Stars who started on Disney
From teen pop icons to Academy Award-winning actors, many of today's young and budding stars got their start with Disney roles.
Canadian-American actor Joshua Jackson, who is best known for his role as Pacey in “Dawson's Creek,” starred in Disney's “The Mighty Ducks.” He has since appeared in prime time television and in 32 film roles, including as Peter Bishop in “Fringe.”
Hilary Duff first made a name for herself playing the title role in Disney's teen comedy “Lizzie McGuire,” which led to her role in “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” in 2003. Duff then went to star in motion pictures, including “Cheaper by the Dozen” in 2003, “A Cinderella Story” in 2004 and most recently the television drama “Gossip Girl.” Duff has also released several pop albums and has her own clothing lines — Stuff by Hilary Duff and Femme for DKNY Jeans.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, now best known for his starring roles in television sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun” and the indie film "(500) Days of Summer,” starred as an orphan who sees angels in the Disney film “Angels in the Outfield” alongside Danny Glover and Christopher Lloyd. Gordon-Levitt was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his well-received performance in "(500) Days of Summer.” He also starred in Christopher Nolan's science fiction thriller “Inception” and has acted in a wide variety of other shows and movies.
British-American model and actress Mischa Barton starred in Disney's TV movie “A Ring of Endless Light” before going on to play Marissa Cooper in the Fox television series “The O.C.," the role she is best known for. Barton received two Teen Choice Awards and a Prism Award nomination for her role in “The O.C.” Barton has since starred in a wide array of other televisions shows and movies, including the drama “Closing the Ring” and the Ashton-Kutcher-produced series “The Beautiful Life: TBL.”
Lindsay Lohan got her acting debut in Disney's 1998 remake of “The Parent Trap” at the age of 11, before garnering more fame with roles in the films “Freaky Friday," "Mean Girls” and “Herbie: Fully Loaded.” Lohan began her career as a recording artist in 2004 with her debut album “Speak,” followed in 2005 with the album “A Little More Personal (Raw)." Recently, Lohan has starred in the TV comedy film “Labor Pains” and Robert Rodriguez's film ”Machete.”
Demi Lovato first became known for her starring roles in the “Camp Rock” movies and as Sonny Munroe in the Disney sitcom “Sonny with a Chance.” Lovato released her debut album “Don't Forget” in 2008, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Her second album, “Here We Go Again,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and her third studio album, “Unbroken,” was released in September 2011.
Singer and actress Selena Gomez is known for her role in Disney's television series “Wizards of Waverly Place.” She later starred in the television movies “Another Cinderella Story," "Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie” and “Princess Protection Program.” Gomez has also earned significant fame for her role in the music industry as the lead singer and founder of the pop band Selena Gomez & the Scene, which has released three gold-certified studio albums.
At age 10, Hayden Panettiere starred as Sheryl Yoast in the Disney feature film “Remember the Titans.” Notably, she has also played the role of cheerleader Claire Bennet on the NBC series “Heroes,” which earned her a variety of prestigious awards. Most recently, Panettiere played the title character in the crime drama “Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy” and Kirby Reed in the film “Scream 4.”
Actress Anne Hathaway got her start in Hollywood with her starring role in Disney's “The Princess Diaries.” She has since starred in such famous films as “Becoming Jane," "Brokeback Mountain," "The Devil Wears Prada” and “Rachel Getting Married.” Hathaway was nominated for an Academy Award for her lead role in “Rachel Getting Married.” (Nov. 16, 2010)
Actor Shia LaBeouf got his start in the Disney series “Even Stevens” and also later played in “Holes.” The first film he directed was “Let's Love Hate,” followed by the music video for “I Never Knew You” by the rapper Cage. LaBeouf's other films include “Indiana Jones” and “The Transformers,” among others.
Singer Miley Cyrus achieved wide fame for her leading role as Miley Stewart/Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel sitcom “Hannah Montana.” Cyrus has gone on to become a prominent teen idol and began her debut with solo work with the 2008 album “Breakout” and later her 2009 best-selling single “Party in the USA,” in addition to other prominent acting roles.
Actor Justin Timberlake starred in the Disney Channel television series “The New Mickey Mouse Club,” where he met future band mate JC Chasez. Timberlake later earned fame as the lead singer of the boy band 'N Sync and has earned six Grammy Awards and four Emmy Awards for his singing and acting career.
Pop icon Brittany Spears got her debut with the role of Mouseketeer on Disney's series “The New Mickey Mouse Club” when she was 11. Spears went on to become widely recognized for her role in teenage pop with songs such as "...Baby One More Time” and “Oops!...I Did It Again.”