Whether you remember Jonathan Lipnicki as the cute son from the critically-acclaimed 1996 film Jerry Maguire, or as Stuart Little’s human brother in the 1999 film of the same name, you’ve probably caught yourself wondering, "Whatever happened to that kid?" It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen Lipnicki star in a big feature film. Read on to find out what the former child star has been up to.
His career started off strong with a string of hit movies
We first met Lipnicki as Ray Boyd in Jerry Maguire alongside Renee Zellweger, Tom Cruise, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. The film was an instant hit, and the young star even won two awards for his role. Lipnicki followed up his impressive performance with a starring role in the 1999 film Stuart Little and its 2002 sequel, and captured hearts with his adorable role as Tony Thompson in The Little Vampire (2000).
He left Hollywood to focus on TV, independent films, and live theater
Despite Lipnicki’s early success on the big screen, around 2003 he all but disappeared from Hollywood. According to his official website, he began focusing on independent films, "particularly impressing critics in the coming-of-age drama When Zachary Beaver Comes to Town." His IMDb page also lists a ton of television appearances, including Monk, Touched by an Angel, and multiple episodes of Dawson’s Creek.
In 2011, Lipnicki starred in a Los Angeles production of the Tony-nominated play The Lieutenant of Inishmore. While his early movies definitely saw the most mainstream success, he told A Book Of that his most memorable experience was a 2013 play called Lost Girls. "I had the opportunity to originate a part and the writing by John Pollono was fantastic," he said.
He supported charities
Around the release of Stuart Little, Lipnicki got involved in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. His official website states that "Lipnicki made a moving speech in front of congress," and was later named one of the charity’s "Heroes of the Year"—and for good reason! According to USA Today, the year Lipnicki spoke, the charity "raised the largest amount in Hollywood history for an event of its kind." How much? Oh, you know… just a minuscule $1.9 million. Even though we haven’t seen much of Lipnicki in theaters, he continues to support charities he believes in. In March of 2017, he attended a dinner for I Have A Dream LA, an education nonprofit.
Like any kid, he had to go to school
Just because you have a bunch of hit movies and a "Hero of the Year" award doesn’t mean you can avoid schoolwork. In 2017, Lipnicki admitted he wishes he hadn’t left acting for school, telling Yahoo that attending public school was "the biggest career mistake" he ever made.
Unfortunately, Lipnicki’s success on the big screen didn’t translate to the classroom. In an interview with TooFab, he said his teachers labeled him as "lazy," though he later learned he had a learning disorder known as dysgraphia.
He suffered anxiety and depression from bullying
It seems fame is no shield against bullying. In an Instagram post, Lipnicki shared, "As a kid/teen I was made fun of relentlessly… I was made to feel like garbage every day of middle school to the point where I had a panic attack every night before school." The constant bullying made way for a struggle with depression and anxiety. In a 2017 interview with TooFab, Lipnicki said that "at one point his anxiety got so bad, he suffered from eczema on his hands from constantly rubbing them together due to nervousness." He said he continues to seek treatment.
He continues to pursue acting
Though it feels like we haven’t seen any work from Jonathan Lipnicki in years, he has stayed busy doing plays and smaller films. He told Yahoo that as of 2017, he attends acting classes and does theater. He has also pursued smaller projects, most notably a comedy called Loserville with Matt McGorry, as well as a web series called Interns of F.I.E.L.D. He told Bustle in 2017 that his main focus at the moment is "finding really interesting roles," and in an interview with A Book Of, he claimed that it’s "exciting to not know what’s next."
He keeps in touch with Tom Cruise
Though it may seem like he fell off the face of the acting earth, Lipnicki claims he stayed in touch with big name actors he’s worked with in the past, including Tom Cruise. In an interview with Access Hollywood Live (via People), Lipnicki says he reached out to Cruise for advice and got invited to the A-List actor’s home. "A big part of his success he attributes to being on time and being polite to people and knowing people’s names," Lipnicki said. "It was incredible to sit down with one of your favorite actors and have an hour-long conversation about acting." So yes—even actors have a favorite actor!
He stays busy with hobbies
When he’s not working on a short film or keeping busy with schoolwork, Lipnicki says he enjoys the little things. "I love Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai and that keeps me fairly busy," he said in an interview with A Book Of. Oh, and he’s a dog lover, too. "I also spend a lot of time with my partner in crime, my cairn terrier Denny Lipnicki!"
We may see more of him in the near future
Though most of us haven’t noticed, Jonathan Lipnicki has been working steadily. "I have now made more movies as an adult than I did as a child!" he said in an emotional Instagram post. As for the transition from child actor to the man he is today (so weird, right?), Lipnicki says that, of course, it hasn’t been easy. "It’s definitely been difficult," he told A Book Of. "But if you love something enough it doesn’t matter what obstacles you face."
He got in touch with his Jewish faith
What better way to spend some down time than visiting new places? In 2017, Lipnicki spent time traveling and connecting with his Jewish faith on a trip with Birthright Israel, a free trip for young Jewish people that "aims to strengthen Jewish identity, Jewish communities, and connection with Israel and its people." Lipnicki talked to Page Six about the eye-opening journey, revealing he "was just overcome with emotion."
He’s part of a star-studded reality show cast
Are you really a former child star if you don’t have a reality TV comeback? Hint: no way! In June 2017, Lipnicki shared a photo on Instagram revealing his place in the 2017 Battle of the Network Stars series revival alongside actors from other shows such as Pretty Little Liars and Scandal.
He’s returning to the screen in a horror film
Though it’s been quite a while since Jonathan Lipnicki has graced our screens, his acting chops are still in tact and all grown up. His most recent project is Circus Kane, a horror film set to be released via video on demand in September 2017. Despite not being shown in theaters, die-hard horror (and Lipnicki) fans shouldn’t miss it. According to horror journalist (yep, that’s a thing) William Cripps, Lipnicki’s "performance is most likely the strongest of the cast" in a film that apparently isn’t one "you should see. It is a film you MUST see."