Michael Oliver (actor)

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Michael Oliver
Born Michael Ponce Oliverius
(1981-10-10) October 10, 1981 (age 36)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation child model, child actor
Years active 1983–1995

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

Early life and career[edit]

Born 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]

In 2015 it was reported that Oliver was happy with his private life away from the celebrity scene and had said he was enjoying "a nice, quiet existence" although he expressed he was grateful for the time he had spent in the spotlight as a child star.[3]

On Saturday, June 4, 2016, Oliver married his longtime girlfriend Magnolia in Beverly Hills, California.[4]

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 difference between the $250,000 Universal had thus far paid and the $80,000 originally negotiated.[5][6][7][8]


Year Film Role Other notes
1990 Problem Child Junior
1991 Problem Child 2 Junior Healy
1995 Dillinger and Capone Sam Dalton
Year Title Role Notes
1990 Amen Max 1 episode
1991 Drexell's Class Mitchell 1 episode
1995 Platypus Man Rusty 1 episode

Award nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1990-1991 Young Artist Award Nominated Best Young Actor Guest Starring or Recurring Role in a TV Series Drexell's Class
1992-1993 Best Youth Actor Leading Role in a Motion Picture Comedy Problem Child 2


  1. ^ Hicks, Chris. "Problem Child". deseretnews.com. Archived from the original on September 6, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-07. 
  2. ^ a b Hicks, Chris. "Problem Child 2". deseretnews.com. Archived from the original on May 15, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-07. 
  3. ^ http://www.people.com/article/problem-child-25th-anniversary-10-things-you-didnt-know
  4. ^ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154314056910929&set=a.52465965928.46886.706250928&type=3&theater
  5. ^ "Trial begins over U's 'Problem' child". Variety. 1993-04-22. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  6. ^ "'Problem Child' star takes stand in suit". Variety. 1993-04-26. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  7. ^ "'Child' suit won by U". Variety. 1993-04-27. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  8. ^ "'Child' verdict affirmed". Variety. 1993-06-16. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 

External links[edit]