Apparently the market share of talented, onscreen eye candy who made it big in the 90's owe their careers to Nickelodeon, the WB, CW (or whatever the Warner-owned channel calls itself these days), and Aaron Spelling. Whether by theater projector or boob tube antennae, 1990's culture was actually quite fertile ground for the ambitious actress. Gender roles, typecasting, and other ever-present, 'Debbie Downer' issues aside, the 15 women listed here all eventually reached a level of creative freedom and financial stability, but not solely on their talents as actors and entertainers; their good looks played an undeniable role in their rise to success.
While it is true that not every actress listed is technically retired or out-of-work, it is also true that none of these women have been in anything as notable, critically acclaimed, or well-received as the work that propelled them to the heights of their fame and influence. These actresses are by no stretch of the imagination washed up, nor did any who explicitly retired leave the industry on dishonorable terms. These are just 15 of the most attractive and popular actresses of the 90s, with no judgment as to their career choices.
15 Calista Flockhart
14 Leelee Sobieski
Liliana "Leelee" Sobieski reached the height of recognition for her acting chops in the last two years before Y2K, though her career started mid-1990 with a string of TV movie and series appearances on now classic but forgotten shows like comedienne Brett Butler's Grace Under Fire, News Radio (starring Joe Rogan, Andy Dick, and the late, great Phil Hartman), and a one month, nine-episode stretch as title character Charlie Grace's daughter, Jenny, on ABC. It was her acting in the disaster flick Deep Impact and as Joan of Arc in the 1999 TV mini-series retelling of the French knight's story.
13 Linda Fiorentino
Between 1991 and 1997, Linda Fiorentino landed a starring role in at least two decently received films a year, yet many readers will have trouble placing her name and face. If you were a moviegoer last millennium you saw this husky voiced actress in Kevin Smith’s Dogma, in Will Smith-vehicle Men In Black, in Unforgettable opposite Ray Liotta, or starring in The Last Seduction with Bill Pullman. Unlike Bill, who will be reprising (in Independence Day: Resurgence) his popular role as US President Whitmore from 90s sci- fi classic Independence Day, Linda stopped acting back in 2007.
12 Terri Conn
Theresa "Terri" Conn's last on-air appearance in anything of note came four years ago, back in 2012; a guest spot on one episode of 30 Rock. The Indiana-born actress entered the entertainment industry in much the same way, through small, one- or two-episode roles on big network sitcoms and soaps, and for the latter half of the 90's continually found work on such hit shows as The Young and the Restless, Step By Step, Breaker High, and 7th Heaven. Conn closed out the decade as Katie Peretti on As The World Turns, for which she eventually filmed over 1,300 episodes.
11 Mackenzie Rosman
10 Heather Locklear
Of course, this former Melrose Place cast member and 90's sex symbol had to go and star in a made-for-TV movie at the beginning of this year, so Heather Locklear is technically disqualified from this list. However, the last entertainment vehicle the platinum blonde had a starring role in was as Chloe in four episodes of Hot In Cleveland back in 2012-2013. Despite her indomitable good looks and having had regular roles on such television classics as Dynasty, T.J. Hooker, and Spin City with Michael J. Fox, she failed to convert any of her six Golden Globe nominations into a win.
9 Vanessa Marcil
8 Shannen Doherty
7 Rebecca Gayheart
After her guest appearance on Ugly Betty in 2007, Rebecca Gayheart's acting career seems to have sputtered to a halt. Not surprisingly, the Kentucky native's exit from the television industry and the public eye coincides roughly with the birth of her two daughters, Billie and Georgie, respectively in March, 2010 and December, 2011. Gayheart is yet another fake graduate of Beverly Hills High, though she only lasted one season on 90210, but her 90s credits also include parts in films like Jawbreaker, Urban Legend and Scream 2 and on TV with shows like Hercules, Sliders, Earth 2, and 1999's Wasteland.
6 Sarah Michelle Geller
It seems a good indicator of when somebody has relaxed their ambitions in Hollywood is when they decide to guest voice act on Adult Swim's Robot Chicken; between 2005 and 2014 she provided her talents to the show in near obscurity. And were you aware Sarah Michelle also voice acts for the new Star Wars Rebels series that hit the airwaves in tandem with the release of the latest Star Wars feature length film? Her resume boasts a sprinkling of came-and-went TV roles but Geller is still mostly associated with her late-90's role as Sunnydale's resident vampire hunter, Buffy.
5 Brandy Norwood
4 Melissa Joan Hart
3 Neve Campbell
Scream 1, 2 and 3 and Party Of Five is not the start of an impossible riddle or a particularly avant-garde line from a Burroughs or Joyce novel, but the list of credits that made Neve Campbell a darling of the angsty teen and young adult male demographics for most of the 90's. Then there is her starring role alongside Denise Richards in Wild Things, involving a steamy onscreen encounter between the two actresses that is forever burned into the collective consciousness. Campbell still works in entertainment, but her former glory overshadowed even a recent role on House Of Cards.
2 Bridgett Fonda
1 Tiffani-Amber Thiessen
For the entirety of the 90s, Tiffani Thiessen played a starring role as popular Bayside High student Kelly Kapowski, on some incarnation of coming-of-age TV comedy Saved By The Bell, or as precocious junior- high transfer student Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills 90210. Since Y2K, this sexy star has been working in near anonymity, doing voice over work for Disney Junior's animated series, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, making a 2015 guest appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last year, and starring in a five-season run of White Collar, a presumably popular series aired on the less frequented USA Network.