Movies

Kidnapped tot in 'Raising Arizona' escaped acting to become what?

June 18, 2014 at 11:25 AM ET

At the end of the 1987 Coen brothers comedy "Raising Arizona," audiences got to see how life turned out for kidnapped baby Nathan Jr.: He became a varsity football star. 

But what ever happened to T.J. Kuhn, who played the cheerful blond toddler in the film? TODAY caught up with Kuhn and his parents on Wednesday to find out.

Football wasn't in the cards for Kuhn — and neither was show business. Kuhn left the acting world after appearing in just two commercials following "Arizona." These days, he works as a real estate agent in Phoenix. "I don't know if I could do this full time," he laughed while looking around the TODAY studio.

T.J. Kuhn and a poster for the movie that made him famous ... as a baby, at least.
TODAY
T.J. Kuhn and a poster for the movie that made him famous ... as a baby, at least.

It was Kuhn's father, Tom, who spotted the original casting call while on a break at work. "I was just reading the newspaper and thought it would be a fun thing to do, take him to the interview," Tom recounted.

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A few callbacks later and one-year-old T.J. was being tested out in car seats and next to motorcycles to ensure he would react well when cameras were rolling. "He was just so laid-back," mom Rhonda told TODAY.

Kuhn, with parents Rhonda and Tom, told TODAY he wasn't cut out for full-time acting.
TODAY
Kuhn, with parents Rhonda and Tom, told TODAY he wasn't cut out for full-time acting.

Of course, T.J. wasn't the only baby on set — Nathan Jr.'s fellow quintuplets were played by no fewer than 12 tots. But as Nicolas Cage's character says in the film, it looks like they got the best one.

Tom and Rhonda no doubt would agree: Tom admitted they've seen the movie "hundreds" of times and still give out DVDs as gifts.

Be sure to check out TODAY's entire Box-Office Babies series to see where the cute tots in "Three Men and a Baby" and "Baby Boom" are today!

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