Most people can think of nothing better than being a celebrity. With this status often comes fame and fortune, allowing actors, singers, and other public figures to live a life of luxury that the rest of the public can only dream of. Yet, despite the fact that being a celebrity is something that a huge number aspire to, there are many who have turned their back on fame and quit show business to go back to living a normal life.
These aren’t famous movie stars who were hounded out of Hollywood for their behavior or musicians who had breakdowns. Instead, these are promising talented people who quit well before their time. Whether they just couldn’t handle the fame that came with the job or had to leave it all behind because of personal tragedy, these are famous people who gave up their fame and now work normal jobs. These people who quit acting to lead regular lives remind us that celebrity is fleeting and not always desirable.
Most people will remember Rick Moranis for his comedic roles in movies such as Ghostbusters, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Little Shop of Horrors. Following the death of his wife in 1991 from breast cancer, the actor slowly began to scale back his work commitments as he took sole responsibility for bringing up his children as a single father. By 1997, he had quit acting completely.
“I’m a single parent and I just found that it was too difficult to manage to raise my kids and to do the traveling involved in making movies, he said in an interview with USA Today. “So I took a little bit of a break. And the little bit of a break turned into a longer break, and then I found that I really didn’t miss it.”
The Malcolm in the Middle star was once considered one of the rising stars of Hollywood and appeared in a host of movies after his tenure on the hit TV show. However, he effectively quit acting in 2008. He wasn’t particularly sick of the business, as he has still appeared in some brief roles, but wanted to concentrate on other interests. Muniz has also taken part in motorsports and drummed in an alternative band. In 2017 he confirmed that he was managing a new band.
Phoebe Cates sprung to stardom as a child actress. Her standout moment came in the movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High, when she instantly became a global sex symbol. She also had breakout roles in Gremlins and Drop Dead Fred before finally retiring from acting in 1994. The primary reason behind this was so that she could settle down with her husband Kevin Kline and help look after their children. Cates has since started her own business in New York, selling women’s clothing and jewelry.
Charlie Korsmo had childhood roles in Hook and What About Bob? and is easily recognizable among ’90s kid actors. Despite putting out six movies between 1990 and 1991, the North Dakota-born child actor quit making movies in 1998. Instead, he went to college and earned a degree in physics before going on to work for the Environmental Protection Agency. He later studied law at Yale University and is now working as a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Gene Hackman was once one of the most well-known actors working in Hollywood. Following his breakout role in Bonnie and Clyde as Buck Barrow, he starred in a variety of other films, including Mississippi Burning, Superman: The Movie, and Enemy of the State. His last role was in the 2004 flick Welcome to Mooseport, after which he quit acting altogether. He turned his hand to writing historical fiction novels and has turned down several roles, preferring to work from home where he’s comfortable.
Most people would not recognize Jeff Cohen if they saw him today but cult film enthusiasts will know him as Chunk from The Goonies. Following this appearance, he had various roles in smaller television and film productions before leaving the business. Cohen then studied at several universities and eventually became a successful entertainment lawyer, even starting his own company within the industry.
British-born Cary Grant began acting at a very young age, joining theatre groups before he was a teenager. After moving to Hollywood to pursue a film career, he appeared in movies such as North by Northwest, That Touch of Mink and The Philadelphia Story. During that time, Grant became one of the most prominent and bankable leading men in the business. Having become disillusioned with Hollywood and the lack of good scripts he received, he retired from acting at 62 to concentrate on his other business interests and look after his newborn daughter.
The name Jake Lloyd might not be instantly familiar to the vast majority of people but he will be recognizable as the face of Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace. Lloyd also appeared in several other movies, such as Jingle All The Way but quit acting due to the bad experiences he had after the Star Wars film released.
In addition to being bullied for his role in the franchise, Lloyd also said that he “was so upset by the filming process and the subsequent blow back that he decided he would never act again.” He has since attended college studying film and psychology but was placed in psychiatric care in 2015 following a police chase.
Glenda Jackson began her career in acting during the 1950s and rose through the ranks in stage performances in the United Kingdom before transitioning to film in the ‘60s. She experienced much success over the next decade, winning two Oscars for best actress for her roles in Women in Love and A Touch of Class as well as receiving two more nominations in the same category. Despite her success, she quit acting to pursue a career in politics. She ran as an MP for the Labor Party in the 1992 general election and stayed in the House of Commons until 2015.
Having appeared in a number of films during his brief acting career, Michael Schoeffling is perhaps best known for his role as Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles. After settling down with his wife and having two children, the Pennsylvania-born actor quit the business to focus more on his family. He also explained that the number of jobs being offered to him was not enough to keep him in acting. Instead, he now owns his own store that sells handcrafted wooden furniture that he makes himself.
American actress Mary Badham is best known for appearing in To Kill a Mockingbird as Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. After appearing in two other productions over the next few years, she retired from acting at the age of just 14. Instead, she went on to lecture and work as an art restorer in Virginia where she lived. She has since made small cameos in a select few films but has mainly concentrated on her alternative chosen career.
No one who came across Peter Ostrum today would likely realize that he was once Charlie from the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. After completing the movie, he decided against doing any more acting work and settled back into a quiet life. After his family acquired a horse in his teenage years, he became interested in veterinary medicine and earned a doctorate degree in the subject. He now works in New York as a vet, specializing in serving large animals such as cows and horses.
Perhaps best known as Lydie Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfite, Lisa Jakub also had roles in films such as Independence Day and Painted Angels. However, in 2000 she was 22 and loathing the industry believing acting had created problems in her life. Deciding to leave Hollywood for good, she moved to Virginia and worked a variety of different jobs, including at a radio station, before deciding that she wanted to write for a living.
Jaye Davidson found fame in 1992 in the thriller The Crying Game before he quit acting altogether after some smaller roles. Davidson had never wanted to be an actor and was only cast in the hit film when he was discovered at a party by a casting director. He quit Hollywood after coming to dislike the famethat came with appearing in movies and not wanting to take bad roles. The former actor went on to work as a model.
Shane McDermott shot to fame for his part as the cool kid from the 1993 comedy Airborne, which also featured the talents of Seth Green and Jack Black. While those two went on to have successful Hollywood careers, McDermott quit acting not long afterwards. He puts this down to wanting to start a family and settle into a permanent home. The former actor now focuses on a real estate business, where he helps renovate and then sell properties in Texas.