The contribution of children in the making of cinema has been substantial. Young artists have been a part of the film since the initial days. Acting at such an early age impacts the childhood.
At times the character was so demanding and so were the film-makers that they often forgot that they were dealing with kids. Many times these artists faced such kind of treatment that would sound harsh for adults as well. Many such cases led to the establishment of some laws towards protection of young performers.
The story of sorrow behind those little smiles and twinkling eyes started with the very first child performers. The story of nine kids below will make anyone feel nostalgic and sorry for these kids who became stars. While we tell you about these nine actors, many of them have gone untold and unheard.
If you also know any artist who went through pain and discomfort being part of the film fraternity, please write in comments and also SHARE with people around you.
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1. Shirley Temple
This little girl with curly hair was loved by all and at times envied also for her perfect rolls. But this did not come free for Shirley Temple. It was physically taxing to keep the hair twisted and pinned all the night. Even more demanding was the vinegar wash to keep the hair in good shape but was cruel for eyes.
Her admirers were at times so doubtful of her hair that they pulled her locks to ensure it was not a wig.
2. Gary Coleman
Gary Coleman got fame through television with his appearance in series Diff’rent Strokes. While people loved his small appearance but it was actually because of genetic autoimmune kidney disorder. He got his kidney transplanted twice and required to go for daily dialysis.
Besides health, he was ripped off his wealth too by his foster parents.
3. Ricky Nelson
Ricky Nelson was followed by the teens and belonged to an affluent family. His dad was an arrogant man and mother was a perfectionist. While his growing years he was introvert and felt timid about himself. Funnyman Red Skelton describes him as an odd man in the Nelson family.
During his life, he often had asthmatic attacks and other respiratory problems.
4. Patty Duke
Patty Duke was only sixteen years old when she suffered from bipolar disorder. But she was unaware of this problem and could not understand why she behaved so differently at times. This even led to the negative publicity of hers.
Her opposing behaviour gave birth to the roles of twin cousins on The Patty Duke Show.
5. Maureen McCormick
Maureen lost her grandmother due to mental illness and her grandfather committed suicide after that. This left a big impact on the eldest Brady sister. To vent out her feelings she looked forward to the roles where she would cry and can release her sorrows.
She always lived under fear of getting infected by some sexually transmitted disease like her mother, as her grandfather travelled a lot during the First World War However, she later understood this is not the case but still lived under depression all her life.
6. Natalie Wood
Natalie was doing well in movies and performed in movies like Rebel Without a Cause and Miracle on 34th Street. She was a ticket to glamour and limelight for her mother, who could not achieve it by herself.
Her mother often forced her to please men much older than her only to keep her in the limelight. Such relations caused exploitation and that was always overlooked.
7. Jackie Coogan
Even before Jackie Coogan reached adolescence, he worked in various known shows and movies. The most known were his performance alongside Charlie Chaplin in The Kid. He earned millions of dollars during his high phase.
Ironically whatever he earned was gambled away by his parents and he could not use even a penny of it. This incident led to the Coogan Act in 1939 to prevent the assets of young artists.
8. Margaret O’Brien
For some fame comes too early. This was the case with Margret who received Juvenile Academy Award at the age of seven. When she was in her early teens she lost her mother due to a heart ailment. Adding to her sorrows was a maid who stole her award and ran away.
Though she was given a replacement, she always wanted the original back. After she was in her forties, she got her original lady back.
9. Jackie Cooper
For Jackie Cooper, life took some bad turns pretty early. He was two and his father left the family. He got success from the TV series Our Gang. After his father left another man came as a part of his family but he was shrewd and mean.
For one of the scenes in film Skippy, his uncle Norman Taurog told Jackie that he would shoot his dog behind the studio. This made him cry and Norman was able to record actual tears. But once Jackie found his pet was okay he was very angry with his uncle and never pardoned him.
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