Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Home Alone and My Girl
Currently Known For:
Actor and Musician
1985 - 1994
August 26, 1980
Home Alone and My Girl
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“You guys give up or are you thirsty for more?” Easily one of the most iconic child actors of the early 1990s thanks to his role as the mischievous Kevin McCallister in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Macaulay Culkin is also one of the most mysterious. Among his early fame with hits like Uncle Buck, My Girl and The Good Son, Culkin also appeared in Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” music video, which launched a friendship that further sealed his fate on the front page. But, while many compared him to a 1990’s version of Shirley Temple, the young Culkin wasn’t having any of it—especially by the time he was 14 years old and set out to leave his legacy as one of the greatest child stars of all time behind.
The third of seven children born to a theatrical actor named Christopher Cornelius “Kit” Culkin and a telephone operator named Patricia Bentrup, Culkin was born on August 26, 1980. Despite his parents never marrying, they agreed to raise Culkin (and the rest of the children) Roman Catholic and sent Culkin to the St. Joseph’s School of Yorkville before moving him to the renowned Professional Children’s School to ensure he had a better chance as an aspiring child star. Although the family of nine lived in a cramped apartment in the city, Kit and Patricia did everything possible to ensure Culkin’s dreams of the stage came true as they enrolled him in ballet at the School of American Ballet to give him an edge over the competition.
By the time he was four years old, Culkin’s New York City roots worked to his favor when he landed one of his first acting gigs in a stage production of Bach Babies at the New York Philharmonic. Over the next few years, he continued to hone his talents on the stage before making his television debut in the made-for-television film The Midnight Hour in 1985. Three years later, he appeared in an episode of The Equalizer and films like Rocket Gibraltar and See You in the Morning before catching his first major break as Miles Russell in Uncle Buck opposite the late John Candy.
Culkin’s popularity and career skyrocketed to international heights in 1990 when he was cast as Kevin McCallister in Home Alone. With audiences instantly falling in love with the young boy forgotten by his family as they travel to Paris for Christmas, the 10-year-old Culkin won an American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture, a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Emerging Actor and a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture. He cashed in on his growing stardom the following year with My Girl, which earned him an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss after locking lips with his costar, Anna Chlumsky.
At the top of the world and certainly not hurting for work, Culkin reprised his role as McCallister in the 1992 hit Home Alone 2: Lost in New York but discovered that Hollywood fame is fickle. After his award-nominated performance in The Good Son in 1993, he saw a string of flops at the box office and even a few Golden Raspberry Award nominations for Worst Actor in films like Getting Even with Dad, The Pagemaster and Richie Rich. Finally fed up with failure, Culkin decided to call it quits in Hollywood and dropped off the radar shortly after making headlines for becoming legally emancipated from his parents who were fighting over his $17 million fortune.
Spending the next few years as a hot topic among tabloids for his marriage to actress Rachel Miner at 17 years old as well as his childhood friendship with pop legend Michael Jackson, Culkin found peace in the outskirts of Hollywood and became more and more mysterious as time went on. Refusing to give interviews and setting his own rules for his life, Culkin returned to acting on his own terms in the new millennium with minor work and guest appearances on shows like Will & Grace, Kings and Robot Chicken. During this time, he found himself in even more legal trouble when he was arrested in Oklahoma City for possession of marijuana and controlled substances in 2004. Briefly jailed and released after paying a $4,000 bail, Culkin received three one-year suspended prison sentences with $540 in additional fees.
In 2013, Culkin started The Pizza Underground, a New York City comedy rock band that he promoted with a video of him eating a cheese pizza. He followed up the YouTube promo with a parody of Andy Warhol when he ate a Burger King Whopper in the 66 Scenes from America documentary. Although the band started touring in 2014, they were met with only mild success with fans even booing Culkin’s performance during a concert in Rock City. By 2016, the band officially split.
On the heels of his band falling apart, Culkin did the unimaginable and, after a decade of refusing interviews, he sat down for an interview in July 2016. Recently settling in France and announcing his future comeback, Culkin proved what many already knew—that he isn’t like most child actors. “People feel they have to be in perpetual motion, or drown,” he remarked. “I’ve never had a problem saying I’ve got nothing lined up. Maybe I’ll take the next year off. I’m not much active. If I knew what I wanted to do, I’d be writing it myself.”
One thing Culkin knows for sure is that people’s fascination with his life still confuses him, which makes him protect his personal life and his four-year relationship with All My Children star Jordan Lane Price even more. “I have no idea. I was thinking about this the other day—I’d crossed the wrong street, picked up a tail, suddenly there’s a crush of 20 paparazzi. Then people with camera phones get involved. I don’t think I’m worthy of that.”