In the world of regular humans, most of us can only dream making it to Hollywood, reaching celebrity status, riches, fame and working full time as actors and filmmakers. But some celebrities who made it big actually went the opposite route. You might notice there are some actors and celebrities who suddenly just disappeared from the spotlight and you don’t see around anymore. Where have they gone? Where are they now? It’s amazing how some of these people, young and old, have decided that the Hollywood life just isn’t worth it and make a turn toward just working regular day jobs. Here is what some of the big stars that once appeared to have made it are doing now.
You may recall Lawrence from his days on the Disney Channel, known for his recurring role as Bernard "Beans" Aranguren in the series Even Stevens. He appeared in a handful of other one-off roles in TV shows like Weeds and even movies like Cheaper By The Dozen but his acting career was not very long lasting. After his child stardom he branched out and began a teaching career. As an acting teacher and coach, he is able to pass on all that he learned as a child star to new, up and comers in the field.
Estrada is most well-known for his role as Frank Poncherello in CHiPs. In his role, he would ride a motorcycle around the city solving crimes and helping citizens in need alongside his partner. Little did he know at the time how much passion he had for helping the helpless. Estrada actually became a real-life police officer and working in a department dealing with internet crimes again children. Estrada has appeared in various TV shows and films over the years, but he collects his steady salary in law enforcement.
The last of the great soul singers Al Green topped the charts several times in his music career with songs like “Let’s Stay Together,” “Tired of Being Alone,” “Love and Happiness” and many more. He was already a star and really at the peak of his career in the late 1970’s when he had a freak injury on stage that he took as a sign from God. Around the same time, he suffered a heartbreaking loss when his girlfriend committed suicide. Green made the decision then that he would never regret and focused his life’s commitment toward religion. He started producing more Gospel music and less Soul, and is now known as Reverend Al Green after having become an ordained pastor of his own church.
The most famous reality show actress from series like Laguna Beach and The Hills was well on her way to becoming a huge star. She was the main focus of the show The Hills before she realized she wasn’t going to be able to continue down the reality TV path. She realized she was going to have to pursue a different career path and moved into fashion. Conrad has been a designer now for a long time and even has made a deal selling some of her brand’s designs at Kohl’s.
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As a young child, Lisa Whelchel was already a starlet. She was a member of the mouseketeers and then had a starring role on The Facts of Life. But while she was acting she began to turn to Christianity and spreading her message. She turned to public speaking, writing, and parenting rather than spending the bulk of her family years as an actress. She has published ten books on motherhood, religion, and her own life. She did return to television in 2012 for Survivor: Philippines and won 2nd place. She was even voted a fan favorite and won $100,000.
Lisa and Louise Burns might not have the most identifiable names in Hollywood, but you’ll remember then as the terrifying twins from The Shining. They girls had little to no traditional acting training before appearing in the movie, though they had a TV part of two. Sadly, in trying to pursue training from The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, they were rejected. Since then, they moved on to very successful careers of their own. Lisa has been working as a lawyer and Louise is a renowned scientist. Successful mindsets can make anything work!
This child star on the wildly successful show Two and Half Men was the highest paid child star on television for a time. Viewers watched the boy grow up right in front of their eyes while they watched the show, but the one thing he knew as he decided to leave the show in 2014 was that he wanted to do something else for a living. With all his earnings, he was able to partner with Justin Combs, P Diddy’s son and start his own event planning business called Tonite.
He’s better known as Mark Taylor, the youngest sibling in the sitcom Home Improvement with Tim Allen. After the show ended though, Smith realized he had some big earnings and felt like the acting route wasn’t for him. So the child-star opened his own business and started making soy-free vegan cheese products. He was able to utilize the money from his acting career to open up his vegan food company, Playfood. On top of that, he also helps rebuild homes just as you’d expect Tim The Tool Man Taylor’s son to do!
Owens, most famous for his role as Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show has been acting on and off and making small appearances in sitcoms for many years. Unfortunately, the bit parts he has been getting don’t always pay the bills and he was spotted working at Trader Joe’s. An article was released essentially making fun of him for trying to make a living somewhere but the acting community stepped up and defended him. Sometimes acting can be a great source of income, but other times it apparently doesn’t work out. You can’t fault someone for trying to make ends meet however they need to!
The two-time Academy Award winning actor famous for classics like Hoosiers, Unforgiven, The French Connection and many more seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth after Welcome to Mooseport, his last movie in 2004. Hackman could have acted for many more years but he chose to retire to a quieter life focusing on writing. He has been working on publishing Historical Fiction novels, a passion of his, since he left the spotlight and has been able to sit and not worry about the stress of the Hollywood life over the course of the last 15 years.
Hey You Guuuuys! The actor most of us know as Chunk from The Goonies decided to call a potentially promising career quits at a young age. He chose to pursue a more traditional education growing up and then earned a law degree. He didn’t stray too far from Hollywood though as he is actually kind of a big deal working with actors, actresses and other entertainers as an entertainment lawyer. He has his own law firm in Beverly Hills working for the industry.
The former basketball lifer spent 15 seasons as a player and then retired to the sideline to coach. He made six All-Star teams in the NBA over the course of his career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame – inarguable a huge success. When he retired from basketball though he chose to take it easy and give back to his community while helping the kids as he became a crossing guard in Silver Spring, Maryland. As long as you love what you’re doing, who cares what it is?
What ever happened to Matilda??? Well after starring as the main character in that film, and having a large role in the hit film Mrs. Doubtfire, Wilson decided to leave acting and work on writing instead – but even more specifically the art of storytelling in general. Wilson decided that the life of a film actor was not for her and has become an author, playwright and storyteller extraordinaire. She has actually published her own book called Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame, and has had her own storytelling show called What Are You Afraid Of? She has ventured a bit back into acting over the years, but has still pretty much not come back into film.
David Caruso hit it big with major television roles in NYPD Blue and CSI: Miami. After CSI: Miami was cancelled after a whopping 10 seasons airing, Caruso decided to retire entirely from acting. There isn’t much out there about Caruso since his retirement, but it is known that he is not involved in an art business, a world he has been passionate about for a long time.
Beloved comedian Rick Moranis was insane popular through the 80’s. With hilarious roles in Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Honey I Shrunk The Kids and so many more, it seemed like he would be starring in movies and making us laugh for decades. Tragically, life got in the way for him when his wife passed and Moranis had to make some very hard decisions. He chose to become a stay-at-home dad because there would be no one to care for and be a parent to his kids while he was in his roles. Moranis transitioned to the writing side of things which he was able to do more fluidly and he calls it just a career change that was brought on by a personal circumstance. We could have totally guessed that he would be able to explain his situation in such a laid back way!
You have to go back to the 70’s and 80’s to remember Ali MacGraw but at one point she was the most bankable star in Hollywood. She was celebrated for the work she was doing and was even nominated for an Academy Award for one of her earlier roles. Nevertheless, her personal struggles with fame led her to retire from acting and move on to other passions. She had a stint in the fashion industry and even got into yoga, becoming a teacher to help others destress from their regular lives. Even though she’s may not be the huge star she was on her way to becoming, MacGraw is perfectly happy with the life she has led.
Benny the Jet Rodriguez from The Sandlot and Luis Mendoza from The Mighty Ducks franchise was showing promise as a young star. But after graduating from high school, Vitar chose to step away from film and acting opportunities for an equally, if not more exciting life as a firefighter. He has since gone through early retirement and has no regrets.
Creator of the hit single “Ice Ice Baby,” which can still be quoted and sung freely by most 80’s kids tried to stick in the music business for years, even writing a song for the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, but eventually realized that creating continuous hit singles was going to be a tough job for him. So Robert Matthew Van Winkle decided to have a go at real estate, learning that there is pretty good money to be made if you know what you’re doing. He has been buying, renovating, and flipping homes for about twenty years and loves what he has been doing. It certainly helps that it pays well!
Phoebe Cates was the apple of every teenage boy’s eye when she starred in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and she was ready to explode into the Hollywood scene. But after appearing in Princess Caraboo in 1994, she chose to call it quits. Cates retired from acting to focus on raising her children. As the wife of hit star Kevin Kline, she really didn’t need to focus on too much else, but at some point she realized she had to get back to work. She opened and runs a New York based boutique for eclectic high end women’s clothing, jewelry and more called Blue Tree on the Upper East Side.
International Star Meg Ryan had a grip on the romance role in so many huge movie hits. Top Gun, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail are just three of the many notable hits Ryan was part of. But eventually the fame seemed to catch up with Ryan. She was married to long time husband Dennis Quaid when rumors of an affair between her and Russell Crowe (they costarred in Proof of Life) began to swirl before she and Quaid called it quits. Then she was publicly thrashed for doing the film In the Cut where she appeared nude. The film did poorly and the criticism seemed to be geared toward how she could depart from her regular “America’s Sweetheart” persona. At that point, she was done with Hollywood and has not appeared in a film since 2008. Now she spends her time with her partner John Mellencamp and writes films, and has a goal of directing as well.
Blonsky was discovered working at an ice cream shop for the part of Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 film Hairspray and she was a hit. Unfortunately, after the successful film she had a hard time finding other roles and had to find a new path to pay the bills while she continued looking for acting work. So she went on to get her license in cosmetology, working in hair and makeup in a beauty salon. It might not be the path to stardom she was destined for, but Blonsky loves being a stylist and is proud of her work. She continues looking for and booking jobs in acting when she finds them, but always has cosmetology to fall back on.
The original star Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory originally came out of Dallas, but was discovered in Cleveland when he was cast in the role of Charlie Bucket for the film. The first choice he made to stay our of the Hollywood life came right after his original role. He was offered a three-film deal and turned it down, preferring to make his own acting choices. After that, he auditioned for a couple more roles, but not landing them, chose to move on from the acting career and work in another industry. His love for animals led to a love for veterinary medicine and he made the choice to become a veterinarian, mainly working with horses and cows. He also is a managing partner in the field for Dairy Health & Management Services.
Dylan Sprouse is most well known for his role as Zack in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, a show in which he costarred with his identical twin brother, Cody Sprouse. The show was also followed up with a sequel series called The Suite Life on Deck. But after choosing to step away from the Disney Channel when the shows were complete, he chose to enroll in NYU and take a look at what a life outside of acting could look like. He decided to become an entrepreneur and business owner, opening his own brewery in Brooklyn called All-Wise Meadery and is working hard to this day.
Walters is most well known as Ray Pruitt, a character who would portray Donna’s (Tori Spelling’s) musician boyfriend in Beverly Hills 90210 but only stuck in that acting role for a short time. He left the business to kick off a music career releasing 3 relatively successful albums over a few years, but that did not last long either. Eventually, he chose to pursue life as a LA dual firefighter/paramedic.
1980’s hit singer of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Darwish was a teen icon and huge star. But nonetheless she chose to step away from fame and into the role of shop owner. She started her own boutique in Nashville focused on vintage designer clothing called “Tiffany’s Boutique.” She still takes part in recording some music in her life, but her ability to cover her expenses comes from the small boutique which she feels should always be affordable for all shoppers.
Gosselin catapulted to reality TV stardom in the show about his life with his former wife Kate and his 8 kids. Jon & Kate Plus 8 was a huge success in the reality TV world, but it also took a lot out of the Gosselin family as it was littered with public scandals about Jon and Kate’s marriage. After the experience, Gosselin was prepared to walk away from life in the public eye. He was able to work himself into a job as a chef at TGI Friday’s in Pennsylvania to help keep paying the bills, and definitely doesn’t have to worry about the tabloids anymore.
Angelina Pivarnick found stardom after appearing in the first two seasons in The Jersey Shore. She bounced around through different reality shows, appearing in some promotions and even getting her feet wet in the music industry. Eventually though, she decided to setting into a normal life pursuing a career as an EMT. She may not be living large and partying hard, but she has definitely set herself up for more career stability riding in an ambulance and saving lives.