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10 Former A-List Actors Who Pretty Much Disappeared from Hollywood

Sometimes we can’t turn on the TV or go to the movies without seeing the same handful of A-list actors on the screen. But there are other times that those same A-listers all but disappear from the public eye. Though some Hollywood celebrities disappear overnight due to scandals, this isn’t always necessarily the case.

In the case of some child actors, sometimes they just want to do other things with their lives as adults, like pursue business and education. And for the actors that are approaching their golden years, they simply want to retire, and live out the rest of their days removed from the spotlight.

But it’s also worth noting that nobody ever truly “retires” from Hollywood. Though this list of 10 A-list actors who pretty much disappeared from Hollywood, it’s also apparent that a number of celebrities will still make the occasional red-carpet appearance or take on a cameo role if they find a compelling enough reason to do so. So let’s get into it, and see where some of our favorite A-listers are today.

10 Jack Nicholson

Warner Bros.

Jack Nicholson had an epic 55-year run, and made quite the name for himself with his portrayals of characters who rebelled against the status quo. Though he made an appearance on SNL in 2015 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the sketch comedy show, his last feature film performance was 2010’s How Do You Know.

Though Nicholson never announced an official retirement, he did go on record with Vanity Fair in 2013, stating that he felt less of a desire to be “out there anymore.” When The Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep, was announced, it was reported that Nicholson turned down the offer for a small cameo role, but expressed no ill will, and wished the cast and crew the best.

There were a couple of starring roles that Nicholson has expressed interest in recently, but they failed to materialize, and it seems that the iconic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest star is happy to live out the rest of his days away from the public eye. He never officially retired, however, so the 85-year-old actor may very well grace us with his presence on the big screen if a script truly draws him in, but we wouldn’t recommend holding your breath on this one.

Related: 10 Underrated Jack Nicholson Movies Worth Checking Out

9 Rick Moranis

Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet in Spaceballs
MGM/UA Communications Co.

In the ’80s and ’90s, you couldn’t turn on your TV without seeing Rick Moranis, but after 1997’s Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, he all but disappeared from the public eye. But the story behind the beloved Ghostbusters actor’s removal from Hollywood is without scandal, and actually quite wholesome.

Moranis’ wife, costume designer Ann Belsky, succumbed to cancer in 1991, making Moranis a single father. As his kids grew older, he found that he couldn’t be the father that he wanted to be while also having a demanding acting career. He originally intended on taking a small hiatus from acting, which turned into a much longer hiatus. As time continued to march forward, he found that he didn’t really miss his career that much, and has gone on record stating that he has zero regrets about fulfilling his duties as a parent, and being present for his kids.

But Moranis is not officially retired, however. He has stated that he is a lot more selective when it comes to accepting roles that are offered to him, and he’s done a number of voice roles like Rutt from 2003’s Brother Bear, as well as a reprisal of his Lord Dark Helmet character in a special “Spaceballs” episode of The Goldbergs.

8 Mike Myers

Mike Meyers So I Married an Axe Murderer 1200 x 630
TriStar pictures

Like Jack Nicholson, Mike Myers has not officially retired from acting or filmmaking, but seems to at the very least have pumped the brakes on his Hollywood career quite a bit. And when you consider the epic run he had in the ’90s and early 2000s, you can’t really blame him. Not only did he have top billing in the Wayne’s World movies, but he also pulled an Eddie Murphy with the three Austin Powers movies, in which he played multiple concurrent roles, all of which required heavy makeup and prosthetics.

The first major blow to Myers’ career came in the form of 2003’s The Cat in the Hat, a film so reviled by fans and critics alike that Dr. Seuss’ widow successfully prohibited movie studios from making any more live-action adaptations of her late husband’s children’s books.

But everybody’s allowed to have a flop, so we’ll forgive the man who brought us So I Married an Axe Murderer. It’s worth noting, however, that after the release of 2008’s The Love Guru, which starred Myers, who also wrote and produced the film, it was another epic failure that was hard to bounce back from.

Since The Love Guru, Myers has mostly stayed out of the limelight, but has still made himself present in films like Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, and the Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. In other words, he’s not retired, but seems more inclined to spend time with his wife and three kids while pursuing his own personal artistic projects in relative obscurity. It’s safe to say that Mike Myers isn’t done yet, but he has definitely slowed things down a bit in favor of a quiet life over one in Hollywood.

7 Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz There's Something About Mary 1200 x 630
20th Century Fox

Cameron Diaz is among the list of A-list actors who decided to take a break from acting, but still remains quite busy to this day. Citing difficulty in balancing her family life with the demands of an acting career, the There’s Something About Mary actress has diverted her focus to being a mother.

But from 2014 to present day, Diaz has flexed her entrepreneurial muscles in the form of investing in health and biotech startups, like Seed Health and Modern Acupuncture. She also launched her own organic wine brand, Avaline, in 2020.

As for her work in television and film, it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen the end of Cameron Diaz. She guest judged an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars in 2022, and will be starring in a Netflix action comedy movie called Back in Action alongside Jamie Foxx, but the release date has yet to be determined.

6 Bridget Fonda

Bridget Fonda Jackie Brown 1200 x 630

While some actors on this list are simply taking a break, Bridget Fonda did not parse her words when asked by the paparazzi at LAX this past April. When she was asked if she would ever have a Hollywood comeback, she answered with, “I don’t think so, it’s too nice being a civilian.” In other words, she’s enjoying her private life, and it’s not likely we’ll see her starring in anything any time soon, or ever.

Though Fonda hasn’t starred in a feature-length film since 2001’s The Whole Shebang, she had quite the run, but ultimately stepped out of the spotlight after marrying Danny Elfman in 2003, and having a child with him in 2005. Though the Jackie Brown star was seen on the red carpet in 2009 to see the premiere of Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, she’s only been spotted by the public a few times since, indicating that she’s over the hustle and bustle of Hollywood, and happy concentrating on her family life.

5 Shelley Duvall

Shelley Duval The Shining 1200 x 630
Warner Bros.

Though Shelley Duvall retired from acting in 2002 after her portrayal of Detective Dubrinski in Manna From Heaven, it has been reported that she returned to acting in 2022, and will be starring in The Forest Hills, which doesn’t have a release date at the time of this writing. She initially stepped away from her career after a 32-year run when her brother was diagnosed with spinal cancer.

At this point in her career, she moved from Hollywood, and back to Texas to support her family, while living a relatively quiet life away from the spotlight. But it seems as if she’s ready to shake the rust off, and pursue acting once again. We’ll just have to wait for further developments, as The Forest Hills is still in production, but is expected to be released sometime this year.

4 Frankie Muniz

Frankie Muniz Malcolm in the Middle 1200 x 630
20th Century Fox

After Malcolm in the Middle’s seven-season run, he didn’t necessarily step away from acting, but rather got involved in other ventures, which resulted in him taking on fewer roles. In 2008, Frankie Muniz pursued open-wheel racing, as well as a career in music. He drummed in the Pennsylvania-based band Kingsfoil for two years, before quitting due to scheduling issues.

Muniz has also proven himself to be quite the entrepreneur. In 2006, he purchased a number of parking lots in Downtown Los Angeles for a passive income, and in 2018 he bought Outrageous Olive Oils & Vinegars, which is based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

But make no mistake. Muniz never truly left acting, but rather focused his energy on several other ventures, causing him to slow down. He’s still quite active, but is a lot more selective in taking on roles that will conflict with his busy schedule.

3 Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Jonathan Taylor Thomas Home Improvement 1200 x 630
Buena Vista Television

After being the breakaway character from Tim Allen’s Home Improvement, Jonathan Taylor Thomas slowed down on acting to pursue higher education. The reason he left the show during its penultimate season was because he couldn’t balance the demanding schedule of starring in a weekly sitcom while also carrying his course load. He earned a degree in philosophy and history, and all but disappeared from the public eye after a few movie roles.

Though the last couple of decades have been quiet from Jonathan Taylor Thomas, he worked with Tim Allen once again by reprising his role of Randy from Home Improvement in Allen’s Last Man Standing. He also directed a handful of episodes between 2013 and 2016.

These days, Jonathan Taylor Thomas seems quite okay with resting on his laurels, and living with a relatively low profile. In other words, he put his work in, and generated his wealth when he was young, and we can’t really blame him for wanting to retire early and enjoy his adult life.

2 Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes The Amanda Show 1200 x 630
Nickelodeon Network

A young Amanda Bynes was the breakaway star from Nickelodeon’s All That, which eventually paved the way to the star having her own show, The Amanda Show. Bynes became a household name during the early 2000s, but has not starred in a film since 2010’s Easy A.

Like many child stars, Amanda Bynes retired from acting early, stating that she lost her passion. And in subsequent years, the She’s the Man star had a number of highly publicized mental health issues that ultimately resulted in her mother being granted conservatorship over her.

Though this should not be seen as a weakness of character, as it seems like Bynes is taking the necessary steps to reclaim her mental health. For the time being, we probably won’t see Amanda Bynes acting any time soon, but she’s still quite young, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that she’ll one day return to acting, or the public eye.

Related: Best Rick Moranis Movies, Ranked

1 Geena Davis

Geena Davis Beetlejuice 1200 x 630
Warner Bros.

Geena Davis took some time off from acting to be around for her family, but she’s been hard at work. She has still has taken on a number of roles throughout the decades, but has slowed down since 2004, when she founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. She spends a lot of her time these days consulting directors with her research on gender roles in media, and her crusade is very much centered on making media less gender-biased.

She also co-founded the Bentonville Film Festival in 2015. This non-profit film festival showcases movies directed by women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community. So even though Geena Davis isn’t as active on the big screen these days, she’s very much hard at work behind the scenes, and fighting for the greater good in the form of representing those who she feels deserves the spotlight.

This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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