12 Actors and Actresses Whose Finest Hour Seemed to Be Over, but They Managed to Return to the Big Screen

The cinema world is bright but harsh. Viewers generously endow actors with their attention, but if someone disappears from the screens for a while, they forget about them overnight. There are many examples of celebs whose fame ignited quickly and cooled down just as fast. However, sometimes one timely role brings back former fame and popularity.

We at Bright Side were inspired by the stories of actresses and actors who made themselves known after a long period of creative silence. We compared actors’ roles from the peaks of their careers back in the day to ones that helped them gain new popularity today.

Julian McMahon

The Australian actor earned people’s love after he played a half-demon, half-human named Cole in Charmed. Later, McMahon was also seen in the role of an attractive and cynical plastic surgeon in Nip/Tuck. The project lasted from 2003 till 2010 and brought him a Golden Globe Award. But then something went wrong.

McMahon kept playing mainly supporting roles for a long time until the moment he appeared in FBI in 2019 in the role of a special agent, LaCroix. The actor played the part so well that producers decided to create a spin-off of the series called FBI: Most Wanted with McMahon in the main role. In March of 2021, the series was extended and the third season began filming.

Patricia Arquette

Patricia Arquette was actively playing various roles during the ’90s. Many people remembered her for her role in Lost Highway. In the middle of the 2000s, the actress’s career took a new turn thanks to the series, Medium, and in 2015, Arquette won several prestigious awards, including an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her work in the film, Boyhood.

But suddenly, the dizzying success was replaced by calm and forgettable roles. Arquette made a triumphant comeback just a few years ago, starring in the mini-series, Escape at Dannemora (2018), and The Act (2019). Both projects were a great success and added 2 more Golden Globe statuettes to the actress’s shelf of fame.

Jensen Ackles

The biggest achievement in Jensen Ackles’s filmography is definitely Supernatural, a series he was a part of for 15 years. It was the role of the evil fighter that brought Dean Winchester success and world fame. But the popularity of the show started to gradually fade away, and Jensen was close to getting on the list of one-role actors.

However, in 2021, Ackles appeared in an absolutely new and bright role — he played the soldier boy in the third season of The Boys, a series that tells behind-the-scenes stories of the lives of superheroes.

Linda Cardellini

We remember Linda Cardellini thanks to her role as Velma in the series of movies about the adventures of Scooby-Doo. And although the actress has been actively filming over the past 25 years, most of her roles were episodic and, as a rule, passed over by the public.

Everything changed when Cardellini was approved for one of the main roles in a comedy-drama series on Netflix, called Dead to Me. This role helped the actress unfold her talent and even brought her a nomination for an Emmy.

Brendan Fraser

Brendan Fraser was a real star in the ’90s and ’00s. In 1997, the actor played the main hero in the parody of the cartoon about Tarzan, George of the Jungle, and people loved it. After that, he took part in The Mummy trilogy that brought Fraser even bigger popularity. Despite these bright roles, at some point, Fraser disappeared from the big screen.

But over the past few years, the actor has once again been delighting fans with bright roles. In 2019, he played Robotman in Doom Patrol, and in 2021, No Sudden Move, starring Fraser, will be released. In this project, the actor will be working together with many super-famous celebrities.

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster is recognized by many for her role as Clarice Starling in the cult film, The Silence of the Lambs. The 27-year old’s work was praised highly by critics and brought her a second Oscar (she got the first one for her role in The Accused in 1989). After that, she played a handful of bright characters in movies like Maverick, Anna and the King, and Panic Room. But the 2010s didn’t turn out to be all that fruitful for the actress. After taking a break from acting, she focused on producing and directing.

In 2021, when the actress turned 57, she returned to the world of cinema thanks to The Mauritanian. Foster acted as lawyer, Nancy Hollander, and received her fourth Golden Globe for the role.

Christian Slater

Christian Slater started to act as a child. The actor’s first big success was in the role of a young monk in The Name of the Rose. Slater then strengthened his position in Hollywood with his participation in the blockbuster, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and in the crime drama scripted by Quentin Tarantino, True Romance. But after his success in the ’90s, Slater’s career started to decline. For many years, he starred in walk-through films and TV shows.

Everything changed in 2015 when the Mr. Robot series was released. Slater appeared onscreen in the role of a hacker named Mr. Robot and got his first Golden Globe Award for the role.

Christina Applegate

Christina Applegate is great at comedic roles, which is why it’s no surprise she got famous in this type of part. The breakthrough in her career was with the hit sitcom, Married... with Children, where Applegate continued to film from 1987 to 1997. After that, she acted in The Sweetest Thing and View from the Top, as well as the bright portrayal of Amy, Rachel’s sister in the cult series, Friends. The actress even got an Emmy Award for this role.

However, after a wave of success in the ’90s and early 2000s, more and more monotonous and unremarkable projects started to appear in Applegate’s filmography. It seemed that her career could not be saved. However, the actress made everyone talk about her again after the release of Dead to Me. Working on the project revealed her true acting potential and earned her nominations for both Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.

Omar Sy

The French actor, Omar Sy, made millions of people fall in love with him after the release of The Intouchables. The comedy-drama received numerous award nominations and was a huge success at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing non-English film in history. It seemed that all the doors should have opened for the actor after such a success. But unfortunately, over the past decade, Sy has starred in fairly unremarkable projects.

However, in 2021, Netflix producers invited Sy to play the lead role in the Lupin series, which is about the adventures of a noble robber. The project has become one of the most talked-about and popular TV series of the year and has brought Sy back into the running as a world star.

Natasha Lyonne


Having started her career at a very young age, at 16, Natasha Lyonne had already been filmed in Woody Allen’s flick, Everyone Says I Love You. She then became widely known for the role of Jessica in the comedy, American Pie. She also took part in other box-office projects, but the actress couldn’t fully reveal her potential.

The situation changed with the release of Orange Is the New Black in 2013. This role brought Lyonne the same fame she once knew. Then, in 2019, the actress cemented her success with her role in the Russian Doll project. Lyonne’s performance was enthusiastically received by both viewers and critics, and the TV show received 12 Emmy nominations.

Macaulay Culkin

In the 1990s, Macaulay Culkin was close to being the most popular child actor around. But after growing up, he failed to sustain his star status and disappeared from the big screen for a long time. In 2012, he founded a rock band called The Pizza Underground, which broke up in 2018. However, today, Culkin is gradually gaining the public’s attention. In 2019, he acted in Dollface and has now started to film in a new season of the popular show, American Horror Story.

Freddie Highmore

Freddie Highmore started to act in movies at the age of 7. Audiences remember this adorable child for his role as the main character in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which he played at the age of 13. His work in Luc Besson’s fantasy trilogy, Arthur and the Invisibles, was a huge success as well.

Highmore never stopped participating in various projects, but people started talking about him again only in 2013 when he played the main character in the Bates Motel drama series. However, the real love for the actor was restored thanks to his role as Dr. Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism, in The Good Doctor. This work brought the 25-year-old actor a Golden Globe nomination and a Critics’ Choice Television Award.

Which forgotten celebrities would you like to see on the big screen again?

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