Through the years we’ve all read about them…actors who burst onto the scene as the “next big thing.” Some of them truly are and have gone on to have the stellar careers to prove it. But somehow many of them just never managed to reach the same heights as when they first hit the big time. You would think being in a successful film would help keep you in the spotlight for quite some time. However, Hollywood is a fickle place and thus for many all they get is that infamous, fifteen minutes of fame. Some you will recall but you may not remember them all because this top ten list is made up of one hit wonders.
10. Brandon Routh – Superman Returns (2006)
He’s a virtually unknown actor who was lucky enough to nab a role in a film that any up-and-coming leading man would give his eye teeth for. So why didn’t Brandon Routh become one of the 21st century’s biggest leading men? “Superman Returns” was a fairly big box office success back in 2006, but it didn’t really get that much love from die-hard fans of the legendary series, which might be the main reason why Brandon Routh hasn’t found himself in the limelight since the release of the film. He wasn’t bad at all as the Man of Steel and fans all over the internet seem to want him back in in the next Superman coming. Can Brandon save his career by returning as Clark Kent? It could happen. Since appearing in “Superman Returns, Routh has done other lesser known films, such as “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”(2010) and “Crooked Arrows” (2012), as well as many guest shots on television, most recently on the sitcom, “The Millers” (2014) but has really only had huge success with “Superman Returns.”
9. Peter Ostrum – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Peter Ostrum is an American large animal veterinarian and former child actor whose only film role was Charlie Bucket in the 1971 motion picture, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” A native of Cleveland, Ostrum was in the sixth grade when he was discovered by talent agents for “Willy Wonka”. Though he enjoyed the experience of shooting the film, he opted not to sign a three-film contract when it was all over. After considering a career in film and theater, Ostrum became reluctant to speak about his one starring role. However in 1990, he began an annual tradition of speaking to schoolchildren about the film, and he became a subject of interest again when 2005’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was released in theaters. Today he is a practicing veterinarian and lives in Lowville, New York with his wife and two children.
8. Eminem – 8 Mile (2002)
“8 Mile” was a very successful film. Eminem (real name Marshall Bruce Mathers) even won an Academy Award for Best Original Song with “Lose Yourself.” His fans the world over have likely been wondering why he’s hesitated to jump in front of the cameras again. Perhaps Mathers hasn’t been asked to, or maybe he knows in his heart that this was the only role he could ever play on screen. After all he is a musician, not really an actor. It is possible that Marshall Bruce Mathers feels if he attempted to take on a role that was even remotely different than his “8 Mile” character, it might not benefit his career. However this artist has managed to attain a great level of success as a rapper, with his most recent album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 released in 2013.
7. Jason Mewes – Clerks (1994)
Jason Mewes has played his drug-dealing Jay character in over eight feature films by producer Kevin Smith. He made his film debut in Smith’s 1994 film “Clerks” as Jay. The film was a huge success. Ever since, Mewes has been closely identified with the role, which he also played in “Mallrats” (1995), “Chasing Amy” (1997),”Dogma” (1999), “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” (2001), and “Clerks” II (2006). People say that when playing Tuott the Basehead in the low-budget indie film, “Vulgar”, Mewes is just doing a slightly different rendition of his character, Jay. This makes the actor a one hit wonder in terms of his acting, but he still seems to keep audiences entertained. Currently, Mewes co-hosts a weekly podcast with producer Kevin Smith called “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” in which he discusses his former drug addiction issues.
6. Peter Billingsley – A Christmas Story (1983)
There probably isn’t a person that didn’t love the film, “A Christmas Story”. Peter Billingsley pretty much hit a major league home run as Ralphie Parker and his face has been a fixture in most homes on television during the holidays ever since. Unfortunately for Billingsley, his career seems to taken a turn from A-list to B-list actor sometime after the films success. How odd to think that an actor so recognizable and universally loved ended up doing small roles on television sitcoms and popping up in odd feature films from time to time ever since. On a positive note, Billingsley has gone on to co-produce films like “Iron Man” and “The Break-Up”.
5. Jeff Cohen – The Goonies (1985)
As far as the “The Goonies” film cast went, Jeff Cohen’s portrayal of the loveable Chunk stole the show in the 1985 movie. Oddly enough, Cohen was one of the few actors in the film that didn’t go on to bigger and better things. Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, and even Corey Feldman all went on to successes.
Cohen did go on to do roles on ABC “Afterschool Specials” and also a few guest shots on the sitcom, “Family Ties”. He eventually went on to study at Berkeley and became a successful entertainment lawyer.
4. Linda Blair – The Exorcist (1973)
In 1973’s “The Exorcist”, then 13-year old Linda Blair played the role of a lifetime as a young girl possessed by the devil himself. Blair received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, as well as Golden Globe and People’s Choice Award wins. She also received a Golden Globe nomination for the Most Promising Female Star category.
However, the actress’ career never seemed to get any bigger after that. Blair went on to do the unsuccessful 1977 sequel “Exorcist II: The Heretic” and eventually became a B-movie player, starring in films like “Chained Heat”. She also posed semi-nude for the “Playboy” spin-off magazine “Oui”. Sadly, Linda didn’t maintain the same success she once attainted from the Exorcist.
3. Paul Hogan – Crocodile Dundee (1986)
Paul Hogan is huge in Australia, but here in the United States, he is only known for playing the lovable Aussie Michael J. “Crocodile” Dundee. In the ‘80s, Hogan became a household name with the success of “Crocodile Dundee” and he won a Golden Globe for his efforts.
The film grossed more than 360 million dollars worldwide, and you would think Hogan would have gone on to do something a little bit more substantial than “Almost an Angel” and “Flipper”. The sequel to “Crocodile Dundee” was panned by critics. Hogan admitted that he declined roles in the films “Ghost” and “Three Men and a Baby” which certainly did not help.
2. Jaye Davidson – The Crying Game (1992)
Jaye Davidson had no acting experience whatsoever when he was discovered by a casting associate at a wrap party for Derek Jarman’s, “Edward II”. His androgynous look led to his casting as the transsexual Dil in, “The Crying Game”. Even though he did play Ra in the box office hit, “Stargate”, Davidson is really only known for his role in,“The Crying Game”. He was even nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his work. After doing “Stargate”, Davidson quit acting and went back to the job he had before acting, which is working as a fashion assistant in London.
1. Mark Hamill – Star Wars trilogy
Mark Hamill was in three of the biggest films ever made and nonetheless, somehow went from an international superstar to a straight up B-movie actor. After being the most famous Jedi on the planet, Luke Skywalker in the original“Star Wars” trilogy, Hamill went on to voice animated films and star in odd low budget sci-fi flicks like “Guyver”. He had small role in “Amazing Stories”. On January 11, 1977 Hamill was in a car accident in which he fractured his nose and left cheekbone, requiring seven hours of surgery. These days, he works constantly as a voiceover actor.
In March 2013, George Lucas revealed that Carrie Fisher, Hamilton Ford and Mark Hamill may reprise their roles in “Star Wars: Episode VII”. Hamill confirms the possibility: “They’re talking to us. George wanted to know whether we’d be interested…we haven’t signed any contracts.”