Will 2017 be Tim Minchin’s year at the Tonys?

Tim Minchin’s Groundhog Day up for Tony awards

Tim MinchinImage copyright

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Tim Minchin won two Olivier awards for Groundhog Day the Musical

The Broadway transfer of Tim Minchin’s Groundhog Day The Musical is hoping to triumph at this year’s Tony Awards.

The show is up for seven prizes including best musical, director (Matthew Warchus) and original score.

Based on the 1993 film starring Bill Murray, the musical also had a successful run in London’s West End.

Tim will be hoping he can win a Tony for his score this time around, having missed out in the same category for Matilda the Musical back in 2013.

Groundhog Day won two Oliver awards last month, including best new musical and best actor in a musical for Andy Karl – who is also nominated for a Tony for his Broadway transfer performance.

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Nixon plays Birdie in The Little Foxes

Other big name stars nominated for this year’s awards include Frasier star David Hyde Pierce (Hello Dolly!), who will compete against singer Josh Groban who made his Broadway debut in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.

Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon are also in the running for their roles in the revival of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes.

Danny DeVito and Nathan Lane are also up for acting honours, as is Bette Midler.

The Tony Awards will be presented on 11 June at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall in a ceremony hosted by Kevin Spacey.

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JK Rowling apologises for killing Snape in Harry Potter

JK Rowling apologises for killing Professor Snape in Harry Potter

JK Rowling

In a tweet that is dividing Harry Potter fans, JK Rowling has said sorry for killing off Professor Snape in the final book of the Harry Potter series.

The author made the apology on the anniversary of the fictional Battle of Hogwarts, which saw many popular characters die.

She’s previously said sorry for killing Fred Weasley and Remus Lupin.

“This year I’d like to apologise for killing (whispers)… Snape. *runs for cover*,” she tweeted.

Aware of the controversy she was about to start, she asked fans not to argue over her choice of character given Professor Snape’s long-running hatred of Harry.

However her apology still sparked a lively debate on Twitter.

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JK Rowling/Twitter

“He bullied Harry and tried to make his school life hell just because he was petty and bitter,” Kim Carlton wrote.

Rune Johansson said: “I can’t forgive Snape for what he did to Neville. They were both bullied, underestimated, mocked. He could have been kind. He wasn’t.”

While Emma tweeted: “You really didn’t need to apologise for that one.”

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Getty Images

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The late Alan Rickman played Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films

But some fans were more forgiving.

In the early days, Snape was on Voldermort’s side until he changed allegiance because of his love for Harry’s mother, Lily Potter. He then became a spy for Dumbledore and was killed by Voldermort’s snake at the Battle of Hogwarts.

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Twitter/Nick Ellis

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Some felt more warmth towards Snape, who was played on screen by Alan Rickman

Another Twitter user, Blake Leyer, wrote: “It gutted me. I sobbed. SOBBED. Sirius was the next worst loss for me. The worst for my daughter it was Lupin.”

And Dean tweeted: “He didn’t think they SHOULD be together he never wanted to force her into anything, he just loved her.”

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Cheryl names baby Bear and inspires social media jokers

Cheryl names baby Bear and inspires social media jokers

Liam Payne and CherylImage copyright

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Liam Payne and Cheryl have named their baby Bear

Five weeks after his birth, celebrity parents Cheryl and Liam Payne are reported to have named their baby son Bear.

If they’d chosen ‘John’ or ‘David’ the moment might have gone under the social media radar. However, announcing the newborn would be known as ‘Bear Payne’ prompted both a bemused and amused reaction from fans.

Initially responses were a mix of incredulity from some with others defending the unusual choice but the conversation fairly quickly moved on to wisecracks, snappy gags and puns.

While Niv, for instance, was unconvinced on Twitter, @FantasyAlien_ defended the couple’s choice in reference to Kim Kardashian’s choice of names for her children.

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@OWildeLarry @FantasyAlien_

And Jon-Lee Paul Butler on Facebook asked: “What’s wrong with Bear Payne? We got Bear Grylls??

Also on Facebook, Justine Johnson Cooke didn’t have a problem with the forename Bear, but thought the whole thing was a bit much: “Cheryl and Liam have called their baby boy Bear… not sure what I think about the full name being Bear Payne though.”

However, more than any other reaction, many people could not resist making quips.

@sgsanvrs tweeted: “I hope the kid can bear the payne of having that name for the rest of his life.”

While Sean Perry pointed out an example when the name may be of particular use.

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Sean Perry

And @LukeHoosTawking tweeted: “Good name…Bear Payne is what he’ll definitely go through at school”.

Others expressed their relief on behalf of the baby by considering the names he could have had including @pinklady40s who tweeted: “Could be worse, could have been Cham Payne.”

And Annamarie Spires tweeted there were sillier alternatives available.

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Annamarie Spires

But Seannee Lily speculated perhaps this was where the name came from in the first place.

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And while a lot of users posted spoof gifs of Liam’s One Direction band mates showing their less than complimentary reactions to the news, beargooduk on Instagram had something much kinder to say about the controversial process of naming babies.

“To all the kids out there with unusual names “Hurrah!”, to all the kids out there with #normalnames “Hurrah!”. As long as they’re happy, healthy and loved, who cares?”

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Peter Kay says no more Car Share

Peter Kay says no more Car Share

Peter Kay and Sian Gibson in Car ShareImage copyright
BBC/Goodnight Vienna Productions

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Viewers won’t get to see any more of John (Peter Kay) and Kayleigh (Sian Gibson)

Peter Kay has said there will be no more episodes of TV sitcom Car Share.

Series two reaches its climax on BBC One later, but many fans have already seen the finale on BBC iPlayer and know what happens between John and Kayleigh.

But the star told BBC Radio Manchester there will be no series three and no Christmas specials.

Asked whether John would ever switch from Forever FM to Radio Manchester, Kay replied: “There’s not going to be a series three so it won’t ever happen.”

He added: “You’ve got to get out while the going’s good. No Christmas special, no.”

Viewers have been waiting throughout series two to find out whether John – played by Kay – finally gets together with his passenger Kayleigh, played by Sian Gibson.

‘Quit while you’re ahead’

Kay said: “I am absolutely delighted and overwhelmed by everybody’s support and the fact that everyone’s loved it so much has been wonderful for everyone who’s made it, but you’re better quitting while you’re ahead.

“There’s only so much you can do in a car and the last thing you want to do is ruin it because I think it’s a lovely thing.

“It’s been wonderful working with Sian, who’s one of my closest friends in the world. We have a good laugh but I think sometimes you’ve got to just leave things.

“You need good ideas – that’s the problem. You need good strong stories. A lot of series tend to go on for one series too many, especially with comedies, and I think people say ‘ooh, it’s gone off, that’.

More Phoenix Nights?

“If you’re struggling and you just get a sense when you’re writing that you might be running out of ideas, that’s when I think you should walk away.”

Kay, who also co-writes and directs Car Share, also revealed he’s had the opportunity to make more of his Channel 4 comedy Phoenix Nights – but hasn’t got around to it.

He said: “I love Phoenix Nights and I would love to go back. I’ve got a lot of ideas about Phoenix Nights.

“In fact there’s a whole series three been written for about 15 years but so many things get in the way in life like touring and being a father. Real life continues and Car Share takes about a year to make and edit.”

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Johnny Depp ‘is fed lines through an earpiece’

Johnny Depp is fed lines through earpiece, ex-managers claim

Johnny Depp

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Johnny Depp’s lawyer has called the latest claims “psychobabble”

Johnny Depp’s former managers have claimed the star is fed his lines through an earpiece so he doesn’t have to memorise his scripts, US media say.

The bombshell comes from a new court filing in an increasingly bitter battle between the actor and his ex-managers.

He’s suing them for mismanaging his money and they’re countersuing him.

Among their claims about his spending, they say he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to employ a sound engineer to read him his lines on film sets.

The actor has used the method “for years to feed him lines during film production”, according to a court document that was filed on Monday.

“Depp insisted that this sound engineer be kept on yearly retainer so that he no longer had to memorise his lines,” according to the papers, written by attorney Michael Kump on behalf of The Management Group’s Joel and Robert Mandel.

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Getty Images

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Depp was voted favourite movie icon at the People’s Choice Awards in January

Details of the court document have been reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline, the New York Post and others.

A lawyer for the movie star responded by describing the allegations as “psychobabble”.

A statement from Adam Waldman said: “This is how guilty people respond when confronted with the detailed results of a nine-month legal and forensic investigation conducted by four firms.”

In the new document, The Management Group (TMG) said the Pirates of the Caribbean star may have “compulsive spending disorder” and needs “a mental examination”.

He originally sued them for fraud, but in an amended complaint filed on Monday, the firm said they “did everything possible to protect Depp from his own irresponsible and profligate spending” before he fired them in March 2016.

‘Hush money’

According to the reports, they claim he spent more than $75m (£58m) to acquire and improve on 14 residences, including a chain of islands in the Bahamas, multiple houses in Hollywood and a 45-acre chateau in the south of France.

They also say he bought 45 luxury vehicles, 70 collectible guitars and enough Hollywood memorabilia to fill 12 storage facilities.

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Disney Enterprises

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A fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film is due out later this month

Depp spent up to $1.2m (£930,000) a year for a “personal on-call physician” and “millions more to employ an army of attorneys”, they allege.

They say the lawyers bailed him out of legal crises and made a series of “hush money settlements” – details of which will be revealed if there is a trial.

And they dismissed as “laughable” a claim by a lawyer for Depp that he spent $30,000 (£23,300) a month on wine as an “investment”.

“Depp would be hard pressed to find a single bottle of wine that he purchased during his tenure with TMG that he or his various companions have not yet consumed,” they said.

“Wine is not an investment if you drink it as soon as you buy it.”

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Deadline nears for US screenwriter strike

Deadline nears for US screenwriter strike

WGA member holds strike poster in 2008Image copyright
Toby Canham/Getty

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A Writers Guild strike in 2007-2008 cost the California economy millions, according to at least one study.

A dispute between Hollywood studios and screenwriters could lead to the first writers strike in a decade.

The current deal expires at midnight Pacific Standard Time (08:00 BST). Formal talks to reach a new deal have been going on since 13 March.

Officially the two sides are not commenting on negotiations, but reports suggest a compromise is in the works.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) wants higher pay per episode and royalties for reruns.

The writers’ union, which represents about 9,000 people, says its members have been squeezed, as studios commission shows with fewer episodes, but lock up writers with exclusive contracts.

The union also says writers are not sharing enough of the profits made from online streaming, which keeps shows and movies alive for years after first airing.

The union estimates the average salary for TV writer-producers fell 23% in the last two years.

Writers’ Strike: Are US TV shows about to fall off air?

Competition mounts for Netflix

It says its requests would add about $156m in costs for the major production companies, which include firms such as 21st Century Fox and Time Warner.

“The undeniable truth is that these costs are very affordable for these profitable companies,” it said in a post on its website.

About 96% of more than 6,000 WGA members voted to strike last week. Some took to social media to express solidarity, changing pictures on Twitter to spotlight their support.

A strike would first affect topical shows, such as Saturday Night Live, which have enjoyed higher ratings since the election of Donald Trump as President, who has proved an popular target for news satire.


The impact would be felt more slowly elsewhere.

But analysts said the threat posed by online services, such as Amazon and Netflix, puts pressure on major broadcasters and cable companies to avoid a work stoppage.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents conglomerates such as Comcast Corp, Walt Disney Co and CBS Corp, said last week it is “committed to reaching a deal … that keeps the industry working.”

Stephen Burke, a Comcast executive, told investors last week he was “optimistic” that the issues would be resolved.

“Strikes aren’t good for anybody,” he said. “The people on both sides of the table tend to lose and I’m hopeful that we’re going to get it done.”

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Angela Weiss/Getty

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Writer Billy Ray, right, has worked on films such as The Hunger Games is one of the people leading negotiations for the Writers Guild of America

The last WGA strike – a 100-day stoppage in 2007-2008 – cost the Californian economy an estimated $2.1 billion in lost output, according to a Milken Institute review.

TV viewership dropped 21% in the first week, according to Nielsen figures.

Online television was in its infancy at the time. Today, Amazon and Netflix are major competitors for eyeballs and have a deep reserve of programs to buffer them from viewer demands for new content.

Those companies are not exempt from union demands.

But they would be likely to emerge as big winners in any prolonged strike, which could lead to “lasting changes in viewership patterns”, Barclays Capital analyst Kannan Venkateshwar wrote in a research note.

Theodore Sarandos, the chief content officer at Netflix, told investors last month that the firm was “keeping an eye” on the situation and some productions could be held up by a strike.

“Our fingers are crossed that, that won’t happen,” he said.

Stolen Great Tapestry of Scotland panel recreated

Stolen Great Tapestry of Scotland panel recreated

Tapestry stitchers

A stolen panel from the Great Tapestry of Scotland has been painstakingly recreated by its original stitchers.

The section, which depicts the Apprentice Pillar at Rosslyn Chapel, was stolen while the tapestry was in display in Kirkcaldy Galleries in September 2015.

It has never been found so the artist Andrew Crummy and a team of volunteers recreated the panel.

It is one of 160 panels in the tapestry.

The tapestry was the idea of author Alexander McCall Smith and illustrates Scotland’s history. Each panel covers a different period of Scottish history, from the Battle of Bannockburn to the reconvening of the Scottish parliament in 1999.

It has been touring the country since it was completed in 2013 but will now have a permanent home in Galashiels.

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Alex Hewitt

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The original panel was stolen from the Kirkcaldy Galleries in September 2015

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Alex Hewitt

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Alex Hewitt

It took more than 1,000 volunteers over 50,000 hours to complete the work and at 143m (469ft) long it is thought to be the world’s longest embroidered tapestry.

The replacement panel has been created by the seven original stitchers, all of whom live in or near Roslin.

Margaret Humphries, Jean Lindsay, Anne Beedie, Jinty Murray, Barbara Stokes, Fiona McIntosh and Phillipa Peat worked for hundreds of hours to embroider the replacement.

‘Remarkable achievement’

Ms McIntosh said: “We were all devastated that our panel had been stolen, but we are happy now that it has been remade and delighted that it will once again take its place with the rest of the tapestry.”

The new panel closely resembles the original, but “some subtle design differences” have been added to distinguish it from the original.

Project historian Alistair Moffat said: “What the women of Roslin have achieved is something remarkable: not only have they refused to let the miserable people who stole the original panel win, they have also poured all their love and labour into creating a stunning new panel of the Apprentice Pillar that is even more powerful.

“Their panel will have a special place in my heart and it will join its companions in the new building to house the tapestry in Galashiels.”

Line of Duty reaches shocking climax

Line of Duty reaches shocking climax

Thandie Newton in Line of Duty

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Did time finally run out for DCI Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton)?

The fourth series of BBC police drama Line of Duty came to an end on Sunday by revealing key information about the mysterious “Balaclava Man”.

Viewers also saw what appeared to be the last of Thandie Newton’s DCI Roz Huntley, the target of AC-12’s latest investigation into police corruption.

The Guardian praised the show’s “great acting and writing” while the Telegraph called it “insanely gripping“.

A fifth series of the drama has already been commissioned.

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The makers of Line of Duty posted this tweet on Sunday showing cast members Martin Compston, Adrian Dunbar and Vicky McClure

ITV broadcaster Susanna Reid was among those to salute the season finale on Twitter, describing it as “suspenseful, stimulating, superb television”.

“THANK YOU so much each & every one of you for watching,” wrote cast member Vicky McClure. “It’s been an absolute joy seeing your response over the last 6 weeks!”

Overnight ratings show that Line of Duty fetched an average audience of 7.46 million on BBC One, way ahead of the 3.79 million who tuned into Grantchester on ITV.

World Productions, who make the show for the BBC, said the ratings were “the highest live audience ever for the show”.

Spoiler warning: do not read any further if you have yet to see the final episode of Line of Duty.

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The show featured a stand-off involving Dunbar, Compston and McClure’s characters

At the end of Sunday night’s episode, it was revealed that “Balaclava Man” was not one person but several people working for a mysterious criminal network.

One of the balaclava-clad men was shot dead by police in a tense stand-off and was described as “a known violent criminal with long-term associations”.

An AC-12 police report briefly shown on screen revealed his name to be Robert Denmoor.

The episode also saw Newton’s character finally confess to her role in the death of forensics expert Timothy Ifield (Jason Watkins).

But she did not go down without a fight, ensuring her husband’s lawyer Jimmy Lakewell (Patrick Baladi) was arrested for perverting the course of justice.

The episode ended with both characters in prison and Assistant Chief Constable Derek Hilton (Paul Higgins) dead in what appeared to be a staged suicide.

According to the Mirror’s TV critic, the only flaw in the “tense and twisting” hour-long final was that it “wasn’t long enough“.

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Media captionActress Maya Sondhi who plays Maneet Bindra in Line of Duty tells Today plot twist was a shock to her

Actress Maya Sondhi, who played WPC Maneet Bindra in the series, told Radio 4’s Today programme earlier that writer Jed Mercurio had yet to start writing the fifth series.

She also revealed that it had been “a shock” to find out in episode four that her character had been secretly feeding information to ACC Hilton.

“He does write amazing twists, doesn’t he?” she said of “evil genius” Mercurio.

“The beauty of his writing is there are so many layers to it.”

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US actor Val Kilmer makes cancer admission

US actor Val Kilmer makes cancer admission

Val Kilmer in 2013Image copyright
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Kilmer, pictured in 2013, said his swollen tongue was “healing all the time”

Top Gun star Val Kilmer has appeared to confirm he had cancer, after previously claiming he had “no cancer whatsoever”.

While answering questions put to him by Reddit users, the actor revealed he “did have a healing of cancer” and was still dealing with a swollen tongue.

“Because I don’t sound my normal self yet people think I may still be under the weather,” the 57-year-old wrote.

Speculation over Kilmer’s health grew last year after Michael Douglas said he was “dealing with” throat cancer.

The former Batman actor responded at the time by saying Douglas was “misinformed”.

“He was probably trying to help me cause press probably asked where I was these days,” Kilmer wrote while taking part in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) last week.

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Getty Images

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Kilmer appeared with Michael Douglas in The Ghost and the Darkness

Writing on Facebook last year, Kilmer said his only recent contact with Douglas had been to seek advice over a lump in his throat.

Known for his roles in such films as Heat, The Doors and Tombstone, Kilmer worked with Douglas on 1996 film The Ghost and the Darkness.

Following Douglas’s comments last year, it was reported that Kilmer had been reluctant to seek medical treatment due to his Christian Science faith.

Many Christian Scientists believe that diseases can be healed with prayer, although the Church does not forbid adherents seeking medical aid.

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Getty Images

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Doherty played Heather Duke in Heathers and Prue in Charmed

Meanwhile, US actress Shannen Doherty has revealed she is in remission after receiving treatment for breast cancer.

The former star of Beverly Hills, 90210 wrote on Instagram that she felt “blessed” by the “overwhelming” news.

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Six child actors who retired from showbiz

Six child actors who retired from showbiz

Cast of Stranger ThingsImage copyright
Getty Images

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Stranger Things is one of Netflix’s most successful shows

Child stars have been a crucial part of Hollywood for generations, but many of them choose totally different careers in adulthood.

The second season of Netflix’s hugely popular drama Stranger Things will premiere on Halloween 2017, the streaming service confirmed earlier this year.

The show stars Winona Ryder and David Harbour but also relies heavily on its cast of child actors, who play some of the main characters.

The young stars have been praised for their performances in the show, and could well have bright futures in Hollywood ahead of them.

But the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry isn’t for everyone.

For every Drew Barrymore or Jodie Foster, there are plenty of child actors who chose to go in totally different directions in their adult years.

Here are six child stars who left acting behind to pursue new careers.

Peter Ostrum

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Rex / Shutterstock

You might not recognise the name, but Ostrum played Charlie in the big-screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The 1971 film saw Ostrum appear alongside four other child actors as one of Willy Wonka’s five golden ticket winners.

“Everybody thinks that acting is such a glamorous profession, but it’s a difficult profession,” he said after starring in the film.

That may explain why he quit acting and became a vet as an adult instead.

Some of the other young actors in the film picked up a few more big screen roles in the years after the film, but nearly all drifted away from Hollywood.

Michael Bollner, who played Augustus Gloop, for example, now works as an accountant in Munich.

Mara Wilson

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Rex / Getty

In the 1990s, it was difficult to go to the cinema without seeing a film with Mara Wilson in it.

She starred in Miracle on 34th Street, Mrs Doubtfire, A Simple Wish and Matilda.

But then, as she entered her teenage years, the former child actress retreated from the limelight.

“I was 13 and I was awkward, and I was gawky, and I was not a very cute kid anymore,” Wilson told The Huffington Post in 2013.

“So, Hollywood didn’t really want me at that point, and I was kind of over it too. So, after a while, it feels like a mutual breakup. That’s the way that I’d describe it.”

Wilson is now a writer and released a book last year called Where Am I Now?

She also came out as bisexual in support of the victims of the attack on an LGBT nightclub in Orlando.

Mary Badham

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Rex / Getty

Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird was an instant literary phenomenon when it was first released in 1960, and is still considered a classic.

When the inevitable big-screen adaptation was made, Mary Badham was hired to play the role of Scout, the young girl who serves as the book’s narrator.

Badham became the youngest actress ever nominated for the best supporting actress category at the Oscars after her appearance in the film (although the record was broken a decade later by the marginally younger Tatum O’Neal).

She went on to act in a few other films released in the 1960s, but then gave up on the profession for the rest of her life – with one exception.

Badham was coaxed out of retirement for a minor role in one film – 2005’s Our Very Own – after its director, Cameron Watson, said he wouldn’t accept any other actress for the part.

She now works an art restorer and a college testing coordinator, but often writes about her experiences on Mockingbird and attended a special screening of the film with President Obama in 2012.

“When I retired, I was at an in-between age. I wasn’t a child anymore, I wasn’t really a woman yet and they weren’t really writing scripts for that age,” she said later that year.

Shirley Temple

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Getty Images

Not many of us can claim to have started our career at the age of three – but that’s exactly what Shirley Temple did.

As a child actress, she starred in a whole host of films, including Bright Eyes, The Little Princess, Heidi and Captain January.

But in her adult years, she entered politics and public affairs, becoming a Republican fundraiser and serving three years as the United States Ambassador to (what was then known as) Czechoslovakia.

She also had a mocktail named after her – which, thank you for asking, consists of ginger ale (or lemonade) and a splash of grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry.

When Temple died in 2014 at the age of 85, she left behind a remarkable legacy – no child star since has ever come close to equalling her record of being Hollywood’s top box office star for four years in a row.

Mark Lester

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Getty / REX

Mark Lester was just 10 years old when he was cast as Oliver in, er, Oliver.

The film adaptation of the stage musical was released in 1968 – more than 130 years after Charles Dickens’s novel Oliver Twist was first published

Lester took various roles over the following decade but decided to give up acting at the age of 19 and became an osteopath.

“Child actors going on to become adult actors never really works, apart from a few. Jodie Foster was the exception,” he told The Independent.

He and Michael Jackson – who was born in the same year – were close friends, and Lester became godfather to the singer’s three children.

Ariana Richards

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Richards took on a few small acting jobs throughout her childhood, but shot to fame playing Lex Murphy in 1993’s Jurassic Park – a role she filmed when she was just 12 years old.

She briefly reprised the role for The Lost World: Jurassic Park four years later, but then took a step back from acting to focus on her art career.

Richards graduated in 2001 with a degree in fine art and drama and went on to become a successful painter.

But, in 2011, she said: “Being interested in acting never changes. Acting is in your blood, and of course I’ll always be interested in it.”

Which explains why she was briefly tempted back in 2013 for a role in TV movie Battledogs.

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