These Actors Went AWOL: What Made Them Leave Fame Behind?

The following 33 actors pretty much disappeared from the Hollywood film industry. Everybody knows that Hollywood is a difficult business. It is one that is extremely competitive to enter and a brutal one to stay in. Actors’ careers can peak and plunder with just one bad career move or life decision.
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While we haven’t seen these actors in quite some time, we are hopeful that the 29+ actors on this list will rebound and get their careers back in line… or that they’ve at least achieved happiness doing what they’re doing now.

Spiderman’s Absence

You probably didn’t even notice Tobey Maguire’s absence from Hollywood. Well, news flash, quite some time has gone by since he’s last appeared in a film and since the release of the first Spiderman movie in 2012.

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Apparently, concern exists for his whereabouts and people are talking to Google to search “Is Tobey Maguire dead?” Other than voicing the narrator’s role in the animated film Boss Baby, the Spider-Man star has only appeared in one film since 2013, the little-seen Pawn Sacrifice. The actor got so much recognition for his iconic performance in Spiderman that most people don’t even realize he’s gone AWOL.

 A-lister Gone AWOL

It’s rare for an A-list actor to completely abandon Hollywood, but Cameron Diaz did it very stealthily, without many people even seeming to notice. Maybe we don’t notice that she hasn’t been in a new movie in years because we find ourselves re-watching “There’s Something About Mary,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “In Her Shoes,” and of course, arguably the best romantic comedy, “The Holiday.”

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It seems that Cameron Diaz simply grew tired of her years of hard work and has since settled down with now-husband Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden. Fun fact, she is the sister-in-law of Nicole Richie who is married to Benji’s brother.

Where’s Precious?

It may have seemed like Mo’Nique’s career was just taking off when she won an Oscar for her role in 2009’s Precious. After an award like that, it would have been obvious for the actor to star in more movies and win more awards. However, the stand-up comedian only acted in four more movies after that, and one was a TV movie.

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Apparently, winning an Oscar made Mo’Nique develop a haughty persona and a heightened and exaggerated sense of her worthiness. Her refusal to “play the game” in Hollywood did not go over very well with her peers, and she was shunned.

Jack’s Disappearance

Nicholson is a star we’d love to see make a comeback. The actor has more Oscar nominations than any other male actor in history, however, he hasn’t appeared in a feature film since 2010’s unremarkable “How Do You Know?”

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The 84-year-old legend was supposed to appear opposite Kristen Wig in an English remake of the German comedy “Toni Erdmann” but he supposedly dropped out of the project. We think that he should just sit back and glory in the $400 million he made over the years.

Peaked with “Twin Peaks”

It’s mind-boggling to see how an actor like Lara can go from such pivotal roles to such… unimpressive ones. Lara was everywhere in the 90s. She is most recognized for her role as Donna Hayward in the ABC cult television series “Twin Peaks” and “The Practice,” for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. However, since 2014, the star is nowhere to be found.

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If you want to know just how much her career has plummeted, for reference, one of her most recent projects was called Hansel & Gretel Get Baked, and it was nominated for “Trashiest Trailer” at the Golden Trailer Awards.

Burning Bridges

Heigl seemed to be relishing her position as an A-list star in 2007 when she took home an Emmy Award for “Grey’s Anatomy” and starred in the hit comedy “Knocked Up.” However, she then basically ruined her reputation when she pointed a finger at her directors and make some harsh statements about their projects.

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Making these remarks burned some bridges for her and Heigl has not been on the radar since the romantic comedy “27 Dresses “in 2008. More recently, she has been cast in the leading role opposite Sarah Chalke and Ben Lawson for the Netflix show “Firefly Lane.”

Super Gone

Jonah Hill has made quite an impressive physical transformation since his comedic roles in films like “Superbad,” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.: He took home Oscar nominations for his supporting role in “Moneyball” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”


For the last few years, Hill has appeared in minor roles and voice roles. He will also have a minor role in “The Beach Bum” which will be released later this year. Additionally, he has plans to voice roles for “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” and “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.”

Party of None?

With a name like hers, it seems like Jennifer Love Hewitt was destined for stardom. Hewitt is most recognized for playing Sarah Reeves Merrin on the Fox teen drama Party of Five from 1995-1999 and in the I Know What You Did Last Summer franchise. It’s safe to say that she was one of the hottest stars of the 90s.

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However, her 90s fame came to a halt at the start of the 21 st century, and the actress hasn’t been on the big screen since 2012. Perhaps she is taking time to be a mommy to her two young children and a wife to her husband.

Lost His Powers

Mike Myers may have played the very iconic voice of Shrek and of course, Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers franchise, but if anybody knows what he’s been up to since 2008’s awful The Love Guru, then I will be very impressed. Since you probably don’t know what he’s been up to, you are close to the right answer.


He hasn’t been up to anything. After the terrible last movie he starred in, he was not able to bounce back to his once legendary reputation and so he took a long break for a decade after the movie failure.

Meg’s Meandering

Meg Ryan was America’s favorite Sweetheart throughout the 90s and she starred in some iconic romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. However, a number of movie failures caused her career to experience a decline.

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She starred in some movies in the early 2000s, but the movies were not such great commercial successes and were not able to bump her career back to what it once was. Since then, she has acted in several indie films and has also tried her hand at directing.

Who Now?

It seems like an Oscar and Golden Globe Winner would have all the acting opportunities at her disposal, but for Mira Sorvino, things just weren’t in her favor. She has only made minor appearances here and there. The reason why she has had trouble getting cast is absolutely absurd and the infamous uncouth Harvey Weinstein has something to do with it.


Thanks to the scoop from “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson, it has been confirmed that Weinstein blacklisted Sorvino from major pictures after she filed a harassment claim against him.

 Banned by Miramax

Ashley Judd is another great example of a star who was destroyed at the cusp of a pig. The award-winning actress had a number of brilliant acting gigs in the 90’s, but her career was cut way too short.


Once again, the horrid Weinstein is to blame. His company Miramax blacklisted Judd in Hollywood after she refused the advancements he made at her in a hotel room. The guy can’t handle rejection, it seems.

Alyson’s Hiatus

Since the final days of How I Met Your Mother, we have seldom seen Alyson Hannigan. We have since only seen her make several guest appearances and star in a TV movie.

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We hope that the reason for her disappearance is due to marital bliss with her former Buffy costar Alexis Denisof. Plus, when you are a  star in a hit TV series and have $30 million, you can afford to take time off to be with family.

Bye Bye Bynes

Amanda was at the peak of her career when she had a psychotic meltdown. We last saw the wig enthusiast in 2010’s Easy A. You have to admit though, she was a talented child star back in the day.

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Rather than being in and out of movie shoots, she has been out of the spotlight since her complete public breakdown in the early 2010s. Recently though, she got her act together, and with that, she has confirmed her interest in acting again. Catch that pun? She has also been attending fashion school.

No Longer It

Mischa’s claim to fame was in 2003 when she played Marissa Cooper in The O.C. She played this part for three years. During this time, Mischa was at the peak of her career. Capitalizing on the show’s fame, the star attended parties all over the world. She was once named Entertainment Weekly’s “It Girl” during the first year of the show and quickly became a paparazzi favorite.

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Mischa explains her demise as a result of “living a jet-set lifestyle. If you miss the actress, then get ready, because she’s set to star in the upcoming “The Hills: New Beginnings.”

Where’s Prince Charming?

Freddie Prince Junior was the teen heartthrob of the 90s after starring in the “I Know What You Did Last Summer” series. Since his guest role on 24, the actor has been doing voice acting for animated shows and video games.

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According to Prinze, his experiences with Kiefer Sutherland on the set of 24 caused him to want to quit acting because they were so negative. While Freddie is not acting so much these days, he is getting to enjoy more quality time with wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and their two children.

He Wasn’t All That

Kel Mitchell had a lot of fans back when he starred as a regular on Nickelodeon’s “All That” and “Kenan and Kel.” It seemed like his decline began when he lost out to his former costar Kenan Thompson for a spot on “SNL” in 2003.

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Now that Kenan has become the show’s longest-standing cast member, the two have virtually stopped speaking, besides an appearance together on “The Tonight Show.” Nowadays, Mitchell appears in kids’ shows and smaller roles.

 Nothing Further

McGillis became a major star after appearing in Top Gun. However, her negative experience in the 1989 “Cat Chaser” discouraged her from wanting to pursue her acting career any further.


She continued to star in some films and TV shows here and there until she settled on being a theatrical actor and character TV actress. She has since come out as a lesbian in 2009.

Early Retirement

Phoebe Cates made jaws drop… for both men and women alike. She starred in 1982’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” She continued to appear in several movies throughout the ’80s and early ’90s. However, following a time period during which she was completely absorbed in her film career, she disappeared.

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It seemed that she retired from her career as an actress in 1994 to focus on her marriage to Kevin Kline and their two children. Since her retirement, she has acted in only one movie, “The Anniversary Party,” as a favor to Jennifer Jason Leigh, who was the film’s director.

Shallow Impact

It seemed like Sobieski could have had a promising career based on her performance in the blockbuster asteroid drama “Deep Impact” in 1998. The film brought her to the attention of many casting directors. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t seem to have a deep impact on her career and the actress pretty much vanished afterward.

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In 2012, Sobieski confirmed, “I don’t do movie stuff anymore”. Commenting on the reasons for her early retirement to Us Weekly, Sobieski said, “I am just focused on my kids. I think that’s mainly why I stopped…Also, ninety percent of acting roles involve so much sexual stuff with other people, and I don’t want to do that.

Fell Out of Fashion

It appeared like Nikki Blonsky was going to be the next big star after playing the role of Tracy Turnblad in 2007’s movie adaptation of “Hairspray.” Although she starred alongside an impressive list of actors like John Travolta, Queen Latifah, and Zac Efron, her career path took a big turn after the movie… for the worse.

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In 2011, she earned a cosmetology license and started working part-time as a makeup artist and hairstylist. How could somebody who was poised to be the next big thing experience such a turn of events?

Boardwalk to Nowhere

Paz de la Huerta seemed destined for fame when she acted on “Boardwalk Empire” for two seasons. However, her career quickly petered aafter the role. Since then, she hasn’t made any high-profile appearances. In 2015, it was reported that de la Huerta was suing the filmmakers, for ruining her career.

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Paz has also made allegations against Harvey Weinstein, an act which she describes as having made her life take a sharp dark turn. She became depressed and after a second season, HBO did not renew her contract.


Surely, no Game of Thrones fan could forget Jack Gleeson. Jack played television’s most despised enemy, King Joffrey. Despite the high-profile role, Gleeson has not acted since 2014. In 2012, the actor hinted at his intention to retire from acting to pursue an academic career once his work on Game of Thrones was finished.

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In 2014, Gleeson confirmed he would be permanently retiring from acting after concluding his work in “Game of Thrones.” In the same interview, he said that while he previously had the desire to pursue a degree, he has since gone off that idea. He is currently busy running his own touring theater company, which has a puppet show.

Not Fetch

To anyone who’s seen “Mean Girls” as much as I have, you would recognize that attractive face anywhere.  Jonathan Bennett played Lindsay Lohan’s love interest.

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Following the role, he virtually disappeared from the acting world for several years. At one point, he was even reported to be working as a spin instructor in Los Angeles. Nowadays, his career is on a steady incline. He currently is serving as the host of Food Network’s “Halloween Wars,” having hosted the previous “Cake Wars.”

A Second Career

Sometimes, when you have a good enough reason, you’re ready to say goodbye to your career as an actor. Gene Hackman’s time was up after 2004’s “Welcome to Mooseport.” With two Oscar wins under his belt, the now 87-year-old is sitting back and enjoying life with his wife of 26 years, Betsy Arakawa.

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Retiring from acting allowed some free time for his writing career. In the last two decades, he has finished five novels, including three works of historical fiction, a Western, and a police thriller.

From Hollywood to Harvard

Jonathan Taylor Thomas was one of the most iconic teenage stars of the 90s. Since his contributions to the voice of Simba in “The Lion King” and as Randy Taylor on “Home Improvement,” JTT has just about vanished from the acting world. While most people only dream of achieving the type of success he had as a child star, the actor decided to walk away from it all in 2000.

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He told People Magazine that he’d been working nonstop since he was eight years old and he wanted a chance to travel and study. While he has been missed, we are very impressed to see that he graduated from Harvard University. He has made minor appearances here and there but nothing comes close to the roles he held back in the day.

All By Himself

For some time, it seemed like Adrian Grenier was popping up everywhere. He played Anne Hathaway’s gorgeous boyfriend in “The Devil Wears Prada” and, of course, his most recognized role as Vincent Chase in the HBO series “Entourage.”


His latest performance on screen was in 2015’s reprisal of his role as Vincent in the Entourage film adaptation. But, it seems like people grew tired of entitled bros and Adrian hasn’t had an acting gig since. Women must also be over the whole bro thing because this hunk is still single at age 42.

Out of the Picture

Sally Field is one of those actors who has been around for what feels like, eternity. In the second half of her career, she was nominated for an Oscar for Lincoln and for her role in the Spider-Man franchise. Let’s give her some well-deserved credit for a moment as she’s starred in iconic films like “Steel Magnolias,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “Forrest Gump.” That is quite an accomplished resume.

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However, she’s been out of the picture for some time now. She last appeared in the critically acclaimed indie “Hello, My Name Is Doris.” In 2014, she was rightfully presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Legal Trouble

In the 90s, it seemed like Lawrence was developing a long-lasting career as an actor. He was one of the leading actors of the decade, most notable for his hit TV show, Martin, and his roles in “Do the Right Thing” and “House Party.” Towards the end of the 90s, Lawrence got into some legal trouble which perhaps offset his career.


In 1995, while filming “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate,” he lashed out in a violent rage and was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Plus, his show, “Martin,” fizzled and then ended (rather poorly) because Tisha Campbell accused Martin Lawrence of harassment.

He’s Back?

Eckhart first gained wide recognition as George in “Erin Brockovich”. He was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2006 for his role in “Thank You For Smoking.” Another big breakthrough came as District Attorney Harvey Dent/Two-Face in the Batman film The “Dark Knight.” Since playing roles in Olympus Has Fallen and its sequel London Has Fallen, Eckhard hasn’t graced our screens.


However, he has made a comeback with Midway, starring Mandy Moore, Woody Harrelson, and Luke Evans. We’re excited to see the talented actor back to doing what he does best.

Short Lived Acting Career

UFC fighter Ronda Rousey seemed to have a promising acting future, but, when she lost her UFC winning streak to Holly Holm in 2015, she retreated from the limelight. After a three-year hiatus, she returned to the big screen in 2018 in the action thriller film “Mile 22”. Unfortunately, the film got generally unfavorable reviews.


In addition to being the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo (she won a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics), she enjoyed a two and a half year undefeated streak in UFC, she began her professional wrestling career and won her first WWE and professional wrestling title at SummerSlam 2018.

Bizarre Behaviors

Randy Quaid is the older brother of Dennis. He’s also an Emmy and Academy Award nominee who’s most recognized for his role in ‘Brokeback Mountain.” In contrast to the success he has experienced in the acting world, his personal life is a bit less successful and he has gotten into a number of legal issues.


He hasn’t appeared in a film since 2009, the same year that he and his wife were arrested for using an invalid credit card to pay a $10,000 bill. This led to a series of other bizarre behaviors. The couple has somehow ended up in Vermont where they plan to stay.

Promising Young Woman

You would think that this talented and beautiful actress would have gotten more gigs over the years. Her breakthrough role was in 2009’s “An Education,” for which she was nominated for an Oscar. Over the years, she hasn’t held many high-profile roles other than playing Daisy Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby.”

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She recently returned to the big screen, starring in the Paul Dano-directed marriage drama “Wildlife”  as well as in the oscar-nominated film “Promising Young Woman.”

No More Magic for Mike

Pettyfer was the blonde boy at the heart of “Magic Mike,” who emitted the kind of tough charisma that hinted he’d become a star or at least a successful character actor. But one wrong move and he single-handedly ruined his own career.

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The actor had a feud with Channing Tatum and angered the crew with his dramatic behavior. However, his recent role in the psychological thriller “The Strange Ones” may have earned his career a comeback, and if anything, garnered him some praise.

Back from a Break

Jesse Eisenberg has his breakthrough role in the comedy-drama film “Adventureland” and the horror-comedy “Zombieland.” He earned nominations for several awards, including an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actor for his portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network.”

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Following this role, Eisenberg took a break from acting for some time. He was busy again, working on some projects, one of which included portraying the legendary mime Marcel Marceau in “Resistance.”

The Oscar Curse

Sometimes, when an actor wins an Oscar, it seems like their career will know no limits. And for others, their careers seem to fade. Patricia Arquette won an Oscar in 2014 for Boyhood but she has since worked on very small and little-seen projects.

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In 2018, the word was received that she would star in the Hulu series “The Act.” She also played Tilly Mitchell in the Showtime miniseries Escape at Dannemora, in which she had to gain weight, wear prosthetic teeth, and brown contact lenses.

Cult Classic

Now, this is a rather unique one. Allison mack’s first big television role was on an episode of the WB series 7th Heaven. In October 2001, she began playing Chloe Sullivan in the WB/CW hit tv show, Smallville.

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She won several accolades and nominations for her performance. The actress destroyed her career after she joined the cult NXIVM in 2011. Recently, she was put under house arrest for the crimes she committed for the cult. She was arrested in Brooklyn by the FBI in April 2018, Not the typical thing that usually end an actor’s career.

Retired for the Right Reasons

For a number of years, it seemed like Rick Moranis was in everything. He appeared in several iconic films like “Ghostbusters,” “Spaceballs,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “The Flinstones.” It seemed like his career was going to skyrocket and that he would do more than what he’s done since… which is nothing.

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After he lost his wife to breast cancer in the early ’90s and became a single father, he decided to retire from the industry so he could be there for his two children, rightfully so.

Couldn’t Catch Up

Billy Zane enthralled the country with his villainous turn in “Titanic.” Since the late 90s, the actor hasn’t scored another high-profile role, other than his appearance in “Zoolander 2,” in which he starred as himself.

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However, just as we saw his character refusing to surrender, chasing Jack and Rose down the grand staircase and into the ship as it sunk, he too has refused to give up on his acting career. He has continued to appear in several low-profile projects over the years.

A Steady Halt

Andie first received critical acclaim for her role in “Sex, Lies, and a Videotape” in 1989. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. She has had several other nominated-worthy performances in “Green Card,” “Groundhog Day,” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” She seemed to be the “It girl” of the 90s but, then her career came to a steady halt.

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She has since only appeared in small films and TV projects. Besides acting, MacDowell has modeled for Calvin Klein Inc. as well as been a spokeswoman for L’Oreal since 1986.

Charlie Sheen’s Brother

While Emilio’s career may have lasted longer than some of his other Breakfast Club members, I’m sure you can’t name what he’s been doing since the Mighty Ducks. Born into a family of actors, the brother of Charlie Sheen has since directed a number of films, like 2010’s “The Way,” which received critical acclaim.

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Doing Time

Wesley Snipes is another actor who seemed to be everywhere in the 90s. He starred in “Jungle Fever,” To “Wong Foo,” “White Men Can’t Jump,” and, of course, “Blade.”

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Unfortunately, he was imprisoned for three years at McKean Federal Correctional Institution for tax evasion. Since his release, Snipes has only appeared in one project in the 2010s: Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” in 2015.

A Comedic Comeback

Dave Chapelle began his career in 1993 in Mel Brooks’s “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” The stand-up comedian and actor seemed to have had a lot of success in 2013 with his comedy sketch, “Chapelle’s Show,” but he quit the show two years later after feeling like he was being misunderstood.  In 2016, he signed a $20 million-per-release comedy-special deal with Netflix and in 2017, he produced and released four of his specials in one year.

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Chappelle has been called the “comic genius of America” and has been ranked as one of the best 50 Stand Up Comics of All Time. We are sure that a comeback would be very appreciated by his fans.

Doesn’t Like the Spotlight

Lark Voorhies rose to fame playing Lisa on the ABC sitcom, “Saved by the Bell.”

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After the show, the actor pretty much disappeared from Hollywood. She spent more than a decade away from the spotlight, spending time painting mostly. She has recently started appearing at several premiers and red-carpet events.

Sweet Blackberry

Karyn Parsons rose to fame for her role as Hillary on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” However, she’s been out of the spotlight for the last decade.

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She spends most of her time on her charity, Sweet Blackberry, which helps teach children about important unsung Black heroes.

Geena’s Anatomy

Born as Virginia Elizabeth Davis, Geena was a big star back in the 80s and 90s. She is most recognized for the roles she played in films like “The Fly,” “Beetlejuice,” “Thelma & Louise,” and “A League of Their Own.” The Academy Award and Golden Globe winner has since taken on roles in television, starring in “Commander in Chief” as well as “Grey’s Anatomy.”

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We are glad to see her focusing her time on social activism for gender equality in the media in recent years. Oh, and she has also been married four times, but who’s counting?

Accidental Fame

Mara Wilson was a busy kid, acting in films like “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Matilda.” However, she quit acting long ago in 2000 so that she could experience a normal childhood.

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She has since focused on writing, and has published her own memoir in 2016 called “Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.” While Matilda was released already 23 years ago, it still lives on as one of the most iconic children’s movies of all time.

Iconic Culkin

There is perhaps no more of an iconic child star than Macaulay Culkin was. By age 12, he became the most successful child actor of all time. He is, of course, best known for playing Kevin in the Christmas movie “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2.” With a promising career like his, it was surprising to see him retire at age 14.

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Perhaps this had to do with his estrangement from his father. While he has appeared in some things here and there, he has mostly chosen to stay out of the spotlight.

A Passion for Painting

You might remember Ariana Richards for her role as Lex Murphy in none other than Steven Spielberg’s 1993, “Jurassic Park.” Ariana had appearances in various television programs throughout the 90s and early 2000’s, like “The Golden Girls,” “Empty Nest” and “Boy Meet World.”

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A Series of Unfortunate Events

Robert Blake had one of the longest acting careers. He began acting as a child in 1939 in the movie “Bridal Suite” which starred Annabella and Robert Young and after being drafted into the army, he proceeded to become a seasoned Hollywood actor.

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He enjoyed a long career in Hollywood until 2001 when he had to quit the business after he was accused of taking his wife’s life. Blake was acquitted and has since maintained a low profile.

From Actress to Housewife

More commonly known as Liz Hurley, the actress is best known for acting as Vanessa Kensington in “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” and as the Devil in “Bedazzled.”

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Hurley has since retired from acting to focus on raising her son while remaining out of the spotlight.

Double Trouble

The twin child stars, Dylan and Cole Sprouse were made successful Disney stars after starring in “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.” After the Disney channel rejected a series they pitched, the two decided that it was time to call it quits and they proceeded to pursue degrees at NYU.


Dylan has since opened a bar in Brooklyn, and as for Cole, he actually returned to television in 2017, acting as Jughead Jones in CW’s “Riverdale.” He is also set to return to the big screen, starring in 2019’s Five Feet Apart.

Theater Kid

Debra Winger is one of the most successful actresses of the 80s. She is most recognized for her roles in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Tears of Endearment,” and “Shadowlands,” and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for each film.

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Following her success, she decided to take a break from film, a move she had been anticipating for years. During the break, she didn’t leave the acting world completely, she just switched over to the theater. In the last two decades, she has returned to film and television quite sparingly, appearing in things here and there.

After the Wonder Years

Josh Saviano is most notable for his role as Paul Pfeiffer on the hit 90s TV show “The Wonder Years.”

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Following the role, he retired from acting. There was a rumor circulating that he grew up to be Marilyn Manson, but his life turned out a little less exciting but nonetheless impressive- he graduated from Yale University and became a lawyer.

Rocker Girl

Long before Taylor Momsen’s fame from her role as Jenny Humphrey on “Gossip Girl,” she played Cindy Lou in 2000’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

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However, in 2011, she retired from acting to focus on her rock band “The Pretty Reckless” in which she is the lead singer and frontwoman.

Failed to Shine

Shelley Duvall established herself as one of the best actresses of her time. She delivered sensational performances one after another, receiving critical acclaim for her presentations of various eccentric characters. Recalling her harrowing role as Wendy Torrance in the 1980 horror film, “The Shining,” is enough to give even the toughest person goosebumps.

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Since 2002, she has retired both from acting and from the public eye, and nobody really knew what happened to the star. In 2016, she appeared on Dr. Phil where she shared her struggles with mental illness.


Born as Elmore Rual Torn Jr., it’s a good thing that he took on the more fitting stage name as Rip Torn. He had a very celebrated career, including multiple wins and nominations and timeless performances. He retired from acting after being arrested in 2010.

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He had several charges made against him which included first-degree burglary and third-degree criminal mischief. Following the incident, he has seldom appeared in films, popping up here and there in C-grade films. He passed away in 2019.

New Life in Texas

Nick Stahl’s career began as a child, during which he gained recognition at age 13 for his work in “Man Without a Face,” a film he starred in alongside Mel Gibson. He had critical and box office success with his roles in the 2001 movie “In the Bedroom” and 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” Unfortunately, his struggle with substance abuse impacted his performance as well as his personal life. In 2012, his estranged wife filed a police report declaring that her husband had gone missing.

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He was found five days later and immediately entered a rehab program. He gave an interview in 2017, sharing that he had moved out to Texas to take a break from acting and focus on his family and on sobriety.

America’s Queen

Zeta-Jones established a reputation in Hollywood after appearing in roles that emphasized her sex appeal like 1998’s “The Mask of Zorro” and 1999’s “The Entrapment.” She was celebrated for her performances However, her world was turned upside down in 2010 after her husband, actor Michael Douglas, was diagnosed with tongue cancer.

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The actress took a hiatus from Hollywood following the diagnosis of her husband. She once again took a few years off from acting and has since returned to action in last year’s feud and a TV show called “Queen America.” However, she continues to maintain a low profile.

The Fonda Family

You better believe it, Bridget Fonda is Peter Fonda’s daughter and Jane’s niece. She first made a name for herself in films like “It Could Happen to You” and “Single White Female.”

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Since 2002, she has retired from acting to raise her son, Oliver, who she’s been raising with her husband Danny Elfman, a music composer.

An Internet Sensation

After Norris served in the United States Air Force, he competed as a martial artist, winning many championships. He is most known for films like Way of the Dragon and Missing in Action 1, 2, & 3. The martial artist gone actor hasn’t had a big role since 2005. The actor, most recognized for “Walker, Texas Ranger” has taken time off in order to support his wife and her health issues.


While Norris has not acted in quite some time, his reputation as a tough guy definitely lives on through things like the viral Chuck Norris Facts meme which made him an internet sensation. Norris also continues to make appearances in ads and commercials.

An Animal Activist

The legendary Doris Day was the biggest female actress to grace the big screen in the early 60s. The iconic actress has been in far too many films to list them all here and she was ranked sixth among the box office performers by 2012. Besides her acting career, she was also one of the most celebrated singers of the 21st century and recorded more than 650 songs.

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The now 96-year-old retired from acting after her sitcom “The Doris Day Show” went off the air in 1973. She currently lives in Carmel-by-the-sea, California, and is an animal welfare activist.

Gone for Two Decades

Glenda Jackson took a major break from acting from 1992 to 2015. The British actress and former Labour Party politician is one of few actors to receive the Triple Crown of Acting. The two-time Academy Award winner is famous for films like “Women in Love” and “A Touch of Class.” After a 23-year hiatus, she appeared in the play “Blood, Sex and Money.”

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In 2016, she once again returned to the stage, playing the title role in Shakespeare’s “King Lear” in London. This past year, she returned to Broadway, acting in “Three Tall Women,” and won a Tony Award for her performance.

An Inexplicable Disappearance

If you are a kid of the 90s, then there’s a good chance you recognize Joe Pesci for playing one of the main villains in the Christmas classic “Home Alone.” However, Pesci was a veritable acting force who worked with the iconic director Martin Scorsese on classic films like “Raging Bull,” “Goodfellas”, and “Casino.”

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In 1999, he walked away from it all. According to Complex, it was unclear why Pesci retired early. Over the last two decades, he has made appearances here and there (think, a Snickers commercial) but it doesn’t look like he’s about to relive his days as an actor.

A Much Deserved Break

While she only had a few acting credits to her name, Rene Russo was cast in some quintessential 90s movies. In the first decade of the 2000s, she disappeared from the limelight after she finished filming 2005’s “Yours, Mine, and Ours.” She then took a 6-year-long hiatus until appearing in 2011’s “Thor,” where she played Chris Hemsworth’s Viking goddess mom Frigga.

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During her disappearance, rumors spread that she went AWOL because of her bipolar disorder, but the star shared with Showbiz in 2014 that her mental illness was not the cause of the break she took from acting. Quite authentically, she said that she needed a break from acting since she had been doing so since age 9.

The Secret Life of Dana

Comedian Dana Carvey rose to fame in the early ’90s after his breakthrough performances on SNL. In 1997, he tried for a successful comedy series but it failed on ABC. Around this time, he started to experience chest pains and had to get bypass surgery on his heart.

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It turns out, the doctor bypassed the wrong artery and Carvey successfully sued the surgeon for millions. He donated the money to charity. Recently, he has done some voice work for the basset hound Pops in 2016’s “The Secret Life of Pets.” He is considering making a comeback, but at the moment, he seems to be happy spending time with his kids who are comedians on the rise themselves. You go, man.

Retired at 18

The Olsen twins decided to retire from acting in 2012, a move that ended their almost lifelong careers. They started acting just one year after their birth, sharing the role of Michelle Tanner on the television series “Full House.” However, their careers hardly ended there. In 1993, the Dualstar Entertainment Group, a production company owned by the twins, was founded, which proceeded to produce a long list of TV movies and video releases.

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They both declined to join the cast of the “Fuller House,” the continuation of “Full House.” They avoid being in the public eye and are usually spotted in big sunglasses.

A Star Carpenter

There aren’t many teenage heartthrobs who can hold a candle to Jake Ryan from “Sixteen Candles.” As Jack Ryan obsessed fans already know, the actor who played the character, Michael Schoeffling, has left Hollywood behind him.

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He performed memorable roles in “Mermaids” and “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken,” and then left Hollywood. Schoeffling now reportedly resides in Pennsylvania and has a carpentry business. He and his wife have two grown children, including a model daughter.

No Longer Clueless

Stacey Dash made a big name for herself after she played Cher’s best friend in Clueless. While it seemed like she could have the potential for a great career, her acting days have for a long time been over. These days, the former actress is known more for being a conservative political activist.

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She has made appearances as a FOX News commentator and recently she ran for a congressional seat before choosing to withdraw from the race. She also appeared in Kanye West’s music video as well as Carl Thomas.’

Slaying After Buffy

We don’t need to tell you what Sarah Michelle Gellar is best known for. Of course, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and who could forget “Cruel Intentions?” The star won five Teen Choice Awards and a Golden Globe Award nomination for the series. It also turned her into a household name.

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She has now left acting behind her and focuses her time on her new company, Foodstirs, which produces sustainable, fair trade, and organic baking products. She also has an adorable family with a husband and fellow actor Freddie Prinze Jr. and they have two children.

Gone and Lost

Matthew Fox found fame in his roles on “Party of Five” and the supernatural drama series “Lost,” the latter of which he won a Golden Globe award.

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 Low-Key Acting

Calista Flockhart played the iconic title character in the late ’90s/early ’00s classic “Ally McBeal.” Following the show’s wrap-up, she switched over to the family drama “Brothers and Sisters.” After the show was taken off the air, Flockhart pursued a more low-key acting path. She held a central role as Cat Grant on “Supergirl” until the show’s filming location was switched to Vancouver from Los Angeles and she made occasional guest appearances.

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Seeing as though she is now married to Harrison Ford, we assume she prefers to spend her time with him and their son, Liam. I mean, come on, we would too.

A Wild Thing

Dominic Monaghan’s claim to fame was in the “Lord of the Rings” and “Lost.” He hasn’t had a major acting role since “Lost” went off the air in 2010.


An avid nature lover, the former actor is currently hosting the nature program Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.

A Tough Act to Follow

The “Hill Street Blues” and “NYPD Blue” actor Dennis Franz seems to have retired from acting following when NYPD Blue went off the air in 2005. Well, the actor did garner an impressive Golden Globe award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards,  and four Primetime Emmy Awards. That seems like a tough act to follow.


It appears that the actor is focusing on his private life and enjoying retiring, spending time with his wife in their lake home in northern Idaho.

Goodbye, Ali

Ali MacGraw first gained attention after acting in the 1969 film Goodbye, Columbus. She won the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her performance. She received worldwide fame in the 1970 film Love Story and won another Golden Globe Award for her performance and an Academy Award nomination.

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In 1972, she was voted as the top female box office star in the world. She has retired from acting since 1997 and these days, she can be found in New Mexico doing yoga, designing clothes, and fighting for animal welfare causes.

A Handsome Werewolf

As soon as ” The Twilight  Saga” came out in theatres, girls everywhere were divided into two groups: those who favored the mysterious vampire played by Robert Pattinson and those who dreamed about the handsome werewolf Taylor Lautner.

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Regrettably, in contrast to his “Twilight” costars, Taylor never managed to succeed in the world of cinema: with most of his films having been left unnoticed.

Hasn’t Left the Matrix

“The Matrix” was released back in 1999, more than twenty years ago, and it immediately became a cult movie, and Carrie-Anne Moss, who played Trinity, rising instantly to fame.

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Later, Carrie-Anne Moss took part in 2 sequels of “The Matrix” and several Marvel movies, but Trinity remains her most memorable and successful role.

When The Hangover is Over

Galifanakis first starred in  “The Hangover.”  The movie became a box office hit, listing as one of the best movies from 2009. The sequel proved to be even more successful and made over $500 million.

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Thanks to this film, Galifanakis became a star, and since then, Galifanakis has lost quite a lot of weight! But he hasn’t had any more memorable films in his career.

Mad About Helen

Helen Hunt has won 4 Emmy Awards and 3 Golden Globe Awards due to her role in the “Mad About You” TV series. Then, Helen was asked to star in “As Good as It Gets,” a rom-com that took Helen to the Oscars.

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According to critics, this long list of awards should have helped the actress build an incredible career, but Helen Hunt’s more recent work wasn’t as brilliant. Her only recent notable work was her part in “The Sessions,” released in 2012.

No More Biel

Jessica Biel’s career began with the series “7th Heaven,” where she played the oldest daughter of a priest from California. Her most successful role was in “The Illusionist,” as Eisenheim’s beloved. She hasn’t managed to conquer Hollywood just yet, and even now, she only lands insignificant roles.

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She is more successful when it comes to TV series. “The Sinner” was released in 2017, and the actress was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Forever Known as Frodo

Elijah Wood isn’t famous because of one role: he’s been part of many different projects, like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Lord of the Rings” and “Green Street Hooligans.” He’s also appeared in TV series like “Wilfred and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.”

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A Fox

Megan Fox is perpetually on the list of the most attractive women in Hollywood. But she isn’t that successful when it comes to her career. The most well-known of Megan’s films are “Transformers” and its sequel. Once the 2nd film was released, Megan quit the project.

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No one knows exactly why, but it’s said that it happened because of harsh criticism from Michael Bay, the film’s director. Anyway, since then, the actress doesn’t work much currently.

Still Stuck in Sin City

Her part in James Cameron’s Dark Angel proved to be a breakthrough role for Jessica Alba, and the role of an exotic dancer in Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City” became her most famous work.

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Later, Jessica played in some romantic comedies, the action film “Machete,” and the thriller “The Killer Inside Me,” which received many positive reviews but still wasn’t as good as “Sin City.”

No Longer in the Middle

Since  Malcolm in the Middle wrapped, Muniz decided to step away from acting to focus on being a full-time race car driver. But in 2009, Muniz suffered terrible head injuries from a crash and had to stop racing.

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Muniz also became a drummer for the band Kingsoil for two years between 2012 to 2014. He even toured all over the world with his bandmates. Muniz is now married to his long-time partner Paige Price.

Out of Shape

Fraser was once a Hollywood A-Lister, first, he appeared in a few small roles, but it wasn’t until his role in “George of the Jungle” in 1997 that Fraser had his first big box office success.

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Unfortunately, his action movie roles’ placed such severe physical demands on him; they led to injuries that forced Fraser to undergo many different surgical procedures, including a partial knee replacement.