Facts About Child Actors Fans Might Not Have Known

The life of a child actor is far from glamorous. It requires sacrifice, restraint, and above all else maturity. Many burn out, most fade away.

But some, very few mind you, have gone on to become the greatest actors of their generation. Have a look and check out this quick list of facts about some of our favorite and most iconic child actors.

Mara Wilson was living with Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman while filming *Matilda*.

Mara's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer just as filming was due to begin. The budding child star would stay with DeVito and Perlman while her mother sought treatments for cancer. Sadly, Mara's mother passed away before the film hit theaters.

Emma Watson nearly left the *Harry Potter* franchise.

By the time that the fifth film had hit theaters, Emma was falling out of love with the character of Hermione Granger. She seriously considered leaving after The Order of the Phoenix in order to pursue her studies outside of Hogwarts.

Macaulay Culkin was afraid of Joe Pesci in *Home Alone*.

At the time, Joe Pesci was known for his roles in hardened gangster movies like Good Fellas. In order to elicit a true fear response from Culkin, Joe would ignore him in-between takes. He even once told Culkin to "shut up" just for speaking to him.

Natalie Portman smoked real cigarettes in *Léon: The Professional*.

It should be noted that Natalie was only 11-years-old at the time. Her father had strict stipulations about how many times she could drag on a cigarette, and she wasn't allowed to inhale. Natalie's father also limited the amount she could curse on film.

Neil Patrick Harris practiced his sutures on raw chicken.


"They gave us suture packs and told us to go to Ralph’s and get a chicken breast. And actually, we would use raw chicken on set.," Neil told Entertainment Weekly. "They’d cover all the edges of it with gauze and such, so it looked essentially like skin."

Miranda Cosgrove from *School Of Rock* is actually a good singer.

Miranda played eager beaver Summer Hathaway in the film. In real life, Miranda is a classically trained vocalist, but since her character was tone-deaf — she had to take lessons to learn how to sing badly.

NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff didn't want Michael J. Fox cast in *Family Ties*.


He didn't believe that Michael's face was the kind you'd ever see brandished on a lunch box. After the show became a success, Fox sent Tartikoff a Family Ties lunch box with his face on it.

Enclosed was a note that read "To Brandon: This is for you to put your crow in. Love and Kisses, Michael J. Fox.

Shirley Temple's hair was naturally straight.

Shirley Temple was one of the biggest movie stars on the planet throughout the 1930s. It turns out that fans have Shirley's mother to thank for her signature curls. The studio paid her mother to be Shirley's hairstylist; reportedly the look took precisely 56 curls.

Daniel Radcliffe received bass lessons from Gary Oldman on the set of *Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban*.

"Gary Oldman taught me the bass line to 'Come Together,' one day. I was learning bass at the time and he plays bass," Daniel explained to Thrillist. "I went in one morning -- I was 14 -- and just looked up to him so much. He had his bass in there and was teaching me the thing."

Peter Ostrum's first and last role was *Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory*.

Peter played the lovable Charlie Bucket but wasn't particularly fond of his time on set. He would later turn down an offer for a three-picture studio deal and went on to become a veterinarian.

Drew Barrymore was only 7-years-old when she hosted *SNL* for the first time.

The year was 1982 and Drew was riding high on the success of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. She has since gone on to host six more times.

Quvenzhané Wallis lied about her age.

When Quvenzhané tried out for Beasts of the Southern Wild, the casting call was for children between the ages of 6-9. Quvenzhané was only 5-years-old at the time and blew everyone away during her audition.

Jodie Foster received her first Oscar nomination when she was only 12-years-old.

A lot of people tend to forget that Jodie's breakthrough role wasn't in The Accused but rather in Martin Scorcese's iconic neo-noir crime drama Taxi Driver. All in all, Jodie was on screen for less than 20 minutes.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar died his hair on *Saved By The Bell*.

That's right — Zack Morris isn't a natural blonde after all! Mark told Jimmy Fallon that he used to have to bleach his hair with Clairol before filming every season.

Leonardo DiCaprio's agent wanted him to change his name.

When Leo first began acting at age 11, his prospective agent felt that the name Leonardo DiCaprio sounded too ethnic. The agent proposed that Leo should change his name to Lenny Williams in order to find work.