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Weird News: Ex-Child Stars Unite

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"There are so many child stars living normal, happy lives," she says. "How come you don't hear about them? Because it's not news when someone doesn't screw up."

In 1997, about the same time Coleman was struggling as a security guard, Emmanuel Lewis — another diminutive young actor — was graduating from Clark Atlanta University with a theater-arts degree.

Lewis has kept a low profile since Webster wrapped in 1987, a far cry from the mid-1980s, when he took the stage at the American Music Awards as Michael Jackson's newest sidekick.

Hollywood Redemption

Anybody can screw up. Especially when they are young. Hollywood kids, like other kids, sometimes grow out of that troubled phase.

"A lot of people remember those stories about Danny Bonaduce and how he was a show-business bad boy," Ryan says. "These days, he's got a successful radio show."

Even the surviving Diff'rent Strokes kids seem to be doing better. Bridges, 37, is married with a child and preaches clean and sober living. He played a drug dealer in the TV docudrama After Diff'rent Strokes: When the Laughter Stopped — and sold crack to his on-screen persona.

Bridges recently took on vintage rapper Vanilla Ice in the Fox special Celebrity Boxing and has appeared in soap operas.

Coleman has worked occasionally in recent years, voicing cartoons and doing guest spots on TV. He's remarked that he wants to get into politics. And while he's probably joking, that's what they said about Jesse Ventura. In any event, he's been staying out of trouble.

Feldman to Jackson: ‘You Left Me to Die’

"If you are a child star, you have to have a sense of humor to deal with the past," Feldman says.

As he embarks on a 30-city tour to promote his new album, he expects to be taken seriously as a musician, but understands that his past follows him.

"I know some people show up at a concert to find out what happened to that kid who was in The Goonies," he says. "That's not a bad thing, especially if they listen to the music."

One of Feldman's most talked-about new songs is "Megaloman," in which he blasts another former child star, Michael Jackson, who was once one of his closest friends.

Feldman came to New York last year, at Jackson's invitation, to attend Jackson's 30 anniversary concert. But on Sept. 11, as New Yorkers scrambled to get out of the city, Feldman says Jackson deliberately tried to keep him off his bus, while sending limousines to pick up pals Marlon Brando and Liza Minnelli.

Feldman once described meeting Jackson in 1984 on the set of The Goonies in 1984 as his favorite childhood memory.

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