In the 1990s, the family sitcom Home Improvement was one of the most popular shows on television. One of its standout child stars was Taran Noah Smith, who played the youngest son Mark Taylor. With his cute looks, comic timing, and onscreen chemistry with Tim Allen, Smith quickly became a fan favorite.
However, after the show ended in 1999, Smith seemed to disappear from the public eye. So what exactly happened to this once promising young actor after his Home Improvement days?
On “Home Improvement,” Smith played Mark Taylor, the youngest son of the Taylor family. The show was a significant part of his life, as he started at the age of seven and continued until he was sixteen.
However, as he grew older, Smith expressed his desire to move away from acting. He was quoted saying, “I started Home Improvement when I was seven, and the show ended when I was 16. I never had the chance to decide what I wanted to do with my life.
When I was 16, I knew that I didn’t want to act anymore.”
The Struggles of Fame
Being a child actor often comes with its own set of challenges. Smith’s experience with fame was unique. While “Home Improvement” provided him with an incredible opportunity, it may not have been the best path for a young star.
The end of the series brought both positive and negative experiences for Smith.
The publicity surrounding his childhood fame led to tabloid headlines, conflicts with his parents, and a controversial marriage at a young age.
Smith’s mother, Candy Bennici, wrote a book about the experience and expressed regret about her son’s early entry into Hollywood.
She referred to the people around her son as “sharks” and seemed to blame Hollywood for both his rise and his challenges, including his relationship with a much older woman while he was underage.
After his time on “Home Improvement,” Smith’s life took several interesting turns.
At 18, he gained control of his $1.5 million trust fund, leading to a public dispute with his parents over its management.It would have been unremarkable, given that starring in such a renowned sitcom would naturally earn him a considerable sum, had Smith not claimed that his parents misused a large part of his earnings to purchase a mansion for themselves during his time on “Home Improvement.”
However, his mother, Candy Bennici, who authored a book on raising a child actor, refuted these claims. In a 2015 interview, she clarified, “We never accessed his money. It was safeguarded in a trust fund. Even if we had wanted to, we couldn’t have. They attempted to access it when he was 17, but we aimed to shield it. Thankfully, the Marin courts were judicious and denied their request.”
After mending ties with his family, Smith would recant and said "I’d gotten out of the teenage phase and realized my parents weren’t doing anything wrong but were trying to protect me."
In 2001, at the age of 17, Smith married Heidi van Pelt, van Pelt is 16 years Smith’s senior, sparking controversy due to their significant age difference. The couple later divorced in 2007.
Career After Acting
Taran Noah Smith has had a diverse and multifaceted career spanning various industries and roles. He began his professional journey as the Co-Founder of Playfood Inc in Los Angeles, where he operated a food manufacturing business with a restaurant and mobile catering truck, specializing in plant-based cuisine and cashew dairy products for seven years.
In the subsequent years, Smith ventured into various roles, including being a Maker Space Maker for Communitere in the Philippines, where he built a sustainable resource center in post-disaster areas, and founding The Fairweather Gallery, a floating art gallery at art and music festivals.
Smith’s technical expertise is evident from his roles as a Test Engineer at ALL Power Labs, where he was part of the team that won the Water Abundance XPRIZE, and as a Designer and Production Technician at Aspen Water Inc, where he contributed to designing a portable water desalination and purification pump.
His passion for marine technology led him to roles as a Marine Service Technician, a Submersible Technician at Pisces VI Submarine SL, and a Technical Manager at the Community Submersibles Project.
Wht is Taran Noah Smith Doing Now?
Recently, Taran Noah Smith joined SpaceX, where he served as an Integration Technician and currently holds the position of Sea Recovery Technician.
In his Linkedin profile, Smith remarked his love for engineering and how he want to channel that love into something that helps humanity: