If you know me in real life, you know I've been slightly obsessed with child stars for as long as I can remember. Wait, that didn't come out right. Allow me to explain ... obsessed with the child stars of my day meaning we're the same age. I don't follow the careers of today's child actors, unless it's for the sole purpose of a freelance writing assignment. I've been writing teen entertainment articles since 1997.
I love A Christmas Story. I saw it about 12 times in theaters back in 1983. I own the video, a gift from Hubs last Christmas. Every year, I beg him to go with me to Cleveland to see the house. When TBS does the 24-hour broadcast, I try sneaking in as many views as possible between chatting with relatives. A few years ago, when MySpace was all the rage, I discovered that many of the actors had their own REAL pages. I began adding them. I couldn't believe I was actually connected to Flick (Scott Schwartz) and Scut Farkus (Zach Ward). I was surprised to learn that unlike his costars, little Randy Parker, Ian Petrella, hadn't really gone on to act in any other movies since A Christmas Story. Something about him caught my attention for a few weeks. I followed him for a bit then moved on once MySpace became "so ten minutes ago".
Christmas Story House events and other film festivals, all tried to jog his memory of their encounters. Everyone wanted some sort of recognition, be it through a photo they took with Ian or a laugh they shared during a photo signing. Vying for a virtual high-five, we were quite pathetic to be honest.
In the '90s, several of my friends attended "cooler" colleges than I did. One friend spotted Degrassi Jr. High's "Lucy" roaming the halls at NYU. Another friend confirmed that one of her fellow students at Antioch College was Josh Miller. Josh portrayed Keanu Reeve's annoying littler numchuck throwing brother in River's Edge and had some other smaller roles in '80s TV and movies.
Jeremy Litch played the part of the evil child, Anthony who wished things and people "away". Jeremy's only other claim to fame was of the brainy brother on The Hogan Family alongside my love, Jason Bateman. Of course I had to Google Jer and see what he's been up to these days.
According to People magazine, his wife gave birth to a baby last year, but what truly shocked me was that he met his wife on JDate.com! JDate is an online dating site for Jewish singles. Could you imagine creating a profile on a dating site and marrying a child star? How weird! It surprised me that this dude who once received tons of fan mail from Tiger Beat reading girls all over the world, resorted to an online dating service sixteen years later. I mean, I know Bret Michaels and other washed up celebs rely on MTV to hook them up with a new loves every season, but come on, we all know that's not real.
There are dozens of examples of child stars becoming regular people like teachers, doctors and lawyers. Former child actor Brian Bonsall from Family Ties was in construction before getting arrested for beating up his girlfriend. Willie Aames (Eight is Enough and Charles in Charge) recently made the news by going bankrupt and being forced to take a "regular job." He's now a financial advisor. How do people treat a former actor in the employee lunchroom? I can't imagine it. "Willie, do you have change of a five? I need a soda from the machine."