When it comes to famous Hollywood families, it seems like everyone has a favorite. Modern day famous families include the six children belonging to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, rockers Gavin Rosdale and Gwen Stefani’s crew, and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s family. Those who want to go back a little further can look at the Barrymore and Fonda families, who once ruled Hollywood. With so many different families to choose from, picking a single family is difficult. One of the best examples of a family that grew up in the Hollywood spotlight is perhaps the Culkin family.
Kit Culkin married Patricia Brentrup, and the two had seven children. Three of those children decided to work as actors, which put the entire family in the spotlight. Kit had dreams of Hollywood stardom, and he even had a few bit parts in movies and plays. When his son Macaulay Culkin decided to start acting, Kit finally saw his dreams realized.
Macaulay had a few roles in movies and television shows before he reached stardom. Some of his early parts included roles in “Uncle Buck” and “Jacob’s Ladder.” In 1990, he starred in the movie that would make him a household name: “Home Alone.” Macaulay played Kevin, a young boy who finds himself accidentally left at home during the Christmas season. His younger brother Kieran played the part of his younger brother in the movie, which helped launch Kieran’s career.
Casting siblings in films became a staple of the Culkin family. “The Good Son,” which starred Macaulay as a dangerous little boy, also starred his sister Quinn. A few years later, Culkin took on the iconic role of the little rich boy in “Richie Rich,” which also starred his brother Rory. Rory played the younger version of Macaulay’s character.
The Culkin family is a good example of how Hollywood can change a young person. Quinn retired from acting not longer after her role in “The Good Son” because she preferred life away from the spotlight. Rory went on to a long career that included roles in “Igby Goes Down,” “The Zodiac,” and “Scream 4.” Kieran also had a successful career with roles in the films “Paper Man,” “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,” and “The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys.”
Macaulay himself became a poster boy for what Hollywood can do to a young person. Due to popular roles in children’s movies, he was typecast as a young man. After “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” and “Richie Rich,” he took a break from the limelight. By the time he reached his teen years, he no longer had a place in Hollywood. Directors wanted actors who looked younger, and the roles for teens were few and far between.
The success of the Culkin children wreaked havoc on the family. Kit and Patricia separated after being together for over 20 years. Though Macaulay rarely talks about his personal life, some reports seem to indicate that his father took control over his career. Kit was extremely vocal on movie sets, to the point where directors and producers no longer wanted him around. It all came to a head on the set of “The Nutcracker.” Kit made frequent demands for more money, and he wanted control over the production. “The Nutcracker” was one of the last teen roles Macaulay had, and the reviews for the movie were mixed at best.
When their parents separated, the Culkin children found themselves trapped between their mother and father, who went through a long court battle because each wanted control over their children’s careers. Macaulay later went to court because he wanted control over his own career. Though he won that control, he quickly discovered that the family had little money left. Macaulay gave his mother some money, moved in with several of his brothers, and stopped any contact with his father.
Today, the Culkin family is the classic example of the problems that Hollywood can cause. Macaulay withdrew from Hollywood and later became a DJ. He married and divorced at a young age, and some reports indicate that he used drugs in the past. He later took on roles in several independent movies, but he mainly stays out of the spotlight. Of the entire Culkin family of actors, only two continue acting today. The children seem to remember the ugly legal battles, and very few of them stay in contact with Kit. The story of the Culkin family shows what fame and money can do to a celebrity family.