During the week I happened to come across the new Blu-ray release for "A Simple Wish", starring Mara Wilson. Remember her? She was a big deal in the nineties, and seemed to have a long prosperous career ahead of her. But aside from one role in 2000 she hasn't been in anything after the nineties. This got me thinking about other young actors and actresses that seem to have fallen off the face of the earth after a promising start, or never quite reached the heights of fame that some expected. Here are some that I remember well:
Starting off in commercials Mara's first film was "Mrs Doubtfire", a film that I still love even though it's incredibly cheesy. She played the daughter of the cross dressing Robin Williams with the odd Scottish accent (or at least odd to anyone who has actually ever spoken with Scottish people) and was suitably sweet and wide eyed throughout. But it was later that her star talent shone through, when she starred in "Miracle on 34th Street" and "Matilda". I never took to "Miracle on 34th Street", as I've always felt it's a bit too sickly sweet for my tastes but Mara was very good in it. It was Matilda that I predominantly remember her from as it is one of my favourite films, even to this day. Based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name, it came very close to the original tale and had some amazing performances in it besides Mara, with Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman and the truly magnificent Pam Ferris as the hideous head teacher Miss Trunchball. Mara's performance is all the more impressive when you consider that her mother was gravely ill and died during filming. After this her career slowed down, with many of the same types of roles going to her, as in "A Simple Wish" and "Balloon Farm". Then once the decade came to a close she was no longer seen in any films. Rumour is she attended University and studied the craft of acting so only time will tell if she returns to the silver screen.
These are just the ones I recall off the top of my head so feel free to mention any child actors that you catch yourself wondering "Where are they now?"