The NeverEnding Story’s Tami Stronach chats childhood stardom and her return to the big screen

Tami Stronach was only 10 years old when she beat Poltergeist starlet Heather O’Rourke for the role of Childlike Empress in Wolfgang Petersen’s 1984 classic, The NeverEnding Story.

The former child star – now 48 – could have chased fame, but her archeologist parents David and Ruth were not ready to handle her acting career.

‘The bottom line is my parents just weren’t equipped to be managers. We weren’t in it for the money, and we certainly weren’t in it for the fame,’ Tami told Vice last Wednesday.

Tami Stronach pictured in 2017

Tami Stronach pictured in 2017

Tami Stronach was only 10 years old when she beat Poltergeist starlet Heather O'Rourke for the role of Childlike Empress in Wolfgang Petersen's 1984 classic, The NeverEnding Story

Tami Stronach was only 10 years old when she beat Poltergeist starlet Heather O'Rourke for the role of Childlike Empress in Wolfgang Petersen's 1984 classic, The NeverEnding Story

Childhood stardom: Tami Stronach was only 10 years old when she beat Poltergeist starlet Heather O’Rourke for the role of Childlike Empress in Wolfgang Petersen’s 1984 classic, The NeverEnding Story

‘I think if I had moved to LA and they had decided to help me hunt for projects, we could have found those. But that was just not a step we as a family were going to take.’

Stronach and her family spent the summer of 1983 in Bavaria, and she even had time to record an LP with a German music producer and shoot a music video for her song Fairy Queen.

The critically-acclaimed big-screen adaptation of Michael Ende’s 1979 novel featured a score composed by Giorgio Moroder and went on to amass $100M at the global box office.

Once the Iranian-born, Cali-raised actress returned home to San Francisco, adult male fans started camping outside her house and creepy producers made offers for ‘nude films.’

'That was just not a step we as a family were going to take': The former child star - now 48 - could have chased fame, but her archeologist parents David and Ruth (R, pictured in 1984) were not ready to handle her acting career

'That was just not a step we as a family were going to take': The former child star - now 48 - could have chased fame, but her archeologist parents David and Ruth (R, pictured in 1984) were not ready to handle her acting career

‘That was just not a step we as a family were going to take’: The former child star – now 48 – could have chased fame, but her archeologist parents David and Ruth (R, pictured in 1984) were not ready to handle her acting career

What could have been: Tami and her family spent the summer of 1983 in Bavaria, and she even had time to record an LP with a German music producer and shoot a music video for her song Fairy Queen (pictured)

What could have been: Tami and her family spent the summer of 1983 in Bavaria, and she even had time to record an LP with a German music producer and shoot a music video for her song Fairy Queen (pictured)

What could have been: Tami and her family spent the summer of 1983 in Bavaria, and she even had time to record an LP with a German music producer and shoot a music video for her song Fairy Queen (pictured)

Hit: The critically-acclaimed big-screen adaptation of Michael Ende's 1979 novel featured a score composed by Giorgio Moroder and went on to amass $100M at the global box office

Hit: The critically-acclaimed big-screen adaptation of Michael Ende's 1979 novel featured a score composed by Giorgio Moroder and went on to amass $100M at the global box office

Hit: The critically-acclaimed big-screen adaptation of Michael Ende’s 1979 novel featured a score composed by Giorgio Moroder and went on to amass $100M at the global box office

‘They came to our house and pitched it, and I’m like, I’m not doing a nude film,’ Tami – who commands $50 on Cameo – recalled.

‘I’m not Lolita.’

When Stronach began a career in dance and acting onstage in New York, she didn’t even put The NeverEnding Story on her résumé.

‘There’s that whole thing of, like, did you peak at 10?’ the choreographer laughed.

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Dear diary: Once Stronach returned home to San Francisco, adult male fans started camping outside her house and creepy producers made offers for 'nude films'

Dear diary: Once Stronach returned home to San Francisco, adult male fans started camping outside her house and creepy producers made offers for 'nude films'

Dear diary: Once Stronach returned home to San Francisco, adult male fans started camping outside her house and creepy producers made offers for ‘nude films’

The Iranian-born, Cali-raised actress - who commands $50 on Cameo - recalled: 'They came to our house and pitched it, and I'm like, I'm not doing a nude film. I'm not Lolita'

The Iranian-born, Cali-raised actress - who commands $50 on Cameo - recalled: 'They came to our house and pitched it, and I'm like, I'm not doing a nude film. I'm not Lolita'

The Iranian-born, Cali-raised actress – who commands $50 on Cameo – recalled: ‘They came to our house and pitched it, and I’m like, I’m not doing a nude film. I’m not Lolita’

'Is something not meaningful and artistic if only 500 people see it?' When Tami (pictured March 18) began a career in dance and acting onstage in New York, she didn't even put The NeverEnding Story on her résumé

'Is something not meaningful and artistic if only 500 people see it?' When Tami (pictured March 18) began a career in dance and acting onstage in New York, she didn't even put The NeverEnding Story on her résumé

‘Is something not meaningful and artistic if only 500 people see it?’ When Tami (pictured March 18) began a career in dance and acting onstage in New York, she didn’t even put The NeverEnding Story on her résumé

‘But that’s so silly. What is “peaking”? Is something that you do [later] that is really meaningful and artistically fulfilling for you but only 500 people see it any less valuable?’

Netflix’s Stranger Things recently rekindled nostalgia for The NeverEnding Story, and Tami was very impressed with how Millie Bobby Brown handles success so young.

‘Somebody jumped up in the middle of the convention and ran to the stage and gave her a wedding ring. And she was so much cooler than I was at 10. She just was like, “Well, thanks.” And that was it,’ Stronach marveled.

‘When [I got sent a ring] I found someone who was traveling to Germany and sent it back because I didn’t want to take this person’s money. I felt so guilty. I took everything way too seriously and really to heart. I wonder if there could have been a way to not be as freaked out.’

'She was so much cooler than I was at 10': Netflix's Stranger Things recently rekindled nostalgia for The NeverEnding Story, and Stronach was very impressed with how Millie Bobby Brown (L, pictured in 2016) handles success so young

'She was so much cooler than I was at 10': Netflix's Stranger Things recently rekindled nostalgia for The NeverEnding Story, and Stronach was very impressed with how Millie Bobby Brown (L, pictured in 2016) handles success so young

‘She was so much cooler than I was at 10’: Netflix’s Stranger Things recently rekindled nostalgia for The NeverEnding Story, and Stronach was very impressed with how Millie Bobby Brown (L, pictured in 2016) handles success so young

'Day 2 of shooting!' The choreographer and her husband Greg Steinbruner (R, pictured March 25) are in Scotland producing and starring in Michael Hines' indie film Man and Witch: The Dance of a Thousand Steps, which pays homage to beloved fantasy films of the 1980s

'Day 2 of shooting!' The choreographer and her husband Greg Steinbruner (R, pictured March 25) are in Scotland producing and starring in Michael Hines' indie film Man and Witch: The Dance of a Thousand Steps, which pays homage to beloved fantasy films of the 1980s

‘Day 2 of shooting!’ The choreographer and her husband Greg Steinbruner (R, pictured March 25) are in Scotland producing and starring in Michael Hines’ indie film Man and Witch: The Dance of a Thousand Steps, which pays homage to beloved fantasy films of the 1980s

'Glorious Glasgow!' The couple are 'thrilled' their 10-year-old daughter Maya (L, pictured Wednesday) makes her acting debut in the family fairytale flick, which also stars Sean Astin, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael Emerson

'Glorious Glasgow!' The couple are 'thrilled' their 10-year-old daughter Maya (L, pictured Wednesday) makes her acting debut in the family fairytale flick, which also stars Sean Astin, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael Emerson

‘Glorious Glasgow!’ The couple are ‘thrilled’ their 10-year-old daughter Maya (L, pictured Wednesday) makes her acting debut in the family fairytale flick, which also stars Sean Astin, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael Emerson

Stronach and her husband Greg Steinbruner are currently in Scotland producing and starring in Michael Hines’ indie film Man and Witch: The Dance of a Thousand Steps, which pays homage to beloved fantasy films of the 1980s.

The couple are ‘thrilled’ their 10-year-old daughter Maya makes her acting debut in the family fairytale flick, which also stars Sean Astin, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael Emerson.

‘Love is not just for the beautiful and the young and the straight,’ Tami noted.

‘We’re also dealing with some of the ways in which those early movies were a little bit sexist, and giving a bit of a modern twist.’

Link hienalouca.com

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