Whatever Happened To The Kid From Liar Liar?

No history of pop culture in the 1990s would be complete without entries on both cherub-faced child actors and Jim Carrey movies. Sitting firmly in the center of that very specific Venn diagram is Liar Liar, the 1997 vehicle for Carrey's signature style of over-the-top slapstick comedy. In the movie, Carrey plays a top lawyer — slash borderline pathological liar — who learns his lesson when his son, Max, makes a birthday wish that renders him unable to lie for just one day (you know — one of those "24-hour curses").

Justin Cooper, the round-cheeked, button-nosed little boy who played Carrey's adorable son, won us over immediately and permanently. Seriously — his tragically sad, disappointed little face blowing out the birthday candles and making the plot's central wish? Burned in our collective brains for all time. But whatever happened to this cute kid actor? Here's absolutely everything you need to know about Cooper's life outside of Liar Liar — including what he looks like today.

Justin Cooper's very first acting gig was on Full House

Remember those descriptions of Justin Cooper's adorably chubby, cherubic cheeks and his particularly memorable pout? With his quintessentially '90s kid actor look, it probably comes as no surprise that Cooper made his official acting debut alongside some of that decade's most famously adorably child stars: the Olsen twins. The young actor's big break came in 1993 on an episode of Full House.

But wait: It gets even better and, somehow, cuter. Cooper played a character named Linus Plankin (yes, seriously). The episode, "Support Your Local Parents," aired in Full House's seventh season and centered on Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) and Aunt Becky (Lorie Loughlin)'s parenting struggles as they work to make sure their twin sons, Nicky and Alex, are socializing enough with other kids. Jesse arranges a playdate for the twins with Linus, who turns out to be a little wise-beyond-his-years and spends more time talking to Jesse than the twins.

Cooper only had one scene in the episode, but he made the most of it in what proved to be a truly A+ debut. He was only five years old at the time, but Cooper held his own opposite Stamos, who, at this point, was a 30-year-old pro with seven years of Full House under his belt, not to mention a swoony stint on General Hospital. That's what natural talent looks like.

He did a two-year stint on General Hospital

Speaking of General Hospital, Stamos isn't the only alum of the long-running soap in that Full House scene. A few short years after his Full House debut, Justin Cooper landed a regular gig on General Hospital as Lucas Jones.

Cooper spent two years on the iconic daytime soap in the mid-'90s. Lucas Jones is still a prominent and beloved character on General Hospital, which, according to the Guinness World Records website, is "the world's longest-running daytime soap opera with the demise of As the World Turns." Not only is the character — who grew up to be Dr. Lucas Jones, naturally — a fan favorite, he's also downright trailblazing as one of the soap opera genre's first prominent gay characters

We can't give Cooper credit for originating the character, who first appeared in 1989 as an infant and was played by twins Kenny Gravino and Chuckie Gravino from 1992 until 1994. Cooper took over the part in 1996 and played Lucas until 1998, when Logan O'Brien stepped in to bring the character to life from 1998 until 2002, when the character was rapidly aged up and J. Evan Bonifant was cast briefly in the role. A handful of other actors took turns as Lucas, including C.J. Thomason in 2003, Ryan Carnes, from 2004 until 2005, and Ben Hogestyn, from 2005 until 2006. In 2013, Carnes returned to the character and has portrayed him ever since.

You might remember Justin Cooper as Eric Matthews' almost-stepson on Boy Meets World

Another performance of Justin Cooper's that might be burned in the brains of millennial pop culture lovers everywhere? His single-episode appearance on TGIF powerhouse and perennial nostalgia well Boy Meets World. Struggling to place Cooper's role on the show? Allow us to jog your memory.

Cooper appeared in the family-friendly sitcom's fourth season, in an episode called "Uncle Daddy." In the episode, Cooper played the young son of a woman Eric Matthews dates — and to whom he briefly thinks about committing, not just as a partner, but as a co-parent to said cute kid. This is, of course, not a great idea since Eric is basically a kid himself and not ready to take on parenthood. Considering the character was only supposed to be about 20 years old at the time, however, that's totally understandable. 

If you can't help but think how Cooper looked just like he did in Liar Liar, right down to the shaggy bowl cut and pouty face, for his Boy Meets World guest spot, there's a good reason for that. Both were released in 1997, AKA the year Justin Cooper officially became an A-list child star.

Justin Cooper helped Jim Carrey improvise in Liar Liar

As an actor, Jim Carrey is notorious for going off-script and improvising on his film sets. That playful spirit isn't limited to scenes with adult co-stars, apparently.

In an interview for a behind-the-scenes featurette, Carrey revealed that one of his favorite scenes in Liar Liar was one he and Justin Cooper worked on together. The scene in question takes place on the morning of Max's birthday, after his dad, Fletcher, has stayed up all night working on a last-minute case for work. The scene, which takes place before the magical wish, highlights Fletcher and Max's strong father-son bond and their goofy, unique way of communicating (most famously illustrated, of course, by The Claw).

"I like the scene on the morning of his birthday — it was really fun — because none of that was planned and we just kind of played together and came up with this thing where I swallowed, where I tell him I swallowed his package and it's inside my clothes," Carrey explained in the behind-the-scenes interview.

Improvising scenes with Jim Carrey as a 10-year-old? That is next-level talent.

He starred in his own TGIF sitcom

After his big screen success in Liar Liar, Justin Cooper returned to his TGIF roots — this time in a leading role. In 1998, he starred alongside William Ragsdale and Sean O'Bryan in the short-lived family sitcom Brother's Keeper on ABC (screenshot above).

The show focused on brothers Porter (Ragsdale) and Bobby (O'Bryan) Waide, a recent-widower/single dad/stodgy college professor (yes, he was all of those things!) and pro football player/notorious bad boy who move in together to try to get their respective lives back on track. In the process, Bobby becomes a de facto second parent to his nephew and sitcom hijinks ensue. 

Cooper played Porter's son, Oscar, in the show, which, in retrospect, feels like a precursor to CBS' long-running mega-hit Two and a Half Men. It would seem that Brother's Keeper was just ahead of its time, though. The show was, sadly, cancelled after just one season.

An award-nominated performance didn't save Justin Cooper's sitcom

Believe it or not, Justin Cooper has an award nomination under his belt. And, no, it's not for "Cutest Bowl Cut" or "Most Devastating Pouty Face." Even though Brother's Keeper's ratings weren't impressive enough to inspire ABC to keep it on the air for a second season, Cooper's performance impressed the people behind the Youth in Film Awards enough to nab him a nomination.

In 1998, the group nominated Cooper for its Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series, Supporting Male Young Actor award for his performance on Brother's Keeper. He ultimately lost out to Eric Lloyd, for his role on NBC's sitcom Jesse, as the son of a young single mom played by Christina Applegate. 

We're sure it was an honor just to be nominated — and that if the prize had been for Best Bowl Cut, Cooper would have been a shoe-in.

Justin Cooper retired from acting in 2003

Ultimately, acting was not Justin Cooper's one true calling in life. In 2003, after ten years in the biz, he retired from life as a performer. Cooper's final acting credit came in 2003, with a guest appearance on the ABC legal drama The Practice.

Guesting on the long-running series was practically a rite of passage in Hollywood during the show's run from 1997-2004. The Practice had a slew of notable guest stars, who, according to USA Today, helped ranked the show at 35th on the list of "shows with the most Emmy wins of all time." According to the outlet, the series took home most of its awards for outstanding guest actor in a drama series, thanks to stars including John Larroquette, Edward Herrmann, James Whitmore, Beah Richards, Michael Emerson, Charles S. Dutton, Alfre Woodard, Sharon Stone, and William Shatner. What's more, Tony Danza, Paul Dooley, Henry Winkler, Marlee Matlin, René Auberjonois, and Betty White were all nominated for Emmys for their roles on the show, but did not win. 

Cooper wasn't among The Practice's long list of Emmy-nominated guest stars, but his part was small. He appears briefly in the season 7 episode "Final Judgement" (screenshot above) as a murder victim who appears in a blurry video shown in court.

No, Justin Cooper did not become a Canadian football player

So what does Justin Cooper look like today? The internet had been asking for years and, in 2016, notably got the answer very, very wrong. Several news articles that year claimed to show what Cooper looked like all grown up. The only problem? The photo that made the rounds, which featured a very square-jawed, beefy man with a shaved head, furrowed brow, and tuft of chin scruff, was not of Justin Cooper — or, at least, not of the right Justin Cooper.

The photo that was mistakenly identified as the Liar Liar star was actually of another famous Justin Cooper — a Canadian football player (shown above) who played professionally for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League from 2008 until 2011. The six-foot-tall, 250 lb. athlete attended the University of Manitoba from 2005-2007, where he racked up an impressive list of honors including Canada West Conference All-Star, Canada West Outstanding Lineman of the Year, First Team All-Canadian, and 2007 East-West Bowl Defensive MVP.

According to his LinkedIn, the former athlete now works as a Health, Safety, & Environmental Coordinator for Connacher Oil and Gas Limited in Alberta.

In addition to all of these clear differences, Justin Cooper the athlete is also significantly older than Justin Cooper the actor — the former was born in 1982 and the latter in 1988. Neither Justin appears to have commented publicly on the mixup.

Justin Cooper, the actor, did grow up to work in sports

Even though he didn't grow up to be a bulky Canadian football player, the little kid from Liar Liar did grow up to work in sports. As of this writing, Cooper works as an executive producer on The Ben Maller Show, a sports talk show airing on Fox Sports Radio from 2 am to 6 am, EST.

Cooper, who is now 31 years old (if that fact doesn't make you feel ancient, we're not sure what will), is considered a member of the supporting cast of The Ben Maller Show, along with Eddie Garcia and Roberto Flores, on which he's sometimes known as "Coopa-loop." The current version of The Ben Maller Show debuted in January 2014 and the show has a kind of cult following in the sports world thanks to its playful, humorous tone and focus on reading and the fact that the host answers lots of reader questions (which can be submitted in the form of calls, text messages, and even tweets) on the air.   

As if being a producer on one successful radio show weren't enough, however, Cooper actually has another gig, too. He also works as an executive producer on Brian Noe's Fox Sports Radio show, The Noe Show, which airs during The Ben Maller Show's time slot on weekends.

A very '90s website is still celebrating Justin Cooper's acting career

Justin Cooper's heyday as an actor happened to coincide with the explosion of the internet in the 1990s. Today, famous people — even child stars — have Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts to keep their fans updated on their lives. But, back in the '90s, social media was not yet a thing, and actors updated their supporters via old school fan pages.

Back in the day, Cooper had a website through KidActors.com. Though the company makes it clear that it "no longer maintains" Justin's page, it does still exist and it's magical. The design looks dated today, but the vintage filmstrip-framed headshot and doodly, handwritten-style font epitomize the DIY look that was popular in the early days of the internet. 

KidActors.com's homepage is still live, as of this, but it doesn't appear to still be actively updated. The site's footer lists its copyright as 1998-2007, and the landing page includes dated updates like DVD contests, links to now-defunct pages for other talent, and a callout welcoming young actor Joseph Castanon and congratulating him for his breakout role in the 2006 Adam Sandler vehicle, Click.

Justin Cooper's coworkers still tease him about his Liar Liar days

Clearly, Justin Cooper is all grown up now and seems to have exactly zero regrets about leaving acting behind for his career in sports broadcasting. Still, that doesn't mean that his former life as one of the cutest child stars of a generation isn't still a part of his life.

Fans of his work (particularly Liar Liar) still reach out on social media, of course, but that's not the only way it comes up. Cooper's current costars like to remind him of his old job from time to time.

In 2015, The Noe Show host Brian Noe tweeted a joke about using "The Claw" from Liar Liar as a "punishment" if people didn't tune in for the show. The tweet was a reference to an inside joke Cooper's character, Max, and his dad, Fletcher, shared — and that Jerry, Max's well-meaning but totally dorky almost-stepdad, memorably tries (and fails) to recreate himself. 

Cooper may not be acting anymore, but Liar Liar and the rest of his child star career will clearly always be a part of his life.

Has Justin Cooper always been a huge baseball fan?

Sports aren't just Justin Cooper's job these days — they're also clearly his true passion. According to his Twitter account, Cooper is a huge fan of the Denver Broncos. He's also a dedicated fan of Southern California sports teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers and the Anaheim Angels.

Is it then safe to presume that Cooper was probably not acting when he lost his little kid mind on screen while receiving "baseball stuff" for his birthday in Liar Liar? Cooper's character, Max, is depicted as a huge baseball fan, excitedly playing catch with his would-be stepdad Jerry (Cary Elwes) and telling his dad, "I'll be Nomo. You can be Jose Canseco," when they talk about playing the night Max and his mom almost leave town. 

Sports aren't Cooper's only passion though. According to his current Twitter profile picture (which, for what it's worth, shows that he's transformed from adorable kid to adorable adult), he's also a very big fan of Nutter Butter bars.