Imagine this scenario. You grow up dreaming of becoming a star, and then you beat the odds and do just that. Handed the proverbial keys to the castle, it seems like the world bends to your wishes and will go out of their way to make sure that you are happy by placing you at the front of every line and more. Then, just as quickly as all of that came, it disappears and it seems like doors that were once enthusiastically open to you are now permanently closed. Wouldn’t you do what you could to find your way back to the vaunted place in the society you once enjoyed? Of course, you would probably try to reclaim your glory but the difference is that there are some people that would go really far to become a big deal again. Thinking about that inspired us to put together this list of twenty celebrity has-beens who are desperate for the spotlight.
In order for someone to be considered for inclusion on this list, he/she first has to be someone who was famous at one time in the past. It doesn’t matter what he/she did to become a star, which means that actors, athletes, musicians, “reality” stars, models, or any other kind of celebrity may find their way on this list. Next, they need to no longer be talked about nor get the opportunities that they did in the past for one reason or another. Finally, it needs to seem like they badly want to reclaim their place in the spotlight and are willing to do a lot in order to get there once again.
20 Nicolas Cage
An actor that was right near the top of the acting world for several years, since then, Nicolas Cage’s star power has fallen on hard times. Made a big deal because of movies like Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas, The Rock, Con Air and City of Angels among others, at one time, he did a good job in dramatic films as well as being an action star. Then, he began an era of taking on seemingly every film project that came his way, and his efforts in movies like The Wicker Man, Season of the Witch, and Trespass have turned him into a joke. Someone who has publicly struggled with financial issues, it seems obvious that he takes every paycheque he can get, which also makes it clear that he needs to make sure he stays a star so the money rolls in.
19 Jenny McCarthy
Somebody who initially became famous due entirely to her looks, Jenny McCarthy’s first claim to fame was as the Playboy Playmate of the Year in 1994, and it is clear that she liked her new role. Moving on to being the co-host of the MTV game show Singled Out, she also used her notoriety to garner roles in movies like BASEketball, Diamonds, Scream 3, and Santa Baby. These days best-known as the person who popularized the highly-controversial and scientifically-disproved claim of connections between autism and vaccines, that gave her an all-new platform. Using that to land a short-term gig as a co-host of The View, she also takes on any job that gives her attention these days, including being a “reality” TV host as well as taking part in New Year’s countdowns.
18 Vanilla Ice
One of the pre-imminent one-hit wonders, when rapper Vanilla Ice released the song “Ice Ice Baby,” to say that it became a mega hit seems like an understatement since it was such a big deal. Never able to reach those heights again in music, despite several attempts, he even tried to become a rock star with the release of an album that was “a fusion of heavy metal, punk rock, and hip-hop.” Not content to become a regular Joe after his first career dwindled out, he has since become an actor in movies like That’s My Boy and The Ridiculous 6. On top of that, he is also a “reality” TV star of shows like Dancing with the Stars, The Vanilla Ice Project, and Brother Vs. Brother.
17 Tori Spelling
Somebody who had the keys to the castle handed to her, Tori Spelling is the daughter of television legend Aaron Spelling who produced the series that made her a star. Made famous when she was cast in the show Beverly Hills, 90210 as Donna Martin, some may not give her full credit because of how she landed the role, but her character was loved by millions so she deserves it. Appearing in a slew of series in the years since, none of her acting has garnered much acclaim or attention so she turned to “reality” TV to be a star once more. The focus of several such shows since then, she and her husband are more than happy to sell their personal drama to the world in return for fame and fortune.
16 Pauly Shore
An unlikely celebrity who seemed to come out of nowhere to become a unique entity in pop culture, Pauly Shore broke out during his tenure as an MTV VJ from 1989 until 1994. Introducing his alter ego known as The Weasel during that time, he kept it going in the movie world when he took the lead role in several films. Best known today for flicks like Encino Man, Class Act, Son in Law, In the Army Now, A Goofy Movie, and Bio-Dome, he was a part of several surprise hits during his time. Not exactly a big deal in the years since then, he continues to do everything in his power to regain ground in that regard, including appearing in several over the top comedies.
15 Paris Hilton
Someone with a famous surname, Paris Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels, who amassed a fortune and business that she and her family enjoy to this day. Able to garner a low level of attention for her party-girl lifestyle, it wasn’t until a private adult video, to which she was a part of, was released to the world that she became a star. Taking that platform and attention, at one time, she seemed to be a Jack of all trades since she acted in movies, was a “reality” TV star, “wrote” a book, and released music that was a surprise hit. No longer possessing the Midas touch that she once had, these days, little that she does makes a blip on the pop culture radar. Despite that, she continues to do her best to be a star again, including trying her hand at her previous careers.
14 Ann Coulter
A political commentator and writer who has made her name by saying crazy awful things in public, Ann Coulter has consistently built an image as a horrible person. An American conservative whose words in no way represent the majority of people that identify in a similar way, she has made a living out of offending people on both sides of the aisle. At one time taken seriously enough that she made regular appearances on political talk shows, these days, those appearances have become a lot less regular, eventually hindering her brand. Trying her best to regain the attention that she once enjoyed, of late, she has started tweeting or saying horrendous things far more often as well as hitting Republicans in a sad attempt to garner headlines.
13 Lindsay Lohan
Introduced to the world when she starred in The Parent Trap, in that movie, Lindsay Lohan took on two roles and turned a lot of heads with her acting ability even as a child. Continuing to work consistently until she became a young adult, once she had matured more, she became a crossover star who has led several films and released hit music. Best remembered for films like Freaky Friday, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Mean Girls, and Herbie: Fully Loaded, at one time, she seemed to be on top of the world. Mired in controversy and personal issues, in the years since her zenith, she has tried again and again to be embraced by the public. Attempting acting comebacks in the past, including the time she starred in the abysmal movie Liz & Dick, she also even tried being a “reality” TV star, to no avail. But, don’t expect her to give up anytime soon.
12 Stacey Dash
Someone who has earned her name by playing a beloved character in the movie Clueless, it is startling to see how much Stacey Dash’s image has changed from that in recent times. Also the star of the Clueless show that spun off from that movie for three years and a long list of other movies and shows, at one time, she had created an image as both a gorgeous woman and an entertaining one. Then, she entered the political conversation and has since earned a great deal of anger from people that see her statements as highly offensive. For instance, responding to Patricia Arquette’s call for equality in pay for women and minorities in Hollywood by saying that she didn’t know she didn’t have rights is so gross that it seems to be a clear call for attention.
11 Tara Reid
One of the people that made up the ensemble cast that starred in the surprise hit American Pie, at one time, it seemed like Tara Reid may be poised for the biggest career of the bunch. Going on to star in a series of other movies including the likes of Van Wilder, My Boss’s Daughter, as well as Josie and the Pussycats, all three of those films seemed like they could have made her a huge deal. Unfortunately for her career, none of them did that as two were flops. And in the case of Van Wilder, the credit mostly went to the person who played the titular character, Ryan Reynolds. In the years since only getting attention for the most part when it comes to her personal life, including her partying ways and plastic surgery problems, her lack of acting prospects made her career sputter. Most recently getting a hit with Sharknado, she is clearly going to ride that franchise directly into the ground while also trying to get more headlines in almost any way she can.
10 Corey Feldman
One of the biggest child and teen stars of the eighties and early nineties, Corey Feldman had a real impact on Hollywood during those years. The star of several beloved movies like The Goonies, Stand by Me, The Lost Boys, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others, he really seemed to know how to pick fantastic movies to be a part of. However, since he became an adult, he has relied almost entirely on the legacy he built then. The star of a “reality” show that focused on his relationship with his beleaguered former co-star, Corey Haim, that seemed manipulative since he was so troubled at the time. Not stopping at taking advantage of that issue, he also seemed to relish the attention that a terrible music performance he gave on live TV sent his way.
9 Mariah Carey
Undoubtedly one of the most impressive singers of modern music, when Mariah Carey was at the top of the business, her vocal range was simply stunning in every way. Best known for songs like “Hero,” “Shake It Off,” “Fantasy,” “Vision of Love,” “One Sweet Day,” and several more, she released so many hit songs that it blows us away. One of the best-selling artists in music history, it seems like she should be perfectly content to rest on those laurels and the respect that that fact has garnered her. However, she seems to be more interested in taking any gig that will get her in front of the people because she doesn’t appear to be willing to give anyone else her place in the main spotlight.
8 Tila Tequila
A throwback to a bygone era, Tila Tequila is probably the only person who has been called a “MySpace celebrity.” Turned into a big deal when her page on that social media website, which was the biggest in the world at the time, went viral due to her singing and looks, she took full advantage of that opportunity. Able to star in an MTV “reality” show called A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, the thing that made it stand out was that men and women were both jockeying for a relationship with her in it. Only lasting two seasons, since that series came to an end, Tila has been trying to become a celebrity again any way that she can. She starred in an adult video that she feebly tried to pretend was stolen despite the obvious production value, and that didn’t work. Next up was another “reality” show where she got headlines for her racist comments which she has since doubled down on when it comes to social media.
7 Farrah Abraham
From one person who became a star for unique reasons to another, this time around, we are looking at Farrah Abraham who came to prominence due to starring in “reality” shows about being a teen mom. Consistently appearing on television in one form or another since then, it has become her bread and butter, including showing up in series like Couples Therapy, Being Farrah and Celebrity Big Brother. Trying to branch out beyond that world several times in the past, she still has some people’s attention but her audience is dwindling, and she wants it to go the other way. In her ongoing efforts to become a bigger deal, she has tried things like adult videos, music, and books, all of which failed to get her desired results.
A wrestler that was a part of the WWE roster during the height of its Rock N’ Wrestling era, Virgil entered the company as the servant of one of the most hated people in the company. Eventually turning against his boss, Ted DiBiase, that made him into a short-term hero before he moved onto another major wrestling company named WCW. One of the lesser members of the nWo during his time there, he must have made a good amount of money from that run as well as when he was in the WWE. Evidently, he didn’t save much or any of it since he will take jobs today that his peers wouldn’t if it provides him with cash. So desperate for attention which will lead to further paydays that he’ll show up anywhere to sell signatures and promote his willingness to attend any party for transit and dollars. It’s a startling fall from grace.
5 Hulk Hogan
From one wrestler who worked for the WWE and WCW to another, this time around, we’re looking at the far-more-famous Hulk Hogan. Arguably the biggest star that business ever created, the Hulkster was a pivotal part of the two biggest booms that industry has ever seen in both the eighties and nineties. Also a movie and “reality” show star in the past, his acting never quite did it, but his antics with his family turned his children and wife into celebrities too and furthered his brand. Since then, a recording of him being incredibly racist came to light and his brand has been irrevocably harmed. Still, that hasn’t stopped him from trying to resuscitate his career and image time and time again. But as of yet, it hasn’t gone well.
4 Dustin Diamond
One of six teens that served as the nucleus of the hit nineties teen show Saved by the Bell, Dustin Diamond has had the hardest time out of any of them since then. Cast as Screech, the beloved weirdo of the group, his character and he himself are the only ones to star in every single spin-off that the original series had. Clearly hoping to hold on to those glory days as long as he could, that makes perfect sense as things have sucked for him since. Falling on such hard financial times that he has tried a long list of things to make money and keep his brand going, some that he has done is just plain gross. For instance, he put his name on a book that even he admits made false and harmful claims about his former co-stars, faked being in an adult movie, and begged his fans to pay off his mortgage.
3 Kris Jenner
A woman that many of us are aware of, which is pretty ridiculous, Kris Jenner’s main claim to fame is as the wife, mother, and manager of a family consisting of people with recognizable names. The ex-wife of Robert Kardashian, who was on OJ Simpson’s dream team of lawyers, and Bruce Jenner, a famous athlete that has since transitioned into Caitlyn Jenner, those two didn’t make her a star. Instead, it was her role as the mother of Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall, and Kylie that made her a celebrity since they have all starred in a series of “reality” shows together. Attempting to be a talk show host at one time, that effort failed and as of late, she is firmly entrenched in the background of her family, something we all know isn’t something she isn’t likely to be happy with.
2 Heidi Montag And Spencer Pratt
Don’t say we never do anything for you since we’re giving our readers two for the price of one when it comes to this entry. These two are among the most hated “reality” show stars of all time, and that is really saying something. Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt were highly talked about during their tenure on The Hills. So dependent on that attention that Spencer once compared that show’s cancellation to a personal September eleventh attack for him, that speaks loudly of how important attention is to these two. That is why nobody should be surprised in the least that they have since appeared in a series of other “reality” shows and acted outrageously trying to regain the spotlight in any way they can.
This is one that makes us really sad since in her prime, Madonna seemed like one of the truest artists out there that was willing to take risks with her image and change things up. A singer that was in a class with people like Michael Jackson and Prince, for years, it seemed like she could do no wrong. Best known for songs like “Live to Tell,” “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Frozen,” “Music,” and “Like a Prayer” among too many others to list here, her sound has been the soundtrack of many lives. You’d think then that she would take pleasure in her amazing career, continue to tour if she still wants to perform, and enjoy her autumn years. But instead, she continues to try to do controversial things like posting racist things on social media and putting out music videos with military imagery that is subtle as a hammer to the head.