The Child Actors Who Are Most Likely to Succeed in Hollywood

Photo Credit: ABC
May 17th, 2014

Many popular actors and actresses started their careers as child actors. Although some child actors have struggled to grow up in the spotlight, many have gone on to become award-winning actors who play some of the most challenging film and television roles. The following list explores the current generation of child actors who have the skill and experience to become talented adult actors.


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Quvenzhané Wallis

Quvenzhané Wallis is one of the most talented young actors of the past decade. Although she has only been acting for four years, Wallis has participated in several critically acclaimed films. Her role as Hushpuppy in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" earned her an Academy Award nomination for best actress, making Wallis the youngest person to be nominated for an Academy Award. Wallis followed up her role in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" with a supporting role in "12 Years a Slave." Her performances in both films were praised by critics, and she has repeatedly shown her unique ability to act in emotionally driven films. This alone indicates Wallis will continue to have success as an actress well into adulthood. Wallis is scheduled to next appear in the remake of the film "Annie" where she will showcase her singing ability.



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Benjamin Stockham

Benjamin Stockham is only 13 years old, but he has a long list of credits and experience playing diverse roles. Stockham began his acting career with the difficult role of playing an infected child in the TV movie "Quarantine." Stockham next appeared in a number of popular television shows including "CSI NY," "Rizzoli and Isles," "1600 Penn" and "Criminal Minds." Stockham also appeared in "Sons of Tucson," which earned him a Young Artist Award for best performance in a TV series. Stockham has recently appeared in the mainstream film "Decoding Annie Parker" and the television series "About a Boy." If his previous performances are any indication, Stockham will most likely continue to have a promising career in Hollywood, as he has already shown he is capable of playing a number of different and challenging characters.



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Kiernan Shipka

Kiernan Shipka initially began her career as a child model before transitioning to acting. She is best known for playing Betty and Don Draper's daughter Sally in "Mad Men." Shipka received a Screen Actors Guild Award and Emmy Award for her performance in this role. Aside from "Mad Men," Shipka has played small roles in numerous television shows including "Monk," Heroes" and "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23." In addition, Keirnan appeared in the made-for-TV film "Flowers in the Attic" playing the lead role of Cathy. Shipka also voices the character Oona in the popular children's series "Sofia the First." Kiernan has been repeatedly recognized by critics for her acting and ability to bring maturity to her roles, despite being only 13 years old.



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Rico Rodriguez

Rico Rodriguez began acting at the age of 8 after his sister became a child actor. He was immediately cast in a number of television and film roles. He is most well known for playing Manny Delgado in "Modern Family." For this role, Rodriguez received two Screen Actors Guild Awards and was nominated for the same award in 2013. In addition, Rodriguez has been awarded three Teen Choice Awards and two Young Artists Awards. Aside from "Modern Family," Rodriguez has appeared in "ER," Nip/Tuck," "iCarly," "My Name is Earl," NCIS" and "Good Luck Charlie." With the long list of credits, Rodriguez has the experience and skill to become a successful adult actor in Hollywood. In his role as Manny, Rodriguez has shown a natural skill for comedic timing, which is a rare quality of a child actor.



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Willow Smith

Willow Smith—daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith—is a talented singer, dancer and actress. She made her acting debut alongside her father in "I Am Legend." Smith earned a Young Artist Award for her performance and was largely praised by critics for her role as Marley. Smith followed up this role by lending her voice to the animated films "Madagascar: Escape to Africa" and "Merry Madagascar." Smith was originally chosen to appear in "Annie" and contribute songs to the soundtrack, but she was ultimately considered too old for the role and Quvenzhané Wallis was chosen for the role. With her ability to sing and act, there is no doubt Smith will continue to be successful in Hollywood.

These child actors have the ability to star alongside veteran actors and play their characters just as well as their older counterparts. Each child actor has already been recognized for their work by critics and fans alike. There is no doubt every actor on this list will continue to be successful well into adulthood.