Famous Celebrities Who Disappeared From Screen

Oct 10, 2021Osh Ratnam

Fame is a fickle thing. One day you're on top, your name on billboards around the world, and uttered from millions of lips daily. Movie proposals come flocking in and the world is your oyster. Then something happens and you're a nobody, a has-been. It's not easy being a celebrity... Some leave the big screen for personal reasons, some because they took on projects that killed their career. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison

Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz made it big in the 90s and 2000s with huge hits like 'The Mask' and 'My Best Friend's Wedding,' but after a series of bad movies in the mid-2000s, she went off the radar for a while. Her last film role was in the box office bomb 'Annie' in 2014, and she officially gave up acting in 2017 saying that she needed time to recharge. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/WireImage/Steve Granitz

Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson hasn't really been around on screen for about ten years now. Once upon a time, he was one of the most recognizable people in the world (his career spanned 60 years) with hits like 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and 'The Shining.' There was much speculation that the reason he quit in 2010 was because of memory loss issues, but Jack says he's getting older and just doesn't enjoy acting as much anymore. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Tighe

Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan was THE leading lady for rom coms in the 90s with classics like 'Sleepless in Seattle' and 'You’ve Got Mail.' In the early 2000s, though, her affair with Russel Crowe negatively affected her wholesome image, and she stopped landing big roles. Her last major release was 'Serious Moonlight' in 2009, and since then, she's not really done much on screen.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Albert L. Ortega

Angus T. Jones

Famous for his role as Jake Harper in the TV show 'Two and a Half Men,' precocious little Angus T. Jones hasn't been on screen much since 2011. He found religion in 2012 and stopped appearing on the show. Since then, he's been to university and joined a multimedia and event production company. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Desiree Stone

Mike Myers

The comedy genius Mike Myers had an incredible run of hit movies in the early 2000s. 'Austin Powers,' 'Shrek,' and 'Wayne's World' were some of his movies that became pop culture icons. After 'Love Guru' received a dismal 14% on Rotten Tomatoes in 2008, though, his career hit a wall, and he's been involved with nothing more than a few documentaries since then. 

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Catherine Zeta-Jones

Around the turn of the millennium, Catherine Zeta-Jones became a Hollywood sensation for her beauty. She appeared in movies like 'The Mask of Zorro,' 'Traffic,' 'Chicago,' and seemingly was going to become a Hollywood mainstay. After 'No Reservations' in 2007, though, she started decreasing her workload, both to spend more time with her family and possibly because of her diagnosis

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Dave Chappelle

Fans of  Dave Chappelle were heartbroken when he disappeared from not just 'The Chappelle Show,' but seemingly the world in 2005. Many speculated that his hiatus was due to substance issues or mental health problems, but since he made a welcome return to the screen in 2015, he stated that the pressure of the show, the fame, and the late hours had gotten to him. 

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Sean Connery

Sean Connery's long career has seen him take on beloved roles like James Bond, act in movies like 'The Hunt for Red October,' and win an Academy Award for 'The Untouchables.' After the stress of filming 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' in 2003 (which did terribly), he decided to walk away from the big screen and hasn't been in much since then. 

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Amanda Bynes

One of the most famous child actresses of her time, Amanda Bynes, skyrocketed to fame because of her roles in Nickelodeon's 'All That' and 'The Amanda Show.' She acted in a few movies after her initial fame but retired completely in 2010. She has been open about her substance abuse issues from a young age and is now a spokeswoman about the dangers of substance abuse. 

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Freddie Prinze Jr.

Freddie Prinze Jr. starred in 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' and 'She's All That' before leaving Hollywood in 2006. Since then, he's done a few voice acting jobs, but he found a way to his true passion and now has a lucrative cooking business! It's good to hear stories where celebrities find success in other fields. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Theo Wargo

Rick Moranis

Rick Moranis became a household name for his appearances in family movies like 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' and 'Ghostbusters.' He disappeared from the screen in 1997, but for a very understandable reason. His wife passed away from cancer, and he wanted to focus on raising his kids. He wanted to take a short break from acting but realized that he didn't miss it and never went back. That is till now! He is returning to the screen in 2020 for a sequel to 'Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.' 

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Frankie Muniz

Frankie Muniz became a famous child actor after play the titular Malcolm in 'Malcolm in the Middle.' Around 2006 he left acting to pursue a career in race car driving and since then has appeared in only minor roles, usually as cameos. He was recently on 'Dancing with the Stars' during which he opened up about his several concussions and associated memory loss. Overall, he seems to be doing well, though. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison

Taylor Lautner

Taylor Lautner shot to fame because of the 'Twilight' saga, but unlike his costars, he didn't really continue to bigger things. He acted in a few movies after that, but a high price tag, poor movie choices, questionable acting skills, and focus on having a good time in life have made his appearances on the big screen rare. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Stuart Wilson

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo was one of the most famous actresses in the 1920s and 30s. In a career of 16 years, she acted in 27 movies, but it all ended when her final film 'Two-Faced Woman' failed in 1941. After retiring, she refused all offers to return and led a quiet, private life. 

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Carly Schroeder

Fans of the show 'Lizzie McGuire' might remember Carly Schroeder. She acted on and off in movies till 2018 when she decided to enlist in the military. She came to this decision after working with vets and advocating for human trafficking victims.

Image Credits: Getty Images/WireImage/Steve Granitz

Jack Gleeson

It's always a surprise when people find out that the cruel King Joffrey in 'Game of Thrones' is actually a really nice guy. After his stint on GoT, he could have dived into any acting gig he wanted, but he chose to focus on university and launched his own small theatre company. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

Gene Hackman

In a career spanning over six decades, Gene Hackman has been in some amazing movies and won 2 Academy Awards. In the 2000s, he appeared in movies like 'Behind Enemy Lines' and 'The Royal Tenenbaums.' His final role was in the 2004 movie 'Welcome to Mooseport.' At that point, he decided that he had acted enough and retired. Since then, he has become a successful novelist, having published four books. 

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Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson became a famous child actor thanks to roles in 'Mrs. Doubtfire' and 'Matilda.' She retired in 2000 at the age of 12 saying that acting wasn't fun, doing the same thing over and over again till the director likes it. Since then, she has worked as a writer, and for the past few years, she's been involved with some voice acting work. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Tara Ziemba

Macaulay Culkin

Macaulay Culkin was one of the biggest child stars in modern history. His roles as Kevin McCallister in the 'Home Alone' series made him a worldwide superstar. He acted in 15 films in 7 years and took a break in 1994 at the ripe old age of 14. Since then, he has made a few appearances on the screen and dabbles in other artistic endeavors. His reason for taking a break, just to have a normal life. 

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Shirley Temple

Probably the most famous child actor of all time, Shirley temple stole hearts around the world with her precocious talents. She started acting when she was just four years old and became a superstar over the next decade and a half. She retired in 1950 at the age of 22, largely because her previous few movies hadn't done well. After that, she appeared in a few small roles, but she went on to lead a long and happy life. Of her many non-acting accomplishments, a big one was representing the United States at a session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Hulton Archive

Daniel Day-Lewis

Considered by many as the greatest actor of all time. Daniel Day-Lewis is the only man to win 3 Academy Awards for best actor. His wins were for 'My Left Foot' in 1990, 'There Will Be Blood' in 2008 and 'Lincoln' in 2013. He has taken long breaks between films throughout his career, but he finally announced in 2017 that 'Phantom Thread' would be his last movie. Now he enjoys his time carving wood

Image Credits: Getty Images/Dimitrios Kambouris

Tobey Maguire

Tobey Maquire hit superstardom portraying Peter Parker in Sam Raimi's 'Spider-Man' trilogy. After that, he played roles in 'Seabiscuit' and 'The Great Gatsby', amongst others. His last big appearance on stage was in 'Pawn Sacrifice' in 2015, but since then, he hasn't done much in front of the camera. He was a voice actor in 'Boss Baby,' but he has largely moved towards producing. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Film Magic/J. Merritt

Eva Mendes

Model turned actress, Eva Mendes, hit it big with movies like 'Training Day' and 'Hitch.' After meeting dreamboat Ryan Gosling, getting married, and having a few kids, she's taken very few roles, though. She now enjoys time being a mother and running her fashion line. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Alexander Tamargo

Megan Fox

Megan Fox was the Hollywood 'It' girl when the 'Transformer' series pushed her into the spotlight. She acted in some big movies for a few years, but she apparently was difficult to work with, and offers started drying up. Since she married Brian Austin Green in 2010 and had three children, she has not appeared in many movies at all, her last big role being in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' in 2017. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Victor Chavez

Rip Torn 

Another actor who spent over six decades on screen. Rip Torn's career has been an interesting one with a lot of different kinds of work, including 'Men In Black' and 'DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story.' Unfortunately, he was arrested in 2010, and since then, his roles have been limited to bit parts in small movies.  

Image Credits: Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown

Renée Zellweger

Renée Zellweger was one of the world's highest-paid actresses in 2007. Her roles in movies like 'Jerry Maguire,' 'One True Thing,' and 'Me, Myself and Irene' made her one of Hollywood's leading ladies. She took a 6-year hiatus in 2010, saying she needed to take some time for herself and grow up. Her fans are thrilled because she came back with a critically acclaimed performance in 2019's 'Judy', which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/John Sciulli

Life takes people to strange places, and there are ups and downs for everyone. Some of the celebrities on this list left the screen to follow their passions; some were forced out by bad movie choices. Some developed personal issues, and some broke laws. Celebrities can mean a lot to their fans, and it's heartwarming to see them overcome obstacles and make a comeback to thrill us with their acting talents. 

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