The mid to late 80s put out some of the best family shows like Punky Brewster, Different Strokes, and Mr. Belvedere. One that brought a sci-fi twist along with the laughs was the 1985 series Small Wonder. The show introduced artificial intelligence in the form of a human child look-a-like, and had an amazing supporting cast.
One character was the annoying neighbor kid, Harriet Brindle. Though her head of amazing red hair in signature pigtails stole the show, Emily Schulman’s performance as Harriet went on to win her accolades before she hit double digits in age. But that was decades ago. What has Emily been up to since being an award-winning child actor? Let’s check in and find out.
Emily Hope Schulman (also known by her married name Emily Hope Webster) was born in Los Angeles, California, on August 17th, 1977. At only six years old, Emily was already the star of over 200 commercials, which seems like she was in just about every single one that aired back then.
Reigning as the Commercial Queen aside, Schulman made her TV debut on the soap opera Hotel for one episode as Debbie in 1985. Her next role would be one that fans would remember her for, for decades to come.
Emily would be the luckiest kid on the planet when she grabbed the role of Harriet Brindle on the hit science fiction comedy Small Wonder from 1985 until the show ended in 1989. The series followed a genius robotics engineer who builds an android by the name of V.I.C.I. that so happens to look like a ten-year-old girl, played by Tiffany Brissette.
The family tries to keep the robot a secret, passing it off as their adopted child. High jinks from the neighbors and the fact that Vicki couldn’t figure out the whole how to be a human thing made the show a hit with children.
One of those neighbors was Harriet Brindle, portrayed by Emily Schulman. At only eight years old when the show aired, Schulman nailed the role as the ultra-nosy neighbor, alongside her mother, played by Edie McClurg, who was constantly trying to expose whatever it was that was going on next door.
For all 96 episodes across the four-season run of the show, Schulman’s Harriet tried to bust the Lawsons while also crushing hard on the neighbor boy, Jamie Lawson. Her work on Small Wonder earned Emily nominations for multiple awards, winning two for her time as Harriet.
What did she do after Small Wonder?
Emily appeared on shows like Mr. Belvedere, ALF, and The Wonder Years for quick guest spots. In 1989, Emily made her debut on the big screen, playing the title character in the family adventure film Caddie Woodlawn as Caddie Woodlawn.
The comedy Troop Beverly Hills, where she played Girl Scout Tiffany Honigman alongside Shelley Long and Craig T. Nelson, would become a cult classic, gaining a new wave of fans decade after decade. She would star in the movie alongside Carla Gugino and Heather Hopper.
Schulman was then in one episode of the ABC Afterschool Specials in 1990. Next up was the CBS period drama Christy, which aired from 1994 until 1995, where Emily portrayed the character Ruby Mae Morrison for 20 out of 21 episodes of the two-season series. Schulman reprised her role in the TV movie, also titled Christy, which aired in 1994. Her time as Ruby Mae would be her last appearance on any screen.
At only 17 years old Emily was ready to retire from acting. While her next career move didn’t require auditioning for roles herself, it was show business adjacent.
Schulman went on to be Head of Acme Talent & Literary Commercial Division and stayed in Los Angeles as an Executive Talent Agent until 2008.
What is Emily Schulman doing now?
Though she isn’t acting anymore, Emily is one of the busiest people out there. Putting her experience to good use, she teaches children of all ages various theatre, acting, and life skills through a range of programs.
She is the Director of the Therapeutic Theatre Program at The Grove School, where she teaches high schoolers. She brings Shakespeare and other children’s classics to the younger kids as a teaching artist at The Country School.
Emily has also held multiple roles for places like The Actor’s Gym, CT Kids on Stage, The Performing Arts Center of Connecticut, Hartford Children’s Theatre, and Oddfellows Playhouse.
There’s so much more she does, but we’re running out of breath. Just know, if there’s a class to be taught, or a program to be run in Connecticut, Schulman is probably a part of it.
Emily has enjoyed a normal personal life. She met her husband Derek Webster in 2000, and the pair married in August 2002.
He is a writer and the other half of their Ivanhope site, which is the place where Emily and Derek share their teaching and writing with the world.
They have four children, daughters Lasarina Hope and Maev Joy, and sons Colm Ivan and Lochlan Troy.
She and her husband moved the family to the more relaxed Connecticut Shoreline in 2010. Emily wanted her kids to grow up with seasons, and they’ve fallen in love with the way of life out East.
Emily has lived about 17 lives in the last four decades, with no plans to slow down. While we may never see her on camera again, she has plenty of oldie but goodies for us to rewatch if we want to see our favorite redheaded child actor. And if we’re ever in Connecticut, maybe we’ll see if she has a class available to take.