There are times when we see a picture of a celebrity and then think to ourselves, where did they go? I haven’t seen them in forever. Well, it’s usually because they disappeared from Hollywood. There are some celebrities that hit fame fast, one minute they are no one and the next thing you know they are huge celebrities. They have shit-eating grins, and then as if it happens overnight they are gone. They have it all, and then they have nothing again. It’s bizarre because you think if they got big in the first place, how are they unable to stay at the top?
It’s pretty common for celebrities to have their 15 minutes of fame and then disappear forever. But the industry does have a way to swallow you up whole if you’re not careful. Hollywood is a scary place, and there is no mercy for the weak. There are many different reasons why celebrities disappear; sometimes it’s not by choice that they go into obscurity and other times they have personal reasons for making their exits. It could be the loss of a loved one or a fear of all the fame and attention. Some go off to school while others go on to do other projects, some celebrities realize that Hollywood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Check out these celebrities that completely disappeared from the limelight leaving us wondering where they went. You will probably recognize a few of them.
15. Jack Gleeson
Jack Gleeson became famous by starring in the popular HBO TV series Game of Thrones. He shot to fame, and many people thought that he had a great career ahead of him, but then he was gone. It turns out that the star wanted to finish school before he became a part of Hollywood. He left to return to University to get his graduate degree. When asked about it, he told interviewers that he had got into acting because he had enjoyed it as a child and it became a dream of his. Once he got into acting in Hollywood he started to feel differently about it; it didn’t end up being what he expected at all. It’s just one of those situations where the fame was just too much, and he wanted a more normal life in the end.
14. Mara Wilson
We haven’t seen this actress since she was a kid and there’s a good reason for it. You may recognize her from the movie Matilda, which was the movie that made the little girl popular. She didn’t do anything else after that movie however and went into obscurity leaving people to wonder where she went. Mara decided for herself that she was going to quit acting because it wasn’t what she thought it was. “Film acting is not very fun. Doing the same thing over and over again until, in the director’s eyes, you ‘get it right,’ does not allow for very much creative freedom. The best times I had on film sets were the times the director let me express myself, but those were rare.” It seems to be a popular theme especially when it comes to young actors, good for them for making a choice.
13. Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes has been known as sort of a train wreck lately. She has been in and out of the news for various health issues and for a while, a lot of people thought she had completely lost her marbles. Regardless of what’s going on in her life, she hasn’t been in a movie or a TV show for so long that many people wondered if she would ever come back to Hollywood. She has gotten through all of her health problems, and she is currently going to college to get a degree in fashion design. She has publicly stated that she is quitting the Hollywood life. Maybe she will be back in the limelight as a fashion designer one day. Hollywood can be hard on people, and it seems to be taking quite the toll on the young celebrities. It’s good that they are mature enough that they can leave on their own terms.
12. Macaulay Culkin
This well-known actor was a Hollywood child star for quite some time, and many people were shocked when he disappeared from the limelight. Macaulay Culkin is most well known for the Home Alone movies as well as the horror flick Good Son. He was a huge celebrity and was even in My Girl before he found his way to Home Alone. He was famous so young that it might have gotten to him leading him into a world of drugs. He also had some issues with his parents; rumors swirled that they were taking his fortune from him. He worked non-stop and then all of a sudden he didn’t work for almost a decade. He had a huge change in his appearance, and many people thought it had to do with drug use. These days the star is still not in Hollywood, and he doesn’t seem to be returning anytime soon.
11. Kel Mitchell
Kel Mitchell was really big in Hollywood, and then he was gone, just like that. In fact, he left so quickly that a lot of people thought he was dead. It’s not exactly the rumor you want going around. Kel had a falling out with his co-star Keenan and the whole situation greatly affected his career. He left Hollywood and never looked back. These days Kel is focusing on his faith in Christianity as well as raising his family. His is another case of a young celebrity that realizes that the fame game just isn’t for him. It takes a lot to leave fame and fortune behind for a regular life but these brave young actors are doing just that and living the life they desire. Kel will not be returning to Hollywood anytime soon, and he doesn’t seem to be worried about it.
10. Rick Moranis
I loved this actor, and I always wondered where he went off to because he was such a great actor. He was in so many fun movies like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids to Ghostbusters. He was fun and endearing and just a generally great actor. He was a pretty big deal in Hollywood in the 80s and 90s and then all of a sudden he was gone. So why would such a great actor leave Hollywood? Rick left Hollywood in 1997 after his wife died of cancer. Despite the loss of his wife, it wasn’t just grief that pulled him away from Hollywood. “I’m a single parent, and I just found that it was too difficult to manage raising my kids and doing the traveling involved in making movies. So I took a little bit of a break. And the little bit of a break turned into a longer break, and then I found that I really didn’t miss it.”
9. Mischa Barton
This beauty was thrown into the limelight after she starred in the hit TV series The O.C., which was kind of like a 90210/One Tree Hill spin-off but in Orange County. After The O.C. she still worked on a few projects, but it wasn’t long before Mischa Barton was gone completely. Many people wondered why that was, after all, she was exactly where most celebrities would die to be. She was popular and ready to move into movies but things just dissolved for her. When interviewers asked her if she wanted to return to TV, she said, “It’s not that I dislike doing television at all. It would be interesting having more creative control over where the storylines go or the characters. But for the right thing, of course.” So maybe she will return after all, but who knows? She seems to wish that she could have more power over the scripts.
8. Sean Connery
To say that Sean Connery is a huge actor is the understatement of the year. He’s been in Hollywood for quite a long time, and he had a strong career for many years. People were shocked when he left Hollywood and didn’t look back. To everyone’s surprise, Sean retired from Hollywood in 2003 after a long career in the industry. It’s hard to believe that his last film was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and we haven’t seen him in anything since. He’s such a great actor, and we all love the actor turned Knight, but he decided for himself like many others that he wanted to live life on his own terms. He made his fortune and wants to live a more decent and normal life. He just left so suddenly that it broke all our hearts. When you’re ready to retire, why not do it after a successful career?
7. Dave Chappelle
Another comedian turned actor that eventually left Hollywood as well. You really can’t blame him, however; all that fame can get to a person especially when your private life suddenly disappears. At the time that Dave left Hollywood, he had his own show called The Chappelle Show, and it was in its third season. He just up and left and headed to South Africa for a trip— and never returned to Hollywood. Maybe he had a better experience after all. “Coming here, I don’t have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I’m interested in the kind of person I’ve got to become. I want to be well-rounded, and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well-balanced. I’ve got to check my intentions, man.” It’s hard to be in Hollywood and remain well-rounded, right?
6. Kevin Jonas
Many people were shocked when The Jonas Brothers split, after all, they received a huge amount of fame quickly, and they seemed to be a force to be reckoned with. Why would you split when your band is so successful? It seemed crazy, and people in the industry did not understand the move at all. Kevin Jonas was sick of the fame, not so much the fortune but all he wanted to do was go back to living a normal life. After the split, Kevin got married and got a regular job as a contractor. It must be a real shock to going back to working manual labor when you were once a huge celebrity, but if that’s what makes him happy, then it’s all that matters. His brothers, however, did go on with their singing careers, and they are all the better for it.
5. Gene Hackman
Another legendary actor, it’s always sad to see the good ones go, especially when you spend your whole life watching them on the silver screen. One of my most favorite movies of Gene Hackman’s was Runaway Jury; it was a great movie, and he played a powerful role. The last movie that he starred in was Welcome to Mooseport before he retired in 2004. Many people wondered what he would do after his retirement, but he’s been just as busy as ever. He went from being an actor to an author and went on to publish many books. Who knew? I would never have thought he would go down that road, but he’s found a lot of happiness in writing. I’m curious to see what kind of books he has written and if they are any good. Congratulations Gene on your retirement and your published books!
4. Lauryn Hill
Remember how great Lauryn Hill’s music was? It was incredible, and she seemed to be at the height of her career when she left Hollywood. When she was famous, she was part of the band Fugees as well as her own solo career. It seemed like her career was exactly where she wanted it to be, and she was making a killing. She’s insanely talented, and we were all sad to see her go. When she was asked why she left her music career behind she said that the pressure of fame was too much for her and in the end, she wanted out. She was quite the great singer, and it’s sad that fame gets in the way of Lauryn being able to sing and have the career she really wanted. It sounds like a pretty popular reason for leaving Hollywood, and you have to wonder just how scarring these experiences are for people.
3. Greta Garbo
Hollywood can be merciless when it comes to the industry and sometimes it can break the spirit of a person. You have to have thick skin to be in the industry, and if you don’t, you could get eaten alive. Many actors have experienced the cutting edge of scrutiny while in the industry, and some don’t make it out alive. Greta Garbo was a legend in Hollywood, and she won three Oscar nominations. She was around back when there were silent films, and she mastered those as well as the “talkies.” To the shock of everyone in the industry the actress retired at the tender age of 36 even though it seemed like she was at the top of her game. She left Hollywood due to a horrible review. Who knows what the review said but it was bad enough for her to give up her whole career.
2. Jonathan Taylor Thomas
We all remember Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Home Improvement. He was one of the three sons of Tim the Toolman Taylor and everyone in the show was brought to great success due to the popularity of the show. What more could a child actor want then to be on the cusp of a great career? After all, why else do you become an actor if not to have a full and long career as an actor. Johnathan Taylor Thomas felt differently however and decided that he wanted to leave Hollywood completely. He left the industry at a young age to the shock of the people around him. His reason for leaving Hollywood was due to the fact that he wanted to return to school and focus solely on his academics. He left the industry in 1998 and never looked back.
1. Meg Ryan
Another great actress who had a long and full career in Hollywood and then suddenly disappeared. Many were shocked by her disappearance because it was well… Meg Ryan. She was America’s Sweetheart and cute as a button. She was the Queen of rom-com during her day and then the next thing you know she was gone. She went through a divorce and some serious plastic surgery that left her looking not quite like herself. She was considered the go-to girl for female leads in Hollywood in the 90s and then she became less involved in projects. After a while she only appeared in a movie here and there, now she’s completely out of the picture making us wish that she would come back. I certainly miss her great acting and her sensational smile. She won’t be returning to Hollywood, but we do have some great memories of her.