We all know that Hollywood is a fickle beast. One day you’re a star – the next you’re a nobody. Sometimes it can take a few months for this transition to happen, other times it takes decades. But in any case, it’s pretty rare that celebrities can truly stand the test of time. Even if they have talent, the world of entertainment is just too competitive and the fans are constantly moving on to the next best thing.
If you’re a fan of 80’s and 90’s TV shows and movies like myself, you’ll start to notice a trend. A lot of the actors from that era, who many of us think tend to think of as still famous today, haven’t actually been in anything in a really, really long time. Even if they have managed to find consistent work, the roles they’re getting are pretty small-time, and haven’t exactly boosted their career in any notable way.
Some actors and actresses stay relevant only by association. Jessica Biel is in the news constantly, but only because she’s married to Justin Timberlake – who just happens to be a triple threat. Justin can sing, dance, and act, but when is the last time you saw Jessica Biel in anything? And many of us probably still think of Sarah Jessica Parker as being pretty relevant because of her Sex and the City fame, but the few movies Sarah has done since the last Sex and the City movie haven’t exactly been blockbusters.
Whether they’re still trying their darndest to get those hot movie roles or they’ve just given up completely, these formerly famous actors and actresses just can’t seem to catch a break these days.
15. Jessica Biel
Jessica Biel got her start on the overly sappy family drama 7th Heaven back in 1996. During the show’s run she scored some rom-com movie roles like Summer Catch alongside another early 2000’s heartthrob, Freddie Prinze Jr. The same year that 7th Heaven ended (2006), Jess appeared in The Illusionist alongside Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti, but since then hasn’t really had a significant role. The main reason she still tends to appear in headlines is because she’s married to Justin Timberlake, who continues to impress us with his singing, dancing, and acting skills. We can all agree that Jessica Biel is gorgeous, but unfortunately she might not have what it takes to be a top Hollywood actress.
14. Macaulay Culkin
We all know him as the precocious, scheming kid from Home Alone (which was the highest grossing movie of 1991), but Macaulay’s star status quickly faded as his little kid looks did too. He appeared in a few well-received films in his twenties like Saved and Party Monster, but with the exception of playing himself on the Jim Gaffigan show in 2015, Macaulay has pretty much fallen out of the Hollywood acting scene. He does, however, have a comedy rock band called The Pizza Underground that performs pizza-themed Velvet Underground songs.
13. Mike Myers
Known best for his outrageously goofy roles as Wayne Campbell and Austin Powers, as well as his long run on Saturday Night Live, in the late 90’s Mike Myers was a comedy god. Not only did he star in these comedy classics, he wrote most of the scripts, too. But Mike just hasn’t been able to maintain that comedy gold. With the exception of voicing Shrek in the original and subsequent movies and spin-offs, Mike hasn’t had a significant movie role in years – although a 4th Austin Powers movie is rumored to be in the works so perhaps that will put him back on the map.
12. Sarah Jessica Parker
It seems like Sarah Jessica Parker is still pretty relevant, right? But that’s because many of us grew up when Sex and the City was in its prime. And while SATC was a revolutionary show, when you look at the facts, Sarah Jessica Parker hasn’t had a significant role since the second Sex and the City movie in 2009. She’s in a recently released comedy, All Roads Lead to Rome, that received a 4.8 out of 10 rating on IMDB and a 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, and she has a role in the upcoming HBO series Divorce, but that’s about it for Sarah these days.
11. Matthew Broderick
Speaking of SJP, her hubby Matthew Broderick hasn’t been up to all that much lately either. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off put him on the map, but in recent years the most significant film and TV roles Matthew has done have been ones where he plays himself. He appeared as “Matthew Broderick” in Trainwreck, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and Louie, in 2015 alone. Hopefully he’ll get to act as someone other than himself in 2016…
10. Emilio Estevez
One of the core members of Hollywood’s so-called “Brat Pack,” Emilio Estevez had quite the career in the 80’s. He starred in hit movies like The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire, and later the Mighty Ducks series, which made him a name in Hollywood. It also doesn’t hurt that his father is Martin Sheen. But Emilio has pretty much given up on his acting career at this point, and hasn’t been in anything at all in four years. The last film he did was a children’s animated Christmas movie in which he voiced a character called Mr. Winterbottom.
9. Demi Moore
Another Brat Pack member, Demi Moore, has arguably had the most successful career of the bunch. Demi’s roles in Ghost, A Few Good Men, and Striptease showed just how talented she is and made her a household name. For some reason, she hasn’t been able to replicate her success in subsequent years. She appeared in the recent limited release of Forsaken, which was poorly received by critics. Other than that, Demi seems to either be disinterested in maintaining the level of films she once starred in, or she’s just not able to land the roles anymore.
8. Heather Graham
Back in the 90’s, Heather Graham was a total bombshell. Her roles in Boogie Nights and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me put her on the map as one of the hottest actresses of the decade. Heather has been acting steadily since then but her roles have consistently been either small or in poorly rated movies and TV shows. After her appearance in The Hangover, it looked like she might be attempting a comeback, but if that was her goal, unfortunately it didn’t work out in her favor.
7. Heather Locklear
Speaking of Heathers, Heather Locklear is another former bombshell that we haven’t seen in quite a while. At the height of her career she was most known for her iconic TV roles in shows like Melrose Place, Dynasty, and Spin City. It looks like Heather has been taking a break from the small screen, with only one acting credit in the last three years – a TV movie to be released some time in 2016.
Everyone remembers Brandy Norwood best as Moesha, or as Cinderella in the TV adaptation of the popular fairytale in the late 90’s. There’s no doubt that Brandy has talent – she also had a successful recording career for nearly two decades – but she’s remained mostly out of the spotlight for many years now. Brandy has a new show that recently premiered on BET called Zoe Ever After, in which she plays a recently divorced mother looking to start a cosmetics line… So far it has 4.4/10 on IMDB.
5. Shannen Doherty
Shannen Doherty is another former TV queen, best known for her roles as Brenda Walsh on 90210 and Prue Halliwell on Charmed. Shannen earned a bit of a reputation in the 90’s for her bad girl image, like the time she abruptly left Charmed and there were rumors that it was because of her constant feuding and dislike of Alyssa Milano. Shannen hasn’t been working much lately, but sadly that’s because she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and is undergoing treatment. She’s also in the midst of a legal battle with her former manager, whom she claims failed to pay her health insurance premiums, allowing her insurance to lapse and her condition to worsen.
4. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar began acting at just four years old, but it wasn’t until her role as Buffy the Vampire Slayer that she became a household name. Before Buffy, one of her first big breaks was I Know What You Did Last Summer, where she met her husband Freddie Prinze Jr. She also famously starred as Kathryn Merteuil alongside Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon in Cruel Intentions. It was recently announced that Sarah will reprise her role as Kathryn in a new Cruel Intentions TV series based on the movie. Perhaps the movie reboot can help Sarah reboot her career.
3. Freddie Prinze Jr.
Sarah’s husband, another famous 90’s teen heartthrob, Freddie Prinze Jr., has also disappeared from the spotlight over the last several years. At one point he was the object of every young girl’s affection, starring in rom-coms like She’s All That and Summer Catch (with Jessica Biel). But these days the only thing he’s boasting are small TV roles and voiceover work. Perhaps he should take a cue from Sarah and try for a She’s All That TV series reboot.
2. Melissa Joan Hart
Melissa Joan Hart also dominated the 90’s teen viewing experience, but more so on the TV end. She made her debut in Clarissa Explains it all on Nickelodeon as the sassy, funky-dressing, narrator of her own little world in one of the original ‘mockumentary’ formats of television. And her TV fame didn’t end there – she went on to play Sabrina the Teenage Witch, a TGIF favorite of nearly every teenage girl in the late 90’s / early 2000’s. Unfortunately, these days Melissa hasn’t been able to re-create her initial TV success. She starred alongside fellow 90’s teen actor Joey Lawrence in the cheesy sitcom Melissa and Joey for five seasons, but other than that hasn’t gotten much mainstream screen time.
1. Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer’s career skyrocketed when she starred in Scarface, one of the most famous movies of all time. She went on to have many other famous roles in films like Batman and What Lies Beneath. But Michelle’s fame started to fizzle out after the mid-2000’s. The last big role she had was in The Family in 2013. However, she is starring in HBO’s upcoming TV movie The Wizard of Lies alongside fellow veteran actor Robert De Niro. The movie looks at the enormous Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff (played by De Niro) and how it affected the victims as well as his family. Michelle plays De Niro’s wife Ruth Madoff.