Then & Now: 12 Forgotten Child Actor Dorks From ’90s Movies
Being a child actor is tough for many reasons. If you’re lucky enough to get through it without completely losing your mind, there is still the matter of transitioning your early success into adulthood, which puberty often derails. We’re all well aware of what happened to some of the bigger names as they grew up, such as Jonathan Lipnicki turning into a jacked up freakshow or Haley Joel Osment becoming a doppelganger to Fat Mac, but what about the less talked about dweeby kids from back in the day? Where are they now? That’s the question we’ll answer as we delve into the lives of 12 of the biggest dorks from ’90s cinema.
One of the few child actors on this list to still be in show business, we figured Todd Bosley was the perfect jumping-off point. Not only was he THE nerdiest child actor of the ’90s, starring in films such as “Little Giants,” “Jack” and “Lloyd” (with a couple of “Seinfeld” appearances thrown in for good measure), but even puberty couldn’t help his generally awkward appearance. Since his heyday, Bosley has continued to act steadily in the industry, albeit on a much less recognizable scale. He is probably best known in his adult career for playing the recurring role of Howie during the eighth season of “Scrubs.” He also does a bit of voice acting and even performs stand-up comedy from time to time, a prospect that has us laughing before we even see it.
We’re not sure why we included a then and now photo of Patrick Renna, as he hasn’t changed much in terms of his appearance. His acting career, on the other hand, has slowed down quite a bit since he made a splash in his first major film role as Ham in the classic 1993 film “The Sandlot.” While he had a good run from then up until around the year 2000, starring in films such as “The Big Green,” his most substantial role since then was a recurring character on the series “Boston Legal.” His only upcoming film as of right now is the SyFy original “Lavantula” starring Steve Guttenberg. So, yeah, those are the kind of projects he’s doing now.
Hallie Kate Eisenberg
Starring in films including “Paulie,” “The Insider,” and “Bicentennial Man” by the time she was just seven years old, Hallie Kate Eisenberg seemed destined for success. Coupled with her string of popular Pepsi commercials around the same time, what could have possibly overshadowed such a budding career? Oh, right, she also happens to be the younger sister of actor Jesse Eisenberg. We’re not saying this town isn’t big enough for the two of them, but between her acting career slowing down significantly since 2000 and attending American University in Washington D.C., we can’t imagine we’re going to see much of her on the big screen any time soon, especially considering her last screen credit was the 2010 film “Holy Rollers” which starred her brother. She does continue to act, however, and even made her Broadway debut in “The Women” in 2011.
Just because someone isn’t acting anymore, that doesn’t necessarily mean their career has taken a nosedive. In the case of many child actors, including “The Santa Clause” star Eric Lloyd, they simply got busy with other aspirations and projects. For example, Eric has spent the last several years attending film school at Chapman University, backpacking through Europe, and starting his own band called RadioMason. According to his recent Reddit AMA from last year, he plans to get back into the film industry, too, although this time it appears it will be mostly behind the camera or on the production side of things. While he may never be a household name as far as his acting is concerned, he’s definitely given himself a number of potential prospects for the road ahead, and it’s a hard to knock a guy for that.
Ernie Reyes, Jr.
Okay, we know that by the time Ernie Reyes Jr. was hitting his stride with roles in ’90s childhood classics like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze” he was pushing 20 years old, but that doesn’t change the fact that he still got his start as a child actor in “The Last Dragon” and “Red Sonja.” He has since continued to work steadily in the industry both onscreen and behind the scenes, having done motion capture work for “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Did we mention he’s been involved in martial arts his whole life and holds a 3-0 professional fight record in Strikeforce? The fact that he will most likely always be known as Keno the delivery boy changes none of that success. Just don’t let all this nostalgia trick you into popping in “Surf Ninjas.” That movie does NOT hold up well at all.
Known as either the nerdy kid from the first two “Beethoven” movies or the nerdy kid from TV’s “Step by Step,” one thing is abundantly clear: we haven’t seen Christopher Castile much since then. That’s because he retired from acting after “Step by Step” ended, finished high school, got a pilot’s license, attained his master’s degree from California State University, and began teaching Political Science at Biola University. As of 2012, it appears he has begun teaching U.S. History at Downey High School, as well. You would think quitting show business and continuing to be a huge nerd would never pay off, but it appears that Castile couldn’t be happier leading a normal life outside the limelight.
Even with a string of rapid successes, there are no guarantees in Hollywood. That appears to be the case with Amy Sakasitz, who starred in five films between 1992 and 1996 before more or less disappearing from the face of the Earth. Well, the face of Hollywood anyways. Sure, she has a Twitter account claiming she’s now a chef of some kind, but that’s really all we have to go on from the former “Dennis the Menace” and “House Arrest” star. The fact that she describes herself as an ex-actress indicates she chose to leave the profession much like our previous entry, but still embraces her past. She also seems to be somewhat of a local celebrity in her native Virginia, as she helped judge the 2nd Annual Mid-Atlantic Beard and ‘Stache Championships in Richmond back in 2013. It might not be the Oscars, but it’s better than nothing.
Remember the little dweeb who called out Sam Neill’s Dr. Grant at the beginning of “Jurassic Park,” referring to velociraptors as six foot turkeys? Well, if there’s one person who does, it’s Whit Hertford himself. Humorous video aside, Hertford has actually had one of the most consistent acting careers of any of the other kids on this list, working steadily on stage and screen for the better part of three decades. While he has yet to play anything we’d consider to be defining role, near 75 screen and voice acting credits to your name is nothing to frown upon, especially when you are a writer, producer, and theater director living in London on top of it.
Jared Van Snellenberg
We always like to throw out one really obscure entry on our lists for good measure, and it doesn’t get much more obscure than this goober from “Happy Gilmore,” played by former child actor Jared Van Snellenberg. We hope you weren’t the type of person who would have teased him in high school, because he now holds a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University in New York. Meanwhile, you are reading about ’90s movie nerds while quite possibly shirtless and covered in potato chip crumbs. Even though Snellenberg acted in over a dozen films and TV series after his breakout role, he left the industry behind and wound up making more of himself than we can even comprehend. Seriously, who saw that one coming?
Jake Lloyd, Justin Cooper, & Alex D. Linz
We knew we still had a lot of ground to cover by the end of this list, so this will have to be a three-fer. After all, we grew up constantly confusing these kids with each other, so why not combine them? It’s not like any of them have acted in a movie since 2005, 1998, and 2007 respectively anyways. We don’t say that to be mean, either; it’s just downright eerie considering how similar they look. But don’t take the end of their acting careers as a sign of failure. Yes, Jake Lloyd (the “Star Wars” kid) is always gonna have that monstrous head and claims that playing young Anakin Skywalker ruined his acting career, but he still holds onto directing aspirations. As for Justin Cooper (the “Liar Liar” kid), he is now a successful producer on “The Noe Show” for FOX Sports Radio, although he has no recent photos to prove it. Finally, Alex D. Linz (the “Home Alone 3” kid) went on to graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. The future is wide open from there.