In many respects, I think we get the stars we deserve. I never bought the Gary Coleman schtick and found "Diff'rent Strokes" unwatchable even as a child. I don't think most folks who were drawn to Gary Coleman and Dana Plato were in it for the talent.
Jodie Foster and Ron Howard, on the other hand, were and continue to be multifaceted artists who didn't go for the cute catchphrase or facial tic. They learned both to work sides of the camera, continued their educations, and developed marketable skills that are still relevant today. And I'd venture to say that many if not most of their old fans continue to support them.