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Older actors who played teens

Did Fonzie on 'Happy Days' always look a bit too grown up? Uh huh.

Leonardo DiCaprio

The baby-faced actor was really 28 playing a 16-year-old when he co-starred alongside Tom Hanks in the 2002 film "Catch Me If You Can." Although almost 30, DiCaprio played a convincing teenager and the role scored him a Golden Globe nomination.

(Dreamworks)

Dreamworks

Jennifer Lawrence

When Jennifer Lawrence was cast as 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen in 2012's "Hunger Games," the then 22-year-old actress already had plenty of experience playing a teenager. Two years earlier, she played a 17-year-old in "Winter's Bone."

(Lionsgate)

Lionsgate

Ellen Page

20-year-old Ellen Page rose to fame after portraying pregnant teen Juno in the 2007 flick co-starring Michael Cera. Page nabbed an Oscar nod for Best Actress for her role as a 16-year-old.

(Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Henry Winkler

Winkler was 29 when he was cast in the role of Arthur 'The Fonz' Fonzarelli on the '70s hit sitcom "Happy Days." Fonzie was a high school dropout and gang member when the Cunninghams took him in as a border in the apartment over their garage.

Fun fact: What was the Fonz's middle name? It was Herbert.

Paramount

Minka Kelly

Derek' Jeter's ex played a high school cheerleader on the popular series "Friday Night Lights" when she was 26. Her character graduated at the end of the show's third season.

Kelly herself then graduated to an adult role on the short-lived reboot of "Charlie's Angels."

(Reuters)

 

Olivia Newton-John

Olivia had some reservations about playing high school senior, Sandy Olsson in the 1978 film version of "Grease." She thought she was too old to play a teen, but producer Allan Carr didn't care that she turned 29 while filming the part. 

Oh Sandy...

(Paramount Pictures)

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Anna Kendrick

The young-faced actress played a college freshman in 2012's "Pitch Perfect." She was 26 at the time, a bit old to just be entering college!

(Universal Pictures)

Amanda Bynes

The vehicularly challenged Bynes will probably look like a teen until well into her 30s. She played a high school student in "Easy A" (2010) at age 24.

(Screen Gems)

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Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman

Natalie (left) and Scarlett (right) played teen sisters vying for the king's affection in "The Other Boleyn Girl" in 2008. In addition to faking a British accent, they also had to fake being younger. Natalie was 26 years old while Scarlett was 23 at the time. 

(Focus Features)

Sean Penn in Fast Times

Sean Penn

Sean Penn was 22 when he got his starring role as high school teen Jeff Spicoli in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” in 1982.

Check out that gnarly hair!

(Universal Studios)

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Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams became famous for starring as a love-struck teens in “The Notebook” in 2004, but she was actually 26 and he was 24.

(New Line Home Video)

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Emile Hirsch

Emile Hirsch was nominated for a Teen Choice award for playing the title character in “Speed Racer” in 2008. 

He should be nominated for his acting chops cause he was 24 at the time and playing an 18-year-old.

(Warner Home Video)

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan

Lovebirds Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum met on the set of the high school dance movie "Step Up" in 2006. Although they both played dancing teens, they were actually 26.

(Touchstone Pictures)

Keri Russell

Keri Russell was 22 when she started playing High School graduate “Felicity” in 1998. She won a Golden Globe for playing the title character who was four years younger than she was in real life.

(ABC Studios)

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Dianna Agron

The 25-year-old currently stars on "Glee" as high school cheerleader Quinn Fabray. 

But she's not the only one on that show in her 20s!

(20th Century Fox)

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Donny Most

He played Richie Cunningham's (Ron Howard) best-friend Ralph Malph on "Happy Days" when he was 21. He was supposed to be in high school. Ten years later when the show ended, he wasn't even close!

(Paramount)

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Bridget Flanery

The series "Sweet Valley High" starred twin sisters Brittany and Cynthia Daniel as the famous Wakefield twins Jessica and Liz. Although they were actually teens at the time, Bridget Flanery, who played one of their best friends Lila was 24.

(Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

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Megan Park

Megan plays Grace Bowman, a sweet cheerleader on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." In real-life she put away her pom poms a long time ago, she was 22 when she started playing the teen back in 2008.

(ABC Family)

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Allison Lohman

Allison Lohman played 16-year-old Katy in "Flicka" (2006) when in reality she was ten years older than her character.

(20th Century Fox)

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Kerr Smith

The actor played Jack McPhee on "Dawson's Creek." He started appearing on the show's second season as the 16-year-old kid when he was really 26.

He was 31 by the time the teen drama ended it's run.

(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

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Jennifer Grey

Jennifer Grey was 26 when she played Ferris Bueller’s older sister in the 1986 hit "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

A year later she played 17-year-old "Baby" in "Dirty Dancing."

Nobody puts Baby in the corner...

(Paramount)

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charisma on Buffy

Charisma Carpenter

The actress was 26 years old when she first auditioned for the title role on the television series "Buffy The Vampire Slayer."

She didn't get the lead, but she got to play a different high school student, Cordelia Chase. 

After "Buffy" she continued playing Cordelia for four seasons the show's spin-off "Angel."

(20th Century Fox)

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Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell was 24 when she started playing high school student turned investigator, "Veronica Mars." 

She was in her late 20s by the time the show ended in 2007. Kristen still plays somewhat of a high school role as the voice on “Gossip Girl” but its probably okay since they never show her face.

(Warner Home Video)

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Jared Leto

The "30 Seconds to Mars" rocker was 23 when he starred as ultra hottie, Jordan Catalano on “My So-Called Life.”

(Shout! Factory)

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Joyce Hyser

A 28-year-old Joyce played an aspiring teenage journalist in 1985's “Just One of the Guys.”

(Sony Pictures)

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Amanda Seyfried

Amanda Seyfried played a 17-year-old in 2007's "Alpha Dog" when she was 22.

(Universal Studios)

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Matthew Scott Porter

The cute actor played High School quarterback Jason Street in the pilot episode on "Friday Night Lights" in 2006. He was 27. 

(Universal Studios)

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Michael Trevino

The actor was 24 when he was cast as Tyler Lockwood, a high school teen turned werewolf in "The Vampire Diaries."

(The CW)

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Za in Orson

Zac Efron 

Doesn't it feel like this "High School Musical" star has been playing a teen for decades?

Despite his young face, maybe now it's time to start turning down teen roles.

In 2009 he played 17-year-old Richard Samuels in "Me and Orson Welles."

(Warner Home Video)

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Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire played high school teens in "Pleasantville" in 1998 while she was 22 and he was 23.

(New Line)

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Danny Then

Danny Masterson

Danny (left) was 22 when he first started playing Eric's (Topher Grace) best friend Steven Hyde on "That '70s Show" in 1998.

Wilmer Valderamma (right) was a more appropriate 18 when he forever turned into Fez.

(FOX)

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Joshua Jackson

Young girls everywhere loved Joshua Jackson as high school cutie Pacey Witter on "Dawson's Creek."

Josh was actually 20 when the show premiered and by the time the show ran it's course, he was 25.

(Sony Pictures)

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Marley in Never

Marley Shelton

Although Jessica Alba (left) was appropriately 18 years old when she played a prissy high school mean girl in "Never Been Kissed," Marley (right) was several years older.

The actress was 25 when the romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore came out in 1999.

(20th Century Fox)

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Seth and Ryan

Benjamin McKenzie and Adam Brody

Benjamin McKenzie (left) and Adam Brody (right) starred as 16-year-olds on "The O.C." in 2003. Ben was 25 while Adam was 24. 

(Fox)

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Tobey Maguire as spiderman

Tobey Maguire

Are super powers supposed to cancel out your age?

Tobey Maguire was 27 when he first donned the famous red suit in "Spider-Man." His innocent cover Peter Parker was a high school kid.

(Columbia Pictures)

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Jesse Metcalfe on Desperate

Jesse Metcalfe

He may have played a teen gardener - and boy toy to Eva Longoria's character - on "Desperate Housewives," but Jesse was actually 26 years old. 

(ABC Studios)

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Shannon Elizabeth in American Pie

Shannon Elizabeth

Shannon became widely known as a sex symbol after playing a Czech exchange student in 1999's "American Pie."

Although it was a coming of age comedy about high school teens, Shannon was actually 26.

Her co-star Jason Biggs was 21.

(Universal Pictures)

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Seth Green

Sure, even now, he still has a baby face. But at least he's stopped playing teen characters. 

In 1998 Seth played a dorky high school teen in "Can't Hardly Wait."

He was 24, but he sure looked - and acted - like 15.

(Sony Pictures)

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Stockard Channing in Grease

Stockard Channing

Stockard Channing starred as high school big shot Betty Rizzo in 1978's "Grease" ... when she was 33 years old! 

(Paramount Home Video)

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Rachel McAdams Teen

Rachel McAdams

It may seem like the talented actress has been around forever, but she really got her start in "Mean Girls" in 2004 opposite Lindsay Lohan. 

She played the uber popular prom queen Regina George when she was 26. 

(Paramount Pictures)

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Teen Scott Wolf

Scott Wolf

The softy from "Party of Five" was 10 years older than the 16-year-old character he portrayed, Bailey Salinger. 

By the time the show went off the air in 2000, Scott was already 32. 

(AP)

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The 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' Gals

The 2005 movie based on  the book by the same name, had some familiar faces as well as some newbies. 

If you had to guess, you'd probably think that Amber Tamblyn (far right) is the oldest while Alexis Bledel (second from left) looks like the youngest, but that's not true.

The only girl who was actually a teen playing one of these best friends was Blake Lively, (far left) who was 18 at the time. The others were already in their 20s. Amber was 22, Alexis was 25 and America Ferrera (second from right) was 21. 

(AP)

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AP2008

Paul Walker teen

Paul Walker

His baby blue eyes first won our hearts in 1999's "Varsity Blues" where he played high school quarterback, Lance Harbor. 

But his high school days were long over by the time he was cast in the part; he was actually 26.

(Paramount)

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Melissa Joan Hart teen

Melissa Joan Hart

If the word "teen" is in the title of a show, maybe producers should actually cast a teen?

Melissa Joan Hart was 20 when she began playing the famous teen-aged witch. 

(AP)

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Luke Perry

'90s heartthrob Dylan McKay was played by then 24-year-old Luke Perry. By the time the show ended in 2000, he was in his mid-30s. 

(AP)

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Freddie Prinze, Jr.

It must be have been his baby-face that made producers cast him - at age 23 - to play a high school jock in 1999's "She's All That."

(AP)

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Nicholas Brendon

In 1997 the 26-year-old was cast to play Buffy's best friend Xander Harris in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

(WB)

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Tara Reid

At 24, Tara played Kevin's (Thomas Ian Nicholas) innocent girlfriend Vicky in 1999's "American Pie."

We're pretty sure that at 24, Tara wasn't quite so innocent.

(AP)

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Chad Michael Murray

It seems like this cutie will always portray teen characters. 

Up until 2012, he still starred on the teen drama "One Tree Hill" and in 2004 he starred alongside a 17-year-old Hilary Duff in "A Cinderella Story." He was 23. 

(AP)

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Keiko Agena

She played Rory Gilmore's best-friend Lane Kim on the drama "Gilmore Girls."

When she was cast to play the level-headed 16-year-old, Keiko was actually 27. 

(WB)

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Michael J Fox Back to Future

Michael J. Fox

The "Family Ties" star was 24 when he first depicted Marty McFly in the original "Back to the Future" in 1985. As the trilogy came to a close in 1990, he was close to 30.

(Universal Pictures)

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Stacey Dash in Clueless

Stacey Dash

Stacey got her big break playing Cher's (Alicia Silverstone) best-friend Dionne Marie Davenport in "Clueless" (1995). 

While Alicia was 19 playing the role of a high school junior, Stacey was 28. 

As if.

(Paramount)

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Ian Ziering 90210 g

Ian Ziering

It was a bit bizarre when Steve Sanders on "90210," played by Ian Ziering, began to have a receding hairline while he was still supposedly in high school. 

It's probably because Ian was actually 26 when he first portrayed the rich teen. By the time the college years rolled around he was over 30.

Exactly when receding hairlines being to occur in nature.

(AP)

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Jon Heder in Napoleon Dynamite

Jon Heder

He burst on the scene in 2004's "Napoleon Dynamite" which he wrote and starred in. Jon cast himself as the socially awkward teen even though he was in his late 20s.

(20th Century Fox)

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Zach Gilford FNL

Zack Gilford

The star of the new show, "Off the Map" was 24 when he first started playing high school sophomore and football champ Matt Saracen on "Friday Night Lights" in 2006. 

(Universal)

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Carrie Sissy Spacek

Sissy Spacek

The actress was nominated for an Academy Award for playing troubled high school senior, Carrie in the 1976 horror pic of the same name. 

She was in her late 20s at the time and had to convince director Brian De Palma that she wasn't too old for the part.

(MGM)

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Scream cre

'Scream' Cast    

Skeet Ulrich, Jamie Kennedy and Matthew Lillard (left to right) were all 26 when they played high school teens in Wes Craven's 1996 thriller, "Scream."

(Dimension)

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Trevor Donovan

Trevor Donovan

The blonde Ken look-alike actor starred as Teddy Montgomery on the "90210" remake from 2008 to 2013. 

He was 34 by the time the series wrapped.

We're just sayin'.

(Paramount)

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Ryan Phillippe

Ryan was in his mid-20s when he played a teen version of a conniving ladies man in "Cruel Intentions" (1999).

On set he met his future wife (and now ex-wife) Reese Witherspoon who is only two years younger than him. 

(Sony Pictures)

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Gabrielle Carteris

The actress played aspiring journalist Andrea Zuckerman on the early seasons of "90210."

At 29, she was the oldest cast member to play a 16-year-old.

(AP)

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Alan Ruck

He famously portrayed 17-year-old Cameron Frye in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" but he was actually 29.

(Paramount)

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Gabrielle Union

The actress was 28 when she played a high school cheerleader in 2000's "Bring it On." 

She fit right in alongside Kirsten Dunst who was a decade younger. 

(Universal Studios)

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Taylor Kitsch

The Canadian actor played Dillon Panthers football star Tim Riggins on "Friday Night Lights" from 2006 to 2011.

He was in his mid-20s when he started portraying the high school jock.

(Universal Studios)

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Ashley Tisdale

The former Disney star starred as another high school cheerleader on "Hellcats" in 2010. She was 25.

(The CW)

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Antwon Tanner

He joined the cast of teen drama "One Tree Hill" in 2003 as one of Lucas' oldest friends. Old is right, Antwon was actually 28.

(Warner Home Video)

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Older actors who played teens

Did Fonzie on 'Happy Days' always look a bit too grown up? Uh huh.

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