Look! The girl from My Girl is all grown up

Am I the only one . . . who loves seeing that there’s a host of former child stars all grown up, doing well and in good roles on TV again? Sure, for every out-of-control Lindsay Lohan there’s a Natalie Portman who grew up and did exceptionally well. But there are also others who went off screen for a while without going off the rails and are now back on TV.

That was the case with Neil Patrick Harris who disappeared after Doogie Howser MD and later returned as the brilliant Barney in How I Met Your Mother. Mayim Bialik, who was the star of ’90s series Blossom, left acting to study and now has a PhD in neuroscience and recently returned as Amy in The Big Bang Theory.

And now I’ve found another one! I am hooked on the hilarious comedy Veep on M-Net Series which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as unfortunate US vice-president Selina Meyer.

Julia can do no wrong after Elaine in Seinfeld and the crazy, funny Christine of The New Adventures of Old Christine, and with Veep she has yet another award-winning hit. But the Veep actor I was most intrigued to see was Anna Chlumsky. Remember her? She was in the 1991 movie My Girl with Macaulay Culkin and had the wonderful name of Vada Sultenfuss. Anna is now 32 and playing Amy, the vice-president’s chief of staff.

So what has she been up to since watching Macaulay’s character die in My Girl? Well, firstly she says in a lot of interviews that she hasn’t spoken to Macaulay in 20 years. But other than that she went to university like all good child stars do, and was working as a fact checker and later an editorial assistant at a book publisher.

But she wasn’t enjoying it any more and then a psychic told her to get back into acting. “I was really unhappy one day, and I ran into a psychic on the street - and I’m not like that; I don’t pay for palm readers... but she taps me on the shoulder, and I’m, like, ‘What?’ And she says, ‘Are you the girl from My Girl?’ And I’m, like, ‘Duh’. This still happens daily [back in 2004]. So she’s, like, ‘You still want to stay in the business. You’re not done.’ And I froze. So I paid 40 bucks for a 10-minute palm reading! That week I called my old agent and she said, ‘Let’s get you back on track’,” the actress told GQ magazine.

Anna is excellent as foul-mouthed, pursed-lips Amy, and seems so well-balanced (there’s a role model for you, Amanda Bynes). And she thinks taking a break from acting was good for her. “I’m really glad I stepped away. It gave me the perspective I needed to come back for all the right reasons,” she told Esquire

And Vada, I mean Anna, is about to become a mommy too! The actress is married to Shaun So, an army reservist who served in Afghanistan, and their first baby is due in the next few weeks.

- Veep is on M-Net Series on Tuesdays at 8 pm. My other favourite former child stars on TV

  • Madeline Zima – she was the youngest daughter, Grace Sheffield, in the ’90s comedy series The Nanny and is now precocious daughter Mia in the raunchy series Californication. She also plays Charlotte who has a thing with Damon in season four of The Vampire Diaries.
  • Fred Savage – the star of the ’80s/’90s series The Wonder Years is now a successful TV director and guest starred in the sitcom Two Broke Girls, of which he’s also directed episodes.
  • Anna Paquin – she won an Oscar as an 11-year-old for the 1993 movie The Piano and is now all grown up and taking her clothes off in True Blood.
  • Claire Danes – I adored her as a teen in My So-Called Life and I adore her as troubled agent Carrie Mathison in Homeland.
- Natalie Cavernelis

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