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The Agony and the Oddity of Child Actors

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By Chris Kavan - 06/23/10 at 08:39 PM CT

Now that I see Daniel Radcliffe is set to star in an upcoming adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front, and after the tragic death and weird aftermath of Gary Coleman's demise, one thing is certain: there is nothing quite like the life of a child actor.

For all it's worth, all the Potter actors seem to have turned out pretty good - no drug or booze-filled rampages (aside from the kid who played Crabbe getting busted for pot), no out-of-control parties, no sex in the champagne room at Hogwarts - they all seem like pretty normal, even likable people. And even bit players like that Pattinson fellow, seem to go on to play shiny vampires, or something of the sort.

What happened to the good old days when you could get good an liquored up before being a teenager (Drew Barrymore) or use your charm and good looks to engage in sex with co-stars or fans (David Cassidy, and pretty much all of the Brady Bunch) or get thrown in jail (Edward Furlong) or get so caught up in all the fun you just make the ultimate bad decision (River Phoenix).

Truth is, I'm glad we have a generation of actors that know how to handle themselves. In fact, aside from Lindsay Lohan, most of the current crop of younger people can either hide things really well, or are just plain smarter. I don't think we have to worry about many of them appearing in the future on celebrity rehab or celebrity boxing or having to make a porn video just to make sure people know they're still around.

Fact is, they seem more interested in choosing decent projects or even something wacky like getting an education. Sure, it's fun to watch a train wreck every now and then, but I like the latter scenario much better. Hey, if worse comes to worse, you can always just retire (Amanda Bynes, will she be missed?) - better than most other alternatives.

Any thoughts? Whose going to end up a legend, whose going to end up as tabloid fodder?

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