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Haley Joel Osment: The Enduringly Talented Child Star Who Found His Way

As a diehard fan of Haley Joel Osment since first seeing him in The Sixth Sense as a kid myself, I‘ve eagerly followed his varied career over the last 20+ years. Though he‘s avoided the spotlight in adulthood, Osment has quietly built up an impressive resume of roles and achievements. Get to know this child prodigy turned versatile character actor.

Full Name Haley Joel Osment
Age 35
Birthday April 10, 1988
Birth Place Los Angeles, CA
Notable Roles Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense, David in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Sora in Kingdom Hearts video game series
Key Awards Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 2 Young Artist Awards
Net Worth $6 million
Social Profiles Instagram, Twitter

A Budding Star in Youth: Early Acting Roles

Haley Joel Osment got an exceptionally early start in acting at just 4 years old, starring in a Pizza Hut commercial in 1992 showcasing real acting chops. Supportive parents soon helped Osment land bit parts on shows like The Jeff Foxworthy Show and Thunder Alley.

His first major role came at age 6 playing Tom Hanks’ son in the 1994 Oscar winner Forrest Gump. Osment’s sensitive performance earned widespread praise and signaled huge potential. More substantial child roles followed in 1996‘s Bogus with Whoopi Goldberg and the blockbuster Twister.

But his career-defining performance was just around the corner.

The Role of a Lifetime in The Sixth Sense

In 1999, Osment took on what remains one of the greatest child acting performances ever as the haunted Cole Sear in M. Night Shyamalan‘s sleeper hit The Sixth Sense. Opposite Bruce Willis, 11-year-old Osment gave an emotionally nuanced turn belying his age. His oft-quoted "I see dead people" line became instantly iconic.

The Sixth Sense grossed over $672 million worldwide, making it the second highest earning film of 1999. For his sensitive, mature performance, Osment won the Saturn Award for Best Younger Actor and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He remains the second youngest nominee ever after Kramer vs. Kramer‘s Justin Henry.

Child Stardom in the Early 2000s

Riding high off his Sixth Sense success, Osment starred in Spielberg’s 2001 sci-fi drama A.I. Artificial Intelligence as an android who yearns to be a real boy. He earned strong reviews, with Roger Ebert calling his performance "one of the greatest in the history of movies." Osment also took notable roles in 2000‘s Kevin Spacey drama Pay It Forward and the sports film Remember the Titans.

As a teen, Osment headlined the comedy films Home of the Giants and Cheerleader Camp while continuing voice work as Sora in the hit Kingdom Hearts video games. Though flooded with offers, Osment worked sparingly, focusing on school and activities outside acting.

A Period of Reinvention in Adulthood

Entering adulthood, Osment opted to hit pause on his acting career, enrolling in New York University‘s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts program in 2006. After graduating in 2011, Osment slowly reemerged with small film parts like 2012’s I‘ll Follow You Down.

In a continued bid to reinvent himself, Osment took on offbeat roles in Kevin Smith‘s 2016 horror-comedy Yoga Hosers and Adam Sandler‘s comedy Sandy Wexler on Netflix. Proving his versatility, Osment went for drama in 2017‘s Sundance favorite Shock and Awe playing a real-life war reporter.

His career hit another upswing when he joined HBO‘s hit satire Silicon Valley in 2017. As the oddball VR developer Keenan Feldspar, Osment stole scenes and drew new fans. That led to a recurring role on Netflix‘s acclaimed The Kominsky Method as Michael Douglas‘ unsettled son. Osment continues voice work as Sora while taking on provocative new film and TV projects, showing serious acting chops remain his strength.

Achievements and Accolades

Though Osment has deliberately avoided the spotlight as an adult, his early achievements and accolades merit recognition.

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor at age 11 for The Sixth Sense – Youngest nominee since 1939
  • Won Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor for The Sixth Sense
  • 2-time Young Artist Award winner, honored for The Sixth Sense and Ai
  • Daytime Emmy nomination for voicing Sora in Kingdom Hearts video game
  • Named one of VH1‘s "100 Greatest Kid Stars"

Coupled with consistent praise for his acting talents, Osment has more than lived up to the promise he showed as one of the most gifted child stars ever.

5 Fun and Fascinating Facts About Haley Joel Osment

Beyond his eclectic resume, there are some fun facts every superfan like me knows about this uniquely talented actor.

  • Osment bonded with Bruce Willis over long Sixth Sense shoots by playing Nintendo 64 – they remain close friends.
  • He fractured his ribs in a 2006 car accident, stalling his career briefly.
  • Osment is an avid golfer who has participated in pro-am tournaments.
  • He sings and plays guitar for the blues rock band The Dirties.
  • Osment grew up normal and avoided scandals that plagued many child stars.

An Actor for the Ages

For any true fan of great acting, Haley Joel Osment stands out as one of the most naturally gifted stars, child or adult, of recent decades. Though he eschewed fame, he remains an inspiration as someone who found his way after early success. Now entering mid-career, his love for challenging roles suggests Osment has much left to contribute. I can‘t wait to see what captivating performances he gives next.