Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Malcolm in the Middle
Currently Known For:
Dancing with the Stars: Juniors
1997 - Present
December 5, 1985
Malcolm in the Middle
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Being a child star comes with a lot of pressure. While many that have found fame at a young age have gone on to have their struggles as adults, Frankie Muniz doesn’t seem to have that problem. Once that fame goes away for a lot of these actors, there’s a desire to get back into the spotlight no matter what it takes. Muniz seems to enjoy not being the star of big movies or TV shows in his 30s now, instead spending more time on his passions such as automobile racing and music.Advertisements:
Muniz comes from the small city of Wood-Ridge, New Jersey where he was born on December 5, 1985, though his family would move to North Carolina when he was young. At an early age, Muniz took a shine to acting, finding himself on stage when he was signed by an agent. This launched his acting career, and Muniz was able to land jobs on screen before he even became a teenager.
In 1997, Muniz made his acting debut in the television film “To Dance with Olivia”. This set him up for a solid run to round out the 1990s as he added another TV movie and short film, as well as guest starring appearances in popular shows like “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and “Spin City”. Then, when the new millennium started, Muniz saw his career really take off.
In 2000, Muniz had starred in the television movie “Miracle in Lane 2” that aired on the Disney Channel, and had a main voice role in the animated series “Scruff”, as well as the starring role in the film “My Dog Skip”. Despite those three roles having a big impact, the best news that Muniz received that year was from landing the title role in the sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle”.
Along with the likes of Jane Kaczmarek and Bryan Cranston who played his parents in the series, “Malcolm in the Middle” proved to be a smash hit for Fox. There were seven seasons of the series in total, with more than 150 episodes making it to air. Muniz had been nominated for several awards for his work on the show, including an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and a Golden Globe for Best Actor - Musical or Comedy Series. Muniz himself did take home some hardware from the Satellite Awards and Young Artist Awards.
“I think I have a lot of similarities with Malcolm,” Muniz said of the role. “That’s why I think it’s easy for me to play (the character)...People always ask me if I miss going to, say, the high school prom or something. And I’d much rather do the Golden Globes or the Emmys. I’m meeting people that I’m huge fans of, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
While “Malcolm in the Middle” had been on the air during the first decade of the 2000s, Muniz was busy with a lot of other projects. He guest starred on several shows, as well as having a regular voice role on the popular animated series “The Fairly OddParents”. On top of that, Muniz had become a profitable big screen star.
“One thing I love about acting is that I get to be so many different people and do so many different things,” he said during this point of his career. “I don’t want to be doing the same thing. Right now I’m just trying to take things as they come and enjoy it, because you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”
Muniz starred in movies like “Agent Cody Banks” (as well as the sequel), “Big Fat Liar” and “Racing Stripes”. Then, when “Malcolm in the Middle” came to an end in 2006, it seemed that Muniz chose not to be in the spotlight as much. To finish out the decade, Muniz had made cameo appearances in films like “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” and “Extreme Movie”, but didn’t really choose any leading roles.
So far in this decade, Muniz has continued to make cameo appearances for the most part in shows like “Last Man Standing” and “Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23”. He’s also starred in some made for TV movies like “Blast Vegas” and “Sharknado 3”. In 2017, Muniz joined the reality television circuit by becoming a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars”, finishing in third place behind Lindsey Stirling and Jordan Fisher.
After a couple of other reality TV appearances, Muniz rejoined the “Dancing with the Stars” universe when he became the host of the “Juniors” spin-off. It’s a job that he’s held since 2018. During the first season of the spin-off show, Muniz handed the award over to winner Sky Brown of skateboarding fame.
Muniz has seen this is a way of helping his personal life, as he has suffered from health problems that include shaving mini-strokes that have affected his memory and has had several injuries on top of that. “In the past 10 years I’ve broken 38 bones,” he said. “I guess I’m just really fragile. I need more milk or something...So far, dancing’s just making me happy.”
Talking about the future of his career, Muniz wants to do more films, but he wants it to be on his own terms. “I want to do movies that in 10 years time people will respect me for, as an actor,” he said. “So if I do take two or three years off, the next movie I have that comes out you want people to go, ‘Oh, that’s Frankie Muniz’s new movie, it’s gonna be a good movie cause he’s in it.’” Throughout it all and despite making millions of dollars for his work, Muniz remains humble. “I know I am no better than anyone else in this world,” he said. “I’m just an actor, that’s nothing special.”