The late 20th century's answer to the juggernaut child star success of Shirley Temple, Macaulay Culkin ruled Hollywood as a preteen, but had difficulty sustaining a second act. Acting almost since inf...
New York City, New York, USA
|Home Alone 2: Lost in New York||Actor||Kevin McCallister||1|
|Seat Of Power||Actor||Guest Caller Elliott||1|
|That Hurts Me||Voice||n/a||1000005|
|Party Monster||Actor||Michael Alig||1|
|The Pagemaster||Actor||Richard Tyler||1|
|WishKid Starring Macaulay Culkin (1990-1991)||Voice||of Nicholas McClary||1990||1000005|
|Sex and Breakfast||Actor||James||1|
|The Good Son||Actor||Henry Evans||1|
|The New King, Part 2||Actor||Andrew Cross||1|
|May Divorce Be With You||Actor||J.T.||1|
|The New King, Part 1||Actor||Andrew Cross||1|
|Judgment Day||Actor||Andrew Cross||1|
|Home Alone||Actor||Kevin McCallister||1|
|Junk in the Trunk||Voice||n/a||1000005|
|The Sabbath Queen||Actor||Andrew Cross||1|
|Richie Rich||Actor||Richie Rich||1|
|The Black Cherry||Voice||n/a||1000005|
|Getting Even With Dad||Actor||Timmy||1|
|Making of "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," The (1991-1992)||Actor||n/a||1991||1|
|Night of Too Many Stars (2001-2002)||Actor||n/a||2001||1|
|My Girl||Actor||Thomas J Sennett||1|
|Bob Hope's Cross-Country Christmas (1990-1991)||Actor||n/a||1990||1|
|Uncle Buck||Actor||Miles Russell||1|
|The 5th Annual American Comedy Awards (1989-1990)||Actor||n/a||1989||1|
|E! Hollywood Hold 'Em (2003-2004)||Actor||(Participant)||2003||1|
|The Making of a Child Star (1996-1997)||Actor||Interviewee||1996||1|
|Entertainers '91: The Top 20 of the Year (1990-1991)||Actor||n/a||1990||1|
|Only the Lonely||Actor||Billy||1|
|See You in the Morning||Actor||Billy||1|
|Season: 4||Actor||Contestant(Tournament 4, Game 3)||1|
|Rocket Gibraltar||Actor||Cy Blue Black||1|
|The 48th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1989-1990)||Actor||Presenter||1989||1|
|An American Reunion: The 52nd Presidential Inaugural Gala (1991-1992)||Actor||n/a||1991||1|
|George Balanchine's The Nutcracker||Actor||Nutcracker Prince||1|
|The 63rd Annual Academy Awards (1989-1990)||Actor||Presenter||1989||1|
|The 43rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Presentation (1989-1990)||Actor||n/a||1989||1|
|The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2008-2009)||Actor||Presenter||2008||1|
|The 17th Annual People's Choice Awards (1989-1990)||Actor||n/a||1989||1|
|The 67th Annual Academy Awards (1993-1994)||Archival Footage||film footage||1993||26000008|
|Appeared with the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center in "The Nutcracker"|
|Culkin's footage edited out of "Born on the Fourth of July"|
|Performed off-Broadway with Ensemble Studio Theater at age 6 in "Afterschool Special"|
|Made last feature film appearances to date: "Getting Even with Dad", "The Pagemaster" and "Richie Rich"|
|Provided the voice of Nicholas McClary in the animated series, "'Wishkid' Starring Macaulay Culkin"|
|Resumed acting career on the London stage, opposite Irene Jacob in "Madame Melville"; recreated role in NYC opposite Joely Richardson (2001)|
|Made a guest appearance on the NBC sitcom "Will & Grace," as Karen Walker's immature divorce lawyer|
|Feature film debut, "Rocket Gibraltar"|
|TV series debut in an episode of "The Equalizer"|
|Returned off-Broadway to the Ensemble Studio Theater to take part in a reading of Keith Reddin's "Sam I Am" (consisting of two one-act plays, "The Big Squirrel," in which Culkin had starred in 1987, and "Mister Softee")|
|Began career at age 4 in stage production of "Bach Babies" at New York Symphony Space, New York (date approximate)|
|In August, announced he would not accept any acting roles until issues of parental custody were settled|
|Played a wheel chair-bound student in a Conservative Christian highschool in "Saved," opposite Jena Malone and Mandy Moore|
|Hosted "Saturday Night Live" (November 23)|
|Featured in the controversial Michael Jackson video "Black or White", directed by John Landis|
|First starring feature role, "Home Alone"|
|Returned to feature films to portray NYC club kid Michael Alig in "The Party Monster"|
|Performed in several TV commercials|
Born Aug. 26, 1980 in New York City, Macaulay Carson Culkin was the son of mother, Patricia Brentrup, and father, Chris "Kit" Culkin, who was the brother of actress Bonnie Bedelia. His parents did not marry, but in total, the couple had seven children. In the wake of Macaulay's success, two of his younger brothers would become respected indie actors, Kieran and Rory. Kit had been an aspiring actor with some small credits, and like any good stage father, wanted his children to achieve what he had not. From the age of four, Culkin began acting, appearing on stage and in an uncredited appearance in the horror comedy "The Midnight Hour" (ABC, 1985). He landed an episode of "The Equalizer" (CBS, 1985-89), and then made a big impression as one of Burt Lancaster's grandchildren in the dramedy "Rocket Gibraltar" (1988). Although "See You in the Morning" (1989) made less of an impression, Culkin again stood out in a strong cast that included Jeff Bridges, Farrah Fawcett, Drew Barrymore and Linda Lavin, adding to his already impressive collection of critical praise.
Culkin's mixture of childish innocence and preternatural shrewdness were used to excellent effect in the John Hughes hit "Uncle Buck" (1989), where his rapid-fire interrogation of John Candy became one of the film's most memorable - and quoted - scenes. The rough-around-the-edges family comedy was a huge hit, and a great deal of the plaudits went to Culkin. The young actor filmed an uncredited small appearance as Tim Robbins's dead son in the horror-tinged mystery "Jacob's Ladder" (1990), but comedy was where Culkin's future lay. Inspired by a scene in "Uncle Buck" where Culkin spoke to Amy Madigan through a mail slot, John Hughes wrote a comedy about a young boy left "Home Alone" (1990).
The inimitable Culkin charm struck gold, and he surprised everyone by carrying the demanding film with an assured, confident performance. The movie followed eight-year-old Kevin McCallister when his family accidentally forgets him, boarding a Christmas flight to Paris. The child ends up left alone in the Chicago suburbs to battle two bumbling burglars in a film that blended slapstick comedy with a surprising amount of heart. While playing up every child's fantasy of wishing away their family, the film also highlighted the very importance of those troublesome parents and siblings. Although critics objected to the cartoonish violence Culkin dispensed to the would-be robbers (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), audiences lapped it up, making the movie one of the biggest box-office hits of all time and Culkin an icon whose mannerisms in the movie - the famous aftershave mirror-scream, for example - became a pop cultural touchstone. Besides dominating the multiplexes for months, in subsequent years the film would became required annual holiday viewing for families, with the original score by John Williams earning a place as a Christmas favorite.
The steamroller success of "Home Alone" and of Culkin in the starring role could not be overstated. The young actor had Hollywood at his feet, and earned him the well-deserved title of the most successful child star since Shirley Temple. For his performance in the film, Culkin won an American Comedy Award, a Young Artist Award, a Golden Globe nomination and the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Emerging Actor. Suddenly, Culkin was everywhere. He starred on the animated show "WishKid" (NBC, 1991-92) and provided live-action intro segments as well, cueing up each week's tale of a boy and his magical baseball glove; notched a cameo in John Hughes's "Only the Lonely" (1991); and played second banana to Michael Jackson in the singer's highly anticipated "Black or White" music video, blasting George Wendt with a huge speaker and lip-synching a rap. Bonded by their experiences as enormously successful child stars with overbearing stage fathers, Culkin and Jackson became close friends. Tabloids began to speculate on the nature of their friendship, especially when Culkin began spending time at Neverland Ranch. (The ever-unpredictable Jackson would later name Culkin the godfather of his children, born in 1997, 1998 and 2002).
For a supporting role in the comedy/drama "My Girl" (1991), Culkin took home a huge paycheck. Although the film was an unusually smart and tender 1970s coming-of-age story of a young girl, Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky), and featured a talented ensemble cast, Culkin was the focus of the film's marketing. This caused a minor controversy when parents who expected to take their children to Culkin's latest comic romp were surprised when his character - Vada's shy sidekick - died of an allergy to bee stings. Even so, critics praised the film on all counts, including Culkin's subtle performance, and the film became much beloved by its target generation. Culkin and Chlumsky even won an MTV Movie Award for "Best Kiss" - Culkin's first, onscreen.
The ubiquitous young movie star hosted an episode of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) and returned to his iconic role in "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" (1992). In this sequel, the McCallisters are en route to Florida for the holidays, and determined not to lose their son again. An airport mix-up leaves young Kevin in New York - with his father's credit cards and his old burglar nemeses in hot pursuit. While the movie was an enormous success, more critics complained about the thinly-stretched premise, and the amplified focus on the comical violence dished out by Kevin. The film's financial success assured Culkin's catbird seat in Hollywood for another round of profitable projects, but increasing reports about the controlling, iron-fisted managerial techniques used by his father Kit began to damage his career. In a town famous for ambition and ruthlessness, Kit became one of its most notorious stage parents, brokering Culkin's power to give his other children acting careers as well as making outrageous demands. He strong-armed the studios into giving Culkin the lead as a killer in the dark thriller "The Good Son" (1993), casting his daughter Quinn as the character's sibling, and paying his son a then-jaw-dropping $5 million.
The film could not have been more of a departure for Culkin's sunny image, and the writer, Ian McEwan, complained that the original script and concept had been heavily changed to accommodate Kit's demands. Even the original director was fired over clashes with the strong-willed father. While it performed moderately well financially, critics hated it and attacked the filmmakers for anchoring such a dark and violent story around a child star who would inevitably attract a youthful audience. For the first time, Culkin's performance had few supporters, with many objecting to his very adult dialogue that they argued was used for shock value. Kit made no bones about how completely he controlled Culkin, and when Michael Jackson was first accused of child molestation in 1993, Kit prevented his son from speaking out in the singer's defense. Culkin's titular appearance in the strange, stage-taped "The Nutcracker" (1993) seemed like an innocuous, classy project, but Kit's involvement tipped the scales into professional nightmare. Kit commanded that the narration by Kevin Kline be deleted from the film, as well as specific demands related to technical aspects of various scenes. When filmmakers refused to acquiesce, Kit pulled Culkin from all promotional duties, and the movie disappeared silently.
Culkin asked his father for a break or for more of a say in the film roles he took, but Kit pressed on relentlessly, and Culkin was forced into a string of movies that not only bombed with critics and audiences, but also reflected how thoroughly extinguished his own spark was. His performances in "Getting Even with Dad" (1994), "The Pagemaster" (1994) and "Ri¢hie Ri¢h" (1994) showed not only Culkin's ascent out of childhood and into adolescence, but also his weariness from the toll of being the meal ticket for his impossible-to-please father. Although Culkin benefited financially - he earned record-breaking paydays for these movies thanks to Kit's acumen - emotionally, the pace was devastating. Kit's reputation was well known across America, and few of Culkin's fans were surprised to hear that his parents were separating that year. The couple began a lengthy and expensive court battle over the custody of their seven children, many of whom were now working actors, with the right to the 14-year-old Culkin's sizable fortune the ultimate prize.
The cost of lawyers drained his mother Brentrup's resources, and the family found themselves in the strange position of living in poverty while Culkin himself had a fortune. The young actor decided to quit show business and took his parents to court to gain control of his money, estranging himself from his father. In 1997, Kit relinquished control to Brentrup, and Culkin paid off his mother's debt and moved out with two of his brothers. Culkin married his high school sweetheart, Rachel Miner, that same year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the young couple soon divorced in 2000. After briefly attempting college, Culkin decided to make a tentative return to acting that year, and landed a role in the London production of "Madame Melville." His father sent a telegram wishing him luck, but Culkin reportedly had no desire to reconcile.
In 2002, Culkin began dating actress Mila Kunis and plotting a more public comeback. He appeared on an episode of "Will & Grace" (NBC, 1998-2006) as Karen's baby-faced divorce attorney to good reviews, and then dove headfirst into a challenging, controversial role in the flashy indie "Party Monster"(2003) as a flamboyantly gay murderer. Based on the real-life story of killer club kid Michael Alig, the movie saw Culkin wearing outrageous outfits and embracing an onscreen lifestyle of hedonism and drug use - a far cry from the wholesome fare which had made his fortune. While Culkin earned positive notices for his brave turn, the film itself was little seen. He continued his cred-building momentum with a winning turn in the hit hypocrisy-of-religion comedy, "Saved!" (2004). Following a group of teenagers attending a devoutly Christian high school, the film poked fun at the ultra-religious-yet-self-righteous, like Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore), while also revealing a reverence for true piety, and featured a top-notch cast, including Moore, Jena Malone, Eva Amurri, Culkin and Mary-Louise Parker. Culkin played Moore's wheelchair-bound brother, and his earnest performance earned him another round of good reviews. His momentum hit a speed bump, however, when he was arrested on Sept. 17, 2004 and briefly jailed in Oklahoma City for possession of marijuana and two controlled substances.
Regardless of his legal issues and still riding an upswing in the second wave of his career, Culkin reunited with his "Party Monster" co-star Seth Green to provide voices for a handful of episodes of the stop-motion cult hit "Robot Chicken" (Adult Swim, 2005- ), increasing his cache as a member of smart, young indie Hollywood. In 2005, he took the stand to defend longtime friend Michael Jackson from another round of molestation charges and remained steadfast in his support for the singer, even appearing in a Santa Barbara County courtroom to testify. The next year, Culkin publicly examined his past in a strange book called Junior, a collection of drawings and reflections on a variety of subjects, under the overarching theme of a powerful but abusive and distant father. Steadfast in his estrangement from his father, Culkin next appeared in the little-seen indie "Sex and Breakfast" (2007), and suffered the tragedy of his sister Dakota dying from being struck by a car in 2008. (A half-sister had died from an overdose in 2000 as well.) The following year, he paid his respects at the funeral for Michael Jackson seen 'round the world and appeared in a supporting role in the short-lived fantasy-tinged drama, "Kings" (NBC, 2009).
In 2010, Culkin found himself saluting another deceased friend and mentor, when he participated in the Oscar-night tribute to director John Hughes, who had been so pivotal to his initial success. Meanwhile, the actor's career again began to slow down, as he appeared more frequently in tabloid headlines than he did on screen. In early 2011, Culkin's long relationship with Mila Kunis came to an official end when it was reported that the two had split. Though Kunis' publicist claimed the two had remained friends, Culkin was allegedly devastated by the break up. The following year, rumors began to swirl that he had fallen prey to a serious drug addiction when photos of an emaciated Culkin emerged in an issue of The National Enquirer. The accompanying article claimed that he had become addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers, and had only six months to live. Culkin's representatives immediately lashed out at the report, stating that the accusations were "ridiculously fictitious" and that their client was in good health. Culkin subsequently made an appearance at the wedding of Natalie Portman in August 2012 and was later photographed leaving the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood in somewhat better physical shape.
|Patricia Brentrup||Mother||born c. 1954; gained custody and wrested control of Macaulay's career from Kit; separated from Kit Culkin 1995; never married to Culkin|
|Chris Culkin||Father||born c. 1944; separated from Patricia Brentrup 1995; lost control of Macaulay's career in 1995; also lost custody of Culkin brood 1995; regained joint custody June 1995; dropped custody suit in 1997; never married to Brentrup|
|Kieran Culkin||Sibling||Born September 30, 1982|
|Christian Culkin||Brother||born in 1987; has appeared in commercials|
|Rory Culkin||Sibling||Born July 21, 1989|
|Shane Culkin||Brother||older; born c. 1976|
|Dakota Culkin||Sister||born c. 1979; died December 10, 2008 after being struck by a car while crossing a Los Angeles street; cause of death was massive head trauma|
|Quinn Culkin||Sister||born on November 8, 1984; acting debut at one in NYC stage production of "Bach Babies"; provided a voice for Culkin's "Wishkid" cartoon series (1991-92) and made her feature debut in "The Good Son" (1993)|
|Mila Kunis||Companion||Began dating July 2002; Split late 2010|
|Rachel Miner||Wife||born on July 19, 1980; announced engagement in March 1998; married on June 21, 1998 in Connecticut; reportedly had rocky relationship; announced separation in August 2000; divorced in 2001|
|St Joseph's School of Yorkville, New York|
|Professional Children's School|
|"As the star of 'Home Alone', the $18.2 million movie that has grossed more than $281 million, the third-largest gross in history ... Macaulay and Kit Culkin, his father and manager, have some of the most powerful leverage in Hollywood. And they're using it."---Bernard Weinraub in The New York Times November 4, 1991|
|Culkin shared a Winnebago dressing room with Michael ('King of Pop') Jackson for the Presidential Gala in honor of President Clinton's inauguration.|
|"I've done 14 films and never looked at one script. I was just a machine. My father would go over what I was doing next day, I'd go on the set, do it, come home, go over what we were going to do the next morning. I had really no sense of the actual film. After a while I did not care any more. I had been wanting to stop since I was about 11."---Culkin on why he decided to stop acting to Peter Lennon of Guardian Unlimited October 9, 2000|
|"We had very similar experiences in childhood. We're both going to be 8 years old forever in some place because we never had a chance to be 8 when we actually were."---Culkin on his long-time friendship with Michael Jackson to New York Magazine April 30, 2001|
|"I wouldn't trade any of my experiences for anything in the world. I'm very happy with who I am, and where I've ended up and I wouldn't change one thing. Because if you change one thing in the past, everything else is different."---Culkin to Barbara Walters on ABC News 20/20 September 5, 2004|
|On September 18, 2004 Culkin was arrested in Oklahoma City on suspicion of possessing marijuana and a controlled substance. Culkin was released on $4,000 bail after police said they found 17.3 grams of marijuana and prescription drugs which he had no prescription for.|
Hell is other people('s kids). Especially if some of those kids appear to have come straight from there. From babysitting nightmares like the head-turning Linda Blair in 'The Exorcist to those rascally 'Children of the Corn', we look back at the creepiest kids in movie history.
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.