Acting is hard. Not only does it take a lot of determination, talent and luck to land any roles, but it takes a whole lot more than that to stay relevant and stay working. It’s also a stressful industry. Nothing is guaranteed and you’re constantly in the public eye. As actors age and change, they are forced to reinvent themselves. Roles that actors were once able to get easily are suddenly out of reach. Personal lives are mixed with professional lives and the pressure of staying current can get overwhelming. Certain actors get typecast or too associated with one specific character, making it difficult to break free from it, while Hollywood is always searching for the new big thing, the one who will replace the old big thing. For all of these reasons and many more, Hollywood has a lot of turnover.
So what do actors do when they finish acting? Sure, some will keep a foot in the door, picking up a small gig here or there, putting their voice on some animation or even working behind the scenes, but not everyone can do that either. Where do actors go when their careers are over? Certainly not to the places we live. We’ve never seen Sean Connery at the grocery store or at the gas station.
Well, it turns out that some of these ex-stars just get regular old jobs, at least, the ones on this list do. Maybe their showbiz money wasn’t able to sustain them for the rest of their lives or maybe they’re just bored and looking to fill out the hours in the day. When you’re not living the high life in Tinseltown, you get a harsh reminder that time can also move slowly. Let’s look at some of the most famous actors who now have steady jobs. Here are 15 once-famous stars who now have pretty normal jobs.
15. Dylan Sprouse – Brewmaster
Dylan Sprouse, as well as his twin brother Cole, were in the spotlight for a long time. Ever since they were old enough to stand, they’ve been front and center in our lives. Then, after The Suite Life of Zack & Cody went off the air in 2011, they sort of disappeared. So where’d they go? College. That’s the answer. But not just college. Both brothers have been into modelling and photography throughout as well. Since graduating though, it’s been Dylan who’s been more distant. While he does have a film in production now, Dismissed, he has nothing else slated for the future. Cole’s in the new show Riverdale, but Dylan went another route: beer. Dylan became the General Manager of Bushwick’s All-Wise Meadery in New York City recently and even claims to be the youngest Brewmaster in the United States. While he’s said he’s not done with acting, he does seem to be keeping himself busy
14. Lark Voorhies – Writer
After Saved by the Bell, Lark Voorhies, who played Lisa Turtle, fell out of the spotlight, unless you’re a 50-year-old woman who watches soap operas. But then, years later, her name started getting some more attention, but it wasn’t because of her acting. She was in the press because she was… different. It’s tough to put a finger on it, but she was changed. It started with noticing that her makeup was odd. Then she did a couple of interviews and her speech was strange. Then her mother came out and said she was bipolar, a claim that former co-star Dustin Diamond confirmed. Voorhies, however, denied this. Then there was a couple of Tweets that came from Voorhies’ Twitter account claiming the actress was battling Lupus. This, too, was denied afterward. So what’s true? Who knows? Voorhies’ Twitter account seems to be hacked every few months whenever a weird ranting Tweet comes out. We do know that Voorhies is an author now. She’s written two books up to this point. One is titled Reciprocity. The other is titled True Light: A, superior, take, unto, the, premier, haloing, of, tenuation. Readily, available, True Light, provides, resource, into, time’s, modified, and, vastuved, authenticate, revelation. Seriously that’s the title.
13. Frankie Muniz – Race Car Driver & Drummer
To say that Frankie Muniz isn’t an actor anymore wouldn’t be true, so let’s just say that he’s no longer a respected actor. No, that wouldn’t be right either. It’s just Muniz hasn’t been in anything worth talking about for quite a while. Ever since Malcolm in the Middle went off the air, he’s been insignificant, as far as acting goes. All the way back in 2008, Muniz took a break from acting to focus on his racing career. No, not foot racing. Car racing. Apparently, Muniz always loved racing and would go on to compete in many different races. When he discovered that he wasn’t very good at racing, he switched to being a drummer in a band called Kingsfoil, which is a weed if Aragorn ever asks you. In 2014, Muniz left the band and hasn’t been doing much since. Let’s say that he’s in between jobs at the moment.
12. Kirk Cameron – Evangelist
Kirk Cameron may not be a name that the young whippersnappers are familiar with today, but there was a time when he was one of the biggest stars around. In 1985, Cameron became an instant sensation on the ABC sitcom, Growing Pains. He was a teen idol and he was everywhere. After the show ended in 1992, Cameron stayed in the industry acting in some weird films and TV until about 10 years ago, when he stepped away. Almost everything he’s done, including his most recent film Saving Christmas, which is considered one of the worst films ever made, has been very faith-based and heavy on the whole Christian thing. So what happened? In 2002, Cameron founded ‘The Way of the Master’, which is essentially an evangelism organism that has a radio show, a TV show and much more, all run by Cameron and friends. Today he dedicates his life to evangelising the people of the world.
11. Tony Danza – Song & Medley Show Host
On TV, Tony Danza was one of the king’s for a long time. As one of the stars of shows like Taxi and Who’s the Boss? Danza was one of the most loved actors working in the industry. After that it was hit and miss for the Brooklyn native for a while. He had a talk show for a little bit, which had its fans and then he went to Broadway for a little while. Nowadays, however, Danza is hosting a live show called Standards & Stories, which recounts personal stories from his life in between music from great American artists like Frank Sinatra. The show has a bit of everything and Danza hosts it and does a bit of everything. It’s actually kind of sweet seeing him up there singing and dancing today and thinking back to him being a professional boxer in another life.
10. Taran Noah Smith – Artist
In 1999, when Taran Noah Smith walked away from Home Improvement, where he played the youngest son Mark Taylor, he walked away from the entire industry. He decided then and there that he didn’t want to be an actor anymore and that was that. Then in 2001, he was back in the media with a crazy wedding to a woman who was 33 when he was 17 years old. That same year, he sued his parents for control of his trust fund, which tends to happen a lot in Hollywood. Then he vanished. Well, it turns out that he became a vegan, which isn’t a career, but, like all vegans, he mentions it every chance he gets, so we thought we should too. In 2014, he travelled to the Philippines in a disaster recovery effort after the typhoon. Lately, he describes his job as installing art installations at various festivals and some museums. So, we guess that he’s an artist.
9. Nikki Blonsky – Hairstylist and Makeup Artist
Since climbing into the spotlight in 2007 as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, Nikki Blonsky has struggled to find work in Hollywood. Yeah, she’s been a few small things over the last ten years, but nothing that anyone would call substantial. Because of these down times, Blonsky got her cosmetology license in 2011. So now, when she’s not brawling with America’s Next Top Model contestants at airports (seriously, check it out), she’s doing people’s hair and makeup in her home. She does have a movie coming out this year with Burt Reynolds, which should be good… But if it’s between seeing that film or just watching Hairspray again, go for the classic.
8. Karyn Parsons – Educational Film Producer
Karyn Parsons, best known for her role as Hilary in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has done well for herself since walking away from being in front of the camera in the early 2000s. She has stayed in the industry, in a way, creating Sweet Blackberry, an organization that looks to tell the stories and accomplishments of great African-Americans in history. Up to this point, the company has made three films that have been well-received and she sounds like she’s having fun doing it. These aren’t major films, so it’s not like this is a career only a famous person can have. Parsons has been really low key about the whole thing, even though she has leaned on her former co-stars for some assistance to get the word out.
7. Charlie Korsmo – Lawyer
Charlie Korsmo is the kid from Hook and What About Bob? What about Charlie Korsmo? Where did he go? Well, he became a lawyer. Back in 2000, Korsmo graduated from MIT with a physics degree. Then in 2006, he earned a graduate degree in law from Yale, passing the bar the following year. Now this guy is just a regular old lawyer. Well, regular in the sense that he’s not acting. He’s found great success in the field, even being nominated by Barack Obama for a massive scholarship in 2011. Out of all of the actors on this list who left the industry entirely, Korsmo is probably the most successful.
6. Johnathan Taylor Thomas – Writer
For a guy that was everywhere and in every movie for a good chunk of time in the 90s, it seems weird that Johnathan Taylor Thomas is nowhere to be found today. Anyone who checks his IMDb page can see that he’s directed and has guest starred in a few episodes of Tim Allen’s newest show, Last Man Standing, but other than that, who knows? The answer is Patricia Richardson. She knows. In her AMA on Reddit, she explained that JTT and other former co-star Zachary Ty Bryan, have written a script, an R-rated script. Oooooooh. So it must not have been Hollywood that JTT hated, just the crazy fame that came with it. It was long reported that JTT hated all the gushing over him, so he became a bit of a recluse when Home Improvement ended. Don’t expect to see JTT’s face around a whole lot in the future, but don’t be surprised if you see his name on the credits here and there.
5. Amanda Bynes – Student/Fashion Designer
When Bynes stopped acting in 2010, she wasn’t gone from the public eye for long. Soon after, it appeared that Bynes was suffering from psychological issues, which she was. She began posting all kinds of odd things on Twitter and engaging in battles with family and other celebrities very publicly. It was said that she received some help and treatment in 2014, and we haven’t heard much about her since. So what is she doing these days? The story is that she is doing quite well. She’s stayed away from any celebrity status and has gone back to school to take some fashion courses. She’s also been creating her own fashion designs, though we’re unable to confirm if she’s actually selling any of them. But it seems that she’s healthy, which is a good thing for the once-troubled star.
4. Jack Gleeson – Puppeteer
When Jack Gleeson, the actor best known for playing Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones, announced that he would be retiring from acting in 2012, fans of his were shocked. He seemed to be primed for a huge jump in the industry, but he claimed that he had lost the love for the job. So he went back to school, or at least we think he did, and later started a theater company. Most recently, Gleeson was spotted performing on stage at the theater, not in a traditional acting role, but as a puppeteer. The play is called Bears in Space and it features Gleeson and friends manipulating puppets, mainly bears. It’s a comedy show, but it’s also supposed to be quite strange, as the title might allude to. Some of you might say, how is a puppeteer a normal job? Which is a good question. It’s not a normal job. Not at all. But King Joffrey is playing with puppets. That’s newsworthy.
3. Freddie Prinze Jr. – Writer
Freddie Prinze Jr. was everywhere in the 90s. He was a sensation, especially in teen movies. Though he’s drifted away from the camera, he has stuck with the industry doing quite a bit of voice work over the years, but he’s also started a new career. He writes now. He recently published a cookbook/recipe guide in which he tells stories about his life as well. At this point, we don’t know if this is something that Prinze Jr. will continue to do, but the book has been pretty successful and he describes his current life as cooking and cleaning, so maybe this is what he wants to do from here on out. He’s still married to Sarah Michelle Gellar, so it’s not like money is a major issue for their family. Do you Freddie. Do you.
2. Hayden Christensen – Farmer/Owner of Clothing Line/Producer
Hayden Christensen still dabbles in acting. In fact, he’s signed on for two films, one that is being released next year First Kill, but he shouldn’t be considered a full-time actor these days. When he walked away from the industry at first, he bought a farm in Ontario, Canada, and started to fix it up, doing all the design, carpentry and remodelling by his lonesome. Most recently, the actor started up a clothing line that was inspired by his farm, whatever that means. After that, Christensen and his brother founded a production company for small-scale films, something that Christensen has an affinity for ever since he learned that large-scale films, like Star Wars, can be scary and expose you to a lot of criticism.
1. Gene Hackman – Novelist
Gene Hackman was long considered one of the best actors in Hollywood, so it was an expected reaction when, in 2004 he announced he was retiring, people were a bit taken aback. Since then, Hackman hasn’t appeared in any roles, but he has been busy. Leading up to his retirement, Hackman had shown an interest in being a novelist, having co-written a book in 1999. He then released two more that he co-wrote in 2004 and 2008. Since those books, Hackman has taken the reins himself and has written two more novels, Payback at Morning Peak, released in 2011, and Pursuit, released in 2013. Hackman has assured people that he will not be returning to film, so if you need your Hackman fix, you better get down to the bookstore soon.
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