Skidmore Stars: Remember The Adorable Kid From ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’?

Skidmore alum Justin Henry was the youngest person ever nominated for an Oscar.

Eight-year-old Justin Henry, pictured here in a famous scene from 'Kramer vs. Kramer,' ended up attending Skidmore College later in life.

The year I was born, 1979, was a big one at the movies. Theaters were filled with films I’d end up worshipping throughout my life, such as Alien, The Jerk, Escape From Alcatraz and the it’s-so-bad-it’s-good James Bond flick, Moonraker. One of the biggest box office hits that year—and winners at the following year’s Academy Awards—was Kramer vs. Kramer, starring Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep and eight-year-old newcomer, Justin Henry. The young actor’s portrayal of Billy Kramer, a son caught in the middle of his father and mother’s messy, emotionally devastating divorce, garnered him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, making him the youngest actor to ever receive that honor (though Melvyn Douglas beat him out for the statuette).

In the years to come, Henry went on to make some notable cameos on Aaron Spelling/ABC hit, Fantasy Island and in film, particularly John Hughes’ teen classic Sixteen Candles. But after 1988’s Sweet Hearts Dance, which starred Don Johnson, Susan Sarandon and Jeff Daniels, Henry took some time off from acting. He wound up attending Skidmore College, where he played lacrosse and earned his degree in psychology in 1993. Of his time at Skidmore, Henry told the New York Daily News: “My college years had nothing to do with acting. I deliberately avoided studying drama or theater and stuff like that.”

While Henry returned to the silver screen, here and there, between 1996 and 2014, he’s mostly switched careers, working in the digital marketing and advertising space. And he must’ve dug his time at Skidmore, because he’s been an Alumni Admissions Contact there for a decade. Who needs an Oscar, anyway? Calling Saratoga Springs home for four years is a big enough prize for most of us.

Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.


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