16 Actors Who Stepped Away From the Spotlight, and We’d Like to See Them Shine Brightly Again
Many idols from our childhood or teenage years have walked away from their acting career in pursuit of a different and probably quieter life. They disappear from the radar, and every time we see them in an old movie or TV show, we feel nostalgic and secretly want to see them take back their former glory.
1. Rick Moranis
Best known for his role in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Moranis quit acting because his wife passed away, and he decided to take care of his children. He last appeared in a commercial alongside Ryan Reynolds, but other than that, he seems to have no intentions of returning to Hollywood.
2. Ashley Judd
Actress Ashley Judd was suddenly no longer called for castings, and her popularity seemed to fade away. Lately, she has been more involved in her activist role than her acting career, but she is still remembered today for her participation in several productions of the 90s and early 2000s.
3. Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes first started acting on Nickelodeon when she was just a child. After that, she starred in several movies, which helped to make her even more famous. Most of them were juvenile romantic comedies.
Her career took a downturn after suffering mental health problems. Her last project was Easy A, with Emma Stone, in 2010, and then she completely disappeared from Hollywood’s radar.
4. Mara Wilson
Mara Wilson was the star of Matilda, the movie that every child in the 90s saw, and that made them wish they had powers. When she was only a little girl, Mara started working on movie sets and participated in many productions. But once she grew up, she stopped acting because she suffered from rejection. In the end, she found a new passion — writing.
5. Jennifer Love-Hewitt
Jennifer Love-Hewitt was the celebrity every teenager was in love with in the 90s. She appeared in many films of different genres — horror, comedy, and drama. Love-Hewitt went from being in all major productions to suddenly disappearing from the spotlight.
She got married and had three kids, so her family came first. Although she’s still acting, she hasn’t made an epic comeback yet. We’re sure there are many fans out there who would like to see her succeed again.
6. Chad Michael Murray
Actor Chad Michael Murray was a teen icon thanks to One Tree Hill, and he also starred alongside Lindsay Lohan in Freaky Friday. However, his fame faded, and although he appeared in a new series this year, it would be good to see his career take off again. Apart from acting, he is also a novelist.
7. Thora Birch
Thora Birch is dearly remembered for the movie Hocus Pocus, which she starred in as a child. Her career took off from there, and she even participated in Oscar-winning films, such as American Beauty, and cult films, such as Ghost World, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe.
She unexpectedly stepped out of the spotlight; though she continued participating in several productions, they were no longer leading roles. Now she’s begun a new facet as director.
8. Shane West
Shane West is famous for his role in A Walk to Remember. After that film, he gravitated toward darker horror roles — a genre with less audience than romantic movies.
He started losing popularity and decided to move to television. He also tried his luck as a producer, but it didn’t go well. His latest project is the musical La Usurpadora.
9. Josh Hartnett
Josh Hartnett is an actor known for Pearl Harbor, Wicker Park, and Lucky Number Slevin. He was one of those celebrities whose face was on the posters of every teenager’s bedroom.
But, all of a sudden, he vanished. And the reason was that he became a father. He rejected roles that would take time away from his children and decided to go with smaller ones that offered him the freedom to be with his family.
10. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Another actress who decided to say goodbye to the sets to have more time with her family is Sarah Michelle Gellar, who became known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Recently, she decided to make a comeback and has become a role model for her daughter, who loves acting.
11. Seann William Scott
Seann William Scott used to be in almost every teen movie, such as American Pie. However, he soon stopped appearing in major Hollywood productions.
The actor explained that he has always had to fight for every single one of his roles. On top of that, he also decided to be more picky when it came to accepting a project. Now he is more focused on television.
12. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
The Olsen twins were very famous at an early age, starring in Full House and other children’s movies. They last acted together in 2004. Since then, they have focused on their fashion business, which has made them extremely wealthy. They don’t really seem to be interested in hearing “lights, camera, action” again, although their comeback would certainly give a lot to talk about and would definitely take us back to the 90s.
13. Fran Drescher
Fran Drescher — better known for her role in The Nanny, for which she became worldwide famous — stepped away from the cameras in 2013. But the TV star continued acting on Broadway. In 2020, it was announced that she was writing the adaptation of The Nanny for a musical.
14. Josh Radnor
Josh Radnor rose to fame thanks to How I Met Your Mother, in his role as the romantic Ted Mosby. After that, he was in several films without much success. Nowadays, he is focusing on his music career. He also participated in an Amazon Prime series called Hunters.
15. Nate Richert
Nate Richert was the leading man in the TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. And although he was very successful on the show and appeared in several movies, Richert confessed that being an actor is difficult. Occasionally, he managed to get a role in some production; however, to pay the bills, he worked in maintenance, carpentry, and whatever came up.
Although most of us have never seen the actors in person, some of them “grew up” with us. We treasure and hold dear to us their films and shows. That’s why it’s exciting to see them again, shining like the stars they have always been.