Before the world got re-acquainted with Neil Patrick Harris in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, he had't done anything major since his performance as the boy doctor in the vanilla TV comedy, Doogie Howser, M.D. Harris was a pretty by-the-numbers child actor in the role, complete with the requisite quick wit and charm.

Then suddenly he resurfaced for many in 2004 with Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, playing an over-the-top, psychotic version of himself. Watching this fictionalized version of Harris maniacally steal the show while strung out on E was a shock for people who last remembered him as a pre-pubescent doctor. By destroying his former image, Harris breathed new life into his career, which soon led to a starring role in How I Met your Mother, and numerous other projects.

With that one shocking role, Harris carefully navigated a show biz comeback that most former child actors can’t even dream of. Out of everyone on this list, he is one of the only ones to turn his shocking role into a second wind.