Woman Reading Peter Pan book

Children have been entertaining the masses since the beginning of the industry in the early 1900s. We’ve all heard the stories of “child stars gone bad” but WHY bad things happen is just a touch more complicated than the media wants to make it. We think it is important to preserve the history of past mistakes—so we can avoid making them in the future.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana (1863–1952), U.S. philosopher, poet.

Jena at 15

A Childhood in Hollywood
by Nancy Rommelmann, 2000
Jena Malone was Hollywood’s “it” child actor. Until she emancipated from her mom and the truth came out.

LA Weekly Cautionary Tale for Child Actors

The Twilight Zone Tragedy

Child Actors Die on Set
In 1982, 3 actors died on the set of a major motion picture, directed by Jon Landis. Two of the dead were children, hired illegally with no studio teacher.  This could still happen today. RIP Renee (age 6) and My-ca (age 7).

Twilight zone crash victims

Child Stars Who Lost All Their Money

Bankruptcies, Conservatorship, Substance Abuse
These are all star names from classic films and series, and yet they found themselves in poverty. We can’t verify the numbers in this article, since they are using other media outlets for sources.  Still, the lessons from 20/20 hindsight are there if we choose to learn from them.

Amanda Bynes

Kid Nation

A Reality Show for Kids
In 2007, reality television was big.  CBS created a show very simlar to Survivor, where 40 children were chosen from across the country (except CA due to labor protections) to compete Lord of the Flies style, in New Mexico.  What could go wrong?  Plenty.  Parents signed a 22 page release and were miles from the set. There were a couple of lawsuits as well. In addition to what this article chronicles, BizParentz is aware of further child tragedies that existed on set, including child abuse, exposure to HIV, permanent disfigurement and more. NDAs (Non-disclosure agreements) for everyone!

Cast members of Kid Nation

An Open Secret

This documentary feature film by Academy Award nominated Amy Berg, tells the haunting stories of child actors who were abused by Hollywood producers, directors, acting coaches and managers. Bizparentz served as consultants on the film, and we strongly believe every parent in this industry should see the film. It is not easy, but it is a necessary cautionary tale.
View the PG version of the film FREE on Vimeo.

For more background:
Bizparentz and the Making of An Open Secret

After An Open Secret