That doesn't mean that it's easy to handle fast and fleeting fame. Many young stars have struggled with success. For some it has been fatal. For others, it's served painful lessons. Here, then, are some stories that Robert Iler and other young stars might learn from.
Child Actor Traumas
Anissa Jones Highlight: As the pigtailed darling "Buffy" on Family Affair, she was the cutest thing on TV for about six years, beginning in 1966. Low point: Turned to drugs as a teenager. Shuttled between mother and father. Died of an overdose of Quaaludes and barbiturates in 1976 at 18. Her ashes were cast upon the Pacific Ocean.
Danny Bonaducci Highlight: Played the wisecracking, bass-playing redhead on The Partridge Family, one of the most enduring TV hits of the early 1970s. Low point: Multiple arrests for drug and cocaine possession. Convicted of assaulting and robbing a transvestite prostitute in 1991. Recently: Cohosts a morning drive-time radio show, The Jamie & Danny Show, on Los Angeles' KYSR-FM (Star 98.7).
Rusty Hamer Highlight: For 12 years, he played Danny Thomas' bratty son Rusty on The Danny Thomas Show (also known as Make Room for Daddy) — one of the longest running TV shows of its era. Low point: When the show ended in 1965, Hamer's career fizzled. He left Hollywood and battled with depression and alcoholism. He fatally shot himself in the head and died at 43.
Mackenzie Phillips Highlight: Arrived in 1973 with her role in American Graffiti. She then landed a prominent role in the sitcom One Day At a Time. Low point: Arrested in the show's third season for cocaine possession. Left and returned several times. Fell asleep during rehearsals, refused to take drug tests, and reportedly appeared incoherent at points. Recently: Advocating sobriety, she toured with her father's group, The Mamas and the Papas. She later co-starred on the Disney Channel series So Weird.
Drew Barrymore Highlight: At 7, she rocketed to fame as Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Low point: Entered a rehab clinic at the age of 13 to fight drug and alcohol abuse. In one episode, she swiped her mother's credit card and hopped a plane to the West Coast with the intention of continuing on to Hawaii. She was apprehended by private investigators in Los Angeles and led back to rehab in handcuffs. On the road to recovery, she portrayed Amy Fisher in a TV movie.
Recently: Star of Charlie's Angels. Married to Comedian Tom Green.
Adam Rich Highlight: Rich was the cherubic star of ABC's Eight Is Enough for four years, beginning in 1977. The show consistently ranked at the top of the ratings chart. Low point: Battled alcohol and substance abuse. Participated in a hoax to fake his own death in Might magazine in 1996. He later said he did it to satirize the media capitalizing on celebrity funerals. Recently: Extolled the virtues of his 12-step program to remain sober.