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好萊塢童星

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好萊塢童星 Hollywood Child Stars

It’s almost expected nowadays: a child star in a hit movie or TV show. The kid works hard, earns lots of money, and becomes the main breadwinner for a whole family. This cash cow is exploited by parents or managers, starts hanging out with older friends, develops an addiction, disappears from public, and ends up broke, washed up, or dead before middle age.

It’s not easy to be a child star. Hollywood history is littered with sad stories of those who had too much, too young. Jackie Coogan was perhaps the first child star. He made millions in movies in the 1920s, but his parents spent it all. This led to the Coogan Bill, which requires employers of child stars to put some of their wages in a trust, rather than their parents’ hands.

Coogan survived his fame, at least. Corey Haim, Dana Plato, River Phoenix, Bobby Driscoll, Anissa Jones, and Brad Renfro all had promising acting careers as kids. But they all died before 40 from drugrelated problems. Michael Jackson, Gary Coleman, and Judy Garland, all extremely famous as children, struggled longer with drugs, alcohol, and depression, but still didn’t reach old age. And stars like Drew Barrymore, Jodie Sweetin, Todd Bridges, and Danny Bonaduce barely survived their young fame to get to adulthood and clean up. Lindsay Lohan is currently fighting her way through stardom and addiction, but we can’t predict whether she’ll succeed.

There are exceptions to this rule. Jodie Foster transitioned smoothly from child star to adult professional, as did Natalie Portman. Dakota Fanning is a model of good behavior, and the Harry Potter kids don’t seem to be self-destructing. Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter star, explains it this way: "It’s very different doing it in England. In America, you’re treated as an actor first and a kid second. Here, you’re a kid first and an actor second, which is how it should be."

Kid first, actor second. Hollywood would do well to remember that.


這種狀況現在幾乎變成常態:賣座電影或電視節目中一定有個童星。這孩子努力工作賺大錢,成為家經濟支柱。這金牛被家長或經紀人剝削,開始跟一些年紀較大的朋友混在一起,養成一些癮頭,消失在眾人眼前,最後破產,不再有希望,或活不到中年就死了。

做童星不容易。好萊塢史上多的是這些年紀輕輕就坐擁萬金的悲傷故事。傑克• 庫根或許是第一位童星,他在1920 年代因拍電影而賺得數百萬美金,但他的雙親卻將錢花得一點不剩。「庫根法案」因此被制定出來,童星的雇主必須將部分薪水放入信託,而非全數交給父母。

庫根至少在名氣中存活了下來。Corey Haim、Dana Plato、River Phoenix、Bobby Driscoll、Anissa Jones 以及Brad Renfro 等人,在孩提時都有光明的演藝事業,但都在四十歲前因毒品相關的問題而死亡。麥可• 傑克森、Gary Coleman 及Judy Garland 小時候也都非常有名,但後來都染上毒品和酒精,長期過著意志消沉的日子,最後仍無法終老。Drew Barrymore、Jodie Sweetin、Todd Bridges 和DannyBonaduce 等明星,則是終於熬過年輕的盛名,長大後洗心革面。Lindsay Lohan 目前正與她的明星光環及毒癮對抗,成功無法預期。

這種慣例也是有例外的。就如Natalie Portman,Jodie Foster 順利從童星蛻變長大成為專業演員。Dokota Fanning 則是良好的行為典範。而《哈利波特》中的童星似乎都沒有自我毀滅的傾向。《哈利波特》的童星丹尼爾• 雷德克里夫這麼解釋:「在英國的做法很不同。在美國,他們首先把你當演員,之後才把你當孩子看。你在英國反而是先被當孩子看,然後才是演員的身分。情況本來就該是這個樣子。」

童星應該先被當孩子看,然後才是演員的身分。好萊塢最好能記得這一點。

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