Child stars—whether gifted with a dimpled grin, soulful eyes, a contagious personality, or stellar acting chops—have captivated the public imagination since the invention of celluloid. From Depression-era darling Shirley Temple to the infectiously adorable Macaulay Culkin of Home Alone fame, these talented tykes routinely deliver box office gold, and they are some of Hollywood’s most important players. They appear to lead charmed lives, graced with fortune, fame, and adoring fans. For some, success is full of adventure and limitless opportunity—but for many, fame brings punishing schedules, addiction, abuse, and emotional breakdowns.
We’ve sifted through movie databases, film histories, celebrity biographies, and digital archives to compile this list of popular pint-sized actors from 1919 through 2021.