10 Adorable Child Actors Disfigured by Puberty
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10 Adorable Child Actors Disfigured by Puberty

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | September 27, 2012 | Comments ()


In watching last night's "Modern Family," I was struck by a few thoughts: 1) was it just me, or was that an unexpectedly amusing episode; 2) what has Sarah Hylan done to herself, and why is she in such a hurry to grow up; and 3) Nolan Gould -- who plays Luke Dunphy -- is about to go through puberty on national television.

Puberty is often not an adorable kid's friend, and it's gotta suck to go through that in front of millions of people. You never really know for sure, but often the strange characteristics that make for a truly adorable child don't translate well post-puberty. It's hard to predict, of course, because years ago, I just assumed that poor Jonathan Lipnicki would have a rough life post-puberty, but he turned out fine.

You can't say the same for these 10 former adorable child actors.

Macauley Culkin (Home Alone



Henry Thomas (E.T.)


Charlie Korsmo (Dick Tracy, Hook and Can't Hardly Wait)


Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense


Sawyer and Sullivan Tweeten (The Kids from "Everybody Loves Raymond)



Erik Per Sullivan ("Malcolm in the Middle")



Brian Bonsall (from "Family Ties")


Fred Savage ("Wonder Years")


Jeremy Miller (Ben Seaver, from "Growing Pains")


Michael Fishman ("Roseanne")

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Jennface

    Thank God I was an ugly child and not on TV.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    I don't know about this one. It reminds me of a certain post that was published under WIMB. You know, the random post that had nothing to do with the conceit of the website but begged to be posted anyway, right? Out of the ether came a post of *some* woman whose unattractiveness was so pronounced, it begged to receive the pithy treatment that characterized the writing style of the site?

    I think we're in danger of reaching that low again. It's all well and good if former stars engaged in some post-fame shameful behaviour or when people elect to have surgeries that make their skin look a muslin sheath draped over a snare drum, they're chasing fame and botching their bodies in search of a type of 'perfection' (and a way to conceal the effects of too many love mes). This reads differently and is (to me I don't know about the rest of you) a touch too caustic in sustaining the integrity of the joke.

    Step back from that ledge, Alice Munroe.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Argh, damn my typos.

  • Anna


  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    I have nothing to add to the way these kids have aged, but I do want to ask: Who gives there kid the middle name Per? WTF is that? Erik Per Sullivan? Am I missing something here. If it is culturally appropriate, and I am just too lazy to look it up, then fine, bad on me. It just seems like a really stupid middle name.

    And given that it is a stupid middle name, is that why he is the only one on the list who has his middle name listed besides Haley Joel Osmond? It's not like you listed Frederick Aaron Savage, so it can't be that you are going for verisimilitude in naming. Is it just because you wanted to make fun of the kids name in addition to making fun of the way he looks?
    If so, thanks. It's attention to detail like that which keeps me reading Pajiba.

  • jcoa2

    It's just a foreign name. There's a German football player for Arsenal named Per Mertesacker.

  • Adrien

    Henry Thomas had a good run. He was hot in his twenties. He's now in his 40s, that photo does not count as "puberty".

  • Michael Fishman is still cute. He just looks like a larger version of his child self.

  • Strand

    How does Jake Lloyd not make this? I bumped into that guy at a Japanese con, he was outside trying to buy cigarettes from the machine. At first I didn't recognise him (dude is weird looking now) and asked if he went to these things often > cue thousand yard stare > "Yeah."

    But yeah. I suspect that when casting-directors pick out child stars, they choose from a very specific neotenised set of features so they look extra cute on screen. Unfortunately, those never translate well once the hormones kick in so the adults wind up looking.. odd. It's that old ugly duckling thing where it's never the ones you expect.

  • Orleanas

    Fred Savage should not be on this list. And I must say, neither does Michael Fishman. Considering I thought he looked weird before he went through puberty, he's aged well.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    I can't believe he's still married

  • Leigh

    How did Elijah Wood not make this list?

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Maybe he got Culkin-ed. Sibling rivalry, you are such a card.

  • David Plunkert

    I think a good rule of thumb is...no adult is as cute as they were as a kid?
    Look at your own photo albums.

  • tweek's coffee

    These just look like normal, un-gorgeous people. They don't have an obligation to be thin and handsome. Jesus Tapdancing Christ, Dustin Rowles...

  • Guy looks almost exactly the same, but not freakish, like many of the others on this list. He's also probably the most successful adult of all these...GoldenChance.notlong.com

  • Elisabeth Forsythe

    Wow! This is really mean. WTH?

  • badkittyuno

    Fred Savage is/was/will always be adorable! And Culkin won me back over in Saved. Adorable.
    Rest are spot on though.

  • Jezzer

    I don't think puberty had much of a hand in most of these photos. Middle age, on the other hand...

  • Idle Primate

    Most of what tv people think makes cute: big head, big eyes, pulpy mouth etc. are not the same features grown up that hollywood puts the pedastel. it is the horrific awakening they get, after years of being perfect, and stars. suddenly out of the blue, they are the butt of jokes, and the self righteous tyranny of the public if they get drunk.

  • Idle Primate

    Clint howard

  • Erich

    Sweet Zombie Jesus!
    The 'Raymond' twins look like the pod race announcer from The Phantom Menace!

  • Sara_Tonin00

    We should just have one weekly post that sums it up: Celebrities - They All Look Alike, Except for the Ugly Ones.

  • pugalug

    SO mean-spirited and unnecessary! Have you ever seen the interview with Micahel Jackson, when he talks about running into a fan as a young adult, who said something like "You used to be so cute, what the hell HAPPENED to you?" Juvenalia like this is equivalent to this kind of hateful behavior.

  • e jerry powell

    It wasn't just that one fan asking...

    Have you heard the way Paul Mooney and Katt Williams talk about him?

  • oilybohunk7

    Shia LaDouche

  • Blake

    Can't we talk about 10 Adorable Child Actors beautified by Puberty?

    I'll start: Alexa Vega (SpyKids)

  • Kati

    How about the kid who played Neville in the Harry Potter movies? He's got kind of a Clive Owen thing going on now.

  • Blake

    and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development)...

  • oilybohunk7

    Danica McKeller

  • zeke_the_pig

    Are we sure that's Macauley Culkin? Looks more like an on-set photo of Christian Bale filming a sequel to The Fighter.

  • celery

    HEY. I went to high school with Eric Per Sullivan, and he is a nice individual and also not really weird looking. Tiny, yes. Disfigured, no. You take that back!

  • Anna von Beav

    I'd let Macauley Culkin put it in me.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Put what? A needle?

  • e jerry powell

    It might break off, though, if he did.

    Have to be careful with rehab peen.

  • emmelemm


  • Lipton

    Some of these kids didn't turn out so bad. Though it's downright creepy how much Jeremy Miller looks like a cousin of mine, both in little and big forms. So much so that on first scroll I thought "What the hell, what is my redneck cousin doing in a Pajiba list?! If he's that famous why did my parents just give him a car?"

    But it wasn't my cousin, just his bizarre, Z-list doppleganger.

  • jcoa2

    I agree, they didn't all turn out that badly. I would even venture to say if we compared them to, say, the Pajiba staff, it might not be an easy call to say who was and wasn't more disfigured by puberty.

  • randomhookup

    If Nolan had grown a foot over the summer, it would really have messed up last night's episode of Modern Family since it was "later the same day" of the season finale (though they may have shot that at the same time to be safe). I always wonder if they check out the parents of child actors to get a sense for how tall they are likely to grow.

  • e jerry powell

    One wishes they could have done similar with that Gould kid on Weeds.

  • Aaron Schulz

    some of those are too early to be fair, erik per sullivan and the kids from raymond both have a few years before they can really be called adults, people change alot from like 15-22

  • e jerry powell

    Henry Thomas looks like he was the victim of bad collagen in the lips when he was a kid, and things didn't much improve in that respect.

  • e jerry powell

    Cut Jeremy Miller some slack. He could have been Kirk Cameron.

  • JenVegas

    I feel like "disfigured" is way too harsh for these guys. They pretty much just grew up to be average schmoes. Little weight here, little unkempt facial hair there, no chin in a couple of places. Fred Savage though? Still kind of adorable.

  • Natallica

    Sorry, but Charlie Korsmo was NEVER adorable. He looked like one of those freakish big-eyed kids on Marilyn Manson's "I don't like the drugs (but the drugs like me)" video.

  • TheEnforcer

    This is a mean-spirited posting. But then that per usual with Pajiba these days.


    I completely agree. Pajiba seems less focused on recognizing great movies and TV and more and more like TMZ these days. This makes me sad

  • beartato

    Completely agree. Other than the mugshot, these all look like normal people.

  • Quatermain

    Eh, mean-spirited is what the Internet is for, that and porn,

  • AvaLehra

    Malcolm in the Middle kid is a total DEAD RINGER for Simon McBurney -- the guy from Friends with Money: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm056...

  • Lindzgrl

    Loved when Fred Savage played the abusive boyfriend in that Lifetime movie. I don't know how that relates, but it does.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Oh, hot Hell! Was that the one where he was dating Candace Cameron and he ended up murdering her (I'm loathe to say 'character' since I don't remember of this was dramatization of a real case)? And football, and stuff?

  • Stacey

    I don't think Erik Per Sullivan looks that bad. You should have Frankie Munitz on this list, out of all of them. He REALLY got thwacked with the puberty fug stick.

  • celery

    I already posted about this, but I went to high school with him and he looks perfectly normal. (edit: Per Sullivan. not the other dude.)

  • L.O.V.E.

    Regarding Hyland, I suspect that what you are seeing are the ill effects of a relatively serious disease she suffers from - kidney disease. She already has had a transplant during the hiatus this year.

  • She looked really cute at the Emmys, I thought. A little skinny maybe, but she's always been tiny.

  • Frankly

    At least they didn't start out freakish like those goony kids from "The Middle." I can't even watch The Janitor because those two younger ones creep me out something fierce. And because Patricia Heaton makes me want to set my face on fire -- but mostly the goony kids.

  • randomhookup

    The youngest, Atticus Shaffer, suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta. He's already 14 (and Eden Sher is already 20).

  • slymr

    Sarah Hyland had a kidney transplant in April, so I guess steroids and immunosuppresants are what shes done to herself.

  • oilybohunk7

    She is also 21, still very young but not a 16 year old trying to be an adult.

  • pajiba

    Ah, Jesus. I forgot all about that. NOW LOOK WHO'S THE ASSHOLE, ASSHOLE (that's me yelling at myself).

  • emmelemm

    But you're OUR asshole.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Oh no. Forget about it. Last time I shared an asshole:

    Choice A) it was being served in a restaurant in Guadalajara;
    Choice B) I was the tail end of a horse costume; or
    Choice C) was that time two friends and I decided to take a trip to Germany and our car broke down in the woods.

    And that's how I found out I was allergic to penicillin.

  • e jerry powell

    And oh, the segues that will launch...

  • emmelemm

    I meant it only with love and sincerity.

  • e jerry powell

    More about a particular item in Joanna's link dump. I dare not say what here, as I have already traumatized someone.

  • slymr

    Well, I saw the post and thought, "this will definitely include the kid from the middle, because his voice is clearly changing and he is only about 10" but it turns out he is 14 and has some sort of bone disease, so Im an asshole, too.

  • L.O.V.E.

    And to add insult to injury, you spelled her name wrong.

    So, would you like to mock RJ Mitte's portrayal of a teen with cerebral palsy while your at it?

  • dizzylucy

    I didn't notice anything that different about her myself, but I did know she had been ill and am glad to see she's doing OK.
    Plus, she is in her 20s I think, even though she's playing a high schooler, so I can't really fault her for wanting to grow up a bit!

  • Carlito

    Let's be honest. Everyone knew where Charlie Korsmo, Erik Per Sullivan, and Michael Fishman were headed, and it wasn't going to be the Miko Hughes route.

  • Scottieboy

    Fred Savage? No way!

  • bleujayone

    Brian Bonsall did a pretty good job disfiguring himself all on his own.
    He kinda looks like a shorn Eddie Munster now.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    I still say Haley Joel Osment makes a great Fat Mac. Mac doesn't have to eat his way out of a McDonald's dumpster to be Fat Mac... he can just have Haley Joel Osment step in.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Dude, you just... Dude! That's fucking perfect.

  • ee

    He really could. That video, as ridiculous as it was, still manages to prove he's got great acting range. Didn't know he had chubbed out before this though.

  • Nadine

    EY! Fred Savage is still adorable. Those eyes!

  • Bert_McGurt

    Macauley probably wouldn't look so bad if he got aquainted with a razor now and again. Or found a good barber.

  • Adrien

    He became Thom Yorke.

  • Jezzer

    Or, you know. GOT OFF THE METH.

  • e jerry powell

    I think Mac looks more like Kit Culkin now than he did before. That may not be a good thing, but that's what is...

  • BendinIntheWind

    No way Fred Savage deserves to be on this list, unless you have a strange interpretation of the word "disfigured".

  • Adrien

    At least Fred didn't look like Jay Leno as an adult.

  • Samantha

    I have to disagree. He gives me a serial rapist vibe.


    Or is it just because of his guest spot on Boy Meets World? (Creepy Professor who hit on Topanga - very uncomfortable)

  • Kivrin

    That's only because of his stint on L&O:SVU, right?

  • Funky_Brewster

    Not only is he not disfigured but he directs some of the best episodes of It's Always Sunny. That alone gets him a pass not to be on this list.

  • Alice

    Fred Savage is still adorable. Doesn't his voice still squeak a little? If not, it should.

  • space_oddity

    Absolutely agree. Guy looks almost exactly the same, but not freakish, like many of the others on this list. He's also probably the most successful adult of all these... hmm.

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