Frankie Muniz: ‘I would never let my kid go into the business’

Frankie Muniz is now 38 years old, which I find kinda wild. I’ve always thought he was like 10 years younger than me, not two. Gah, now I’m having a moment! Anyway, Frankie’s got a pretty large nest egg and never has to work again, but he’s currently living it up as a NASCAR driver. He’s also appeared in a couple of celebrity-based reality TV shows. Frankie is probably one of the rare lucky child star success stories. He’s not been without drama, but he is now happily married with a three-year-old son, Mauz. While doing press for the Australian version of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, he shared that he would never let Mauz go into showbiz.

Frankie Muniz, once one of the most popular child stars, does not want his own kid following in his footsteps. Speaking before he entered the jungle set of Australia’s I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here reality show, the star of FOX’s hit early aughts sitcom Malcolm in the Middle explained why isn’t keen on the idea of his son Mauz, 3, pursuing acting.

“I would never let my kid go into the business,” the 38-year-old told Australian outlet PEDESTRIAN.TV in a video released March 24. “And not that I had a negative experience, because to be honest, my experience was 100 percent positive. But I know so many people, friends that were close to me, that had such insanely negative experiences.”

The former child star, who shares his son with wife Paige, continued, “And I just think it’s an ugly world in general. I never cared about rejection, but there’s a ton of rejection.”

Muniz, who still works as an actor and is also a NASCAR driver, made his comments days after Investigation Discovery released its docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, which detailed alleged inappropriate behavior on the sets of several Nickelodeon shows in the ’90s and aughts. It features interviews with a few former child and teen actors who appeared on the programs.

Muniz is not one of them. The actor has, however, worked on Nickelodeon shows in the past—he voiced a character on the animated series The Fairly OddParents, and hosted the 2000 Kids’ Choice Awards and two episodes of All That.

[From ET Online]

It’s really refreshing to hear that Frankie had such a positive experience. I’d like to think that any set that Bryan Cranston is a major part of is going to be professional. But it also sounds like Frankie knows that he’s one of the lucky ones. He’s seen a lot in his life and knows that just because his experience as a child star was good, most kids did not have it the same as he did. That said, is anyone watching the Quiet on Set documentary series? I know that what was going on with those Nickelodeon sets has been talked about for years, but my goodness, what they went through was awful. I don’t blame Frankie for wanting to protect his son.

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23 Responses to “Frankie Muniz: ‘I would never let my kid go into the business’”

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  1. FancyPants says:

    I read in trivia somewhere that Bryan Cranston let Eric Per Sullivan (“Dewey”) stay with him and his family when his own family was unable to be there, kinda like how Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman looked after Mara Wilson when her mother was ill. It’s good to remember not every adult in Hollywood is a predator. Unrelated, one of my favorite celebrity clap-backs was when somebody online was trying to drag Frankie Muniz for being a washed-up, bad actor and Frankie’s response was something like “I’m 25 and retired, have fun working for the rest of your life!”

    • Bettyrose says:

      I couldn’t take bad news about Brian Cranston so it’s good to hear.

    • bananapanda says:

      His parents made some really smart business decisions with his Malcolm $, which they coordinated with him on, in order to set him up with income streams so he could leave acting/pursue other things. At one point he owned a couple of parking lots/garages. I think he still has a lot real estate properties.

      Bryan Cranston has talked about the privilege of being #1 on the call sheet for Malcolm and how he and Jane K. shared duties to set the tone for the show. BC is close friends with Tom Hanks (they’re wives are BFFs) so he picked up cues from Tom’s demeanor on set too.

  2. Granger says:

    I have a good friend who’s a writer and producer and he got my daughter on set to be an extra a couple of times. But he always said, PLEASE don’t get her into showbiz. He’d worked on the set of a popular teen show in the 90s and said, the business chews kids up and spits them out without mercy. One day, you’re cute and marketable; the next, you’re a “washed-up” 20 year old. I always think about that when I see young kids on screen.

  3. Bettyrose says:

    Anyone hasn’t yet watched Quiet on Set, make sure you have time to binge all episodes in one sitting cuz you’ll be glued. And then you’ll need to sanitize your tv for having watched that horror show.

    • Rainbow Kitty says:

      Before I watch… does it detail SA of kids? I cannot stomach that. I know it happens and it’s real life, but my kids are still little and I just can’t watch or read about this stuff.

      • Tuesday says:

        Yes. A person who was SA as a child recounts their story. Yes, it’s fucking awful.

      • Lurker25 says:

        The child is a young teen (13-15ish?) when it happens. And it’s worth watching for details on exactly how the predator (and other adults on set, who didn’t want to rock the boat) alienated the child from the one parent who was vigilant and protective, how he used tension between divorced parents to find his in, how he manipulated the lack of communication and anger between the parents to create a space where HE was the adult most present in the child’s life.

        This is what grooming really looks like, not drag queens.

        As a divorced parent, it made me *extremely* thankful that I’m on excellent terms with my ex and we co-parent seamlessly. Because this is the stuff of nightmares.

        Married parents aren’t off the hook, neither are the wealthy. It’s shocking to see Ariana Grande, whose parents didn’t need child start income at all, clearly put in sexualized situations.

        Also not surprising to note that it was the African American parents who got the ick the fastest. (Listen to black women!)

    • Kelly says:

      It was horrific. I mean to only watch one episode on Saturday and I ended up watching the whole series. And the statements from Nickelodeon and Dan Schneider were disgusting and so dismissive. I was too old to watch most of the shows they discussed and it makes me so mad that Nick went from global guts and double dare to that.

      • Lurker25 says:

        @kelly, I was my 20s when those shows aired and could clearly see this was adult humor played for yucks.

        As a result, I was zero screen until my child was almost 5. Then started with nature documentaries (yes lions eat cute animals, he had read enough books by then to understand and he ok with seeing a second or two), then old films with no CGI and slower paced editing, etc.

        The only kids things he’s seen at this point are Pixar and Aardman claymation. And old Muppet show and sesame Street.

        And his dad or I always watch with him.

        Obviously I wasn’t like “child predators are making child shows!” – wasn’t THAT insightful. But I explained that the adults making these shows did what*they* thought was funny or thought they needed to be extra crazy because they underestimated kids attention spans. Not from any sense of what is good for, or funny, for children.

  4. Lizzie Bennett says:

    I watched Quiet on Set. It was heartbreaking to see the negative effects working had on all of the actors. Drake Bell’s story was especially shocking. Seems Schneider made so much money for Nickelodeon the regular standards and practices weren’t applied to him. The network didn’t do their due diligence and they’re just as culpable.

  5. Shawna says:

    I’ve been to his olive oil shop in Scottsdale. It was bizarre that afterwards, I realized it was his wife (very nice and so pretty) who helped me get a present for my parents! It seems like such a random business to get into, but a touristy place like Scottsdale makes sense.

  6. Ocho says:

    Like Muniz said, the amount of rejection an actor must deal w seems unhealthy for a child. And even kind sets are still professional work environments w the pressure to be mature and help carry the show.

  7. Concern Fae says:

    In the US, we aren’t even signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The US is one of the few countries that still allow for child brides, with marriage under 18. It’s all because of the demands of the Christian Right. They block any laws that don’t give parents complete rights over their children. We do need better child protection laws in all areas. We are even seeing child labor laws for working in factories being gutted across the country, because employers want to pay high enough wages to attract adult workers.

    It does look like shows where the child is part of an ensemble with adult actors has a better chance of it, provided their parents are sane.

  8. Lucy says:

    My daughter found Dance Moms on Disney and started watching it and I flipped out a bit. I can’t believe dance moms is still available to watch after every one of those adults are such POS, and there’s no way I can handle watching what happened to those kids. I hope Dan gets the Diddy treatment only faster. He’s a monster.

  9. BeanieBean says:

    I’m glad Frankie’s experience was good for him & I’m also glad he’s acknowledging that it wasn’t for others. It’s also cool he’s found another direction to go (left turn, left turn, left turn) & is happy in his home life. And my goodness, he has pretty eyes!

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      I imagine that even if you have a good experience as a child actor, you might carry a type of survivor’s guilt. I’m glad he’s doing well.

  10. Bad Janet says:

    Malcolm in the Middle is one of my favorite shows and I’d be crushed to hear it was a bad experience for the kids on it. It already has too few degrees of separation from Danny Masterson for me, but I’m not going to hold that against the show (he was never even on it).

    I can’t watch Quiet on Set yet. We knew it was bad but I’m not prepared to learn exactly how bad.

  11. Rnot says:

    If 16 years old is too young to work in a meatpacking plant then it’s too young to work in front of a camera.

  12. Boxy Lady says:

    I can’t think of anyone who was a child star that let their children be child stars, which says it all really. I think the closest may be Judy Garland when she did her TV show with all of her children but, even in that case, she was working alongside them, not putting them out there on their own.

    • B says:

      Well there’s the experience of the kid with the business and there’s the stage parent and their boundaries and levels of permissiveness.
      One time I was staying at place on the upper east side. I spent a morning watching filming going on at the front, with adult actors and a kid actor. The stage mom was a lot. It was almost like it was more about her. Every time the cameras cut she inserted herself right in to the middle of everything and started adding her two cents like she was the fancy consultant.

  13. Pomski says:

    Frankie developed other interests (dancing and driving) fairly young and he said that helped him transition from child actor to ‘regular’ adult. He seems like a sensible and likeable guy.