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If you've been staying on top of the new fall TV season, you've probably heard about The Grinder. It's a new Fox comedy starring Rob Lowe as an actor who decides to become a lawyer after starring in a long-running legal drama. Basically, someone turned "I'm not a lawyer, but I play one on TV" into its own show. Meanwhile, his putzy younger brother, played by Fred Savage, struggles to deal with his brother's grandstanding.
In concept, however, the show isn't far from the truth. If the show's producers wanted to be even more realistic, however, they would have cast Fred Savage, once a child actor known for The Wonder Years, in the leading role. Child actors, it seems, often grow up to become lawyers.
The Actor-Lawyer Overlap
There are plenty of celebrities with law degrees -- and plenty of celebrities who didn't make it through law school -- but most of them left law to pursue fame. A special few, however, started off famous and then decided to take up legal practice.
They were probably well-prepared for the transition. There is, after all, at least some overlap in skill sets. Lawyers, like actors, are performers, whether it's performing before a judge, a client, or opposing counsel. Both are convincing storytellers. Both, often, suffer from inflated egos.
Here are the child actors who went on to star in real-life courtroom dramas:
1. Josh Saviano -- Paul Pfeiffer in The Wonder Years
Fred Savage's old co-star tops our list of child actors turned lawyers. After years of playing Paul Pfeiffer, the nerdy best friend to Savage's Kevin Arnold, Saviano went on to take up a legal career. He graduated from Cardozo and became a partner at Morrison Cohen before leaving this year to start his own firm. He hasn't left acting altogether, however. According to IMDb, Saviano made a guest appearance last year on Law & Oder: SVU, playing a lawyer of course.
2. Jeff Cohen -- Chunk in The Goonies
Cohen found early fame playing a hefty childhood treasure hunter in Spielberg's The Goonies, as well as taking bit parts in The Facts of Life, Kids Incorporated, and Family Ties. Once a true 80's child star, Cohen left acting for law, picking up a JD from UCLA in 2000 and founding his own entertainment law firm in Beverly Hills.
3. Isaac Lidsky -- Weasel in Saved by the Bell: The New Class
It might be a stretch to describe Lidsky as a child star for his year on Saved by the Bell, but he did become a bit of a legal star. After his acting career ended, Lidsky became a law clerk for Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He wasn't just the only child actor serving the High Court, either. Having lost his sight due to a degenerative eye disease, Lidsky also became the first blind SCOTUS clerk.
So, don't worry, Fred Savage. If The Grinder doesn't work out, you can always go into law. We bet some of your old friends are hiring.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.