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Encyclopedia > Child actor

The term child actor is generally applied to a child acting in motion pictures or television, but also to an adult who began his or her acting career as a child; to avoid confusion the latter is also called a former child actor. Closely associated is teen actor, an actor who reached popularity as a teenager. “Children” redirects here. ... Acting is the work of an actor or actress, which is a person in theatre, television, film, or any other storytelling medium who tells the story by portraying a character and, usually, speaking or singing the written text or play. ... Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. ... A young woman who is 18 years old. ... A separate article is about the punk band called The Adolescents. ...

In some countries child actors in the performing arts (television, film or stage) are prohibited from doing certain things.[citation needed] In these countries, a child actor may not:

  1. risk his or her physical well being (no dangerous stunts)
  2. be exposed to morally compromising situations
  3. be nude or partially nude
  4. engage in overt sexual acts

Compulsory education laws mandate that the education of child actor not be disrupted while the child is working. Whether a child actor is enrolled in public school, private school, or home school, the child does schoolwork under the supervision of a set teacher while on the set.

Finally, the hours a child actor may work are limited. Generally, stricter time limits are imposed for younger actors. A very young infant might be allowed "under the lights" only a few minutes a day. It is common in television production for the role of a young child to be portrayed by identical twins to reduce each child's time on set. When a child turns 18, the legal limits on work time are lifted. A human infant In basic English usage, an infant is defined as a child at the youngest stage of life, especially before they can walk or simply a child before the age of one. ... Fraternal twin boys in the tub The term twin most notably refers to two individuals (or one of two individuals) who have shared the same uterus (womb) and usually, but not necessarily, born on the same day. ...


Regulation of child actors

The activities of child actors are regulated by the governing labor union, if any, and state and federal laws. Being a minor, a child actor must secure a work permit before accepting any paid performing work.

Limitations imposed by laws are not uniform across the states or beyond national boundaries. Longer work hours or risky stunts, prohibited in California, for example, might be permitted to a project filming in British Columbia. Some projects film in remote locations specifically to evade regulations intended to protect the child.

Issues involving child actors

Ownership of earnings

Using children in motion pictures has been criticized as exploitation, particularly since some prominent child actors never got to see the money they earned. Jackie Coogan became a millionaire while still a child but almost all of his money was used by his parents. John Leslie (Jackie) Coogan (October 26, 1914 – March 1, 1984) was an American actor who began his movie career as a child actor in silent films. ...

Some have defended this saying that the child directly benefited from the lifestyle the earnings made possible or that the child would not have achieved stardom without a significant investment of time and effort by the parents. Others argue that it is unfair for the child to have to support the family when the parents are capable, as this tends to invert the parent child relationship.

In 1939, California weighed in on this controversy by enacting the original Coogan Law, amended at various times since, which requires a portion of the earnings of a child actor to be preserved in a special savings account called a blocked trust. The California Child Actors Bill (also known as Coogan Act or Coogan Bill) is a law applicable to child performers, designed to safeguard a portion of their earnings for when they enter adulthood. ...

Competitive pressure

Some people also criticize the parents of child actors for allowing their children to work, believing that more “normal” activities should be the staple during the childhood years. Others observe that competition is present in all areas of a child’s life—from sports to student newspaper to orchestra and band—and believe that the work ethic instilled, or the talent developed accrues to the child’s benefit.

The child actor may experience unique and negative pressures when working under tight production schedules. Large projects which depend for their success on the ability of the child to deliver an effective performance add to the pressure.

Inappropriate behavior

In the United States, despite the ban of nudity involving juvenile performers that exists in other countries, child actresses have appeared nude in several motion pictures. For example, Brooke Shields (or a body double of comparable age) appeared nude in Pretty Baby (1978), a film in which the 12-year-old actress plays a prostitute about whom a much older photographer becomes obsessed. Two years later, Shields appeared partially nude alongside child actor Christopher Atkins, with whom, as a castaway from a shipwreck, she set up housekeeping, in Blue Lagoon (1980). In 1999, a barely 17-year-old Thora Birch showed her breasts in the film American Beauty. Brooke Christa Shields[1] (born May 31, 1965) is an American actress and model. ... Body Double is a 1984 film by directed Brian De Palma. ... Pretty Baby is a 1978 historical fiction dramatic film directed by Louis Malle. ... Prostitution is the sale of sexual services (typically manual stimulation, oral sex, sexual intercourse, or anal sex) for cash or other kind of return, generally indiscriminately with many persons. ... Christopher Atkins on the cover of Playgirl Magazine, 1983 Christopher Atkins smiling Christopher Atkins (born Christopher Bowman on February 21, 1961 in Rye, New York) is an American actor and was a popular teen idol. ... U.S. merchant seamen try to revive a shipwrecked Filipino fisherman rescued in the South China Sea. ... The Blue Lagoon is a 1980 American romance and adventure film starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, produced and directed by Randal Kleiser. ... Thora Birch (born March 11, 1982) is an American actress. ... American Beauty is a 1999 drama film that explores themes of romantic and paternal love, freedom, beauty, self-liberation, existentialism, the search for happiness, and family against the backdrop of modern American suburbia. ...

However, some studios have taken measures to protect child actors from exposure to inappropriate behavior. For example, The Guardian reported that "Child stars will be protected from nudity, swearing, smoking and drinking under a groundbreaking new policy that places the welfare, safety and education of performing children at the forefront of Disney's productions" (September 24, 2004). The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. ... Walt Disney Pictures logo (2006-present) Walt Disney Pictures refers to several different entities associated with The Walt Disney Company: // Walt Disney Pictures, the film banner, was established as a designation in 1983, prior to which Disney films since the death of Walt Disney were released under the name of...

Troubled adulthood?

Many child actors have had successful careers into adulthood including Christina Ricci, Drew Barrymore, Ron Howard, Kim Fields, Roddy McDowall, Tommy Rettig, Scott Baio, Adam Rich, Tisha Campbell, Mildred Harris, Bill Mumy, Elijah Wood, Alyssa Milano, Tichina Arnold, Jodie Foster, Kurt Russell, Van Dyke Parks, Anna Paquin, Dean Stockwell, Mickey Rooney, Melissa Gilbert, Mickey Dolenz, Keith Coogan, Christian Bale, Raven Symone, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sarah Jessica Parker, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Astin, Kirsten Dunst and Jackie Coogan. Others transition to non-acting careers. Peter Ostrum, for example, is now a successful large-animal veterinarian after a starring role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Most notably, Shirley Temple became a successful public figure and diplomat, eventually becoming U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and then United States Department of State Chief of Protocol under the Nixon Administration, and Brandon Cruz is a successful punk rocker, after a co-starring role in The Courtship of Eddie's Father. Christina Ricci (born February 12, 1980) is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated American actress. ... Drew Blyth Barrymore (born February 22, 1975) is an American actress and film producer. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Kim Victoria Fields (born May 12, 1969 in New York, New York) is an American actress. ... McDowall as a child actor Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall (September 17, 1928 – October 3, 1998) was a British actor. ... Tommy Rettig (also known as Tom Rettig) (December 10, 1941 – February 15, 1996) was an American child actor, computer software engineer, and author. ... Scott Vincent Baio (born September 22, 1961, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American actor, best known for the roles of Chachi Arcola on Happy Days and its spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi, and Charles on Charles in Charge. ... Adam Rich (born in Brooklyn, New York City, on October 12, 1968) is an American actor. ... Tisha Campbell-Martin (born October 13, 1968 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA) has starred in television shows such as Martin (as Gina Waters) and My Wife and Kids (as Janet Kyle). ... Mildred Harris Mildred Harris (November 29, 1901 - July 20, 1944) was a notable actress of the silent film era. ... Charles William Mumy, Jr. ... This page may meet Wikipedia’s criteria for speedy deletion. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Tichina Arnold (born June 28, 1971) is an American actress known for her role on Martin playing Pamela James, as Rochelle on Everybody Hates Chris and as Nicole on the sitcom One on One. ... Jodie Foster (born November 19, 1962) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress, director, and producer. ... Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951) is an American actor. ... Van Dyke Parks (born January 3, 1943) is an American composer, arranger, producer, musician, singer and actor noted for his collaborations with Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys on the song Heroes and Villains and the recently released cult-legend album, Smile. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Dean Stockwell (born March 5, 1936 in North Hollywood, California) is an Oscar-nominated American film and television actor. ... Actor Mickey Rooney speaks at the Pentagon in 2000 during a ceremony honoring the USO. Mickey Rooney (born Joseph Yule, Jr. ... Melissa Gilbert Melissa Ellen Gilbert (born on May 8, 1964) is an American actress. ... George Michael Dolenz (born March 8, 1945), better known as Micky Dolenz, is an American actor, musician, and director. ... Keith Coogan (b. ... Christian Charles Philip Bale (also known professionally as Christian Morgan Bale; born 30 January 1974) is an English actor who is known for his roles in the films American Psycho, Batman Begins, and The Prestige, among others. ... Raven-Symone as Raven Raven-Symon Christina Pearman (born December 10, 1985 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA), known professionally as Raven-Symon , is an African American actress, singer, and former model. ... Sarah Michelle Gellar (born April 14, 1977) is a Golden Globe-nominated, Emmy Award-winning American actress. ... Sarah Jessica Parker (born March 25, 1965), is a Golden Globe and Emmy-winning American actress and an Emmy-winning producer, with a portfolio of television, movie, and theatre performances. ... Neil Patrick Harris (born June 15, 1973 in Albuquerque, New Mexico) is an American actor. ... Sean Astin (born Sean Patrick Duke[1] on February 25, 1971) is an American film actor, director, and Oscar-nominated producer, most famous for his roles as Mikey in The Goonies, Rudy in the film Rudy, and as Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. ... Kirsten[1] Caroline Dunst (born April 30, 1982) is a Golden Globe nominated American actress, best known for her roles in Interview with the Vampire, The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, and Bring It On, as well as Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man film series. ... John Leslie (Jackie) Coogan (October 26, 1914 – March 1, 1984) was an American actor who began his movie career as a child actor in silent films. ... Peter Ostrum, during an interview for the documentary Pure Imagination Peter Ostrum as Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Peter Gardner Ostrum [1] (born November 1, 1957) is a former American child actor who starred as Charlie Bucket in the 1971 motion picture Willy Wonka & the Chocolate... Shirley Jane Temple (born April 23,1928) later known as Shirley Temple Black, is an American diplomat, and a former child actress. ... This page is about negotiations; for the board game, see Diplomacy (game). ... The United States Department of State, often referred to as the State Department, is the Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the United States government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. ... The Chief of Protocol is an officer of the United States Department of State responsible for advising the President of the United States, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State on official matters of national and international diplomatic protocol. ... Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. ... Brandon Edwin Cruz (born May 28, 1962 in Bakersfield, California) was a child actor and is a musician. ... Punk rock is an anti-establishment music movement beginning around 1976 (although precursors can be found several years earlier), exemplified and popularised by The Ramones, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned. ... The Courtship of Eddies Father is a 1963 comedy film directed by Vincente Minnelli. ...

Tragic and well publicized examples certainly exist where a child actor falls into self-destructive behavior. One study by Lisa Rapport concluding that "the present findings also indicate that the environment of the entertainment industry is not necessarily toxic to normal development. Instead, the results support the well-established theory that good parenting serves as a buffer for life stress."[1]

However, the somewhat muffled language of this study should be tempered by the high rates of substance abuse found among these individuals, as well as the very high percentage describing themselves as "actors" still at the age of 18.

Thus, criticisms about free choice remain relevant, especially when these children are often not given the same education as others in their peer group.

Interestingly, the same study noted a very high tendency among child entertainers to limit themselves to adult friends, rather than friends of their own age group.

Other reports, such as "Children as Chattels: The Disturbing Plight of Child Actors" by attorneys Marc R. Staenberg and Daniel K Stewart, use stronger language to describe the fates of these children.

Listings of child actors and singers

Following is a list of child actors. ... Following is a list of former child actors. ... A child singer is a child who has a career as a singer. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Child actor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (775 words)
The term child actor is generally applied to a child acting in motion pictures or television, but also to an adult who began his or her acting career as a child; to avoid confusion the latter is also called a former child actor.
A child actor may not (1) risk his or her physical well being (no dangerous stunts), (2) be exposed to morally compromising situations, (3) be nude or partially nude, (4) engage in overt sexual acts.
Others argue that it is unfair for the child to have to support the family when the parents are capable, as this tends to tends to invert the parent child relationship.
Reference.com/Encyclopedia/Child actor (568 words)
Due to child labor laws, children acting in films are restricted to doing limited hours of work per day.
The parents of child actors are also often criticised for allowing their children to work.
On the other hand, there are child actors who had successful careers (both acting and non-acting) in adulthood like Roddy McDowall, Tommy Rettig, Bill Mumy and Jodie Foster.
  More results at FactBites »



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