Follow TV Tropes


Young Future Famous People

Go To

This is basically the Spinoff Babies trope applied to real people. The idea is to take Historical Domain Characters and depict them in their youth. It can be played for laughs—implying that people we normally think of as reserved, stoic, or even evil were once young and reckless themselves. (Or the opposite, where they are shown to possess the same traits and interests that later made them famous, even if realistically these would have come much later.) Of course, it may also be played straight.

If the person lived long enough ago that details of their adolescence or youth are obscure or even non-existent, then this trope may be used as an excuse to ground an entirely fictional story in reality. Sometimes these characters are the leading characters, other times they may only serve as a fictional cameo or a Shout-Out to a Historical In-Joke.

For the benefit of the audience, Young Future Famous People who are known to history by their Stage Name are often called that in such appearances in fiction, even if they are being depicted at a point in their lives before they had adopted such names. For example, a child Archibald Leach, better known to history as Cary Grant, or, as noted in the examples below, young Gladys Smith being called by her adult professional name, Mary Pickford.

Obviously a standard trope in Historical Fiction.

A Sub-Trope of Historical Domain Character.

A Sister Trope to In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous, Direct Line to the Author (can overlap when a minor character in a movie turns out to be the author of the book the movie is based on).

If it's a young actor who later becomes famous, it's Retroactive Recognition.

See Jesus: The Early Years for a specific subtrope.

Young Future Famous People as lead characters:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto is about a group of college students in Pisa in 1491. They include Cesare Borgia (16); his closest friend Miguel da Corella (also 16, though in real life he might have been 5 years older than Cesare); Giovanni de'Medici, the future Pope Leo X (also 16); a slightly older divinity student by the name of Niccolò Machiavelli; and not a student in the university, but a childhood friend of some of the Florentine students, 16-year-old apprentice sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti.
  • One Winged Michelangelo also shows Michelangelo Buonarroti as a teenager.
  • Ikkyu-san features Ikkyu Sojun, a Japanese Zen Bhuddist monk, as the protagonist at age ten.
  • Vinland Saga is a telling of the childhood and early life of Thorfinn "Karlsefni", son of Thord (Thors in the manga). According to The Saga of the Greenlanders and the Saga of Eirik the Red, Thorfinn was the first norse to attempt to colonize Vinland (the coast of Newfoundland) after it had been discovered by Leif Eriksson.
    • Canute "the Great", future emperor of the North Sea and king of England, Denmark and Norway, shows up in his late teens as a secondary character in the first arc. He continues to be an important driver of the plot in the second and third arcs as the spillover from his rise to power affects Thorfinn.

  • Michelangelo Buonarroti's Doni Tondo depicts the infant Jesus of Nazareth long before becoming world famous as the central figure of Christianity. In the background, one can also see a slightly older baby that can be inferred to be John the Baptist before his honey-and-locusts shtick.

    Comic Books 
  • #2 of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off comic Spike Versus Dracula features a young boy who goes to see Bela Lugosi in a stage production of Dracula only to wind up in the middle of an attack by the real Dracula. When he tells this to his teacher later, he's punished for telling stories. As he writes lines, Edward Wood Jr secretly vows to make monster movies when he grows up, and then steals his teacher's angora sweater.
  • X-Men: True Friends features Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers being sent back in time to 1936, where Kitty befriends an imperious little girl named Lilibet, whose cousin teasingly calls her "Princess". She's the future Queen Elizabeth II.
  • My Friend Dahmer depicts Jeffrey Dahmer, an American Serial Killer during his high school years. The reason being that it's actually based on real eye-witness accounts from the author John "Derf" Backderf, who went at the same school as Dahmer.
  • The Twist Ending to The Olympians Volume 10: Hermes, Tales of the Trickster reveals that the narrator of the story was not actually Hermes (as the title would imply), but actually Aesop (as in, of "Aesop's Fables" fame).

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In Poland, in 1944, a young priest-in-training is hunted down the street by a Hitler Youth. The priest trips and falls, and the Hitler Youth proceeds to kick him while he's down. The priest shouts: Stop it! When I am old, I am going to be The Pope! The Hitler Youth just snorts and says: Yeah right. And I'm gonna be your successor. (This joke was a reference to Pope Benedict XVI, who had indeed been a member of the Hitler Jugend as a child, under force, as most German children were at that time.)

  • The Darkest Dark is about a young Chris Hadfield learning to overcome his fear of the dark.
  • Esther Friesner's Princesses of Myth series, about historical or semihistorical (or straight-up mythical) princesses of history during their childhood and young adulthood. So far she has taken on Helen of Troy, Nefertiti of Egypt, Himiko of Yamatai/Japan, and Maeve of Connacht/Ireland.
  • This is the purpose of The Royal Diaries, a series of books that depicts the youthful days of several famous royal women.
  • The Tournament is narrated by a 13-year-old Elizabeth Tudor, and also features a similarly young Ivan the Terrible.
  • Will of Heaven follows the ancient Chinese general Han Xin from his dirt-poor adolescence to his rise to power, and then to the cusp of his fall. The later chapters also offer glimpses at Zhang Liang's and the First Emperor's younger years.
  • Happens in the first installment of the Golden Age series, where most of Pericles' early years (prior to his ascension to power in 461 BCE) is reimagined with him helping Aeschylus host a play. The second installment focus on his more famous achievements.

    Live-Action TV 


  • Abe Lincoln in Illinois, although the third act of that drama skips forward 20 years to Lincoln as a nationally known politician in 1858-1860.
  • In-universe in the original stageplay of Speech And Debate: Diwata is writing an original musical about Mary Warren, Howie wrote a short story about a gay kid time-travelling and being killed by Cain for being gay (with the twist being that Cain then killed Abel for the same reason), and Solomon wrote a short story about a young Abraham Lincoln (he even defends his choice, saying that it was creative for him to write about Lincoln as a kid, because not many people think of him as a kid). Diwata later tries to combine all three of these stories into one: Mary Warren time travels and meets teenaged Abraham Lincoln, who's debating whether or not she should come out to his parents as gay. It Makes As Much Sense In Context.
  • Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto shows Cesare Borgia, his Childhood Friend and later assassin-sidekick Michelotto da Corolla, and Giovanni de'Medici (future Pope Leo X) when they were 16 and in school together. It's based on the first few books of a longer manga series that covers most of Cesare's life.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Little Amadeus or Wunderkind Little Amadeus features a young Mozart, who has already developed a strong musical reputation but isn't yet famous.
  • The Extraordinary Adventures Of Jules Verne is another Jules Vern example. It's an action/adventure cartoon that features a bright, mechanically and scientifically inclined, globetrotting teenage author Jules, who's also depicted as being very Indiana Jones-style athletic and resourceful, and his companions. The books he's famous for writing are, in-show, based on the adventures he and his friends have throughout the series, though with artistic liberties, such as a Skyship Pirate ahead-of-his-time Captain Nemo, for example.
  • Lil' Bush applied this trope to the entire Bush administration cabinet.
  • Clone High lives on this trope, but justified because they are all clones of the originals.

Young Future Famous People as supporting characters:

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black Butler, a young eye specialist and insignificant writer named Arthur was invited to Ciel's dinner party, only to be caught up in a murder mystery. After he finds out Ciel works for the Queen, Sebastain is a demon and they framed a man for someone's murder and they let Arthur live with this knowledge, it is heavily implied Arthur does become a famous mystery writer, though his middle and last name are never revealed.
  • Afterschool Charisma is basically Clone High IN JAPAN (and not quite so wacky). It's got teenage clone versions of Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Einstein, Sigmund Freud...
  • Vinland Saga has Canute son of Sweyn, known later in his life as Canute the Great, Emperor of the North Sea and king of England, Denmark and Norway, appear as a nineteen-year old boy. He later becomes something of a deuteragonist, as his acts as king set in motion a great deal of reactions that directly affect the protagonist Thorfinn.

    Audio Drama 

    Comic Books 
  • A pre-teen Aleister Crowley briefly appears in the graphic novel From Hell.
  • Lucky Luke: In one album about a proto-Freudian doctor who visits the US to test his theories (that all criminals trace their behavior back to a turning point in their childhoods) ends with a scene in which the narrator says that the theories of this professor will soon be developed by future people. Cut to a scene where a terrified nanny tells Mrs. Freud what baby Siggy tried to get her to do.
  • In the S.H.I.E.L.D. Fiftieth Anniversary: Fury oneshot, Nick Fury Jr. accidentally travels back to 1965 in pursuit of racist demagogue the Hatemonger and teams up with Nick Sr. At first they think Hatemonger is planning something with the race riots, but Nick Jr. learns that someone matching Hatemonger's description was seen in Hawaii and realizes his actual plan. Without telling his father what the significance is, he gets there in time to save the life of a young mixed-race kid called Barry.
  • Knights of the Old Republic features future Big Bad Alek Squinquargesimus aka. Darth Malak as a recurring supporting characters. The Revanchist, later Darth Revan, also shows up from time to time. Subverted with Krynda Draay, Haazen and Lucien Draay who, despite plenty of Red Herrings, are not anyone from the second game.

    Fan Works 
  • A Thing of Vikings: Harald Sigurdsson is a high-ranked Varangian mercenary... but most people know him as the Viking King, Harald Hardrada, who tried to conquer England in 1066 (and failed). William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, is mentioned early on as a teenager even younger than Hiccup.
    • Somewhat Subverted as the Alternate History the story is telling calls into question how famous these two are going to be in the future versus their real-world counterparts; the paths their lives take diverge massively. William in particular since he is adopted by Stoick and therefore given back the chance to live a happy childhood rather than endure the pressure and ridicule he'd face his entire life otherwise, so while still possibly a future famous person it no longer seems likely he'll be remembered as William "the Conqueror".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Forrest Gump: Elvis Presley, learning how to dance from a kid with leg braces.
  • John Carter: Edgar Rice Burroughs is John Carter's adoring nephew and heir.note 
  • Shakespeare in Love again, with John Webster making a couple of appearances as an adolescent boy fond of Gorn in plays.
  • Shanghai Knights:
  • In the film Troy, Aeneas makes a cameo as the civilians escape through the tunnel. A charming little addition considering the movie is basically a big "eff-you" to accuracy of any sort.
  • The King's Speech features the future Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, given the main character is their father.
  • At the end of The Grandmaster, a little boy enlists in the titular master's kung-fu academy. He has the trademark grin of a certain Bruce Lee.
  • Kermit's Swamp Years, a Direct-to-DVD Muppet film about Kermit the Frog's childhood, features a scene in which Kermit is knocked down in the road and a young human boy helps him up. The boy is standing in front of a mailbox throughout the brief scene, and when he is called in for dinner, the name painted on the side is revealed: Henson.
  • The Nativity Story is about what happened to Jesus while He was still an unborn baby. The film's climax is His birth, making Him a very young future famous person indeed.
  • At the beginning of The Time Machine (2002), Philby mentions that Alex is corresponding with a Swiss patent clerk named Einstein.
  • A young man called Siu Lung in the Ip Man Film Series starts showing up in the series starting in the second film, eager to learn martial arts from Ip Man. He is also known as Bruce Lee.
  • Oppenheimer: After a Senate aide reports to Lewis Strauss that his Senate confirmation has been rejected, he mentions that a certain young, not yet-known senator from Massachusetts led the opposition against Strauss.
  • Neruda has a small scene with a young Augusto Pinochet, who at the time is a young military officer running a camp for captured political prisoners/dissidents. If main character and famed poet Pablo Neruda or his companions are captured, that camp is likely where they'll end up, and it's said that nobody escapes from Pinochet's camp. The film is set more than 20 years before Pinochet will launch a military coup and take over the country, but anyone who knows anything about Pinochet's treatment of political opponents, especially socialists, will immediately dread the possibility of the protagonists being sent there.

  • From the 1632 series by Eric Flint:
    • Has a cameo appearance by an infant Baruch Spinoza*, and a young-ish Oliver Cromwell who is thrown into prison by Charles I for a regicide he had yet to commit.
    • Young Rembrandt van Rijn becomes a famous artist when people learn that in the future-that-was, he was a famous artist. This happens to quite a few people who haven't done anything yet, and most of 'em are driven crazy by the attention and expectations. Rembrandt though does decide not to paint the paintings that are going to be famous, instead painting new ones.
    • An eleven year old Blaise Pascal ends up becoming a ward of Grantvile and becomes a frequent source of headaches as he attempts insanely dangerous experiments.
  • The cyberpunk short story Mozart In Mirrorshades featured a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart being introduced to synthesizers and electronic music by time-travelers from an alternate dimension. A young Marie-Antoinette also makes an appearance.
  • In Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle, in which In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous is heavily in action, it is a kid named Ben who brings Enoch Root to Daniel Waterhouse, after the former has arrived in Massachusetts. Then, cue the flashback to Enoch visiting Isaac Newton's school when Isaac was a kid...
  • Possibly the youngest Future Famous Person occurs in M.J. Trow's Lestrade novels. The inspector points at a baby in a pram and sarcastically declares the child could play Sherlock Holmes at least as well as William Gillette. It is then strongly hinted that this is a pre-verbal Basil Rathbone.
  • The Axis of Time series by John Birmingham features accidental time-travelers from 20 Minutes into the Future going back to World War II, where their revelations about the future course of movies and music leads entrepreneurs to find young Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, among others, and present them with contracts to buy the rights to their future creative output.
    • Prince Harry, when he's not kicking Nazi ass, takes walks with his grandmother, the future Queen Elizabeth II, who is in her early teens, and finds Harry calling her "granny" funny. By the same token, Elizabeth's future husband is still in the Royal Navy, and is constantly the subject of jibes like "Your Highness".
    • A young naval lieutenant renames his PT boat The Grassy Knoll.
  • In Time Cat, one of the adventures takes place in Italy, where the protagonists meet a young Leonardo da Vinci and help discover his painting talent.
  • Played with in A World of Laughter, a World of Tears, set in an Alternate History so while some of the figures are famous, they aren't famous for the things they are in the real timeline. For example, one viewpoint character, a young Bill Clinton will grow up for an important role for his work in civil rights but will never become President. Meanwhile another important viewpoint character, a young Jerry Brown, will.
  • In "North and South" by John Jakes, many prominent figures of the Civil War (both military and political) are mentioned. Especially any of those who attended West Point.
  • One of Wolf Hall's major supporting characters is Thomas Cromwell's ward and apprentice, Rafe (Ralph) Sadler, who Cromwell raises to be as clever as himself. He accompanies Cromwell everywhere as he grows to adulthood and establishes his own household, sometimes acting as his spy. Sadler would survive his master's fall,note  go on to become an ambassador, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Secretary of State, and Privy Councillor to Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I... and, most impressively, died of old age.
  • In Forever Amber, a preteen Nell Gwyn makes a brief appearance in Chapter 13.
  • In 1356 (set in the titular year), Thomas gets into a brief debate with two students at the University of Montpellier — the fanatical Roger de Beaufort and the irreverent Keane, who later comments: "The cretinous little slug will end up as Pope, you mark my words."
  • Two future famous drag queens make cameo appearances in Oona Out of Order. In 1991 Oona and her friends go dancing at the Pyramid, and she spots Lady Bunny and RuPaul. She is tempted to tell them that they will be famous in the future, but figures they probably knew already.
  • Gary Corby's The Athenian Mysteries features a bratty 9-years-old Socrates as the brother of Nikolaos, the protagonist.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson does this with Robert Kardashian's wife Kris Jenner and their children Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, and Rob, who are all enraptured by the sight of Robert on TV and amazed at the attention that they now receive. The show portrays the O. J. Simpson trial as the Start of Darkness for the Kardashians, the point at which they, despite Robert's warnings about how Celebrity Is Overrated, committed themselves to becoming world-famous celebrities once they realized its perks.
  • While most of the performing bands on the '60s-set American Dreams were already famous, one episode did featured an audition from an unknown, teenaged Linda Ronstadt (played by pop singer Jojo).
  • Babylon Berlin, which is set in 1929, makes mention of Konrad Adenauer, the then-mayor of Cologne. 20 years later, Adenauer would become the first Chancellor of West Germany (and one of the oldest elected statesmen of all times).
  • The first season of Boardwalk Empire features some of the most infamous gangsters in American history like Al Capone, Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Meyer Lansky in 1920 at the beginning of Prohibition, a decade or so before they reach the heights of their infamy. At the time all three are either minor underlings or enforcers for more influential gangsters, and all three are treated with no special attention until either their name is revealed or they introduce themselves.
  • Mark Twain and Albert Michelson show up on episodes of Bonanza.
  • In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show Rob & Laura discover a hidden treasure inside a desk bequeathed to him by his Identical Grandfather: a picture of Grandpa as a baby. What makes it valuable (and this trope) is the young tall, beardless man who happens to have been standing on the stairway behind Gramps and his parents when the picture was taken.
  • Doctor Who:
  • On the show Do Over, the main character loses a baseball game to a young Greg Maddux.
  • The Russian miniseries Dostoevsky features Daddy's Daughters actress Liza Arzamasova as a young Sofia Kovalevskaya, who would later become Russia's first female mathematician.
  • On Downton Abbey, Lord Grantham mentions having a friend who got excellent returns from his investment with Charles Ponzi. Fortunately, the Crawleys decide to go in a different direction.
  • The Canadian series The Frankie Drake Mysteries is set in the 1920s and uses this a few times.
    • A recurring character in season 1 is Ernest Hemingway, who's a local newspaper reporter in Toronto.
    • Mary takes part in a radio broadcast with a young man named Huey that's a cover for a robbery. At the episode's end, Huey informs Mary his real name is Foster Hewitt, who would become a major star in Canadian radio.
    • While a bit known at the time, Coco Chanel is described as merely an American fashion maven instead of the major icon she would become.
  • A creepier version happens in Forever Knight. During a flashback, the ancient vampire Lacroix is sitting on a train next to an unshaven German soldier returning from the Western Front after the cease-fire. He seriously considers turning the soldier and comes within seconds of taking a bite as the young man is shaving, but something tells Lacroix that adding vampirism to the darkness he already sensed in the soldier would be a Bad Idea... just as the soldier turns around to reveal that moustache. note 
  • The Goldbergs features the recurring character David Sirota, based on one of Adam Goldberg's real life childhood friends. By the time the show started airing, Sirota had become famous as Bernie Sanders' speechwriter and a political commentator. Narration during the character's first appearance points out Sirota's fame as an adult and with a clip of the real Sirota on The Colbert Report.
  • The Great: Catherine the Great is much younger here (20) than when she took power in real life (40s), but the series fast-tracks the buildup to the coup.
  • Insu, the Queen Mother: Most of the characters who appear as children or teenagers grew up to be important figures in Korean history. The most infamous one is Prince Yeonsan — otherwise known as Yeonsan-gun of Joseon.
  • In one episode of Legends of Tomorrow, after Ray, Kendra, and Sara get stuck in the year 1958, Ray takes up a job as a professor. One student in his class, Mr. Gates mentions his son Bill.
    • In another episode, Martin Stein cures a young boy of tuberculosis using modern medicine. The boy's name? Herbert George Wells.
    • In a second season episode, the Legends meet a young George Lucas. Unfortunately, they accidentally scare him away from film school, and he ends up becoming a successful businessman instead. As a direct effect of no Star Wars or Indiana Jones, Ray and Nate lose their knowledge and powers (they were inspired by those films as kids). They manage to convince Lucas to get back to following his dreams.
    • In another episode, they save college student Barry Obama from Gorilla Grodd.
    • In yet another episode, Mick inspires Ishir⁠ō Honda to create Godzilla.
  • The German television series Löwengrube (Lion Pit) bases on this, as it tells the history of the Munich middle class Grandauer family from the 1870s to the 1960s, following them through two world wars and the post-war episodes. One of the various examples would be the start of the first world war. In the police station (where the father works) a certain Austrian artist applies for German citizenship because he feels very German. At the same time, the Grandauer's young son is seen being buddies with a dorky bespectacled kid from his class, called Himmler, Heinrich.
  • Murdoch Mysteries features numerous examples of either contemporary famous or soon-to-be-famous people.
    • In one season six episode, the Wright Brothers are interviewed (offscreen) three years prior to the Kitty Hawk flight, while Winston Churchill — at the time newly famous for his actions in, and accounts of, the Boer War — is a murder suspect in another episode.
    • In the Election Day Episode a young girl who is inspired by the suffragist movement's female candidate (their lawyer, another Historical Domain Character, was able to argue there was no law against a woman standing, just voting) turns out at the very end to be Agnes Macphail, who did in fact become one of Ontatio's first two female MPPs and later Canada's first MP.
    • One season three episode features a young Harry Houdini still making a name for himself. In the same episode, Ruby Ogden is describing her journalistic work to Crabtree, mentions her interview with a firebrand named Vladimir Lenin, and warns the constable to "watch out for him".
    • The season 8 episode "Keystone Konstables" features Higgins and Crabtree going undercover as vaudeville performers. They share a bill with a young W. C. Fields, who bombs as a juggler before getting the idea to try Deadpan Snarker comedy.
    • The season 5 premier "Murdoch of the Klondike" features a young Jack London coming to Murdoch's aid in a bar fight when Murdoch is investigating a murder in the Yukon. Jack then serves as Murdoch's Watson for the rest of the episode, and gives Murdoch back his badge when Murdoch's about to return to Toronto. Murdoch unwittingly returns the favor when he uses the phrase "the call of the wild", inspiring Jack to write the book of the same name.
    • In "Unlucky in Love", the only decent writer in Crabtree's creative writing class is one Lucy Maud Montgomery.
    • The episode "Master Lovecraft" features none other than young H. P. Lovecraft as the main suspect of the murder of a young woman. His strange mannerisms and morbid obsessions leave a lasting impact on Crabtree and Mrs. Brackenreid. Naturally, we get glimpses of his future works in the form of creepy drawings in his notebooks.
    • The episode "Murdoch and the Tramp" has Murdoch investigating a murder in a touring vaudeville company that includes Charlie Chaplin, his then-understudy Stan Laurel and a very young Buster Keaton. Crabtree inadvertently invents the "little tramp" character, and Murdoch does an accidental By Wall That Is Holey gag, which Keaton is impressed by.
    • Subverted with the appearance of a young Winston Churchill, as he's already famous for his war journalism and is treated as a celebrity in-universe.
    • In one episode, Julia is impressed by one of Brackenreid's landscape paintings and enters it in a contest. After the painting is stolen for its frame and recovered, Brackenreid sells it to a young man who identifies himself as Tom Thomson, a Canadian artist associated with the Group of Seven whose most productive period spanned from 1914 to 1917 (more than a decade in the future in-universe).
    • A young Mary Pickford appears in "A Merry Murdoch Christmas" acting in a production of The Little Match Girl and doing charitable work around Toronto. She appears again in "There's Something About Mary", where she's just signed a movie contract.
    • Most of the writers featured in "The Write Stuff" are already famous (including the return of Lucy Montgomery) or fictional, but there's one aspiring young writer who calls himself Norman Bean, but later admits that's a pseudonym, and his real name is Edgar Rice Burroughs.
  • Outlander has this a few times as 20th century nurse Claire ends up in the 18th century:
    • Seeking to understand a musical clue, Claire seeks a nun who turns out to know a young composer named Bach. She relates his music is "good but not the type to stand the test of time."
    • At a party in Virginia, Claire is wowed to meet a former British colonel named George Washington.
  • This happens from time to time in Quantum Leap, due to Sam just having amazing luck. For example, on one occasion, he meets a nerdy teenager named Stephen King. Bigger list on Wikipedia.
    • One episode had Sam unable to figure out what he was supposed to do in a leap until the end of the episode where a pig he was watching runs off and he tries to find it. The literal moment he utters "Here, piggy! Soo-ey!" his assistant belts out a song about "Piggy Soo-ey" on his guitar.
      Sam: Buddy...
      Buddy: Yeah, Doc?
      Sam: Uh... why don't you try "Peggy Sue"? It might... sound a little better.
  • Spartacus: War of the Damned features Julius Caesar as a young lieutenant in the army of Marcus Crassus, and a rival of Crassus' son Tiberius, during the Third Servile War.
  • The two-part Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Time's Arrow" featured a young Jack London, although the audience isn't aware of this until his last appearance in the episodes, before which he'd always been referred to by his first name only.
  • The Spy: Of all of construction magnate Mohammed bin Laden's 56 children, of course it's a young Osama who makes a brief appearance.
  • Being a show about Time Travel, Timeless is bound to hit this trope once or twice. Although, for the most part, historical figures tend to be shown when already famous. A notable example is Ian Fleming during his time as a spy during World War II, years before he writes his James Bond novels. Wyatt (fans of the books) and Rufus (fan of the films) are practically gushing about working with "James Bond". Their adventure also ends up inspiring a new book about Bond that also makes its way onto the big screen. Oh, and Fleming makes moves on Lucy, although she refuses to become a Bond Girl.
  • In the series The Time Tunnel, the main characters are trying to escape Revolutionary France and in the final scenes must get past a young, low-ranking officer who turns out to be Napoléon Bonaparte.
  • The Tudors has the future Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Edward VI as supporting characters.
  • Vikings does this constantly. Side characters include Rollo of Normandy, who begins the series as an enormously badass but unsophisticated warrior with vague and unrealistic dreams of greatness, Bjorn Ironside, who would go on to sack cities as far away as Italy, first shows up as an 11 year old who tries to talk his parents out of domestic squabbling, and later we have the rest of Ragnar Lodbrok's famous/infamous sons like Ivar the Boneless and Ubba, who would nearly conquer all of England for the Northmen, as cute little kids.
  • This is a staple of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, where a young Indiana Jones meets various celebrities of the early 1900s and 1910s. Some of them already famous during his lifetime, others who would only become world famous in later decades, such as Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, Franz Kafka, T. E. Lawrence, Kemal Atatürk, etc. The most extreme example of this being a 6-year-old boy Indy saves from a plague-striken village in the Congo named Barthélemy Boganda.
  • On Lovecraft Country, Dee's friend "Bobo", who appears in a few episodes, is actually real-life lynching victim Emmett Till. The first episode he appears in has an ouija board tell him that his upcoming trip to Mississippi won't go well. Till's funeral plays an important role in episode 8.
  • Winning Time
    • "Who the Fuck is Jack McKinney" briefly features a younger Paula Abdul (played by Carina Conti) being appointed as the head Laker Girl.
    • Another episode briefly has a baby Kobe Bryant.
  • The Alienist features New York City Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt.

    Music Videos 
  • In a music video released to promote "Is This Love", a song from Bob Marley's Kaya one of the children singing and dancing with Bob is a seven year old Naomi Campbell. Yes, the famous supermodel!

    Newspaper Comics 
  • A five-year-old Leonardo da Vinci is a minor character in Safe Havens, who occasionally appeared with his mother Maria, the two of them being time travelers. He's also the grandson of leads Samantha and Dave.


    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • The Great Ace Attorney duology features Japanese writer Natsume Sōseki as the defendant in two cases, and a witness in another. It depicts him during the period where he was living in Great Britain (although he's stated to have already published I Am a Cat when, in real life, he did so after returning to Japan).

    Web Comics 
  • In The Dreamer, a young Alexander Hamilton is a supporting character in the series, as well as Nathan Hale, since he technically became famous posthumously. Benjamin Tallmadge also makes an appearance.
  • Times Like This: Hey, if you had a time machine, you'd want to see what your favorite celebrities were like as little kids, wouldn't you? Like Cassie did with Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus.
  • Daisy, the Doctor's companion in Doctor Who Regenerated, really wants to meet Howard Carter, but when she gets the chance, he's seventeen and dorky. Not that she has a problem with it.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Rosebud", Mr. Burns leaves his parents to live with a rich millionaire. As their car disappears in the distance Burns' parents sigh: "Ah, oh well, at least we still have his little brother George". The camera then cuts to a boy version of George Burns singing: Bwa bwa bwa bwa, Oh the sun shines bright on my old Kentucky Home, Bwa bwa bwa bwa... (spoken) Trust me, it'll be funny when I'm an old man." The underlying joke here is that George Burns also became over a hundred years old, just like Mr. Burns.
    • Later in that same episode we see Charles Lindbergh pick up Bobo, Mr. Burns' teddybear, and take him along with on his trip with the Spirit of St. Louis. At his arrival a man in the audience picks up Bobo and later turns out to be Adolf Hitler.
    • In "Gone Abie Gone", Grandpa Simpson worked as a busboy in New York City in the early 1970s alongside a young Marvin Hamlisch (played by Hamlisch himself, airing three months after he'd passed away).
  • In Futurama, a flashback to Fry's childhood reveals that Mr. Panucci's delivery boy was a young law student named Barack. Young Fry mentions that he doesn't want to end up like that loser.
    Barack: Oh man, I have got to go back to law school.
  • In the Fairly OddParents episode Father Time, it appears that one of Timmy's predecessors under the Fairy God Parents was a bespectacled boy named Billy. After Present Cosmo and Wanda show that computers displaying lava lamps on the screen are more entertaining than actual Lava Lamps to the Past Cosmo and Wanda, Billy passes by and mentions the idea of having all computers connected through something called "The Internet", but Present Cosmo tells him it should be called "The Timmy". Past Wanda then mentions little Billy Gates (Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates) has the craziest ideas. It does end up being called The Timmy, and his name changes to Internet.
  • In The Guardians of the Lost Code, the protagonists meet the last Chinese emperor, Pu-Yi, as a toddler.
  • In F is for Family, during a Memorial Day parade Frank has to deal with a little brat who is revealed to be Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • This is the entire premise in Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum. Xavier, Yadina, and Brad travel back in time to meet famous people of history when they were children like Albert Einstein, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, and Marie Curie. As children, the historical figures possess the attributes that made them famous in adulthood. Even facial hair. The point of the show is to demonstrate that historical figures used to be children and yet changed the world with their positive messages.


Video Example(s):


Meet Mr. Booth's young son

Yes, Abraham Lincoln will hear of him when he grows up. Unfortunately.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / YoungFutureFamousPeople

Media sources: