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Another Former Child Star Finds Trouble

taran
Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Imagine that you are a young kid and you are thrust into the world of Hollywood.  In this world you find success, fortune, all the things you ever dreamed of, but then comes the other side.  Suddenly you become older, what made you successful is no longer there,  and adjusting into adult life has no promise of the same life you once had.  Many have crashed and failed, some even worse, but add another name to a growing list of former child stars going down the wrong path.

Taran Noah Smith was just 7 years old when we first saw him on ABC in 1991 as Mark Taylor, the youngest of Tim “Tool Time” Taylor’s kids on Home Improvement.  202 episodes over the show’s 8 season saw Smith grow up before our very eyes.  By the time the show ended, Smith seemed to choose a path that many former child stars don’t choose – leave Hollywood.

Smith admitted in a 2001 interview that he did not want to act anymore.  He chose school after Home Improvement and early entry into the University of Southern California after completing high school about 2 years ahead of most.  He proved to be successful in business by establishing Playfood (their specialty being vegan and organic foods).

Today he made news that many former child stars take by being arrested in L.A. County by driving under the influence of marijuana and possession of hash.  Smith seems not to fit the pattern of former child stars gone downhill, but some signs may have been there before this:

1) Suing the parents

We have seen many former child stars file lawsuits against their parents because of their manipulation of the child’s wealth.  We saw this in the cases of Gary Coleman, Leann Rimes, and most famously with Macaulay Culkin.  Smith won his case against his parents for control of his $1.5 Million trust fund.

2) Dropping out of school

Those former child stars that seem to make it into the next phase of life usually find success in school to give them another avenue just in case acting does not work out.  Danica McKeller went from playing Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years to graduating Summa Cum Laude from UCLA in Mathematics and proved her own math theorem.  Jamie Luner started on Growing Pains, segued into Just The Ten of Us, then culinary school and became a well known French chef in the L.A. area.

These 2 actresses still act, but have come out as adults well adjusted due to having something else through education of some sort.  Smith dropped out of USC after only one year.

3) Behavior that seemed odd

We have seen the “Hot Mess” that Lindsay Lohan has been over the last few years.  Drugs seem to contribute to most in their downfall from grace, but sometimes there are decisions that do not always make sense from those former stars that potentially reveal a deeper problem.  In Smith’s case, he was married at the age of 17 — his wife was 33.  They divorced after nearly 6 years of marriage.

4) Drugs!

Leif Garrett may be the biggest tragedy of a Child Star fall apart.  He had fame, magazine covers, a hit song, film success, women wanting him, and the grips of a cocaine and alcohol addiction that has haunted him for his entire adult life.  Some may not think that Smith being arrested for “Pot” may not be a big deal, but it is against the law and we should know not to be driving under the influence of anything that can affect yourself or tohers on the road.

5) Previous arrests

Smith had been arrested in 2006 trying to save a farm that was being threatened by land developers.  Not the kind of arrest that would tip off any problems, but there has been a pattern of problems of former child stars when arrests are popping up.

You hate to see anyone fall from grace, famous or not.  Smith seems to have more than most former child stars – hopefully he can find his way past this and look at himself to rectify whatever issues he may have and not become a statistic (like a River Phoenix).

 

 

 

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