Acting as a teenager can often lead to a movie career as an adult. But sometimes, those actors have no interest in that.
Michael Schoeffling played the romantic lead and big man on campus in the classic teen movie Sixteen Candles. After that star-making role, he acted in just eight more movies and retired from show business in 1991. He now runs a woodworking business in rural Pennsylvania.
Debuting in 1982, Square Pegs was critically-acclaimed by critics as a TV show that gave a realistic look at high school by focusing on two nerds, portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Linker. Parker has had a big career on TV and in movies, but Linker quit acting in 1985 after just a handful of roles. She enrolled in Wellesley, studied French, and got her Master’s degree in social work in 2012.
Shirley Temple is arguably the biggest child star of all time—she even won an honorary Academy Award for her childhood film career. After told by a producer that she was “washed up” when she hit her teen years, she appeared sporadically on television but then went into politics. She ran for a Congressional seat as a Republican in 1967, but lost. Temple was especially interested and versed in African politics. Shortly thereafter, President Richard Nixon appointed her as a representative to the U.N., and then as an ambassador to Ghana.
Jason Zimbler played the annoying little brother Ferguson on Nickelodeon’s ’90s sitcom Clarissa Explains It All. While star Melissa Joan Hart is still acting (and stars on the comedy Melissa and Joey), Zimbler quit acting and became a software engineer. He helped develop HBO’s online streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now.
Andrew McCarthy, the star of Pretty in Pink and St. Elmo’s Fire still pops up in a bit part, but he’s refocused his career on directing and writing. McCarthy has directed multiple episodes of Gossip Girl, Turn, and Orange is the New Black. He’s also an accomplished travel writer, covering the world for National Geographic, where he’s an editor-at-large.