The Curse of Fame: Whatever Happened To Edward Furlong?

In 1991, Edward Furlong was a 12-year old child actor from Los Angeles who was on the brink of stardom.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day was just about to be released in cinemas and revolutionise blockbusters for years to come. Furlong's surprisingly soulful performance as John Connor, the eventual leader of the human resistance against the Terminators, was praised by many critics. Like his character, Furlong was destined for greatness.

Had he had not such a tumultuous life, Furlong could have easily had a career comparable to the likes of fellow child actors Leonardo DiCaprio or Ryan Gosling but his home life wasn't exactly the most conducive to normality.

His father was completely absent from his life and his mother eventually lost control of him resulting in an aunt and uncle suing for custody and raising him until his early teens. Then Furlong himself sued for his emancipation and won it. Why did he do that? He was in a relationship with a 29-year old woman who was his on-set tutor during filming of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. He was 15.

They were engaged briefly and she became his manager, although she did little to steer his career in any meaningful way. Furlong starred in a number of critical and commercial failures, none that came close to replicating the success of Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Furlong would eventually split with his manager, both personally and professionally. In 1999, she sued him for money owed to her for acting as his manager. She also claimed he was physically abusive.

Throughout this time, Furlong is said to have taken hard drugs - heroin, cocaine - and was in the depths of serious alcoholism.


Edward Furlong in 2010

Furlong's career made a slight up-tick in 1997 when he starred as the vulnerable, damaged younger brother to Edward Norton in American History X. The role won Furlong a nomination for Young Artist Award and the film was a critical success. He enjoyed a brief moment of success again with Detroit Rock City, where he starred alongside and eventually dated Natasha Lyonne, one of the stars of Orange Is The New Black.

His fortunes spiralled downward again, with Furlong unable to secure any meaningful work other direct-to-DVD films. His addictions prevented him from being recast as John Connor in the 2002's Rise of the Machines, the follow-up to Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the role going to Nick Stahl instead.

Throughout the 2000's, he was arrested several times for domestic abuse, drug addiction and various driving offences and he admitted publicly in court that he was almost completely broke.

According to iMDB, Furlong has only starred in one film in 2015 and hasn't had a theatrically-released film in ten years.


Despite this, Furlong is still believed to be a talented, if troubled actor. "I shot Ed Furlong when he wasn’t even aware that we were filming," said one director. "He’s a very unpredictable and a brilliant actor when he wants to."

Child actors tend to go down two paths; they successfully make the transition into grown up actors or they descend into destruction. OR they choose not to act any more and have perfectly happy lives out of the spotlight.

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