There are many stars in Hollywood who have hugely successful careers, some that even span for decades. These actors appear in movie hit after movie hit and their career goes from strong to stronger. However, this is not always the case. Often times, a star rises to fame but falls away just as quickly. What’s strange is that some of these stars are extremely famous, but only for a short period of time. These actors look as though they are set to take off and we imagine that they will be around for many years to come. For reasons that are often unknown, they cannot make their success last. Due to this, we are left to ponder what exactly went wrong for these actors.
This list may remind you of an actor you once loved but haven’t thought about in a long time. Sometimes, we don’t even notice these stars fading away; it happens so gradually that it more often than not goes completely unnoticed. Other times these stars are replaced by new actors that demand our attention and we forget about the old ones. This list will likely leave you confused and puzzled as to how these disappearances happened, and more importantly how you didn’t even notice…
15 Mara Wilson
If you completely forgot about this once-loved 90s child star, don’t worry, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. The Matilda actress who also starred in family movies such as Miracle on 34th Street and Mrs Doubtfire decided to retire from the acting world a number of years back. Instead, Wilson decided to focus on her studies and graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2009. Speaking about Wilson's decision to retire from the movie industry, the actress remarked: “Film can be exciting, but more often, it's tedious. The celebrity aspect is nothing short of ridiculous, and auditioning is brutal and dehumanizing.” The star also suffered with a number of personal issues after being diagnosed as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) when she was just 12 years old. This may also have been a factor for why she chose to leave the industry. The star took a small break from her retirement earlier this year, appearing as a waitress in Broad City.
14 Ashley Tisdale
Ashley Tisdale had her breakthrough role as Maddie Fitzpatrick on the Disney Channel hit The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. However, it was in 2007 that the star really rose to fame, due to her role in the High School Musical franchise. During the years Tisdale starred in these movies, her music career also flourished. Now though, it seems we haven’t heard from the star in years. Not only did Tisdale’s acting career seem to plummet after the hype of High School Musical, but her singing career also failed. In 2010, Tisdale announced that she would star in MTV’s Hellcats. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after just one season. Since then we haven’t seen Tisdale take on any major parts. Earlier this year, Tisdale announced that she would not be returning to star in High School Musical 4.
13 Chad Michael Murray
It could be argued that the height of Chad-Michael Murray’s career took place between the years 2003-2009, during which he was starring as Lucas Scott on teen TV-drama One Tree Hill. While starring on the show, Murray was offered roles opposite the teen leading ladies of the moment, such as Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan. During this time frame, Murray starred in his two most successful movies, Freaky Friday released in 2003 and A Cinderella Story, which hit movie theaters the following year. There are a number of factors that may have contributed to the decline in Murray’s career such as rumors revolving around the actor’s personal relationships. In 2005 Murray wed his One Tree Hill co-star Sophia Bush, however the pair divorced only a matter of months later. Rumors surfaced that the star had cheated on his co-star with actress Kenzie Dalton, who was an extra on the show at the time. Rumors also surfaced that the star may have cheated with his House of Wax co-star Paris Hilton, as well. Murray later went on to date Dalton and the two soon became engaged; the pair called off their engagement in 2013. Murray’s most recent acting appearance was the role of agent Jack Thompson on Marvel’s Agent Carter; nevertheless, it was recently announced the show would be cancelled after its second season, due to low viewership.
12 Seann William Scott
A number of years back, Seann William Scott appeared to be everywhere, but now it seems as if we haven’t seen that actor anywhere in years. After the success of the first American Pie movie released in 1999, Scott found himself being sought after for many roles in which he would almost always play the goof. This may have actually been where the actor began to damage his career. He stuck to such stereotypical roles in movies such as The Dukes of Hazard (2005), Dude Where’s My Car? (2000) and Mr. Woodcock (2007). Although none of these movies were a hit with critics, it didn’t seem to bother the star, as they were big hits with audiences. However, as the star began to get older, he could no longer take on these goofy roles and it appeared as if Scott struggled to find his place in the movie industry. This became especially evident from 2010 onward, after the final installment of the American Pie series, American Reunion was released. Since then Scott has definitely been fading from the limelight. Nonetheless, although we don’t see the actor it doesn’t mean he’s no longer making a living in the industry; the star has voiced a number of animated characters, most recently appearing in Ice Age: Collision Course.
11 Macaulay Culkin
During the 90s, Macaulay Culkin was the most well-known child star on the scene due to his roles in movies such as Home Alone, Uncle Buck and My Girl. However after 1994, Culkin seemed to fade off the map almost entirely. When Culkin was 14, he announced that he would retire from the film industry. Culkin’s reason for doing this was never confirmed, but many believe it was to spite his father with whom he had a troubled relationship. Culkin’s father had previously moved the entire family from a one bedroom apartment to a townhouse with Culkin’s earnings. It is thought that the troubled relationships eventually led Culkin to drugs as well. Culkin’s last notable movie appearance was in 2004’s Saved, in which he starred opposite Mandy Moore.
10 Neve Campbell
Neve Campbell was big on the movie scene in the late 90s and early 2000s, due to her role as Sidney Prescott in the cult horror movie franchise Scream. When Campbell was not found filming a Scream movie, she could be found working on teen drama Party of Five in which the star played the role of Julia. Strangely, after the conclusion of both these projects, Campbell disappeared from both movie and TV screens alike. But what exactly happened to the actress? Many argue that the Scream movies were the only thing keeping Campbell’s career alive, and without them the actress struggled to find her place in other roles. It was almost as if Campbell was a victim of her own success and like so many other cases, she could not be separated from such a successful franchise. These days, the actress can be found focusing more on her family, Campbell herself stated: “Becoming a mother is a beautiful experience and it makes other things far less important.”
9 Mena Suvari
It’s very clear 1999 was Mena Suvari’s golden year; she appeared in two hit movies, American Pie, which was a massive hit at the box office, and American Beauty, which won an Oscar for Best Picture. With the likes of this, Mena looked set for greatness; everyone expected the young actress to have a huge career. Somehow, and for reasons that still puzzle many people, this just didn’t happen. Only a few years later, Mena’s career was basically over and many of us forgot about the actress completely. But how exactly did this happen? It is most likely due to a number of movie flops such as Loser and Sugar and Spice. On top of this, Mena’s part in the second American Pie movie was cut down to a cameo role. The actress never appeared at all in the third installment American Pie: The Wedding. Mena resurfaced in 2012 to appear in the final installment of the series American Reunion.
8 Thora Birch
Another star of the Oscar-winning movie American Beauty that you probably haven’t thought about in years is Thora Birch. Just like her co-star Mena Suvari, Birch too has basically dwindled into obscurity. The actress is another case of a young star eaten up and spit out by Hollywood, all in the blink of an eye. Amazingly, Birch was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in the movie, yet just a couple of years later she was nowhere to be seen. Speaking on the matter Birch said: “I didn't step back. I was always working, it's just that no one was paying attention.” Birch’s disappearing from the limelight was mostly down to bad-timing. In the late 90s the star fit in perfectly when her grungy edge was so in style. However, by the early 2000s, grunge was out and there was no place for the actress. If Thora had more time in the 90s, it’s likely her career may have flourished.
7 Lacey Chabert
Unfortunately, Lacey Chabert has not shared in the success of her Mean Girls co-stars Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried. Despite giving a convincing performance in her role as Gretchen Wieners, Chabert seems to be the cast member people have forgotten. Mean Girls, in fact, appears to have been a one-hit-wonder for the actress. Although Chabert has not given up acting completely, we have not seen her have any noteworthy successes. So what exactly happened to the actress? Chabert went on to star in a number of Hallmark movies. She stated: “I love working for Hallmark, They've been so good to me. I have friends there now. I'm proud of their movies and the message of their movies.” Along with this the actress has taken on a number of animated voice roles.
6 Mischa Barton
Mischa Barton was somewhat of an “It” girl in the mid-2000s. The actress was starring in hit teen-drama The OC, a show that had huge success among its target audience. Mischa was instantly catapulted to fame, appearing on magazine covers and even being labelled “the next big thing.” In May 2006, during a live TV interview, Mischa accidentally let slip that her character would be killed off in the season 3 finale. It was assumed that Mischa had left to focus on a film career. Unfortunately, Mischa’s movie career, never really took off and instead she began a very publicised downward spiral. Mischa was hanging out with Nicole Richie and rumors of drugs started to spiral. Mischa’s ‘it girl’ image was soon transformed to ‘party girl’ and her career came to a complete standstill. In recent years, Mischa has calmed down party-wise, but has never since been able to recapture her early success.
5 Julia Stiles
Julia Stiles was a darling of the 90s, due to her role in the teen classic 10 Things I Hate About You. This success continued into the early 2000s with movie hits such as Save the Last Dance, Mona Lisa Smile and The Bourne Identity. However, we barely hear anything about the star anymore. There’s no argument that Stiles is a talented actress, but why has she become less and less prominent as the years go by? It’s possible that as Stiles got older she began to lose her appealing teen image and could no longer pursue many of the roles that suited her best. Still, the actress is set to star in another installment of the Bourne series, Jason Bourne set for release at the end of July.
4 Freddie Prinze Jr.
At the turn of the century, you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing Freddie Prinze Jr. The actor was starring in movies such as She’s All That, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scooby Doo. These days, it’s hard to remember the last time we saw the star on the big screen. But just how did Prinze go from multiple movie offers to barely appearing in anything? The actor seemed to have a bit of bad luck starring in many unsuccessful movies that may have permanently damaged his career. On top of this, the actor never branched out into more serious roles; therefore when he reached a certain age he could no longer rely on his dependable, stereotypical roles. Prinze has not completely disappeared though, he currently voices Karan Jarrus in Star Wars Rebels. The actor has also opened up about spending more time with his kids and wife Sarah Michelle Gellar.
3 Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone’s acting peak came very early on in her career after starring in teen cult classic Clueless. The movie was a massive hit among teens and still is regularly featured in pop culture. So how, with such an impressive hit to her name, did Silverstone’s career not endure? Many believe that during her peak, Silverstone made some bad decisions choosing movies like Batman and Robin, Excess Baggage and Blast from the Past, all of which bombed at the box office. This was also a bit of bad luck for the actress. The star’s most recent work was starring in a 2011 movie based on Marie Philip’s novel titled Gods Behaving Badly; as of today the movie remains unreleased. Silverstone is most likely focusing her attention on her husband Christopher Jarecki, and their son, named Bear Blu.
2 Taylor Lautner
Taylor Lautner had great success with the Twilight franchise. At the time, people would have predicted Lautner to be one of the next big actors. However, Lautner's career didn’t really unfold that way. His breakout movie Abduction released in 2011, was a huge flop, despite the hype and expectation. Lautner has appeared in some Netflix movies in the last couple of years, yet he is no longer demanding attention on the big screen like he once did. It is rumored this may be down to Lautner’s demands for ridiculous sums of money to appear in movies. It is said that Lautner insisted on being payed $7 million dollars to star in Stretch Armstrong and a shocking $10 million to star in biblical story David and Goliath. It really shouldn’t be a surprise that the actor got neither role.
1 Rupert Grint
There is no doubt that Rupert Grint had huge success with his role as Ron Weasley in the much loved Harry Potter franchise. When he was just a teenager, the star had gained the level of fame and recognition that many actor’s chase throughout their entire career. Then, since the conclusion of the magic franchise in 2011, Grint all but disappeared. The actor has taken on a couple of smaller roles in Indy movies but nothing that has gained much attention. This may be surprising, since Grint is very clearly a capable and talented actor. Unlike his co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, Grint has not yet made a name for himself separate from Ron Weasley.