Few 6-year-olds have made splashier movie debuts than Lipnicki, who went toe-to-toe with Tom Cruise in the charm department in Jerry Maguire and got almost as many memorable lines. He went on to plum roles in the Stuart Little films, Doctor Dolittle (voicing Baby Tiger), The Little Vampire and Little Mike, as well as guest-starred on Dawson’s Creek, but took a break to have a normal high school experience.
The same visibility wasn’t awaiting him as a young man, but he’s worked steadily, appearing in movies such as Beware the Lake, Limelight and Broil while also writing and producing short and feature-length films.
In 2017, Lipnicki opened up about the bullying he experienced in middle school, hoping that sharing his experience could lend some comfort to others. “I have now made more movies as an adult than I did as a child! This makes me really emotional,” he wrote in a note posted on Instagram. “I didn’t expect to feel like this, but I do. Sure they aren’t studio films or wide releases, but they are in theaters! I am chasing my dreams and I couldn’t be happier.”
But, he continued, back in the day he was “made fun of relentlessly” by some kids who then, down the road, must have forgotten their bad behavior and shamelessly friended him on Facebook. “I was told I was a has-been and would never book a job again,” he recalled. He started having nightly panic attacks, anticipating the next day’s humiliation. Yet he had survived and, he added, “it’s amazing how many people peak in their teens.”
He wrote in his caption, “I am grateful for the amazing life I have and I hope I can pass on that it DOES get better.”