5 ’90s Actors Who Were Supposed to Be the Next Superstar but Never Quite Made It
The 1990s was a golden era in the field of entertainment. This decade gave birth to tons of new movies, shows, and actors. However, not all stars shine forever. Some of them couldn’t manage to be in the limelight for long.
Knowing that, here’s a compilation of iconic ’90s celebrities who just vanished from show business but remained in our hearts.
1. Christina Ricci
Christina Ricci was one of the hardest-working child stars of the ’90s. She built her quirky card with her role as Wednesday in The Addams Family. By the early 2000s, Ricci had appeared in everything, from comedies to psychological dramas and thrillers.
Despite her impressive filmography, there are many reasons why Ricci never achieved superstar status. She admits there were a lot of standards she didn’t fall into, “I’m 5’1” first thing in the morning, and I tend to look really small on camera."
Also, being typecast as a “horror kid” didn’t age well for her career. The actress opened up about the topic, saying, “There was a period of time when I didn’t fit into anything that was being made. I was constantly being asked or having to go and audition for rom-coms and the things that were available for actresses in my age range, and I didn’t fit into any of them because, I don’t know, I’m just a different kind of actress.”
Ricci also added that she made some career mistakes in the ’90s, explaining, “This is very dark, but I would just like to go back to that age and do it over again and not make so many mistakes. Honestly, I regret so much.”
She continued, “I’d like to go back to 1996 and be like, ’All right... We had a practice run. It went okay, but it wasn’t really as great as we wanted it to be. We’re going to do this again.’”
2. Freddie Prinze Jr.
Freddie Prinze Jr. was deemed a heartthrob after landing roles in I Know What You Did Last Summer and She’s All That. These movies earned Prinze Jr. a large fanbase amongst high school and college students.
However, Prinze entered the twenty-first century with a few major mistakes, and all his films failed box office expectations. Despite a notable appearance on Friends, Prinze Jr. had simply lost his career. He also starred in the sitcom, Freddie, but the show was not renewed because of poor ratings.
In 2002, Prinze Jr. made a brief comeback, starring in the live-action adaptation of Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. Since then, Prinze Jr. has traded his movie career for family life.
In 2002, he married Sarah Michelle Gellar. 20 years later, they share 2 children together, Charlotte and Rocky, and are still happily married. He said, “I love being a full-time father. To remove myself from that equation would not be a good thing. I’m basically retired.”
3. Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone jumped into the film industry at a young age. She was 15 when she started filming her debut film, The Crush. And she was just 18 when she achieved international fame through Clueless. But such early fame always has consequences. Silverstone recalls that she felt extremely isolated in the first years of her career and didn’t have a lot of friends in the industry.
Her biggest role came next, as Batgirl in the 1997 film, Batman & Robin. But this flick brought her less positive attention, like a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress, along with a barrage of critical remarks about her body and weight gain. Tabloids would cruelly call her “Fatgirl,” with some paparazzi chanting it as they chased her for pics.
Silverstone opened up about the time, saying, “They would make fun of my body when I was younger. It was hurtful, but I knew they were wrong. I wasn’t confused. I knew that it was not right to make fun of someone’s body shape, that doesn’t seem like the right thing to be doing to a human.”
In the late ’90s, all of Silverstone’s movies failed. Blast from the Past earned her another Razzie Award for Worst Actress. “I stopped loving acting for a very long time,” she revealed. “I was so overwhelmed by being famous because I was such a young girl, and it was never really my intention.”
Recently, her passion for acting has been reignited. She appeared in the horror thriller, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, in 2017. “I think I do really love acting still,” Silverstone admitted. “I mean... I know I do! I hope to be doing theater until I’m dead.”
4. Heather Graham
Heather Graham’s career started picking up steam in the late ’80s. She appeared in the teen comedy, License to Drive. Her performance received a very positive reception, and she even got nominated for a Young Artist Award.
Graham was already a well-known actress after acting in cult monoliths, like Drugstore Cowboy and Twin Peaks. She became a household name for portraying a young adult star in Boogie Nights in 1997. She was also nominated for a SAG Award for Best Ensemble along with the cast.
But Graham struggled to make the jump to lead roles. She played a supporting role in the box-office smash hit, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Since the early 2000s, she has been working on independent films, but this didn’t bring her much success.
However, Graham continues to work in the industry to this day. In 2018, she wrote, produced, and starred in her directorial debut, Half Magic.
5. Josh Hartnett
Josh Hartnett achieved the impossible, almost immediately making a strong name for himself in Hollywood. He was prophesied to have a successful career after appearing in projects such as The Faculty and The Virgin Suicides.
At the time, the New York Post claimed, “Josh Hartnett could become a Hollywood legend.” And his career trajectory just mirrored that. In his early twenties, Hartnett appeared in Michael Bay’s big-budget blockbuster, Pearl Harbor, and Ridley Scott’s Academy Award-winning Black Hawk Down.
In the early 2000s, the actor’s face was pretty much everywhere. “I was on the cover of every magazine. I couldn’t really go anywhere. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone,” he admitted.
But just a few years after, his career cooled off. It turns out that the Midwestern boy wasn’t interested in becoming the next Brad Pitt. Hartnett took a break from Hollywood for 18 months and returned to Minnesota. “I didn’t trust anyone. So I went back to Minnesota and got back together with my old friends — ended up getting back together with my high school girlfriend for a while,” he recalls.
“I think it can be an unhealthy environment,” Hartnett said of Hollywood. “To get so consumed with chasing a goal that doesn’t necessarily have to define you is a fool’s errand, and I wanted to have a healthy perspective on it. Not only a healthy perspective on the fame itself, but the pursuit of wealth and the pursuit of surface values.”
Hartnett has now returned to work, albeit on much lower-budget projects. But he has found it more fulfilling. “I’m doing a lot more writing and a lot more short film and music video directing that, at some point, will turn into directing a feature if I’m lucky,” he says. “I still love the industry, and I’m sort of active in it, but I also keep it at arm’s length at times too because it can be overwhelming.”
What are your favorite movies from the ’90s and why? Who is your favorite ’90s actor?