Alex Winter is best known for playing Bill in ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ at the age of 24. He was also a prominent child actor, having roles in Broadway plays such as ‘The King and I’ and ‘Peter Pan.’ Show business was a different kind of world where he was exposed to creative minds, learned elite acting skills, and also had experienced the unfortunate subjection to sexual abuse.
Winter’s documentary, ‘Showbiz Kids,’ premiering July 14 on HBO, produced by Glen Zipper and Bill Simmons, delves into the vulnerable lives of adolescent entertainers. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the doc features interviews with Diana Serra Cary (silent film’s “Baby Peggy”), Evan Rachel Wood, Todd Bridges, Jada Pinkett Smith, Wil Wheaton, Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce, E.T.’s Henry Thomas, Matilda’s Mara Wilson and more.
Winter, now age 54, probes a range of topics, including the hardships of being a parent to a child star, the misfortunes of sudden fame, and what is lost when a child works at a young age. Although the movie is not entirely based on sexual abuse, many former child actors described the inhumane act as an occupational hazard. “Our stories are really the same — the highs and lows you go through as children and the risks that you face if you’re vulnerable,” says Winter.