The Life and Career of Former Child Star Macaulay Culkin

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December 26th, 2013

The Life and Career of Former Child Star Macaulay Culkin

Born into a poor yet close-knit family in the year 1980, Macaulay Culkin was one of the most famous child actors in Hollywood during the late 80s and throughout the 90s. Although Culkin was a multimillionaire by the age of ten, he came from very humble beginnings. Culkin was born in New York and is one of seven children. The entire family of nine lived in a small one-bedroom apartment in Yorkville, New York. Culkin's father was also a child actor and continued to dabble in acting as an adult, and he also worked part-time at a Catholic church. Culkin's mother was a homemaker who worked part time as a telephone operator.

Culkin began acting in plays at the age of four at the Ensemble Studio Theater. Within a year, he starred in multiple stage plays and began auditioning for movies. Culkin's father, Kit, worked as his manager. Culkin ultimately landed his first movie role in the 1985 television film ''The Midnight Hour,'' and it would be three years before he landed his next one. During those years, Culkin continued to act in stage plays. He returned to the big screen with Burt Lancaster in 1988's "Rocket Gibraltar" and also landed a part on the hit CBS television series ''The Equalizer'' that same year. In 1989, Culkin starred as Billy Livingstone in the film ''See You in the Morning,'' a role for which he received rave reviews, as well as opposite John Candy in "Uncle Buck." With these roles, he started to gain some popularity in Hollywood. Then, in late 1989, Culkin landed the role that would ultimately change his life forever.



''Home Alone,'' a family comedy directed by Chris Columbus, is the film that turned Culkin into a Hollywood superstar. The film grossed almost $500 million at the box office worldwide and made Culkin a household name. He played the role of Kevin McAllister, a child who was accidentally left home alone by his parents during the Christmas holiday. In the film, Kevin learns that a pair of thieves are trying to burglarize his home, and his ability to continuously outsmart these men leads to a series of hilarious events that kept audiences of all ages entertained.

After the success of ''Home Alone,'' Culkin's family life changed drastically. Although Culkin earned a lot of money playing Kevin McAllister, Culkin's father thought that his son was grossly underpaid for the role due to the immense success of the film. He decided to take a more active role in his son's career to keep this from happening again. Culkin spent most of his time with his father attending celebrity interviews, practicing for movie roles, going to movie auditions, attending red-carpet events, and attending a lot of meetings with Hollywood producers and directors. Culkin's mother stayed home and took care of his six brothers and sisters. As Culkin's manager, his father was very protective of his son and was involved with every aspect of each decision made regarding his son's career. Although many Hollywood filmmakers were not too excited about working with Kit, they loved Culkin, and so did the viewing public.

Culkin's career skyrocketed after ''Home Alone.'' During the early 1990s, his father negotiated contracts that landed him roles in the hit films ''Only the Lonely,'' ''My Girl,'' and ''The Good Son,'' all of which performed reasonably well at the box office. He also starred in the sequel to ''Home Alone.'' Like the first movie in the franchise, ''Home Alone 2: Lost in New York'' was very successful and went on to earn almost $400 million at the box office. Culkin also landed starring roles in the hit movies ''Getting Even with Dad,'' ''The Pagemaster,'' and ''Richie Rich.'' Culkin became the highest-paid child actor of all time during the early 1990s, but as his success continued to rise, his once close-knit family began having more problems. These problems began to affect Culkin and his work. Although Culkin achieved an immense amount of success and showed no signs of slowing down, Culkin decided to stop acting in 1994 at the age of fourteen.

At the age of 18, Culkin married eighteen-year-old actress Rachel Miner, and the couple stayed married for four years before divorcing in 2002. Throughout the early 2000s, Culkin rarely made appearances at Hollywood events. At the age of twenty, Culkin reemerged as an actor, starring in the play ''Madame Melville.'' He played an American student experiencing life and love for the first time while living in Paris. After this experience, he took another break and reemerged in 2003 in an episode of the hit television series ''Will and Grace.'' Since 2004, Culkin appeared in four films, none of which were box-office smashes. According to Culkin, his failing career, the death of his sister, and estrangement from his family contributed to his decision to abuse drugs. Culkin has been to rehab multiple times and is currently attempting a career comeback. According to Culkin, acting is his calling. Culkin also started dating ''All My Children'' actress Jordan Price in late 2013.