Jul 31, 2013

Barret Oliver's Neverending Story

Born in 1973, Barret Oliver became one of the most beloved child stars of the 1980s.

After some guest roles in Knight Rider, The Incredible Hulk, and the gay-themed Love, Sidney, he landed the role of Bastian, a bookworm whose alter-ego Atreyu (Noah Hathaway, left) saves a heroic fantasy world in The Neverending Story (1984).

Next came D.A.R.Y.L. (1985), a gay-symbolism movie about a young boy who turns out to be a cyborg (Barret), and the human boy named Turtle (Danny Corkill) who befriends him.

He also starred in Invitation to Hell (1984), as the kid in a suburban family bedeviled by demons, and Cocoon (1985), as the kid among a group of elderly people rejuvenated by aliens.

When he hit adolescence and started hunking up, he became embroiled in a tug-of-war battle with casting agents, who wanted to keep him cute, innocent, and wide-eyed: the boy-and-dog movie Spot Marks the X (1986), a Twilight Zone episode entitled "Gramma," the boy-and-girl story The Secret Garden (1987).

Cocoon: the Return (1988) was the last straw.  After a small but homoerotic role in Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (with Ray Sharkey) Barret retired from acting.  He is now a well-known photographer.