Like Howard, Fred Savage’s reinvention came when he stepped behind the camera. The star of The Wonder Years has become one of the most respected sitcom directors in Hollywood, and is one of the go-to directors for shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, before returning to his own starring role in The Grinder.
We’re not entirely sure if this is a “successful” reinvention or not at this point, but there aren’t many child stars who have completely shattered their previous image as much as Miley Cyrus. The former Hannah Montana jettisoned her Disney image and has become one of the most risqué performers in the world.
You probably didn’t realize that Joe Pesci was a child star, did you? When he was a kid, Pesci was a regular on a little known variety show, before becoming your typical, struggling actor. It’s amazing to think that a happy little child star would eventually become a terrifying little mobster in so many great movies.
These days, Drake is known for being one of the most famous and highly regarded rappers in the world. But believe it or not – and unless you live in Canada, you might not know this – he began his fame as a wheelchair bound student on the show Degrassi: The Next Generation.
Going back in time a little bit, you might not recognize Jackie Coogan’s name but you know who he is. The former child star – who starred alongside Charlie Chaplin in The Kid – would later find success in a much different role: that of Uncle Fester on The Addams Family.
We’ve already had two Jackies on this list, so what’s one more? Jackie Cooper was one of The Little Rascals when he was a kid, but unlike most of his costars there, he continued on with a successful acting career, most notably playing Perry White in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.