When "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," hits theaters on Friday, it will mark the final chapter in the beloved wizard saga, the largest movie franchise in history. But while Harry, Hermoine, Ron and company will be retired from the big screen, the series' end will mark a new beginning for their real life counterparts.
Pluck from suburban British obscurity, the young wizards and witches of Hogwarts -- led by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint -- were just pint-sized show business aspirants when they first donned the robes; Grint, at 11-years old, was the oldest of the lead trio. Now, they're poised to move on to post-magic careers, seeking to establish identities without the benefit of wands.
The transition from child star to adult actor is famously a rocky one, with a small library of stories telling the tale of young celebrities, overcome with riches and hangers-on, falling prey to temptation. But just as his Harry Potter steps up to a new level of maturity, Radcliffe, already a success in the post-Potter business in "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" on Broadway, has made clear over the past year his desire to beat that supposed child actor curse.
"Here's the thing: if I can do it -- in the biggest film franchise of all-time in terms of grosses -- no one else has any excuses," he warned at New York's 92nd Street Y in May. "I just want the next generation of child actors to not have to answer all those bloody questions in interviews, 'So, how long do you expect this to last?' Essentially, that is what we get asked. A lot. I have had that phrased that way. So I just want the next lot of kids who want to act not to have to deal with those questions."
While he, Watson and Grint are off to good starts -- she'll next star in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," while Grint has already featured in a number of indie films and owns an ice cream truck (fun career backup!) -- there are already plenty of actors who have made the precarious transition. Take a look at some of the greatest child-to-adult success stories in modern day Hollywood: