The A-List Actors Who Completely Dropped Off The Radar

Ben Falk
Contributor

Most people like the idea of being a Hollywood leading man or women. But it can be a high-pressure job – and not everyone wants it.

Here are some stars for whom fame wasn’t forever (and in many cases, they’re just fine with that).

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Gene Hackman

There have been few better actors than Hackman – pretty much any film he’s been in is improved because of his presence.

But while people like Clint Eastwood don’t seem to stop, that wasn’t what the now-85-year-old Oscar winner wanted.

In 2004, after starring in flop ‘Welcome To Mooseport’, he said he thought his acting life was done and rather than pull a Sinatra and embark on a comeback, he’s stuck to his guns.

Instead, he’s enjoying his retirement out of the spotlight, embarking on a new career as a successful author. Initially that was as the co-writer of historical novels about the Old West, while in 2013 he published a thriller called ‘Pursuit’.

Rick Moranis

Whether it was in ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ or ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Kid’, comedian Moranis brought a unique energy to his roles.

But that stopped in 1997, when the Canadian left Hollywood to raise his kids as a single parent following the death of wife Ann.

Speaking to USA Today in 2005, he said, “I just found that it was too difficult to manage raising my kids and doing the traveling involved in making movies. So I took a little bit of a break. And the little bit of a break turned into a longer break, and then I found that I really didn’t miss it.”

More recently, he has worked on the advisory committee at Humber College in Toronto and released a comedy country album called ‘The Agoraphohic Cowboy’, which was nominated for a Grammy.

Now 62, he released another comedy album, ‘My Mother’s Brisket & Other Love Songs’, in 2013.

Meg Ryan

Ryan pretty much defined the Nineties thanks to her roles in romcoms like ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘Sleepless in Seattle’.

But having tried to go a bit darker in failures like ‘In The Cut’ and ‘Against The Ropes’, her career foundered while she also suffered thanks to the seemingly-endless lack of good leading roles for middle-aged women in Hollywood.

Instead, Ryan, 53, focused on her personal life, which had been tabloid fodder since her relationship with Russell Crowe during the shooting of ‘Proof of Life’ in 2000.

In 2006, she adopted a 14-month-old from China called Daisy and has spent the last few years focused on raising her, as well as appearing in the odd little-seen indie movie. She’s also a keen Democrat, participating in environmental causes.

Freddie Prinze Jr.

You couldn’t watch a teen film in the Nineties and early 2000s without Freddie cropping up – such was the ubiquity of his non-threatening handsomeness.

Married to ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ actress Sarah Michelle Gellar since 2002, the 39-year-old has occasionally surfaced on TV but is now mainly a voice actor, featuring as one of the lead characters in ‘Star Wars Rebels’.

But his primary focus has been his family, specifically kids Charlotte, 5 and two-year-old Rocky.

And his hands-on nature as chef of the house has led to his newest project – a cookery book called ‘Back To The Kitchen’. Here’s hoping there’s a recipe for Cheese All That.

Warren Beatty

Beatty has rarely got credit outside of Hollywood for how important he was to the revolution within of the industry during the Sixties and Seventies, instead known primarily as a legendary lover.

Beatty’s standing was severely affected by the spectacular, self-indulgent mega-bomb that was 2001’s ‘Town & Country’, But the 78-year-old Oscar-winning actor/director/producer has always been notoriously loathe to make up his mind when picking a project, leading to many years of development on various unrealised movies.

For a long time he was supposed to play the titular role in ‘Kill Bill’ before deciding against it. He also worked on a movie about Liberace in the early 2000s, which was eventually turned into ‘Behind The Candelabra’ over a decade later.

Primarily, he’s enjoyed family life with wife of 23 years Annette Bening and their four children – though that looks like it might change later this year with the release of his long-in-development currently-untitled film about Howard Hughes.

Linda Fiorentino

As the femme fatale in movies like ‘The Last Seduction’ and ‘Jade’, then as the love interest in ‘Men in Black’, Fiorentino was just breaking out as one of the go-to actresses during the late Nineties.

So why did her movie career stall? Some argue it’s because she became known as ‘difficult’ to work with. Certainly director Kevin Smith criticised her during their time together on ‘Dogma’, while it’s been said that Tommy Lee Jones refused to do a ‘Men in Black’ sequel if Fiorentino was in the film.

She was also caught up in the Anthony Pellicano scandal which revolved around illegal wiretaps on behalf of elite Hollywood clients. The actress was dating a former FBI agent who was sentenced to probation for his role in the enterprise (rumours swirled that Fiorentino was involved too though nothing was ever proven), which may possibly have led to her being blackballed.

Nonetheless, she’s spent her time out of the spotlight focused mainly on political causes, as well as developing documentaries and taking photographs.

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Photos: Rex_Shutterstock/StarTraks/Matt Baron/BEI/Snap/Moviestore/A. Rodriguez