I first became interested in the fate of Disney child stars when I unintentionally discovered that Bobby Driscoll, the first bonafide live Disney star, who was featured in “Song of the South” and “Treasure Island,” met an untimely end as a transient mentally disturbed drug addict in New York City: dying at the age of 31 and buried in an unmarked grave as an unidentified person. He once said of his time at Disney: “…dropped like garbage when I was no longer a cute little kid and I didn’t appeal to [Walt] anymore.” After doing some research, I uncovered that other child actors, who worked for Disney, suffered not much better:
Luana Patten: costarred with Bobby Driscoll; she married at 16; married and divorced two more times before dying of respiratory failure at age 57.
Annette Funicello: ditched by Disney once she reached maturity; became a star of teen exploitation films; diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 45 and succumbed to the disease at age 70. Her persona in the “beach” films was a creepy form of pedophilic-eroticism – the worst example is Funicello singing, while wearing a sheer pink teddy, to a stuffed bear in “Pajama Party.”
Darlene Gillespie: second most popular original Mousketeer after Funicello; was convicted of numerous securities frauds and sentenced to 2 years in prison.
Cheryl Holdridge: original Mousketeer; married three times; first husband was only child of heiress Barbara Hutton – he was killed in a plane crash at age 36. Holdridge died of lung cancer when she was 64 years old.
Cubby O’Brien: original Mousketeer; later worked as a Music Director for the 70s “nudie” stage play “Oh, Calcutta!”
Karen Pendleton: original Mousketeer; paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1983.
Doreen Tracey: original Mousketeer; posed naked wearing her bunny-ears in a 1976 pornographic magazine.
Tommy Kirk: the heir apparent to Bobby Driscoll; his most famous film being “Old Yeller.” later suffered from drug addiction; came out as gay in 1973.
Sal Mineo: starred in the 1958 Disney live-action film “Tonka;” in the late-60s, became one of the first Hollywood stars to come out as gay; was murdered in 1976 at age 37.
Janet Munro: co-starred with Kirk, but her most famous Disney film was “Darby O’Gill and the Little People.” Munro died at age 38 from heart disease.
Hayley Mills: the biggest Disney female star of the 60s; later become one of the first former child actors to go naked on film; is now a Hare Krishna.
Matthew Garber: best known for his role in “Mary Poppins;” contracted hepatitis in India and died at age 21.
Brandon deWilde: starred in “Those Calloways” with Brian Keith (who later committed suicide;) deWilde died at age 30 in a car accident.
Kim Richards: starred in the popular “Witch Mountain” series; she tried to segue over to adult roles by appearing naked at age 20 in the teen comedy “Tuff Turf;” has since been plagued with bouts of alcoholism. Kim is the aunt of socialite turned porn-star Paris Hilton.
Kyle Richards: starred in a number of Disney films; sister of Kim; appears in the trashy reality show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
Jodie Foster: popular Disney child star of the 70s; would later become famous as an adult actress by playing traumatized women in her most famous films: “Taxi Driver,” “The Accused,” and “The Silence of the Lambs;” the target of the obsessed fan John Hinkley Jr. Foster is an avowed atheist, and in 2013, she publically came out as a lesbian.
Kurt Russel: along with Foster, the most prolific Disney child star of the 70s; has appeared naked on film; long-time shack-up partner of Goldie Hawn.
Adam Rich: co-starred in the Disney film “The Devil and Max Devlin;” in 1991, he was arrested and charged with attempted burglary of a pharmacy; in 2002, he was arrested for driving under the influence. He has been in drug rehabilitation at least three times.
Scott Craig: starred in the 1977 version of “The New Mickey Mouse Club;” died of respiratory failure at age 39.
Angel Florez: co-stared with Craig; died of AIDS in 1995.
Fergie: started in show-business on Disney’s “Kid’s Incorporated;” achieved stardom with “The Black Eyed Peas;” developed an addiction to crystal meth; came-out as bisexual in 2009.
Dustin Diamond: first reoccurring role on Disney’s “Good Morning, Miss Bliss;” directed and released his own sex tape.
Fairuza Balk: was cast as Dorothy in the dark “Return to Oz;’ appeared naked in “American History X;” later opened an occult store in Los Angeles.
Thora Birch: first major role in “Hocus Pocus;” the daughter of two former porn actors; appeared naked, with her parents’ consent, at age 16 in “American Beauty.”
Reese Witherspoon: was first noticed in “A Far Off Place;” appeared naked in the film “Twilight” at age 20.
Scott Bairstow: made his debut in “White Fang 2;” in 2003, was charged in with second degree child rape for allegedly sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl; he later pleaded guilty to second degree assault on the girl. He was sentenced to four months in jail, one year community supervision, and was required to undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: became a child star in “Angels in the Outfield;” appeared naked in the hard-core film “Don Jon.”
Kate Winslet: her first American film was “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court;” famously appeared naked in “Titanic;” has been married three times.
Thomas Ian Nicholas: co-stared with Winslet in above; went from Disney to appearing in the raunchy “American Pie” series.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas: went from Disney TV series to Disney films; appeared on the cover of gay periodical “The Advocate.”
Brad Renfro: co-starred with Taylor Thomas in “Tom and Huck;” died from a heroin overdose at the age of 25.
Jessica Biel: first major role in Disney’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas;” posed topless in 2000 at age 18.
Alexis Bledel: first starring role in Disney “Tuck Everlasting;” appeared naked on cable and in film.
Nick Stahl: his first starring role was in Disney’s “Tall Tale;” was charged with a misdemeanor for “lewd conduct” while watching a porn movie in a private booth.
Brian Bonsall: his first starring role was in Disney’s “Blank Check;” he has been arrested numerous times for DUI, assault, domestic violence, drug possession, and false imprisonment.
Carl Steven: one of the child stars of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids;” sentenced to 13 years in prison for armed robbery in 2010; he died in 2011, at the age of 36, of a heroin overdose while still incarcerated.
Christina Ricci: after appearing in a remake of Mills’ “That Darn Cat,” went naked in several films.
Ryan Gosling: got his start in 1990s version of “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club;” did hardcore sex scenes in “The Notebook” and “Blue Valentine.”
JC Chasez: co-starred with Gosling; after ‘N-Sync, went on to record an ode to lesbian chic – “Some Girls Dance with Women.”
Christina Aguilera: also a 90s Mousketeer; as a world-wide pop sensation, has continuously pushed the boundaries of what is porn and the main-stream.
Britney Spears: also a 90s Mouseketeer; along with Aguilera, redefined the sexual inheritance of their wicked-godmother Madonna.
Matthew Morris: a 90s Mousketeer; a homosexual who later abandoned Christianity to become a Druid.
Justin Timberlake: a 90s Mousketeer; later recorded a series of sexually explicit hits; appeared naked and did hardcore sex scenes in “Friends With Benefits.”
Raven-Symoné: since “The Cosby Show” has been employed by Disney in a variety of TV and film projects; came out as a lesbian in 2013.
Anne Hathaway: rose to fame in “The Princess Diaries;” went topless in “Love and Other Drugs.”
Shia LaBeouf: got his start in “Holes;” has been arrested several times; starred in hardcore film “Nymphomaniac.”
Hilary Duff: rose to fame as “Lizzie McGuire;” did a bondage scene in her video for the single “Reach Out.”
Lalaine Vergara-Paras: co-starred with Duff; was arrested in 2007 and charged with felony possession of methamphetamine; she pleaded guilty to the charge.
Lee Thompson Young: got his start on Disney Channel show “The Famous Jett Jackson;” committed suicide at age 29.
Demi Lovato: first reoccurring roles were in Disney’s “All the Bell Rings” and “Sonny With A Chance;” admitted to being a “cutter” since 11; filmed soft-core music video for single “Neon Lights;” is an outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage.
Lindsay Lohan: made her debut in the remake of “The Parent Trap;” has had well-publicized run-ins with the law, dabbled in lesbianism, and been hospitalized for numerous drug addictions.
Josh Hutcherson: came to international attention in “Bridge to Terabithia;” became an LGBT activist and considers himself to be “mostly straight.”
Miley Cyrus: became a teen sensation as “Hannah Montana;” gained infamy for her explicit music videos and for performing a mock sex act at the 2013 MTV Awards.
Selena Gomez: got her big start on “Wizards of Waverly Place;” starred in the soft-core crime film “Spring Breakers.”
Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale: became stars in “High School Musical;” have all gone on to appear naked in films and magazines.