Child actors get a bad rap. In fact, even Flavorpill isn’t immune to making fun. But we have to admit that a good number of them have managed to avoid the stereotypical fate (drugs, nervous breakdowns, reality TV) and carve out pretty inspiring lives for themselves. For this list, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite former child actors who have done awesome things as adults; they aren’t all Hollywood A-listers (although some definitely are), and some aren’t even in the industry at all anymore, but they’re all making a great contribution to pop culture or the world at large. Check out our list — and tell us who we missed — after the jump.
In his earliest roles, on Little House on the Prairie and Silver Spoons, Jason Bateman was the kind of baby-faced kid who was hard to imagine as an adult actor. The transition certainly wasn’t seamless — he did a lot of TV movies and guest appearances in his 20s — but Bateman has had a career renaissance in the 21st century. After making a few mediocre comeback films, he turned things around by starring in the wonderful Arrested Development as the embattled straight man to a family of loonies. Soon enough, he was all over the big screen in slightly left-of-center (but also very popular) movies like Juno and Up in the Air. By now, Bateman is so well-loved that we can even forgive him for The Change-Up.