Teen Heartthrobs – Then and Now

After growing up in a house with 12 to 14 people living in it at any given time, I was happy to finally get my own room in my mid-teens. Not only was it my own room, but it was the biggest in the house, and in the basement, so I had lots of privacy. It helped that everyone thought the room was haunted and never wanted to come near it, but that’s a whole other story. A big room meant I had lots and lots of wall space, and boy did I ever put it to good use. Every available space was filled with posters of cute boys from the teen magazines I used to read: Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, Bop, 16 and others. I used my allowance to buy subscriptions to these magazines, and I had a handful of new posters to add to my collection each month. After a while I had to start using the ceiling, but that was so hard to manage that I eventually gave up on it and took older posters down to make space. The 90’s (which is when I was a teenager) were a good decade for cute boys, it certainly produced a great deal of them. A few of them are still working today, but a lot of them have sunk into oblivion (or darn near it), and a few of them are unfortunately no longer with us. You’ll probably notice a few notable names missing in this list, and that’s because I tried to minimize the names, not to make an entry that’ll take 3 hours to go through. There are some actors that started acting in their teens, but were never really considered a “teen idol”, for whatever reason. Elijah Wood, for example, started acting as a kid, and worked all through his teen years, but he never really did the “teen actor” thing, and mostly picked non-teen-movie roles, as did Leonardo DiCaprio, so neither of them is in the list. We all know what became of them, anyways, hehe. I also only put the ones that I personally found attractive. So there may be a few “obvious” heartthrobs that I seemingly forgot, like Edward Furlong or Rider Strong for example, but I didn’t forget. I just didn’t like them :-p

I’ve always been curious to find out what happened to my favourite actors from back then, so I decided to make a list with pictures showing what these actors look like now. Some, still being popular today, were easy to find recent pictures of. Some haven’t worked in years, so pictures were less easily available, but I Googled my little heart out and managed to find some pretty decent stuff. Most of these actors are from the 90’s, since that’s when I was a teen, those are the ones I know best. But I have included a few boys from the 80’s as well, from those films that I loved all through childhood and into my teens. A good few have aged remarkably well, while others… not so much. Let’s get this started! 😀

 

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I first saw Andrew in Independence Day. He had a speaking role, but it contained all of one line. Such an impression did Andrew leave with his one line of dialogue that he was all over the teen magazines for months after, which I’m sure is what helped jump start his career. He was on the short-lived sitcom Thunder Alley after that, but his really big break came from the hit film 10 Things I Hate About You with Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger. While he used to be the bad boy with long hair, the tables turned in this film and he played a jocky douchebag (and he did it real well too). He worked pretty steadily until 2004, a few indie films (including the wonderful Broken Hearts Club) and as a regular on the tv show 7th Heaven, and that’s when the roles got fewer and far in-between. So what’s he up to today? ImageHe’s currently filming a horror flick called Living Among Us, with Esmé Bianco (and her wonderful breasts) and William Sadler. The film is due to be released October 1st of this year. Other than that, he’s only had a spattering of guest starring roles on a few tv shows, none of which are really interesting. Hopefully this new film will help his career get back on track. Horror is a great genre for comebacks!

 

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Brad Renfro got his big break at age 10, starring along side Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon in The Client, based on the awesome book of the same name by John Grisham. After that wonderful performance, his star rose quickly, film offers coming in by the ton. He was in the fun Tom and Huck, with fellow heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas, but then once his hunk status was established, he quickly made sure to remind audiences that he had real talent, Imageand made a string of wonderful, if sometimes hard to watch, films, including Sleepers and Apt Pupil, with Ian McKellan. He worked almost non-stop until 2002, when his addictions were starting to get the best of him and work was getting harder to keep because of it. So what’s he up to today? Unfortunately, after battling his addictions for the greater part of his young life, he succumbed to them fully and on January 15, 2008 he was found dead in his Los Angeles apartment, victim of an accidental heroine overdose. A shame that such talent was wasted on a junkie…

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One of my few entries from the 80’s, I first saw Corey way back when I was a wee thing in what is, to this day, my favourite film of all time, The Lost Boys. I had a crush on him even before I knew what crushes even were! hehe I didn’t see any of his other teen flicks until I was in my late teens, so most (probably all) of my love for him came from The Lost Boys, which I watched so often that I could recite the entire film by heart. I also wore out the tape, and had to replace it. Twice. I was glad when they finally put it out on dvd, I could stop re-buying stuff. He worked steadily until 1993, and then that’s when his Imageaddictions pretty much put an end to his career. He got less and less interesting roles until, finally, he had to accept any work that came his way, no matter how crappy it was (and some of them were really, really bad), just to pay for his addiction of choice, painkillers. He tried a number of times to get clean and kick-start his career over again, but in the end he always succumbed to the drugs. So what’s he up to today? Sadly, Corey Haim is no longer with us. On March 10, 2010 his mother walked into his room of their small apartment and found him motionless on the floor. He was pronounced dead on his arrival at the hospital. Anyone who knew him couldn’t honestly say that they were surprised that he died young, but they were surprised to find out that he died not of an overdose, as most would expect, but of complications of pneumonia.

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Devon got his big break, after a few smaller roles, as the humanized title ghost in Casper. It was just for one scene, but it got all the fan girls in a tizzy, and Devon’s ridiculously cute mug was a staple in the teen mags after that. ImageHe made a few films a year until 2000 (including awesome contributions to the horror genre, Idle Hands and Final Destination), after that he seems to have just vanished. Nothing on his IMDB profile for the next 10 years looks even vaguely familiar. So what’s he up to today? After 10 years of making a handful of films that no one saw, he landed himself a recurring role on the reboot of the spy show Nikita, with Maggie Q and Shane West, and he revisited the horror genre in the direct-to-dvd A Resurrection. Nothing else is on his plate as of now.

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I first saw Jonathan in The Neverending Story 2 (which, after recently rewatching it, I realize is a horrible film. I must have really have had a crush on him to have watched it as many times as I had). The year after that Stephen King’s It was made into a 2 part tv mini-series, and Jonathan was cast as one of the young “Loser’s Club”, 7 best friends to face a (fucking terrifying) monster who masquerades as a clown. Despite my intense fear of clowns (or coulrophobia, if you wanna get fancy), ImageIt is still one of my favourite films, even though it’s a little cheezy and just screams “90’s TV!” After that he made a few more tv movies and guest starred in a few shows before being cast as one of the leads of the futuristic show SeaQuest DSV. After the show ended however, roles started getting scarce, good roles even scarcer. So what’s he up to today? Unfortunately Jonathan suffered from depression, not helped along by a bit of a drinking problem, and finally, on November 12, 2003, after months of depressing about his waning career, he committed suicide by hanging himself in his Los Angeles apartment. He was found, alive but just barely, by a friend who immediately called the ambulance. It was too late, however, the injury too severe, and he died 15 hours later.

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Jonathan was never in anything that I would have watched on my own, but after seeing him in my teen mags, I did something that I’d vowed never to do: I started watching a soap opera. Jonathan played Lucky Spencer on General Hospital for 6 years. And once I started watching, it was like crack. I knew it was bad, and yet I was hooked. I watched every day (the VCR programmed to tape it every day while I was in school) for the next two years. Jonathan Jackson nowAfter his stint on General Hospital, he did a few movies, and then sort of faded away, projects coming through at a very slow rate. So what’s he up to today? After a guest spot on the short-lived Sarah Connor Chronicles, he’s got 4 years of nothing. Then, in 2012, he got a role as a regular on the country music drama Nashville, which is in it’s second season. As of now, that’s all he’s got going on, but hopefully this new show will reignite his star. He’s quite good, and still gorgeous. I’m glad to see he hasn’t cut off his beautiful hair, which so many men do when they age…

Jonny Lee Miller

I first saw Jonny in what still remains one of my favourite teen films of all time, Hackers. He’d already been a pretty big star when he did the film, but only in the UK. Hackers saw his star rise in America, and since that first film he’s been working almost non-stop, both here and in the UK. So what’s he up to today? He’s currently starring in Elementary with Lucy Liu. The show’s in it’s second season. While you Were SleepingPersonally, I don’t like it, I much prefer Sherlock. The little twist of making both Watson and Moriarty women was cute, but then because of that, everything became about feelings. The Sherlock Holmes stories don’t need all that, they’re perfect the way they are. Adding all this crap is just… well… crap :-p But I’m getting off topic here. Jonny’s one of the few actors who successfully juggle both film and television (a lot of actors from TV seem to have bad luck in getting good film roles). In 2010 he was the baddie of Dexter‘s fifth season. He’s a big fan of genre films, as well, so his handsome mug is all over horror. It’s always nice when good actors like to do horror and thrillers.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph’s rather incredible career started when he was a mere 7 years old. After a few guest spots on other TV shows, he landed a spot on the short-lived but awesome Dark Shadows. It only lasted one season, which is a real shame because I loved it. It always seems to happen that way with awesome shows. The next few years saw a bunch of guest spots on shows and a few kid’s films. Joseph Gordon-Levitt nowThen, in 1996, he became a household name almost overnight when he signed on to the hit show 3rd Rock from the Sun, with John Lithgow. So what’s he up to today? After 3rd Rock ended in 2001, he took it easy for 3 years or so, doing just one project a year till 2005. Then, all of a sudden it seemed, he was everywhere, making 4 to 5 pictures a year. Most recently he’s got Sin City: A Dame to Kill For in production, and his directorial debut, Don Jon, was in cinemas not too long ago. He also joined the Batman franchise in The Dark Knight Rises, as Robin. As for his looks, he just seems to get better looking with each passing year, although I admit I really miss that long hair…

Josh Hartnett

Josh literally exploded onto the scene in 1998, going from complete unknown to household name overnight. He did films of all genres, doing some horror and teen films, Josh Hartnett nowlike The Faculty and The Virgin Suicides, earlier in his career, then moving on to action and chick flicks later. He was incredibly popular until about 2007, when his star began to wan. So what’s he up to today? After having practically nothing on his resume for the last couple of years, he’s now got a show, Penny Dreadful, in production, and has one film, Parts Per Billion, due out this year.

JTT

Ask almost any woman my age and she’ll tell you, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (or JTT, as the teen mags called him) was one of the hottest teen idols of the 90’s. After a few roles in kid’s shows in the late 80’s, Jonathan struck gold when he landed the role of middle son Randy on Tim Allen’s hit show Home Improvement. He was on the show for 7 years, making teen girls everywhere swoon. He made a bunch of films during that time too, most notably he was the voice of young Simba in The Lion KingJTT nowSo what’s he up to today? Ego got the best of him, and he left Home Improvement (by lying to Tim Allen about wanting to go to school) to focus on a movie career. Unfortunately, despite what it may seem like on tv and in films, Hollywood doesn’t like flakey actors, and lying to leave a good, money-making career was not a wise move on his part. He got a few roles after that, but they were all duds, and in 2000, the roles stopped coming all together. From 2003 to 2006 he got a (very small) handful of guest spots on tv shows (mostly cartoons and cameos), and then nothing at all until 2013, where he got a guest spot on a few episodes of some show called Last Man Standing. Checking IMDB to see what it is, it’s Tim Allen’s new sitcom. I guess they’ve finally put any bad blood behind them.

Matthew Lillard

I first saw Matthew (and fell in love with him) in Hackers, with Jonny Lee Miller (lots of beauty in this film, hehe). He worked a lot after that, mostly in teen films or horror films (or teen horror! lol). Sadly he never got the role he deserved, as a leading man. He’s never been (in the stuff I’ve seen anyways) “the one”.  He’s never the main romantic interest, never the main hero, if he saves the day it was always beside or behind the “real” hero. Hell, he even got Matthew Lillard nowregulated to “sidekick villain” in Scream. They couldn’t even let him be his own bad guy, he was just following his friend Billy. So what’s he up to today? After Scooby-Doo 2his star seems to wan a little. There’s a lot of entries in his IMDB page, but if you look closely it’s a lot of voice acting work (mostly for Scooby-Doo cartoons), guest spots on tv shows, even voices in video games (mostly Scooby-Doo games). He’s milking that role as Shaggy for all it’s worth! Hey, I guess it pays the bills. But he seems to be trying to pull away from that in the last few years. He’s only got one upcoming Scooby-Doo thing, and he’s currently in a show called The Bridge, with Diane Kruger and Ted Levine, about a serial killer operating on the Mexico/US border. I hadn’t heard of it till now. I like serial killer stuff, I may just check it out. Matthew also has two more films due out this year, a true-story sports film called One Heartand Match, which seems to be some sort of dramatic comedy, co-starring Patrick Stewart and Carla Gugino.

M.

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5 comments on “Teen Heartthrobs – Then and Now

  1. This is AWESOME! I was a teen girl in the 90s as well and so many of these guys were on my walls. I didn’t realise Jonathan Brandis had killed himself though. How sad 😦 I am really glad though to see someone else crushing on Matthew Lillard other than me. He’s always been one of my “unusual” crushes. Weirdly my ex looks just like him.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it! hehe
      I’m having trouble motivating myself to finish the post, now, though, that I accidentally pressed “publish” instead of “save draft”. I have 6 more names to add to the list, but now that it’s published, I can’t seem to get myself to continue it :-p
      Maybe I’ll just keep them, hunt for a few more, and do a part two to this later.

  2. Hey, I just want to give you a little heads up: that article that you mentioned about JTT was a fake article running around the internet some years back. I remember reading it as well and wondering what in the heck was wrong with him, and then I realized it was a complete made-up article from one of those comedic satire websites, where they make fun of everything. They were making fun of him. I just wanted to let you know there are some legit interviews from in the past 2 years, especially from the time that the HI cast reunited for a reunion shoot for Entertainment Weekly. He seems to have made up with Tim Allen (that lying about quitting the show for school and then making movies instead rumor might have been fake too) and seemed real humble and excited that he was getting to do some guest shots on Last Man Standing. So I just wanted to throw that out there.

    • Was it really? I saw it in a few different places, and way back then the notion of “trolls” or “satire sites” like The Onion were unknown mostly, especially to me. I’ll change it, thanks for the info 🙂

      As for the lying to get out of the show, I’m pretty sure that one is real, since Tim Allen himself talked about it.

  3. Pingback: Teen Heartthrobs – Then and Now, part 2 | VampirePlacebo * Mel's Entertainment Page

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