Like his brother Fred, who made a name for himself on the hit TV show The Wonder Years, Ben Savage started his acting career at a very young age. He made his film debut at the age of 9 in his older brother’s Little Monsters and went on to appear in a number of television series, including the aforementioned show that put his brother on the map.
However, it was 1993’s Boy Meets World, one of the best sitcoms of the 90s, that gave Ben Savage his first major acting role. He starred as teen babe, and occasional rude boy, Cory Matthews in the show, and teenage audiences loved him.
The show ended in the year 2000, although Savage continued to work in television with small roles in such shows as Chuck and Without a Trace. In 2014, he returned to the role of Cory in Girl Meets World, and reunited with some of his earlier co-stars.
Savage also attempted a film career but unfortunately, it wasn’t a case of ‘Ben Meets Hollywood’ for the young actor. Why? Well, let’s take a closer look.
Ben Meets World: Life After A Hit Television Show
Boy Meets World was an incredibly successful TV show, but when it ended, Ben Savage decided on a different path. Rather than focus on his acting, he decided to pursue a political science major instead. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he said:
“I was really focused on going to college. I got into Stanford two years earlier, but had to defer. When the show ended I was tunnel-visioned about going to college and being a normal kid for a while.”
For a time he was interested in a career in government and even interned for the late US Senator Arlen Specter. During this time, he still took on the occasional acting role, but it wasn’t something he placed a lot of focus on. This could be one reason why his film career never took off, as he wasn’t as reachable as many young actors of the time. However, when his political aspirations started to fizzle out, Savage did try to get a film career started, but with little success.
The Film Career Of Ben Savage
It’s easy to recall Ben Savage’s television credits, but it’s a different story when it comes to the films he has made. His first film, Little Monsters, is perhaps his most famous, as the others on his resume are unlikely to be remembered by many. Those he acted in were independently produced and made on a low budget, and while some of them earned solid reviews, they were in no way major award contenders.
Swimming Upstream, Car Babes, The Caterpillar’s Kimono, and Girl Meets Boy (unrelated to his successful TV show), are just some of the films Savage acted in. But being made outside of the Hollywood system, fans of the actor were more likely to find these films at the local DVD store instead of in theatres, which is, perhaps, another reason why Savage didn’t become the major film star he could have been.
But the real reason why Savage didn’t become a major Hollywood player might not be because of the acting break he took or his low-budget film choices. There is something else we need to consider, which is true for not only Savage but also many other former child stars who haven’t made it in Hollywood.
Ben Meets Cory: The Curse Of His Childhood Career
Not every child star wants to pursue an acting career. We need only look at those young actors who left the industry early to follow other paths, such as Josh Taviano who played Paul Pfeiffer on The Wonder Years.
But then there are those who continue to act but who struggle to make a name for themselves outside of the TV shows where they became successes.
There are exceptions, of course. Michael J. Fox had a successful Hollywood career after making Family Ties, and Jason Bateman did too following his stint on The Hogan Family and Silver Spoons.
But then there are those child actors whose careers flopped after early stardom. Rider Strong, another actor known for Boy Meets World, hasn’t had the breakout movie career of many of his peers, and neither has Home Improvement’s Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Frankie Muniz almost became a film star after Malcolm In The Middle, but this seemed to fizzle out after Agent Cody Banks. Sharknado 3 anyone?
So, the point is this. When actors find a lot of success as children on popular hit TV shows, it becomes very difficult for them to shake off the characters they became known for. This could be the real reason why Ben Savage hasn’t had the film career of some of his contemporaries, and it could be the reason why he later returned to the role of Cory Matthews for a spin-off series. This isn’t the fault of Savage, of course, and it isn’t the fault of Frankie Muniz or Jonathan Taylor Thomas either. Rather, it’s the movie execs and casting agents who decide certain actors are not bankable because they are too firmly established as characters from time past.
Will Ben Savage ever make it in Hollywood? Who knows! It could still happen, but this is assuming he wants a bigger film career. Right now, he is still working hard on the small screen, and as he has a net worth of $12 million, it could be that he is happy where he is for now!