Many celebrities chose to live a life away from the public eye, such as these former stars who decided to leave the world of Hollywood in favor of a different career path.
Gene Hackman – Novelist
Gene Hackman was a name to be heard in 1967 when “Bonnie and Clyde” just came out in theaters. In the 90s, Hackman went on to star in several films, including “Crimson Tide” (1995), but his final role was in 2004. That year, Hackman appeared on Larry King and announced that he had no acting projects coming up. He went on to write three successful novels.
Sean Connery – Retired
Sean Connery is known to be the first actor to play James Bond in a movie and starring in 7 Bond films between 1962 and 1983. In the late 80s, Connery was voted “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine, and in 2000, Elizabeth II knighted the actor for his services to Film Drama. In 2007, Connery confirmed his retirement when asked whether he would appear in the fourth “Indiana Jones” film. He answered, “retirement is just too much damned fun”.
Erin Moran – Suffered Depression
Moran got her breakthrough acting role when she was cast in the hit series Happy Days. Moran was 13-years-old at the time and she starred on the show for eight years. She went on to star on the spin-off series, Joanie Loves Chachi, but after only one year on the air, she returned to Happy Days for its final season. She was hardly seen after the 80’s, and Moran admitted she suffered from depression and failed to secure acting gigs. She sadly died in April 2017.
Kirk Cameron – Religion
He was famous for playing Mike Seaver in Growing Pains, but over time Kirk Cameron slowly lost his focus for acting after his television gig. Rather, he turned his attention to becoming a full-time author, as well as a religious activist. It was during his time on Growing Pains that he became a born-again Christian and insisted some of the scripts be changed if he did not see them as appropriate. He has been seen in some documentaries and film shorts in the last 10 years.
Josh Saviano – Lawyer
He was known for being a child actor having starred as Paul Joshua Pfeiffer in The Wonder Years during the 80’s. However, this was one of Josh’s very few roles in film and television, and he was not to stay in the acting world much longer following the end of The Wonder Years. His last television appearance was in 1989, and he went on to major in political science at Yale University. He ended up being a corporate lawyer and founded two-start up endeavors.
Frankie Muniz – Race Car Driver
Frankie Muniz is a more recognizable face in Hollywood, having starred in the hit series, Malcolm in the Middle, as well as numerous films throughout his career. However, Muniz, who began his acting career from a young age, made a big change at the age of 23 and needed a break from acting. Having been nominated for an Emmy and Golden Globe Award during his career, Muniz decided to pursue his other passion – racing cars. He began open-wheel racing and competed in the Atlantic Championship.
Although he never won an Academy Award for his time as an actor, Cary Grant is one of the biggest stars from ‘Classic Hollywood.’ Born in England, Grant became a star as the leading man in romantic and screwball comedies in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. At age 62, Grant decided to step away from the cameras and focus on raising her daughter Jennifer. In addition, he took on a board seat at Faberage, regularly attending meetings and supporting international efforts.
It is not easy to step away from Hollywood in your prime, but that’s exactly what Greta Garbo did. The thrice Academy Award-nominated actress started her career in silent films before making her speaking debut in Anna Christie in 1930. After a spell as “box office poison,” she revived her career only to retire at age 35. Garbo enjoyed a life of leisure in retirement, and became a frequent vacationer. In addition to jet-setting, Garbo started a massive art collection worth millions by her death.
As one of the founding members of rock band Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett performed with the band for barely four years before leaving in 1968. After a battle with mental illness, Barrett continued to perform as a solo artist. However, by 1978, he was out of money and decided to return home to Cambridge to live with his mother. While living in Cambridge, he began focusing on painting abstract canvases – a skill he studied at Camberwell College of Arts in 1964 – as well as gardening.
In the 70s and 80s, Swedish pop group ABBA was one of the biggest bands in the world. After the band’s breakup and her subsequent solo career, singer Agnetha Falskog stepped away from the music industry. She bought an isolated country house in Sweden to focus on the things that meant most to her. Falskog spent her time in Ekero studying astrology, doing yoga, and riding horses. She claims that she did not sing at all for a 13-year stretch.
Peter Ostrum – Veterinarian
He played the young Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but this was to be Ostrum’s first and last role in Hollywood. While his younger face may be recognized by millions who have watched the film and envied the character which he played, Hollywood was not the path Ostrum continued to follow. His focus turned to animals, and he now resides in New York state, where he works as a vet specializing in large animals.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas – Harvard Graduate
Jonathan Taylor Thomas voiced the role of Simba in The Lion King and played Randy Taylor on ABC’s sitcom, Home Improvement during the 90’s. After a successful seven years on the show, starring alongside Tim Allen, he decided to leave the show in 1998. Thomas decided to leave the show, as well as Hollywood altogether at this time so he could focus on his studies. With all his work and efforts, Jonathan went on to earn himself a degree at Harvard.
Alfonso Ribeiro – Dancer/Host
Alfonso Ribeiro, better known to everyone around the world as the dancing Carlton from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, used to be an actor. After the series ended in 1996, Ribeiro went on to star numerous reality shows, including Celebrity Duets in 200. Later on, Ribeiro hosted “Catch 21” and took part in the 19th season of “Dancing with the Stars”.
Nicky Blonsky – Hair Stylist
No one could have played the role better than Nikki Blonsky when she played Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 hit Hairspray. However, Blonsky failed to secure herself any roles after her success in the box office hit and retired to her home state in New York to begin a career elsewhere. A far cry away from singing and dancing on the big screen, Nikki has gone from Hairspray to now working as a hair stylist. Wonder if anyone asks for the Tracy Turnblad cut?
Chris Owen – Waiter
Chris Owen got his big break from starring in the box-office hit, American Pie. However, while he had a great role in such a successful film, it seems his success was short-lived when it came to working in Hollywood. Having stemmed away from the acting scene and attempting to find more big roles, Owen worked as a waiter at a sushi restaurant for a time. He later landed roles in two films.
Kevin Jonas – Restauranteur
The Jonas Brothers used to sell out tours around the world and were a truly talented group of brothers. While they endured hit singles during their pop career, the brothers decided to part ways and ended the band. The other Jonas brothers may still be making music, but Kevin decided to start a career elsewhere. Jonas launched the app called Yoop following the break-up from the group, which is an app that gives restaurant recommendations based on your area.
Danny Lloyd – Biology Professor
He may have been the young boy from The Shining, but you could have been a student being taught biology by that same person. Having grown much into his adult years, Danny Lloyd is now a biology professor in Kentucky rather than a celebrity walking down the red carpet. He retired from acting two years after The Shining release, at which time he was only eight-years-old. Apparently when he was filming for The Shining he had no idea he was starring in a horror film.
MC Hammer – Professor
Most people will still be familiar with MC Hammer, although he was at the height of his career during the 80s and 90s. With all the success during his musical career, MC Hammer struggled to manage his finances properly and ended up filing for bankruptcy. Fortunately, he was able to work it all out, but rather than getting back into the music world, he officiates weddings, lectures at Ivy League Schools, and is working on developing iPad Apps.
Tony Danza – English Teacher
He once starred in the popular films, Taxi and Who’s the Boss, but Danza steered towards a different career path after a couple of acting stints. Danza spent a year teaching students English in Northeast High School in Philadelphia. He also released a book in 2012 but in 2017 Netflix announced that he would be returning to acting in a new series called The Good Cop.
Freddie Prinze Jr. – Cook
Freddie Prinze Jr. was a true heartthrob during the 90’s, and girls were falling in love with the star after his roles in She’s All That and I Know What You Did Last Summer. After marrying fellow actress Sarah Michelle Geller, and keeping quite a private life, Freddie Prince Jr. moved away from acting in more recent years and started to show off his talents in the kitchen. He even released his own cookbook called, “Back To The Kitchen.”
Jeff Cohen – Lawyer/Writer
Jeff Cohen was one of the child stars in the film The Goonies, but the child actor did not choose to pursue acting in his adult life. Rather, Cohen moved to pursue a professional career elsewhere and left Hollywood to become a lawyer in his older years. He had attended the University of California, Berkeley, and later went onto becoming an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles. He also founded his own law firm, Cohen & Gardner, in 2002 and writes for The Huffington Post.
Gary Coleman – Security Guard
Gary Coleman was a household name during the 70s and 80s after starring in the hit show Diff’rent Strokes. He was the funny child actor that won the hearts of millions, but it seems his fortune was not to last as the years went on. Although he was seen as one of the most promising stars of the time, Coleman struggled financially. Before Coleman sadly passed away in 2010, he was not working as an actor in Hollywood but took on a career as a security guard.
Another former Hollywood star who went on to teach rather than continue a career in Hollywood is Carrie Henn. Henn starred alongside Sigourney Weaver in Alien when she was 10-years-old, but said she would not return to acting after. She only ended up having a short-lived acting career and lived a Hollywood-free existence. Although she stood out in the role as the young girl in the film, her career turned to teaching in her adult life, and she now works in a school in Atwater, California.
Doris Day was in her prime during the 60’s and 70’s, becoming one of the biggest stars of that time. With such an iconic presence in Hollywood, her name could never be forgotten. However, she removed herself from Hollywood and further acting gigs after facing personal issues of her own. While she stepped out of the limelight to focus mostly on her family life, she also focused her sights on helping injured animals back to good health.
Saved by the Bell was a 90′ hit, and the cast members were definitely household names with their audience during this time. However, following their success during the 90’s, some were not to be seen again and pursued a career elsewhere. While Lark enjoyed her time in Hollywood, she chose to leave her original passion for acting and set her sights on a different career. Since choosing to leave Hollywood, Lark has become an accomplished author and has stayed away from acting.
He stole our hearts as a child actor when he starred in The Never Ending Story, but Barret Oliver did not continue his career in Hollywood during his adult years. After his last role in 1989, he decided that acting was not for him and that he preferred being on the other side of the camera. He now works in print and photography, and he has proven successful in this field. His work has been displayed in museums and gallery exhibitions.
Grace Kelly really did have the fairytale story. Having once been a shining star in Hollywood, she later became a shining princess, donning all the royal accessories after marrying the Prince of Monaco. Since she married into the royal family and becoming the Princess of Monaco, it meant her Hollywood days were over. But this isn’t such a bad compromise, since most actresses only get to play a princess on the big screen, but do not actually end up becoming one in real life.
The Canadian actor is well-known for appearing in Hollywood films such as Ghostbusters, Little Shop of Horrors, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. In 1991, Rick’s wife sadly passed away, and Moranis decided to retire from acting completely in 1997 so he could focus on raising his two children. While working as an actor, Rick had to do a lot of acting, and he admits that the traveling involved in making movies was too difficult to commit to while raising children.
Brittany Ashton Holmes
She was the cute little girl in The Little Rascals, and while that cast made an iconic movie, it seems that there was not much more in the acting world for Brittany following the end of production. Having retired from acting in 1996, just two years after playing Darla in The Little Rascals, Holmes’ acting career was short-lived. Holmes currently lives in Los Angeles and is working at Starbucks while also hoping to complete a degree in political sciences.
At just seven years old, Shirley Temple was awarded a special juvenile Oscar for her contribution to film in the year of 1935. However, even being regarded as one of the most famous child actors, it seems that acting was not enough for Temple, and the appeal was lost by the time she was 22. In the late 60’s she was back in the spotlight, but for different reasons. She became a politician and diplomat, as well as, the US ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
She was the much adored Buffy the Vampire Slayer during the 90’s, but after staking the hearts of her enemies, Sarah Michelle Gellar set her sights elsewhere. The former actress turned to the startup life and, similarly to her husband who wrote a cooking book, she moved from acting to focus on food. In 2015, Sarah co-founded the baking kit company called FoodStirs. The married couple must make a dynamic duo in the kitchen because, together, they have everything covered!
He was the heartthrob on Melrose Place for seven years during the 90’s, but following his success on the series, he became one of the world’s most famous mommy bloggers. The former actor exchanged scripts for content, and Shue co-founded CaféMom alongside his childhood best friend, Michael Sanchez. CaféMom is a social networking site that focuses on the interests of women and the site delivers parenting content and is a platform for help, advice, and recommendations.
She had a wardrobe we all envied and lived the glam life in a Bel Air mansion, but that was just during the 90’s when playing the pretty blonde Cher on Clueless. Since the 90’s, however, Silverstone has stemmed away from Hollywood to focus on subjects she deems of more importance. Alicia chose to use her famous platform to do something good and make a difference. She wanted to change the world and make things better, so focused her sights on doing so.
Amanda Bynes was the successful child star that has a huge repertoire of films and television series to add to her resume. However, after a few legal battles and personal struggles, Bynes disappeared from the limelight. The former She’s The Man actress is now setting her sights on fashion and has since put a halt to her acting career. She is now spending her time focusing on her education and has enrolled in California’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
Considering the hype around the next royal wedding on the internet, there is NO chance that you haven’t heard about Meghan Markle getting engaged to the love of her life, Prince Harry! The two lovebirds embarked upon their relationship approximately a year ago, and just recently announced that they will be married in the spring of 2018. Furthermore, now that Meghan will be joining the royal family, she has officially ended her contract on hit lawyer series “Suits”, and chances are, she will not be coming back to show business due to her new status.
Angus T. Jones
He starred as the funny kid on Two and a Half Men and even continued his starring role in the show into his teen years. However, as he grew into his older years and starred on the show for a total of ten years, it seems that Jones had a change of heart for acting and for the show he was so well-known for. Rather, Jones decided to become a member of the Seventh-day Adventists Church, and has since joined the management team for an event production called Tonite.
He was on one of the biggest shows of the moment, but after he played King Joffrey on Game of Thrones for three years, Jack Gleeson decided to quit acting. As one of the most hated characters on TV, fans rejoiced when Gleeson was killed off from the series. At the same time, Gleeson decided to kill his acting career after saying he no longer enjoyed it like he used to. Rather, Gleeson chose to go and study philosophy and theology at college.
Erik Per Sullivan
It seems that Sullivan followed suit with his former co-star Frankie Muniz and chose to leave Hollywood after his stint in Malcolm in the Middle. Having decided that Hollywood wasn’t his thing, Sullivan went to study at the University of Southern California. After finishing his time on Malcolm in the Middle at age 14, his last role on screen was in 2006, and he has not made any television appearances since he decided to focus his attention on his studies.
She was a hit during the 80’s and a well-known Hollywood actress starring in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. However, Cates decided to slow things down during the 90’s and took a break from Hollywood altogether. During this time, she focused her time on her family and also decided to pursue other work too. Cates turned her focus to charity and does a lot of charity work, as well as raise awareness for Juvenile Diabetes.
She starred alongside Will Smith on the hit series, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, playing cousin Hilary. Having starred on such a successful show during the 90’s, and had a few more acting stints for the years that followed, Parsons chose to turn her back on acting and focus on another passion of hers. Rather than starring in front of the camera, Parsons founded her own company. The company, called Sweet Blackberry, funds animated films about unsung black heroes.
Jim Carrey is known to be everyone’s favorite “funny guy” on television, but more recently, Carrey has really shifted his career. In the last few years, Jim Carrey has opened up on battling depression, finding his “zen” and understanding the difference between mind, body and soul. Aside from his personal life, Carrey is now more focused on directing documentaries and less focused on your typical family comedies. We’ll miss Jim the “Liar Liar”, but we’re glad he’s found himself!
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Governor
From Mr. Olympia to The Terminator to the 38th Governor of California, Schwarzenegger has done it all! Schwarzenegger began to train as a professional bodybuilder at the age of 15, and in 1984, this physique helped him become a Hollywood action film icon. Since then, Schwarzenegger embarked upon a career in politics, and in 2011, completed his last term as a governor.
Seagal made his face known on the big screen with his roles in hits such as Under Siege and, while he may also be a martial arts specialist, he has set his sights elsewhere. It was reported that Seagal was sworn in as a Dona Ana County deputy in New Mexico and is considered a reserve officer. However, this title means Seagal can only carry out police work if a commissioned peace officer accompanies him. He has recently written an action novel and still appears in the productions from time to time.