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10 Actors Who Fooled You Into Thinking They Were Teens

Photograph by Paramount Pictures

Ever wonder why those teens on TV and in the movies seem so wise beyond their years? It's probably because they're way older than you think. Many are portrayed by actors whose high school days were already behind them. So while they were pretending to be stressed about prom and graduation onscreen, in real life many of them had already moved on to mortgages and marriages. Here are some of the familiar faces who are obviously young at heart:

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1. Lea Michele and practically the entire cast of 'Glee'

Photograph by FOX

Lea is 28 now and was 23 when she was first cast in the role of Rachel Barry on "Glee." Cory, who played Finn Hudson, passed away in 2013 at the age of 31 and was 27 when the series began. Harry Shum, Jr, who played Mike Chang, was also 27 when the show premiered. Makes the show's anthem, "Don't Stop Believin." take on a whole new meaning.

2. Jon Heder in 'Napolean Dynamite'

Photograph by Fox Searchlight/Photofest

Everyone's favorite teenager was 26 when he starred in the indie cult flick. That was some bit of acting, as Jon played an awkward teen better than most real-life awkward teens I know.

3. Stacey Dash in 'Clueless'

Photograph by Paramount Pictures

28 at the time, Stacey had to age backwards 13 years to play 15-year-old teen Dionne in the 1995 film. In contrast, co-star Alicia Silverstone was only an 18-year-old playing a 15-year-old. Whatever!

4. Keiko Agena in 'Gilmore Girls'

Photograph by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Keiko was 27 when she started playing my favorite GG character, Rory Gilmore's (Alexis Bledel) kickass rocker BFF Lane Kim. By the time the series ended she was well into her 30s, and her character had gotten married and given birth to twins. In my fantasy spinoff, Lane and her band Hep Alien leave Stars Hollow to tour with Beyoncé. Hey, a girl can dream.

5. Henry Winkler in 'Happy Days'

Photograph by ABC

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Henry was 29 when he played bad boy (or is that bad man?) Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli in 1974 when the series premiered. It just proves that a leather jacket, white-T and blue jeans can keep you eternally young.

6. Gabrielle Carteris in 'Beverly Hills 90210'

Photograph by FOX

Most of the cast of the hit '90s TV show were older than the high-schoolers they were portraying, but Gabrielle was the oldest of them. She was 29 when she was cast as 16-year-old Andrea Zuckerman, and reports are that she lied about her age in order to play the teen. I guess fake IDs aren't always just to get a beer at a bar.

7. Pretty much the entire cast of 'Pretty Little Liars'

Photograph by ABC

Troian Bellisario (Spencer Hastings) is 29, Lucy Hale (Aria Montgomery) is 25, Ashley Benson (Hanna Marin) is 25 and Shay Mitchell (Emily Fields) is 27. Considering they all play 17 and 18-year-olds in the series, it's no wonder the show is called "Pretty Little Liars."

8. Kevin Bacon in 'Footloose'

Photograph by Paramount Pictures

Kevin was 26 when he played a teen fighting the church elders for his right to party (and dance) in his small rural town. If that minister had known Kevin was lying about his age there would have been real hell to pay.

9. Paul Wesley in 'Vampire Diaries'

Photograph by CW

Paul plays 17-year-old vampire Stefan Salvatore, who is supposed to be over 150-years-old, so I guess we can expect them to play fast and loose with his age; the actor was 26 when the series premiered. Who knew vampires aged so well and looked like they just walked right out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog?

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10. Everyone, and we mean everyone, in 'Grease'

Photograph by Paramount Pictures

Looks like the entire student body at Rydell High was held back! When filming on the movie began in 1977, John Travolta was 23, Olivia Newton-John was 28, Jeff Conaway was 26, Stockard Channing was 33, Michael Tucci was 31 and Didi Conn was 25. Dinah Manoff and Lorenzo Lamas were the youngest of the bunch at 19. Something about those "Summer Nights" keeps everyone young and energetic.

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