoming the second Morgan, Ridgeway hasn’t appeared in much else, although she did reprise her role as Morgan on Disney’s Girl Meets World. Ridgeway chose to leave acting after Boy Meets World ended and went to school. She has a degree in political science and a master’s in counseling.
However, she hasn’t left performing completely behind and can occasionally be spotted singing the national anthem at sporting events.
12 Taran Noah Smith (Home Improvement)
Taran Noah Smith portrayed Mark Taylor, the youngest of the Taylor sons, on Tim Allen’s Home Improvement. Having spent a huge chunk of his childhood on the show, Smith made a lot of money before he was even allowed to spend it. Sadly, that money became an issue for him and he ended up taking his parents to court for it when he was 18.
Besides that, Smith also had some other drama including marrying a woman almost twice his age when he was only 17. All of this happened right after the show had ended, leaving him very little time for acting. Smith wanted to explore a different life.
He eventually divorced his wife and started focusing on doing other things. He's mostly been seen while doing major volunteering projects.
11 Adam Lamberg (Lizzie McGuire)
Adam Lamberg spent his teen years portraying David “Gordo” Gordon on Disney’s hit show, Lizzie McGuire. The actor played Lizzie’s best friend who also had a crush on her.
Having started acting when he was in middle school, Hollywood seemed like a great fit for Lamberg. However, he only had two minor roles after Lizzie McGuire ended and hasn’t had an onscreen credit since.
Lamberg left the business for a number of reasons. While Gordo was the right role for him, finding other roles that worked for him wasn’t the easiest. He also ended up going to school where he majored in geography.
Lamberg shows no signs of ever stepping back into the spotlight. He is currently the development officer at the Irish Arts Center in New York and happy living his own life away from the spotlight.
10 Angela Watson (Step by Step)
Angela Watson portrayed Karen Foster on the hit family classic, Step by Step. Since the show ended in 1998 however, she has hardly made an appearance onscreen. Besides being on the show, Watson was a model, having found her start in beauty pageants.
Having only been in high school when the show started, Watson ended her time on Step by Step in her twenties. Like too many other child stars though, Watson found out her parents had taken a good chunk of her millions for themselves.
Instead of being spiteful, Watson ended up taking them to court and winning. In order to help other young actors, Watson became a SAG representative and focused on helping protect young actors. This also inspired her to focus more on charity work, rather than a career in acting.
9 Matthew Underwood (Zoey 101)
Having portrayed the obnoxious, self-absorbed, “good looking” guy on Zoey 101, Matthew Underwood hasn’t done much acting since the show abruptly ended in 2008. When the show ended, Underwood was a legal adult, but this actually led to some problems.
Underwood was in his early twenties when he was caught by police. The actor had marijuana on him at the time. However, he was also with a 17 year old female minor.
He was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, but moved on with his life. Sadly later, he violated his probation and that caused a whole mess of problems.
Last year though, when Underwood was 26, he showed that he had grown up as he miraculously saved a baby from a car after it crashed. He was a bystander in the accident and the parents of the baby had overdosed while driving.
8 Mike Lookinland (The Brady Bunch)
Mike Lookinland played the youngest son, Bobby Brady, on The Brady Bunch. The actor is best known for his role as Bobby and has very few roles outside of portraying that character. He has reprised Bobby multiple times since the show officially ended in 1974. Although, there have been plenty of other spinoffs that have come from the series.
After his time of being Bobby ended, Lookinland became a camera operator. He even worked on Everwood for a while. That lasted until about 2007 and has instead turned his focus onto his concrete business in Utah. He has a wife who worked as a script supervisor.
She hasn’t had a credit since 2007 either, most likely to focus on her life in Utah with Lookinland and their kids.
7 Ryan Sommers Baum (The Famous Jet Jackson)
Ryan Sommers Baum had a very short time in Hollywood. Besides one other role, he’s only known for portraying J.B. Halliburton on Disney’s The Famous Jett Jackson. After the show ended, Baum when to NYU to focus on theatre. He took a detour after that though and went to Divinity school instead. He became an ordained minister and chose to never go back to acting again.
Baum’s name has now changed to Ryan Dowell Baum. This happened after he married his wife, Molly Dowell. He’s had a radio program and done plenty of volunteer work and travelling.
Having thought his life was going to be focused around acting, Baum found his true passion in ministry. The only time he was brought back to his Disney days was after he spoke about his sadness regarding the suicide of his former costar, Lee Thompson Young.
6 Ashlie Brillault (Lizzie Mcguire)
Ashlie Brillault portrayed Kate Sanders on Disney’s Lizzie McGuire. Kate was the subject of many episodes as she was Lizzie’s former friend turned mean girl. With the exception of only one other acting credit, Billault’s only roles involved portraying Kate Sanders.
After Lizzie McGuire ended, Brillault went to college and received a B.A. in political science. She became a lawyer, wanting to focus on the criminal justice reform.
Everything was put on hold though after she and her husband had a daughter. Regardless of where life seems to take her, Brillault shows absolutely no interest in ever going back to acting as she has high aspirations for both her career as a lawyer and her life as a wife and mom.
5 Jason Zimbler (Clarissa Explains It All)
Known as Clarissa’s annoying little brother, Ferguson Darling, on Clarissa Explains It All, Jason Zimbler chose to stop working in Hollywood after the show ended in 1994. While the show was supposed to continue, Nickelodeon thought Clarissa was too old for their viewers.
Zimbler ended up going to the University of Notre Dame for college after the show was cancelled and graduated with a degree in business administration. After working towards that degree, he received a graduate degree in theatre directing.
Zimbler has done many things. While he continued to perform onstage, he chose to not go back to performing onscreen. He even founded his own theatre company. He didn’t stray too far away from the business either and has been credited with working as a software designer for HBO.
4 Chelsea Brummet (All That)
Chelsea Brummet was an All That regular. The Nickelodeon darling made a few other appearances too on shows such as Drake & Josh and What I Like About You. She is also known for having portrayed a younger Lorelai on Gilmore Girls. However, she truly was known for being on All That, having done the show for five years.
Since then, she has had a few acting roles, but has pretty much disappeared. She regularly posts on Facebook, but isn’t into sharing everything about her life on social media.
She chooses to live her own life and isn't that interested in returning back to the spotlight. Her last acting credit is from 2012 when she did six episodes of a television show called Aspen the Series.
3 Melissa McIntyre (Degrassi: The Next Generation)
Melissa McIntyre portrayed Ashley Kerwin on Degrassi: The Next Generation. She worked closely with Drake, back when he was better known as Aubrey Graham.
The two portrayed a couple on the show for a bit. Although most of her castmates went on to continue pursing some sort of entertainment career, McIntyre has led a pretty quiet life since her time on the show ended. In fact, she hasn’t had an acting credit since then.
While she might not desire a public life, she’s supposedly still in touch with many of her former Degrassi castmates. The last time she was really seen though was in 2012 when she was working as a singer with J.D. Fortune. Other than that, she hasn’t really done much else in entertainment and shows no signs of returning to acting anytime soon.
2 Kyle Swann (Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide)
Kyle Swann was the bully with a heart (and no brain) on Nickelodeon’s Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. Having portrayed Billy Loomer, a regular character on the show, Swann had started his career off right. He had some major roles on his resume for a while there. However, he essentially quit acting after the show ended in 2007.
Swann went to college after the show ended. He started attending the University of California, Santa Cruz and graduated with a B.A. in Marine Biology in 2012.
He created his own photography business where he combines the two things he loves: scuba diving and taking pictures. His company’s called Swann Dive Photography. He has obviously taken himself out of Hollywood and has chosen a different life for himself instead.
1 Brandon Call (Step by Step)
Brandon Call has an easily recognizable face. He starred in the family comedy series, Step by Step as J.T. Lambert. While Call had plenty of acting credits throughout his childhood, he essentially left acting behind after Step by Step ended.
During his time on the show, he went through a lot, including being shot in both arms after a road rage argument turned for the worse. Once the show ended, he chose to move on from acting and all the stress that it brought him in his life.
Call has led a very quiet life since the show ended. He has a daughter who was born in 1998, the same year Step by Step ended. Many fans speculate that he works at his family’s business, but those are just guesses. Either way, Call chose to leave acting, deciding it wasn’t for him after all.
Can you think of any other child actors who quit the business after being in just one television show? Let us know in the comments!