15 Stars With Great Career Comebacks After A Long Hiatus

Every year or so, an actor or a director who has been incredibly busy suggests that they're taking a break from Hollywood, and, almost every single time, that actor or director will do no such thing. They leave for a few days, get an offer they can't refuse and they're back filming. The pull of millions and millions of dollars is just too strong to resist. It's a world that the actors just can't ever leave. It's exactly like that famous Godfather III quote: "When I'm dead, I'm gonna be really smart." Or is there another one better suited?

Yet, every once in awhile, someone does take a break. Sometimes, like Rick Moranis or the late Gene Wilder, it's permanent. Actors leave the game and never come back. Other times, an actor leaves at the height of their fame and comes back to a less-than-glorious return. But there are rare occasions, and it only really happens for the greats in the industry, that an actor takes a break from acting and, when they do return, they come back in an enormous way. It seems unlikely. Acting, like any profession, needs work and practice to get better. It's counterintuitive to think an actor can leave the field completely and actually return as good (or sometimes even better), yet it does happen every once in a blue moon. The people on this list are those rarities. The ones who left and came back to the sound of trumpets. Here are 15 stars who returned with a bang after a break.

15 Julia Roberts

14 Joaquin Phoenix

13 Natasha Lyonne

12 Jackie Earle Haley


11 Mel Gibson

10 Neil Patrick Harris

9 David Lean


8 Freddie Highmore


7 Robert Downey Jr

There are two different Robert Downey Jrs: stoned and criminal Robert Downey Jr and sober Robert Downey Jr. Even though RDJ didn’t take a traditional hiatus, his stints in and out of jail, rehab and recovery between 1999 and 2003, served as a break from acting nonetheless. Yeah, he was in the odd thing, but he was fired and ridiculed at every turn. Then, in 2003, Mel Gibson cast RDJ in The Singing Detective, which started him on the road back into Hollywood's good books. Later that year, he got the role in Gothika and not long after that he was shooting Shane Black's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Today RDJ has come all the way back and is one of Hollywood's highest paid and most respected actors.

6 Stanley Kubrick


5 Marlon Brando


4 Terrence Malick


3 Daniel Day-Lewis

2 Quentin Tarantino

1 Jared Leto

From about 2008 to 2013, Jared Leto worked on his music with 30 Seconds to Mars, some documentary filmmaking and a short film here or there. While he was busy during his five-year hiatus from acting, Leto was not very visible in Hollywood. His latest role at this point, Mr. Nobody, released in 2009, got him some attention, but it never amounted to much. After Leto's performance in Requiem for a Dream, many knew that he had the ability to be great, but no one was sure if he would ever reach that. Then, upon his return in 2013, Leto showed movie fans all he had to offer in Dallas Buyer's Club. His performance, which won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards, was as close to sheer brilliance as you can get. Even though Suicide Squad isn’t getting the reviews they were hoping for, many film fans and comic book fans alike have praised Leto's performance as the Joker, proving that he can fill shoes that many thought would be impossible to fill, such as those of Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill and Jack Nicholson.

Sources: BusinessInsider, ChicagoTribune, IMDB

Give TheRichest a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheRichest?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in Entertainment

15 Stars With Great Career Comebacks After A Long Hiatus