5 Child Actors Who Grew Up To Be Acclaimed Actors

Don’t believe that good things come to those who wait?

Just take a look at our round-up of child actors who successfully transitioned into some of Hollywood’s most desirable leading men.To those who track the online fervor that surrounds these stars and unofficially designated “dreamboat of choice” to women younger than 40, these actors are the modern, self-aware equivalent of Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando and James Dean rolled into one simultaneously uber-cool, sensitive male soul. Check-out:

Justin Timberlake

Nothing screams “child actor” like starring on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club as a preteen. While JT spent his teen years as the youngest, cutest member of NSYNC, his adult career has successfully included both hit albums and acclaimed movies, including David Fincher’s The Social Network and the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.

Jeff Bridges

Debuting as a toddler in The Company She Keeps, Bridges’ childhood resume includes TV series Sea Hunt and The Lloyd Bridges Show. But his true breakthrough came at age 22 with The Last Picture Show which cemented his swoon-worthy status (and made him one of the youngest performers nominated for an Oscar). Forty years later, Bridges became one of the oldest actors to win an Oscar for his star turn in Crazy Heart.

Neil Patrick Harris

Discovered at drama camp, Harris made his movie debut opposite Whoopi Goldberg in Clara’s Heart before portraying the titular child prodigy on Doogie Howser, M.D. To shed his child-star image, he appeared as a drugged-out version of himself in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, a performance that helped him land the role of womanizer Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. He’s also won a Tony for Hedwig and the Angry Inch while serving as a trailblazer as one of Hollywood’s few openly gay stars.

Ryan Gosling

Gosling took the slow and steady route to Hollywood’s A list, parlaying his part on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club into supporting roles in movies like Remember The Titans and Murder By Numbers. Gosling-mania finally erupted with the 2004 release of The Notebook, which made women’s hearts skip worldwide. Gosling obviously was a celebrity long before 2011, but 2011 was the year that Ryan Gosling the Phenomenon truly came into being. To those who spend little time navigating entertainment blogs, Gosling, 31, is merely an actor who has deservedly earned an Academy Award nomination and appeared in three wildly different films in recent months: “Drive,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “The Ides of March.” (Four, actually, if you count “Blue Valentine,” which rolled out in wider release back in January 2011.)It’s hard to imagine Ryan as being any more perfect than he already is. And after seeing Ryan Gosling in La La Land, we can totally imagine him as a young twinkle-toed dancer.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Thrown off the set of Romper Room at age 5, DiCaprio took the rejection well. After landing a recurring role on Growing Pains, he nabbed an Oscar nomination at the tender age of 19 for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Five more nominations and one ‘Titanic’-sized blockbuster later, DiCaprio finally won an Academy Award for The Revenant. Now that he’s such an Oscar-winning mega star, adored by men and women alike thanks to his boyish good looks and hard-boiled performances in a slew of taut thrillers, it’s hard to imagine that Leo was once a teen idol faced with all the pitfalls and trappings of young stardom.

That’s all folks!

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