Michael Oliver (actor)

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Michael Oliver
BornMichael Oliverius
(1981-10-10) October 10, 1981 (age 33)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesMichael Oliver Ponce
Years active1990–1995
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Michael Oliver
BornMichael Oliverius
(1981-10-10) October 10, 1981 (age 33)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesMichael Oliver Ponce
Years active1990–1995

Michael Oliver (born October 10, 1981) is an American former child actor of the 1990s. Oliver is best known for his role as "Junior" in the first two Problem Child movies.

Early life and career[edit]

Oliver, starring as Junior, repents for his indiscretions to the nuns at the orphanage in Problem Child (1990)

Born Michael Oliverius in Los Angeles, California, Oliver's career started at the age of 2. His first job was as a model in a Sears catalog. At age 6, he appeared in a Chevron commercial where he wore glasses and had his voice dubbed over. After seeing Oliver in the Chevron commercial, a casting agent for the film Problem Child tracked Oliver down and cast him in the role days later.

When Problem Child was released in 1990, Oliver's appearance reminded people of a young Ron Howard as "Opie Taylor" in the Andy Griffith Show.[1] It became a "surprise hit,"[2] spawned two sequels and an animated series. Problem Child 2 followed in 1991; however, the script was considered not par with the original and repeatedly resorted to adult language, thus limiting the film's overall appeal.[2]

On a 2011 episode of the radio show Loveline, Oliver called in while Problem Child co-star Gilbert Gottfried was guest hosting. It was the first time they had spoken to each other since filming Problem Child 2.[citation needed]

Lawsuit with Universal Pictures[edit]

After completion of Problem Child 2, Universal Pictures sued Oliver's manager-mother Dianne Ponce for extorting his acting contract with the studio. Universal Pictures alleged that, on the eve of filming, Ponce threatened to remove her son from production unless his payment for the film was raised from $80,000 to $500,000.

A Superior Court jury ruled that the contract was unenforceable, Universal Pictures having entered into it under duress, and that Ponce and Oliver were obliged to return the balance between the $250,000 Universal had thus far paid and the $80,000 originally negotiated.[3][4][5][6]


Michael Oliver starring as "Junior", in Problem Child (1990)
YearFilmRoleOther notes
1990Problem ChildJunior
1991Problem Child 2Junior Healy
1995Dillinger and CaponeSam Dalton
1990AmenMax1 episode
1991Drexell's ClassMitchell1 episode
1995Platypus ManRusty1 episode

Award nominations[edit]

YearAwardResultCategoryFilm or series
1990-1991Young Artist AwardNominatedBest Young Actor Guest Starring or Recurring Role in a TV SeriesDrexell's Class
1992-1993Best Youth Actor Leading Role in a Motion Picture ComedyProblem Child 2


  1. ^ Hicks, Chris. "Problem Child". deseretnews.com. Retrieved 2006-09-07. 
  2. ^ a b Hicks, Chris. "Problem Child 2". deseretnews.com. Retrieved 2006-09-07. 
  3. ^ "Trial begins over U's 'Problem' child". Variety. 2003-04-22. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  4. ^ "'Problem Child' star takes stand in suit". Variety. 2003-04-26. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  5. ^ "'Child' suit won by U". Variety. 2003-04-27. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  6. ^ "'Child' verdict affirmed". Variety. 2003-06-16. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 

External links[edit]