See the Little Boy From "Jerry Maguire" Now at 31
Jonathan Lipnicki took some time off but returned to his acting career as an adult.
At six years old, Jonathan Lipnicki charmed Jerry Maguire audiences as Renée Zellweger's character Dorothy's precocious son, who famously informed Tom Cruise of the weight of the human head. The young actor would go on to star in family-friendly films like Stuart Little, Like Mike, and The Little Vampire before falling out of the limelight. Now grown, Lipnicki is still acting and doing so much more. Read on to find out what he is doing now at age 31 and if he's still in touch with his one-time co-star, Cruise.
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He took a break from Hollywood.
Transitioning between child stardom and a quotidian life of public school and Little League wasn't easy for Lipnicki, who has said he was bullied and "made fun of relentlessly" in middle school, leading to anxiety and panic attacks. As he entered his teen years, he needed a time out to take acting lessons and regain his confidence.
"It wasn't really traditionally a break," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I was still auditioning here and there. I was kind of in an awkward phase, and I wasn't as confident in myself, and the best thing as an actor you can bring to a role is yourself."
He's dabbled in reality TV.
Like many former child actors, Lipnicki has made a few appearances on reality programs. In 2017, he teamed up with the "TV Kids" team on the throwback competition show Battle of the Network Stars. In 2018 he appeared on the fourth season of the UK matchmaking show, Celebs Go Dating, briefly romancing a 22-year-old Brit, while 2021 found him on Drop the Mic where he delivered lines like, "You look like an Olsen twin mixed with girl Shrek," in a biting rap battle with Boy Meets World's Danielle Fishel.
He is a dedicated martial artist with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
During his teen years, Lipnicki also took up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which he credits for helping him become "confident" and stay "humble." He also does Muay Thai and mixed martial arts (MMA). Almost nine years after photos of a muscular Lipnicki surprised the internet in 2011, the actor earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
He uses his skills to protect the Jewish community of Los Angeles.
Lipnicki's Jewish identity has long been important to him. The grandson of a Holocaust survivor, he has credited his mother for instilling a connection to his heritage and an emotional 2017 Birthright Israel trip for reaffirming it.
Following a surge in antisemitic assaults in Los Angeles in 2021, Lipnick joined a group of volunteers from the MMA community, dubbed the "Shabbat Angels," to accompany Orthodox Jews to temple and taught self-defense skills to some young members of the community.
"Our presence deters people, but it also shows solidarity," he told Spectrum News 1.
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He says the best is yet to come acting-wise—and still finds support from a certain A-List actor.
Lipnicki continues to work steadily as an actor and has compiled more film and TV credits as an adult than he did as a child. Credits include the Russo Brothers' web series Motherlover and a number of horror films including Circus Kane (2017) and Broil (2020). He has also worked as a producer on films including 2012's Broken Roads and 2020's Initiation.
And yes, he still counts Cruise as a significant presence in his life.
"I've seen Tom Cruise a few times this year, and he's always been super-supportive of me," he told ESPN in 2012.
Despite some tongue-in-cheek references to his past, including a sketch panning his experiences as a post-childhood actor and a cameo in a 2015 Audi commercial, he hopes he can be seen as more than the cute kid from Jerry Maguire.
"I don't live in the past, and I can't wait till the day when everyone else is done living in the past when it comes to me and my career," he told the Times of Israel in 2017. "I can't wait to show people who I really am now because I'm better than I've ever been, and I have a lot more to offer now."