They are two kinds of people in this world:
Those who don't know who Jake Lloyd is.
And those that are trying to forget.
Jake Lloyd was born in Fort Collins, Colorado on March 5th, 1989. The son of William, an EMS worker and Lisa, a wannabe agent geared young Jake towards acting. And he did rather well, landing spots in ads for Smucker's and Fruit Rollup when he was still under five.
Jake had a big year in 1996, as Jake becoming a reoccurring character on the shows ER and The Pretender, as well as appearing in a Family Channel made-for-TV-movie about the Apollo 11 moon landing. Not to mention the feature films Unhook the Stars, in which he played the child of a single mother played by Marisa Tomei and Jingle All the Way, which was an Arnold Schwarzenegger family film...nuff said.
When George Lucas was casting for Star Wars: Episode One, which might still be the most hyped film of all time, he had auditioned many qualified child actors to play the part of a very young Anakin Skywalker, the man who would grow up to be Darth Vader. Many of these young boys had experience on Broadway playing complex and complicated roles. He even saw Haley Joel Osment read for the role. The same Haley Jole Osment that would end up being nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the same Academy Award ceremony when Episode I would walk away a loser in each category it was nominated in...all of them technical categories.
Yet Lucas chose a kid who had done some television appearances, a huge flop (Unhook the Stars made $234,843 in its theatrical run), a really shitty Ah-nold movie and an ad for grape jelly. Lucas chose Jake Lloyd as his Anakin Skywalker.
When Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace hit theatres in 1999, the biggest argument in the nation was: "Who was worse the fucking Gungan or the fucking kid?!"
Who knew that Darth Vader could be so cute at age 10? I can only assume that evil minds like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin must have exclaimed "YIPPIE!" when they were little kids. And we all know that "Are you an angel?" is the world's best pick up line...yet it's even better with Jake Lloyd delivering it to a romantic partner nearly ten years his major. Not to mention that George Lucas found himself digitally altering certain aspects of Lloyd's performance during the editing process of The Phantom Menace.
Over a year after The Phantom Menace, a report from the set of Madison, a movie Jake was performing in, read like this:
"Jake has been bratty with everyone. He has refused to sign posters for kids on the set. When he wasn't on camera he made loud noises which interrupted filming. Worst of all he stuck clothespins all over his face that left red marks. When he had to film the entire production had to wait while make up people covered he marks. Hopefully he'll grow up."
"Madison", and another film that Jake filmed, "Die With Me", were never given the light of day in theatres. He had a guest spot on the TV drama 18 Wheels of Justice and then his final performance ever, an uncredited role on the TV comedy Jigsaw, which only lasted five episodes.
In 2001, Jake Lloyd announced his retirement from acting. And oddly enough…nobody even cared.
It was the “YIPPIE!” heard around the world, and is still ringing in the heads of millions of Star Wars fans who wonder just what went wrong…