Child Stars Who Became Self-Made Millionaires Even Before They Hit Sweet 16


Child stars are one of Hollywood’s best secret weapons. They light up the scene and make even the most boring of movies – watchable. A rare breed, good child stars are hard to come by and Hollywood pays a fortune to keep them under their payroll. These child stars ended up becoming so successful that the film industry made them millionaires. Was it skill or was it pure luck? We will never know. All we know is that they managed to achieve what most of us only dream of.

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Dakota Fanning – $12 Million

Dakota Fanning

The actor may be only 27 years old. But that has not stopped her career one bit from skyrocketing. Dakota Fanning has more than 70 acting credits to her name. And she has no intention of stopping until she conquers the film industry. Fanning started out playing one off roles in shows like ER, Malcolm in the Middle, and Ally McBeal. And then in 2001, when she was just 7 years old, she starred in the 2001 film I Am Sam opposite acting heavyweights like Michelle Pfeiffer and Sean Penn. Fanning has since appeared in movies like Push and the Twilight series. But even before she grew out of her teen years, she was already raking in millions into her bank account.


Macaulay Culkin – $18 Million

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Macaulay Culkin

Culkin was able to achieve the same adorable Hollywood child star status that was once enjoyed by Shirley Temple. He caught director John Hughes eyes after doing a wonderful job stealing the show in Uncle Buck. After he was cast in Home Alone, Culkin’s stardom shot to a whole new level. For his role in My Girl, Macaulay Culkin bagged a 1 Million dollar paycheck. He was the first child star to cross that margin. All the child stars that came after him would look up to him and aim to gain that level of success. For quite some time, Culkin enjoyed being treated as Hollywood royalty.

Shirley Temple – $30 Million

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Shirley Temple

Hollywood’s first ever uber-successful child star, Shirley Temple started acting in movies when she was just 3 years old. Her career began in 1932. After starring in movies like A Little Princess, and Bright Eyes, and Heidi, Temple was already collecting special wards in her name at various national podiums. When she began to pursue acting as a career, her initial paycheck was 10 dollars per day. That later became a 1250 dollars per week payroll. As the very face of the child star bandwagon, her salary, adjusted to inflation, makes her a multi-millionaire.


Daniel Radcliffe – $110 Million content%2Fuploads%2F2020%2F03%2Fcredit warner bros pa 1
Daniel Radcliffe

Radcliffe was only eight when he was able to bag the role of the titular character in the Harry Potter series. For Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, Radcliffe was paid a hefty amount of money as paycheck. But that was not enough to make him a millionaire. Chamber of Secrets would then go on to cement his celebrity status and he would earn enough to become one of Hollywood’s youngest self-made millionaires. Child stars like Daniel Radcliffe gained superstardom because they were cast in the right role that helped them get there.

Miley Cyrus – $160 Million

Miley Cyrus

The singer may be cringe to a few people now because of her antics. But the former Disney actor is one of the greatest child stars of that generation. Miley Cyrus was by no means the highest paid disney actor of her era. But due to the nature of her show – Hannah Montana, Disney capitalized on her success and made her do multiple concerts. The Hannah Montana concerts made her millions of dollars in direct revenue alone. Her public image as a teen idol back then also gave her enough clout in terms of brand endorsements. The Disney TV show also paid her a hefty amount per episode in later seasons.



Written by Bibhu Prasad Panda

With a Bachelor's in Engineering and a Master's in Marketing and Operations, Bibhu found a love for writing, working for many different websites. He joined FandomWire in July 2020 and worked his way to his current position of Content Strategist. Bibhu has been involved in operating and managing FandomWire's team of writers, diversifying into varied, exotic fields of pop culture.