There are some celebs who were beyond popular in their heyday. Fans could not get enough of them and it seemed like they would always be shining brightly on the Hollywood radar. These celebs seemed to have it all. Booming careers, throngs of admirers, lots of money, and success that not very many achieve. Who would have thought that their star power would have faded so drastically over the years to come? So much so, that when we think of these men and women, we find it hard to believe they are still alive.
Be it that they led themselves down a messed-up path of drinking, drugs, and partying, or that they just dropped out of the public eye by choice or due to lack of interest from the public. Some went from riches to rags, blowing their good fortune without thinking about what the future may hold. They were on top of their game, so they likely never thought they’d be down and out. Others were more of the “15 minutes of fame” types. They had their magic moment, and in the blink of an eye, they were old news — washed up and worn out.
Check out these 15 celebs that we can’t believe are still with us. Fame kept them relevant for a time, but what the heck happened? Thank goodness, they are, in fact, alive and presumably well. Would you like to see any of these stars make a comeback or has their ship sailed? Maybe in another 20 years things will start to look up again for these former A-listers.
15 Macaulay Culkin
When it comes to child actors, Macaulay Culkin may be the most famous pint-sized star the world has ever seen — at least at the time when he was on top of his game. Home Alone catapulted Culkin into the big time, scoring him millions of fans who couldn’t get enough of his adorable face and natural talent. He was doing well for some time, but then what? It was as though he vanished from the Hollywood world to retreat into a life of privacy. Rumors swirled about his health and alleged drug use when he was spotted as an adult looking wiry and frail. Cute kids don’t always grow up as you might expect, but at least he was seen again alive and possibly well — that’s a start. Surely Culkin has enough loot in his bank account to never have to lift a finger again for the rest of his life, but we wish he had kept at it, so we could enjoy his talents. He’s 37, so perhaps he’ll have a mid-life crisis in the coming decade and try for a Home Alone reboot.
14 Corey Feldman
Corey Feldman has emerged in recent years as a musician of sorts, but back in the day, he was one of the most famous actors on the planet. He and his sidekick Corey Haim, who were dubbed “The Two Coreys,” were on the covers of hundreds of teen magazines and girls were over the moon when it came to their puppy love for the two young actors. They had the world at their feet — until they didn’t. Sadly, Haim passed away, and Feldman’s life certainly wasn’t what Norman Rockwell would have envisioned. His acting career fizzled and for many years, the name “Corey Feldman” wasn’t even uttered. Lately, amid the numerous sexual assault and harassment allegations stemming from Hollywood heavyweights, Feldman has become a vocal force describing his own #metoo moments as a teen. Let’s hope things go well for this guy. He had a bright future and he can still prosper. Just look how it turned out for some of the orther kids in The Goonies.
13 Vanilla Ice
For a rapper who was the coolest thing since, well, ice, Vanilla Ice was soaring at the top of the charts back in the early '90s. His biggest hit, “Ice Ice Baby,” was blaring on every cool radio station, and everyone who was a fan knew every catchy lyric. But just like ice itself, Vanilla Ice’s popularity melted away. He was no longer on the scene and nobody knew where he was or what he was up to. Vanilla may be sweet, but falling from fame was no treat for Vanilla Ice. Thank goodness, the 50-year-old is still around, but he is by no means as popular as he once was. He had a few bits on recent reality shows, but all that means is that he’s now a D-lister. Perhaps he will write a cool song and come back as the Vanilla Ice we once knew and loved. Until then, we can reminisce about him “killin’ your brain like a poisonous mushroom.”
12 Pauly Shore
Remember when Pauly Shore was the comedian that everyone loved? He was odd and quirky, but that was all part of Shore’s appeal. He was hot on MTV and in hit movies like Encino Man, Son in Law, and Bio-Dome. With his curly hair, goofball personality, and outgoing and obnoxious behavior, Shore was fun to watch on TV and in his movies, as well as when he hosted TV shows for a young fan base. His stand-up acts were always full of fun, and when he was out and about, fans loved to snap pics with the funny fella. But the thrill soon wore off and Shore seemed to have washed ashore. Did he run out of jokes, or was the joke on him? Was nobody interested in his weirdness anymore? Luckily for Shore, he is still around, and at 49 years old, he must have some additional one-liners left in him. His fans may have matured, but Shore still seems to have that silly 20-something inside him still.
11 Paul Reubens
If the name Paul Reubens does not ring a bell, “Pee-wee Herman” surely must. Remember the svelte wacky guy who wore tightly-fitted grey suits and entertained audiences with odd humor and weird and wild escapades? Well that freaky fella is now 65 years old. Can you believe it? There was a time when Reubens was as popular as can be, with movies, TV shows, and stand-up gigs aplenty. The Pee-wee character was known all around the world and people loved to imitate his silly voice and crazy quirks. But such a strange concept couldn’t last forever. Sure, we still remember the awkward antics of Pee-wee, but what happened to the man behind the bold bowties and contorted smile? He slipped out of the public eye and nobody gave much thought into what he was up to. He had something of an entertainment comeback in later years, but was also under scrutiny for deviant sexual behavior. Still, Reubens is alive and well, we presume, but it’s safe to say he won’t be plugging Pee-wee in his golden years.
10 Kirk Cameron
The hit TV sitcom Growing Pains was one of the most popular shows of its time. The Seaver family was one to watch as they made us laugh, cry, and wish we had such cool parents and siblings. The teen heartthrob of the show, Mike Seaver, played by the adorable Kirk Cameron and was the breakout star. He had girls falling at his feet and was on the cover of every teeny-bopper magazine known to man. But after Growing Pains wrapped up, Cameron kind of faded away. He did reappear by viewing his Christian values in the media and has been criticized for some of his beliefs by those on the liberal side of things. He married his former TV co-star, Chelsea Noble, and has six kids. His sister, Candace Cameron-Bure, best known for her role on Full House, has made a successful TV comeback, with her recent stint on The View and the reboot of Full House, Fuller House. So, yeah, Cameron is still alive and kicking it at age 47, but his life is a far cry from the one he portrayed on Growing Pains as the mischievous Mike.
9 Melissa Joan Hart
When you are best known for being a teenage witch, not too many people will think you’ve made it to adulthood. After all, teenage witches should only be able to survive until they are 19, if we’re being technical. And after Melissa Joan Hart traded in her witch’s hat, she kind of traded in her celeb status for that of wife and mother. Sure, Hart has been seen here and there on made-for-TV movies and sappy TV product-hocking appearances, but she was no longer “Sabrina” or the cutie pie from Clarissa Explains It All. While Hart was never one of those child celebs who went completely haywire, we did hear that she was a little wild in her early 20s. While she’s no Lindsay Lohan, Hart likely had her fill of fun as a famous young thing. Can you believe the chick is already 41? Time flies faster than a teenage witch on her broomstick!
Hey Sinbad, where have you been? We know you're alive and well, but your fame has gone from a high point to a major dip over the years. As a 61-year-old dude, Sinbad’s celeb status has surely waned, but there was a time when the comedian and actor was on top of the world. He was a stand-up sensation, making crowds laugh heartily for a long time. Maybe he simply ran out of material, because the funny fella surely went from shining in the spotlight to being hidden in the dark. Of course, with a name like Sinbad, it is hard to become completely forgotten, but fans just don’t seem to crave his comedy like they used to. Too bad for Sinbad, but he did have his time in the limelight while the laughs lasted. Those times were wild, making us appreciate the fact that the comedian made it out in one piece. Perhaps his 60s are a time to sit back on the recliner and watch the up-and-coming comedians do their thing.
7 Elizabeth Berkley
Who wasn’t attracted to the elegant Elizabeth Berkley when she played the role of Jessie Spano on TV’s teenage hit show, Saved By the Bell? Tall and beautiful, the actress was a sensation for years as the campy program was one of the biggest success stories on television. The reruns still air to this day. Then we saw Berkley go from high-school teacher’s pet to sensual sex kitten with her controversial role in the movie Showgirls. If fans weren’t hot for the actress when she was on Saved By the Bell, they surely were after seeing her do her thing in this racy flick! But after that role, Berkley seemed to fade from the public eye. Was she hiding? Was she still in the country? Was she alive? Well, we don’t know about the first two, but we do know she is still above ground. The now 45-year-old is married and has one kid. She may no longer be a Showgirl, but she’s still hot. Too bad she doesn’t have the popularity she once had, but at least she’s still breathing.
6 Judd Nelson
Alert! Actor Judd Nelson is still alive! Just because you haven’t heard much about the actor recently, it doesn’t mean he isn’t around doing something productive. Yes, Nelson was at the top of his game decades ago in popular movies like St. Elmo’s Fire and The Breakfast Club, but those days of the “Brat Pack” are long gone. And those guys and gals surely knew how to party hard. Drugs, booze, all-nighters, sexual escapades, and big-time spending made these famous 20-somethings notorious. It’s a miracle they were able to survive those wild times and come out on the other side unscathed (for the most part). That said, some of these “Brat Packers” like Demi Moore and Rob Lowe continued with successful careers, but others seemed to drift off into the abyss. Nelson certainly isn’t totally forgotten, but the question remains if he will ever reach that high point ever again. At age 58, he won’t be able to party like a rock star, but he can still land a decent role.
5 Jaleel White
Want to feel old? “Steve Urkel” is 41! Yes, the former Family Matters geek is in his 40s, but where has he been since playing the role of uber-nerd on the hit sitcom? After that famous show went off the air, White seemed to fall off the radar. How many more years of that whiny voice could we tolerate anyhow? But White didn’t drop out of society altogether, he went off to college like all the “regular” kids his age. UCLA is where his book smarts took him, and Hollywood was a thing of the past. Now he’s back in showbiz to some degree, but the fame of Urkel will be hard to match. He must have had a ton of fun being in the spotlight, but never got that “heartthrob” status thanks to the nerdiness of the role he became famous for. These days, he has grown to become a decently handsome man, but there will always be that essence of Urkel lurking inside.
4 Ron Jeremy
Perhaps one of the most famous men in the adult-film industry, Ron Jeremy must have some epic stories. He is now 64 years old, and it's a miracle that he hasn’t contracted a deadly STD by now. Good for him. Yes, the unlikely sex icon is alive and well, and his legacy as an adult-film extraordinaire will always be his claim to fame. Not many fellas last as long as Jeremy has in such a wild career, but his atypical star appearance and fan base kept him in the biz for decades. While he may no longer film as much as he once had, folks can still watch Jeremy in all his glory by popping in an old VHS tape. Many would argue that Jeremy is far from sexy, but he must have done something right. If ever Viagra needed a reputable spokesperson, they know who to call.
3 Tara Reid
After actress Tara Reid did well in the comical American Pie movies, she seemed to hit a low point. Botched plastic surgery, weird public behavior, a newly super-skinny appearance, and alleged drinking and drug use made Reid one to follow, and not for positive reasons. She was once the epitome of a California cutie, but soon became the punchline for rude late-night jokes and fodder for cruel gossip. By the looks of her, folks thought she might become another tragic Hollywood tale. Even though she still seems a tad off, she made it back in the biz with the unforeseen success of the Sharknado franchise. While many assumed Reid’s days in Hollywood were numbered, the idiotic taste of TV watchers made a crazy concept like Sharknado a must-watch. Go figure.
2 Ralph Macchio
Yes folks, the Karate Kid kid is now 56 years old. The black-belted boy is now a grown man and we can’t even believe he’s still around. Where has he been hiding all this time? With the wild success of The Karate Kid, one would suspect that the actor would have been the biggest A-lister of all time. He was cute, likeable, and quite talented. That charming, dimpled smile made girls melt, and all the teen mags had Macchio’s cute pics on their glossy covers. Like most washed-up celebs, we saw Macchio twirl his way back into the hearts of fans on TV’s Dancing with the Stars. That said, The Karate Man just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Looks like Macchio will fade off into retirement with the money from residual checks funding his expenses. “Wax on, wax off.”
1 Carrot Top
Some might rather forget, but do you remember the odd comedian Carrot Top? His unusual looks, weird sense of humor, and freaky antics made him stand out from the crowd. And if those things didn’t do the trick, the name “Carrot Top” put the guy on the map. While he was super popular decades ago, after a while, nobody heard from the vegetable-named guy. Perhaps he spoiled, just like a carrot might, and shrivelled up into the Earth. But no, Carrot Top reemerged with what looked like a bunch of shocking plastic surgery. Just when the fella couldn’t get any stranger. Well at least we can now say Carrot Top is still around. Will he become as popular as he once was? Not likely, but then again, once a carrot hits the top, the only direction left is down.