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Headlines from the early days of Former Child Star Central...



... Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) and wife Chelsea Noble are parents to a newborn girl, Isabella, his mother reveals to the January 19 Star. The couple, wed since 1991, previously adopted a son, Jonathan, in 1996. Cameron's sister, Candace (Full House), is also a new parent. She gave birth to her first child, a girl, in mid-1998, mom Barbara Cameron tells the tabloid. Candace Cameron is married to pro hockey player Valeri Bure. (POSTED: 1/14/99)

... New NYPD Blue recruit Rick Schroder (Silver Spoons) is being lauded as the 1998-99 TV season's "most riveting, character" by critic Matt Rousch in the January 16-22 edition of TV Guide. In the same issue, Blue producer Steven Bochco all but admits that Schroder's preternatural wrinkles helped land the ex-kid actor the part. "I thought, 'Here's a 28-year-old guy with a lot of miles on his face,'" Bochco says. (POSTED: 1/14/99)

... In an interview with the February Us magazine, Gary Coleman (Diff'rent Strokes) discloses that at, age 30, he's a virgin who knows he will never marry. "You know the phrase, 'Once bitten, twice shy?' Well, I'm about eight times shy," the actor-turned-security guard says. "As far as I'm concerned, being single is the only way to go." (POSTED: 1/14/99)

... Mackenzie Phillips (One Day at a Time) celebrated her "seven-year sober birthday" on January 27, she tells Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd. Phillips, who lost her career to drug and alcohol addiction, recently wrapped her first season on the Disney Channel kid series So Weird. (POSTED: 1/28/99)

... Ex-kid actor Ron Howard (The Andy Griffith Show) is defending current kid actor Jake Lloyd (Star Wars: Episode 1--The Phantom Menace) to the powers-that-be at Newsweek, charging that the news weekly was unduly cruel when it intimated "the kid can't act" in its January 18 edition. (Lloyd plays the young Darth Vader, aka Anakin Skywalker, in the upcoming prequel.) "As someone who was acting professionally at an early age, I can assure you that Jake is quite capable of reading, understanding, and feeling the full humiliation of a piece like that," the ex-Opie writes in a letter to the magazine. In its Lloyd item, Newsweek dubbed the 9-year-old thespian "Mannequin Skywalker." (POSTED: 1/30/99)


... In Inglewood, California, jury selection was completed February 2 for the misdemeanor assault-and-battery trial of Gary Coleman. The ex-Diff'rent Strokes star stands to lose his security-guard license if convicted of punching an autograph seeker. Outside the courtroom, Coleman's attorney maintained that the reputed victim is exploiting his client -- trying to "gain fame and fortune." (POSTED: 2/3/99)

... Gary Coleman short-circuited his assault trial February 4, pleading no contest to a lesser disturbing the peace charge. A judge levied a $400 fine on the teary-eyed actor and slapped him with a 90-day suspended jail sentence. Coleman also was ordered to attend 52 anger management classes. The plea came quickly -- and surprisingly -- after a day of testimony that seemed to bolster Coleman's cause. While the 4'8", 86-pound actor conceded on the stand that he did punch reputed victim Tracy Fields in a dispute over an autograph request -- he said he only did so because he was afraid the 5'6", 205-pound bus driver might attack him first. "She was scary," Coleman said. "Very scary." He went on to describe Fields as a "squishy" woman with large hands and imposing breasts that "were hitting me in the forehead." As if all that weren't enough, Coleman, now admittedly a former security guard to go along with his former child star status, said Fields called him a "little bitch." (POSTED: 2/6/99)

... Ex-Greg Brady Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch) wed Elia Mary Matt, an investment-banking executive, January 30, in a private ceremony in New York, TV Guide Online has learned. It is the second marriage for the 44-year-old Johnny Bravo. "He had his parents there and she had her mom," the actor's assistant tells the site. Marcia, presumably, was not invited. (POSTED: 2/8/99)

... Rick Schroder admits to USA Today that he missed the star treatment following the demise of his 1980s sitcom, Silver Spoons. "I had a lot of attention and stuff when I was a little boy, and now to have that attention again as a young man ... it's really sweet," the newly deputized NYPD Blue star says in the newspaper. "Sweeter, in a sense."

... Willie and Sue Coleman showed off the dinner plate they set for estranged son Gary every night at their Zion, Illinois, home to TV's Inside Edition. "You're still ours and I still love you and I always will until the day I die," Mr. Coleman says on the February 16 edition of the TV tab show. Gary Coleman sued his parents in 1989 over his TV earnings. The two sides haven't spoken since. (POSTED 2/17/99)

... Corey Feldman (Stand By Me) tells Howard Stern's radio show that he's engaged to his girlfriend of two years (one Regina -- last name unknown). They're set to say "I do" on September 9. Feldman is 28; the girlfriend, 21. (POSTED: 2/27/99)

... Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster) guest starred on the February 18 episode of NBC's Friends, arguably her highest-profile network appearance since the days of "Punky Power." "It doesn't matter how many years you do this, it's still so exciting," Frye, 22, tells TV's Access Hollywood. (POSTED: 2/27/99)

... A Hollywood woman claiming to be the lover of Dana Plato (Diff'rent Strokes) tells the March 2 edition of the National Enquirer that she fears the ex-primetime star is "missing in action" and "could lose her life any day." "She's falling apart...," Jennifer Wejbe says in the article. Police in Los Angeles, meanwhile, report no missing-persons cases involving the 34-year-old ex-star. A caller to Howard Stern's radio show on February 25 reported that Plato had been spotted in New York City, and the keeper of the authoritative "Diff'rent Strokes" Online Website said in an Internet posting that PLATO had been seen in Oklahoma visiting her son, Tyler. (POSTED: 2/27/99)

... The famous Jennifer Wejbe told the February 25 edition of Howard Stern's radio show that she received a worried phone call from Plato's son. She went on to assert that the former child star is a "treehugger." "She'll got out and tell a tree how pretty it is," Wejbe said. (POSTED: 2/27/99)


... Baby buster icons John Hughes (The Breakfast Club) and the Krofft Brothers (H.R. Pufnstuf) will team to produce a big-screen version of iconic baby boomer sitcom, Family Affair, Daily Variety reports. The original 1966-1971 CBS-TV series starred Johnny Whitaker and the late Anissa Jones as adorable orphans Jody and Buffy Davis. (POSTED: 3/8/99)

... Mackenzie Phillips (One Day at a Time) learned to roll joints at age 10, stole her dad's drugs at age 12 and enjoyed (if that's the word) a one-night stand with aged Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger at age 18, the actress tells the March 13 edition of TV Guide. Of the Jagger fling, Phillips says it was a "wham-bam, bye-bye." That's not to say Mick wasn't excited. "I have been waiting for this since you were 10 years old," the rocker gushed, according to Phillips. (POSTED: 3/8/99)

... Darlene Gillespie (The Mickey Mouse Club) was sentenced March 11 to two years in federal prison on charges that said the onetime Mouseketeer had become a racketeer. Gillespie, 56, proclaimed her innocence and said she plans to appeal. (POSTED: 3/15/99)


... Ex-teen idol Leif Garrett is set to record a cover of Nirvana's seminal "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for an upcoming release by punk band, the Melvins, SonicNet says. The album, Crybaby, is due from Ipecac Records in November. (POSTED: 4/7/99)

... Retired security guard Gary Coleman has been tapped the new host of The Reel Show, an online infotainment program about new movie releases. (POSTED: 4/21/99)


... Is this what awaits little D.J.? Macaulay Culkin, who wed fellow teen actress Rachel Miner in 1998 at age 17, has become more spiritual -- and a vegetarian, to boot, since taking his marriage vows, the star told a "close source" (who told the National Enquirer). "I just never knew I could love someone so much," Culkin reportedly confided to the insider. (POSTED: 5/4/99)

... Michael Fishman, who played D.J., Roseanne's youngest TV kid on Roseanne (1988-1997), tells the National Enquirer he's a soon-to-be married man (well, boy) with a bouncing baby on the way. Fishman's child with 19-year-old fiance&;#233; Jennifer Briner is due in December. "This is the most exciting time in my life!," the 17-year-old tells the May 4 edition of the supermarket tab. Fishman met Briner at the day-care facility where his younger brother was enrolled -- and where Briner worked. The couple hopes to wed by summer. (POSTED: 5/4/99)

... Troubled ex-Diff'rent Strokes star Dana Plato died May 8 in a mobile home in Moore, Oklahoma, of an accidental prescription drug overdose, police said. She was 34. One day prior to her death, Plato appeared on Howard Stern's national radio show in New York City to deny a National Enquirer story that said the erstwhile Kimberly Drummond was a drug-addicted lesbian. Her post-Strokes years were marked with arrests (for robbing a video store and forging a Valium prescription), Playboy poses and B-movies, including 1997's R-rated Different Strokes: A Story of Jack & Jill...And Jill. (POSTED: 5/9/99)

... Viewer-challenged UPN will look to Urkel and "Punky Power" to goose its barely there ratings next fall, it was announced May 20. Grown Ups, a new sitcom set for the 1999-2000 season, stars Jaleel (Urkel) White (Family Matters) and "Punky Power"-pusher Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster). The comedy is about a group of twentysomethings coming to terms with adulthood. (Think Friends, minus the popularity.) The Urkel-Punky super-action team-up will air on UPN at 9 p.m. on Mondays. (POSTED: 5/27/99)

... Dana Plato's fatal prescription-drug overdose was ruled a suicide May 21 by state coroner officials in Oklahoma. Police initially said the death was accidental, but lab results showed enough muscle relaxants and hydrocodone/acetaminophen in Plato's system to lead examiners to conclude it was no accident. Officials also said the actress had a history of suicidal tendencies. (POSTED: 5/27/99)

... Barry Williams, who once (but only once) donned Johnny Bravo's signing duds on The Brady Bunch, will go back into the studio to cut Johnny's Back, a collection of oldies from the 1970s and 1980s, TV Guide Online reports. Williams is also planning a book tour to hype a revised edition of his 1992 bestseller, Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg. (POSTED: 5/27/99)


... Corey Feldman also dabbles these days as a prognosticator. In Steppin' Out, he boldly predicts, "Trust me, Ben Affleck won't be around in 10 years." (POSTED: 6/7/99)

... Lost-in-the-'80s Lost Boys star Corey Feldman, 27, says the Oscar-winning duo of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck "literally" make him "nauseous." "I think it's wrong that these guys are given their whole lives on a silver platter," Feldman tells the new Steppin' Out magazine. The onetime teen star (Stand By Me, The Goonies) says he deserves props for being a survivor in show business. "How long do you think those guys [Matt and Ben] have been around?," Feldman asks. "I've been around 25!" Recent credits include: Meatballs 4. (POSTED: 6/7/99)

... Tape-recorded telephone conversations documenting the final days Dana Plato are now available on, the X-rated Website that posted the Pam-and-Tommy Lee sex video. The tapes were made by a man, Shane Bugbee, who claims he was the manager of the ex-Diff'rent Strokes star. The Website calls the tapes, supposedly made with the actress' permission, "riveting." (POSTED: 6/24/99)

... Home Alone kid Macaulay Culkin, 18, and ex-soap star Rachel Miner, also 18, celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary June 21. The clergyman who pronounced the couple teen and wife tells People magazine that Culkin and Miner have had their troubles and even "separated briefly." But the two are said to be a twosome again, keeping a home together in Manhattan. (POSTED: 6/24/99)


...Former teen idol Joey Lawrence (Blossom) is on movie screens in Manhattan, costarring in the indie film Tequila Body Shots. Lawrence plays a college student who acquires the power to read minds via a magic drink. The film opened in New York (at the Anthology Film Archives) on June 30. (POSTED: 7/5/99)

... A September 28 release date has been set for the new CD, The Return of Johnny Bravo, and revised autobiography from The Brady Bunch's Barry Williams. Both the book (Growing Up Brady) and record will be in stores in time for the Very Special 30th anniversary of the Bunch. (POSTED: 7/6/99)

... Corey Feldman is sorry for bashing Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow in a June 1999 interview in Stepping Out magazine. Seeking the popular refuge of big-mouth celebrities, the actor said his words were, yes, taken out of context. "I was trying to express my concern with the problem [that] many talented actors who have been steadily working in the Industry for many years are now struggling to survive...," FELDMAN wrote to his fan Website, according to Mr. Showbiz. (POSTED: 7/20/99)

... Gary Coleman was hauled into custody July 11 in Hawthorne, California, for an outstanding arrest warrant. The onetime mall security guard is accused of not paying the $400 fine levied in his notorious fan-bashing case. (POSTED: 7/20/99)

... Ex-Brat Packer Anthony Michael Hall is augmenting his revived acting career (Pirates of the Silicon Valley) by going musician with his first CD release, Welcome to the...Hall of Mirrors (RAM Records). (POSTED: 7/24/99)


... Onetime Tiger Beat god Leif Garrett pleaded guilty August 12 in Los Angeles to drug possession and agreed to enter rehab. Garrett was arrested June 29, 1999, in a drug sweep of an apartment. (POSTED: 8/19/99)

... Susan Olsen, formerly The Brady Bunch's Youngest One in Curls, is reviving her radio career, inking a deal to cohost a nationally syndicated talk show with comedian Jeff Wayne, TV Guide Online reports. The new show is scheduled to bow in February 2000. Olsen previously hosted a radio talker on Los Angeles' KLSX-FM in 1996. (POSTED: 8/19/99)

... Gary Coleman filed for bankruptcy August 18 in Los Angeles, citing $72,000 in debts. To reporters, Coleman showed a brave face at bankruptcy court. "I am worth more than any gold in any reserve, because I'm here, I'm alive and I'm going to survive," he said. (POSTED: 8/19/99)


... With an assist from his lawyers, ex-Land of the Lost caveboy Phil Paley (Chaka) has forced the guitarist of MTV-friendly rock band Sugar Ray ("Every Morning") to formally renounce rumor that he -- not Paley -- was the original prehistoric sidekick on the 1970s-era Saturday morning live-action show. "...I apologize to both Phil Paley, who did [play Chaka], and to the fans of Land of the Lost for not correcting this information sooner," Sugar Ray's Rodney Shepperd said in a statement. The band apparently spread the bogus story itself through its official Website. (POSTED: 9/13/99)


... ABC beats NBC to The Partridge Family punch, airing the TV-movie Come On Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story on November 13. The telepic is narrated by erstwhile Danny Partridge Danny Bonaduce, who also served as a consultant. David Cassidy's version of things is being prepped for an NBC TV-movie, to be broadcast during the February 2000 sweeps. (POSTED: 11/13/99)

... Three months after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Gary Coleman became the subject of an all-out, allegedly sincere Web-a-thon, designed to raise funds for the financially strapped ex-Diff'rent Strokes kid. The aptly named Gary Coleman Web-a-thon, to run November 15-28, is the brainchild of the entertainment site UGO Network. Coleman told E! Online he would "like to be thought of as not a charity, but somebody worthy of giving something to." (POSTED: 11/16/99)


... All surviving cast members of The Waltons -- including Richard Thomas (or at least his voice) -- reunited to record Christmas With the Waltons (Page Music). Jon Walmsley, who played the musical son Jason on the 1972-81 series, produced. (POSTED: 12/1/99)

>>revisit 2000

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