One hit wonders: the film stars with one credit

Ben Arnold
Yahoo UK Movies Features
22 March 2012

When you land that first big film role, the world's at your feet. Your career is about to launch itself into the stratosphere. For some it's the culmination of years of studying, face exercises and dressing as a giant carrot in a shopping centre, but for others it's both the beginning and the end.

Let us present the one-hit wonders of the movie business, the stars with only one big screen credit… and what happened to them.

[Related feature: Hollywood stars who started out in soaps]
[Related feature: Where are the Goonies now?]

Peter Ostrum – Charlie Bucket in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' (1971)

The kind of role that child actors and pushy stage parents dream about was bagged by Peter Ostrum in 1971, playing the shy yet determined Charlie Bucket to Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka in the defining version of Roald Dahl's classic. It was his first and last film role.

Now he works as a vet in New York State. “When the picture was over, it was like it had never happened. I returned to school and by the time it was in theatres I'd changed a lot so I wasn't even recognised much,” he said. “My parents told me to look on it as an experience, which is what I did. My mom and dad were not at all stage parents. They made sure I had a clear choice about what I did for a living. I'm really grateful to them because being a veterinarian is very gratifying.” Fair play.

Danny Lloyd – Danny Torrance in 'The Shining' (1980)

This, on the other hand, is the kind of role pushy stage parents have nightmares about. Danny Lloyd was just six when he was selected by Stanley Kubrick to play Danny Torrance in 'The Shining', opposite a terrifying Jack Nicholson.

Kubrick was very protective of Lloyd, due to the violent nature of the film, and was kept unaware that it was a horror film, only finding out after shooting was over. Lloyd had a bit part in a TV movie two years later, but then declared he had no interest in pursuing a film career. He went on to become a professor of biology, and now teaches in Missouri.

Katie Jarvis – Mia in 'Fish Tank' (2009)

Katie Jarvis was having a row with her boyfriend Brian on the opposite platform at Tilbury Town station in Essex when she was spotted by a talent agent. She was quickly cast as wannabe dancer Mia in Andrea Arnold's acclaimed drama 'Fish Tank', which went on to win the Jury Prize at Cannes. She now has a daughter called Lily Mae, and while there's still time, it remains her single film credit so far.

Klinton Spilsbury – The Lone Ranger in 'The Legend of the Lone Ranger' (1981)

More a case of the lone film role, playing the be-masked, be-horsed crime fighter - Klinton Spilsbury kicked off and wound up his career on the silver screen in a single film. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, he went on to 'spend time in Europe', doing a bit of modelling, and even coaching acting at the Herpolscheimer Academy in Vancouver. He is most famous, however, for his sole acting role, and for turning up as an answer in many a pub quiz.

Carrie Henn – Newt in 'Aliens' (1986)

Carrie Henn got a stellar second billing to Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley in 'Aliens', despite not having any acting experience whatsoever. She hadn't even appeared in a school play before crawling through pipes in a grubby vest to escape HR Giger's terrifying creations. And she didn't appear in anything after either, instead gaining a degree in liberal studies and child development from California State University in 2000, and now working as a teacher.

Andrew Strong – Deco Cuffe in 'The Commitments' (1991)

Just the one film credit for Andrew Strong, the bolshy ginger fella with the pipes of purest, soulful gold in the award-trawling, Oscar-nominated Roddy Doyle adaptation 'The Commitments'. He was even nominated for the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA.

But he was obviously more a singer than an actor, electing to pursue his music career instead, touring with the likes of Elton John, Bryan Adams, Lenny Kravitz and the Rolling Stones. These days he performs with his band the Boneyard Boys.

Robert Arkins – Jimmy Rabbitte in 'The Commitments' (1991)

So 'The Commitments' wasn't kind to all that many members of its cast, then. Just a couple of short films and a one-off appearance in a TV series populated Robert Arkins' CV after the film's success, which was in no small measure indebted to his role as mouthy, charismatic band manager Jimmy Rabbitte. He's now appearing on stage with The Commitments band, despite his non-singing role in the film. Nice work if you can get it.

Jeff Cohen – Chunk in 'The Goonies' (1985)

The 'truffle shuffle'. The dance that many of us will take to the grave. Its choreographer, one Jeff Cohen, made a big splash in 'The Goonies' as the portly, lovable big-mouth Chunk.

It's remarkable that the role didn't slingshot him into superstardom, but other than a bit part in a TV movie in 1991, 'The Goonies' remains his only big screen film credit, alongside some scattered TV work. These days he's an entertainment lawyer in Beverly Hills.

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