31 Celebs You Forgot Were Child Stars

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You know your Lohans and Lipnickis, your Drews and KStews. Still, you might be surprised to learn just how many Hollywood A-listers got their start as child stars. No, not just the cast of Harry Potter.

While the rest of us were playing Nintendo or throwing spitballs in science class, these celebs were having lunch with Spielberg at The Ivy. They had agents, adorable little headshots, and IMDB profiles, all by the time puberty hit. And, then they kept on going, transforming that early taste of fame into successful Hollywood careers. 

These power players are proof that early stardom isn't necessarily a recipe for disaster. Judging by the amount of Oscars this crowd has racked up, we're starting to wonder if that early-bird-catches-the-worm thing isn't a metaphor for acting. 

Click through to see which youngsters grew up to be major stars, DiCaprio-style. 

Read on for more entertainment goodness:
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12 Stars As Extras - You've Got To Start Somewhere
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Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
Jake Gyllenhaal
Baby Jake played Billy Crystal's son in 1991's City Slickers.
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Photo: ITV/REX USA.
Felicity Jones
The Oscar-nominated star began acting at age 12, landing roles in The Treasure Seekers and The Worst Witch.
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Photo: Courtesy CBS/Procter & Gamble Productions.
Amanda Seyfried
Prior to Mean Girls, Seyfried was a teen actress in soaps like All My Children and As the World Turns.
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Photo: Courtesy of Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Rose Byrne
The Annie star had her first role at age 13, appearing in 1994's Dallas Doll in her native Australia.
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Photo: c.MGM/Everett/REX USA.
Fergie
The pop star played cutie-pie Stacy Ferguson (her real name) on The Disney Channel's Kids Incorporated from 1984 to 1989.
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Joaquin Phoenix
Way back when, Phoenix was a kid actor (shown here in 1986's SpaceCamp) who went by the name of Leaf.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pee-wee Pictures.
Natasha Lyonne
The Orange Is The New Black star was cast as Opal in Pee-wee's Playhouse at age six.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television.
Regina King
Behold, 227's Brenda Jenkins and her fabulous hair, circa the late '80s.
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt

JGL had a stack of acting credits even before 3rd Rock from the Sun debuted. Here he is holding tight to Danny Glover in a scene from 1994's Angels in the Outfield.
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Photo: Courtesy of CBC Television.
Mike Myers
Yes, that's Austin Powers at age 12 in his guest role on Canadian sitcom King of Kensington. Gotta love the hair.
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Photo: c.TBS/Everett/REX USA.
Jennifer Lawrence
Just a few years ago, J Lawr was a regular on the TBS sitcom The Bill Engvall Show. My, how times have changed.
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Cynthia Nixon
Like Sarah Jessica Parker, Nixon got her career off to an early start thanks to roles in afternoon specials and 1980's Little Darlings.
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Scarlett Johansson
ScarJo's been acting since age 9, appearing in films like If Lucy Fell, North, and Just Cause.
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Photo: Columbia/Everett/REX USA.
Sarah Polley
The little girl from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen grew up to be a badass actress, director, and screenwriter.
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Christian Bale
How many 13-year-olds can lay claim to a leading role in a Spielberg film? Bale got his big break in 1987's Empire of the Sun.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
Alex Pettyfer

The Magic Mike star played a teen secret agent in Stormbreaker. Pure schoolgirl crush material.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
Katherine Heigl
The former child model had her big break in 1994's My Father the Hero, in which she played Gérard Depardieu's lovesick daughter.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
Michael Cera
George Michael Bluth was not Cera's first time at the rodeo. The Canadian actor had roles in Frequency, Steal This Movie!, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and I Was a Sixth Grade Alien.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
Natalie Portman
Anyone who saw a 12-year-old Portman in Léon: The Professional knew she'd eventually end up winning an Oscar.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
Neil Patrick Harris
Everyone knows about Doogie Howser, M.D., but NPH was acting long before then. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the 1988 Whoopi Goldberg film Clara's Heart.
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Photo: REX USA.
Laurence Fishburne
Can we take a moment to appreciate just how cute Fishburne is on this 1975 film poster?
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Kate Winslet
The Oscar winner cut her teeth on British TV in the early '90s.
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Johnny Galecki
Here's the Big Bang Theory star and baby Juliette Lewis in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (a.k.a. your favorite holiday film ever).
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Jack O'Connell
The Unbroken star landed a role in This Is England at the age of 15.
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Photo: Andre Csillag/REX USA.
Naomi Campbell
Look closely and you'll see the supermodel gearing up for a tap-dancing routine for Culture Club's 1982 "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" video. Campbell also appeared in Bob Marley's "Is This Love" video in 1978.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
Josh Hutcherson
Oh, Peeta. Too cute. The 22-year-old Hunger Games star has been acting since 2002, with roles in kiddie favorites like The Polar Express and Zathura.
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Ryan Gosling
Just another Mickey Mouse Club member, hanging with Britney, Christina, and Justin.
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television.
Shailene Woodley
She may have been replaced as Kaitlin Cooper in The O.C., but Woodley had no shortage of acting credits as a youngster, including the lead in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure.
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Photo: Courtesy of YTV.
Ryan Reynolds
Future stud right here. Reynolds got his start on the Canadian teen soap Hillside, which aired on Nickelodeon as Fifteen.
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Photo: REX USA.
Reese Witherspoon

The A-lister has been acting since 1991's The Man in the Moon.
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Photo: REX USA.
Diane Lane
A 13-year-old Lane starred opposite Laurence Olivier in 1979's A Little Romance, eventually landing on the cover of Time as a Hollywood "whiz kid."
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