E.T. Star Reveals Why He Left Hollywood and Discouraged His Children From Becoming Actors

Posted 2022/04/22 10 0

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Henry Thomas still had regular work as an actor, but he has not lived a Hollywood lifestyle for some time.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is still one of the most loved family films of all time, even forty years after its release. When it comes to the movie’s two child stars, Drew Barrymore and Henry Thomas, their lives following the film were very different. While Barrymore had a troubled youth and subsequently remained very much a part of Hollywood, Thomas led a relatively uneventful life, continued to work in the industry but reached a point in his life when he realized that life in Los Angeles was no longer for him. Thomas and his family now live on a farm near Portland, Oregon, and while he still has a very healthy TV and movie career, he explained in recent interview that living in L.A. just “didn’t make sense” to him.

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Speaking to Yahoo! on its Are The Kids Alright? series, Thomas explained that he came to a point in his life when he was keeping a home in L.A. just for the sake of it when what he really wanted was to raise his family somewhere like the farm he grew up on as a kid. He said:

“I liked L.A., but I wasn’t working there. So you’re spending a lot of money keeping a household going, but you’re not a part of it. I just said, ‘I’m not gonna do this anymore.’ I grew up on a farm and I wanted to have that for my kids.”

Back when E.T. made its debut in 1982, Thomas was 10 years old, but he remembers very well the fame that followed very quickly. While he acknowledges that he found the immediate fame made him “very suspicious of people in general” as he was really prepared for how he was suddenly being treated differently. However, one thing that he managed to avoid was the social scene that many young stars ended up being a part of. “I wasn’t interested in hanging out with celebrities and filmmakers. That didn’t appeal to me at all. What always appealed to me about acting was being part of a story and playing a definitive role in telling that story.”


Henry Thomas has appeared in several hit TV shows recently, mostly working with Mike Flanagan on Netflix horror shows like The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass, as well Stephen King movie adaptations Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep, and he also returned to his E.T. role for a Christmas ad campaign in 2019, but he has also had periods in the last four decades when he has not had work. That is one of the reasons why he doesn’t encourage his children to go into the industry. He explained:

“Even though I’ve worked consistently over the years, there have been periods in my life where I haven’t had anything for a year-and-a-half or two years. That’s fine and dandy when you’re 22 years old, but when you have a mortgage and a family and you’re unemployed for two years, it’s pretty grim. I’ve warned [my kids] off of it, and I think for two out of three it’s worked. But I do have one that I think is going to be a performer of some sort. As a parent, you should try to support and foster that in your children, if they express that desire to achieve something. It’s not necessarily a tenable career all the time, and it’s not a very reliable way of earning a living. So I warn them about the real world, because when the taxman cometh, they don’t care about excuses — they just want their money.”


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