Would you like to learn about the 30 celebrities who transitioned to mundane occupations after their fame dissipated? This article delves into the lives of well-known figures who left the entertainment industry to pursue more conventional means of livelihood. Despite the allure of fame, it is not a permanent condition, as exemplified by the individuals on this list.
These celebrities, some of whom made the choice to pursue alternate careers out of personal interest, have become writers, entrepreneurs, and lawyers, among other professions. If you are curious to discover more about these celebrities, be sure to read on.
1. Willa Ford
Willa Ford is a well-known model, actress, singer, and dancer who gained fame in the early 2000s. She released her debut studio album Willa Was Here in 2001, which included the hit single "I Wanna Be Bad," establishing her as a popular pop singer. Ford also had a number of film roles and posed for Playboy during her career.
However, she eventually decided to leave the glamour of the entertainment industry behind and pursue a new career as an interior designer. Ford finds satisfaction in this new occupation, as it allows her to work behind the scenes rather than constantly being in the spotlight.
2. Angelina Pivarnick
Angelina Pivarnick gained recognition for her appearances on the reality TV show Jersey Shore, as well as other MTV reality programs. However, Pivarnick eventually decided that the constant attention and scrutiny of reality TV was not for her and chose to pursue a different career path as an EMT. She worked for the Fire Department of New York City on Staten Island and found fulfillment in this role.
Despite leaving the world of reality TV, Pivarnick did make a brief return to the spotlight by starring in All-Star Shore. She acknowledged that she missed the fame and attention, but ultimately values the more fulfilling work she has found as an EMT.
3. Erik Estrada
Erik Estrada is widely known for his portrayal of Francis Poncherello in the highly popular police sitcom CHiPs. Throughout his career, Estrada also appeared in over 200 films and television shows including The New Centurions, Caged Fury, and Hawaii Five-O. Estrada has a deep respect for law enforcement and decided to pursue a career in this field, first as a reserve police officer and later as an investigator for Internet Crimes Against Children.
Estrada is proud of this new direction in his career, as it aligns with his previous acting roles as a police officer. He continues to act and has no reservations about continuing to portray law enforcement officers.
4. Chris Owen
Chris Owen is widely recognized for his portrayal of The Sherminator in the popular American Pie film series. Throughout his career, Owen also appeared in a variety of films including Major Payne, Can't Hardly Wait, Ready to Rumble, and Van Wilder. Despite his success in the industry and work on notable comedies, Owen decided to take a break from acting.
He subsequently became a waiter at a sushi restaurant in Santa Monica, where he was occasionally spotted. However, Owen has since transitioned to a successful career as a realtor.
5. Danny Tamberelli
Danny Tamberelli gained widespread fame for his portrayal of Little Pete in the popular television series The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Throughout the 1990s, Tamberelli also had numerous roles in television shows and films such as The Mighty Ducks, The Adventures of Huck Finn, and Josh and S.A.M.
As Tamberelli grew older, he decided that acting was no longer a suitable career path and instead pursued a musical career. He also started a podcast with Michael Maronna, a former colleague from The Adventures of Pete & Pete.
6. Michael Maronna
Michael Maronna gained recognition for his portrayal of Big Pete Wrigley in the popular television show The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Maronna also had a number of film roles during his childhood, including appearances in Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Slackers, and 40 Days and 40 Nights.
However, Maronna eventually decided that acting was not the career path he wanted to pursue and instead became an electrician in the film industry. While Maronna took a lengthy break from acting, he recently announced his intention to return to the big screen and is reportedly set to star in the horror film "I Saw the TV Glow."
7. Josh Saviano
Josh Saviano is best known for his portrayal of Paul Pfieffer in the beloved TV series The Wonder Years. Throughout his career, Saviano also appeared in a handful of other television shows such as Reading Rainbow, Camp Cucamonga, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. However, Saviano decided to retire from acting at a young age in order to focus on his education.
He went on to graduate from Yale University with degrees in political science and law. In addition to his academic pursuits, Saviano also founded a company that assists artists in building their own businesses. Saviano has no plans to return to acting, as he finds fulfillment in his current endeavors.
8. Lark Voorhies
Lark Voorhies gained widespread fame for her portrayal of Lisa Marie Turtle in the popular NBC sitcom Saved by the Bell, for which she received six Young Artist Awards. Throughout her career, Voorhies also appeared in various television shows and films such as How High, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Family Matters.
At some point, Voorhies decided to take a break from acting and pursued a career as a writer. She has published three books and has even returned to her iconic role as Lisa in the revival of Saved by the Bell.
9. Danny Lloyd
Danny Lloyd is widely known for his portrayal of Danny Torrance in Stanley Kubrick's horror classic The Shining. While working on the film, Lloyd was kept unaware of its true genre and believed that he was participating in a children's movie. Despite this notable role, Lloyd's acting career was relatively short-lived and included appearances in a few additional films such as Terror in the Aisles, Room 237, and Doctor Sleep.
Lloyd later transitioned to careers as a farmer and community college professor, though he remained open to the possibility of reprising his role as Danny in Doctor Sleep. Lloyd looks back on his acting experience with fond memories.
10. Taran Noah Smith
Taran Noah Smith gained recognition for his portrayal of Mark Taylor in the popular 1990s sitcom Home Improvement. In addition to this role, Smith also appeared in a number of films and TV shows such as Ebbie and Batman Beyond. However, Smith eventually decided that acting was not the career path he wanted to pursue and chose to explore other options.
He found that he had a passion for building and carpentry, likely influenced by his experience on Home Improvement. Smith has since dedicated himself to this field and has no plans to return to Hollywood.
11. MC Hammer
MC Hammer rose to prominence in the 1990s with hit songs such as "U Can't Touch This," "2 Legit 2 Quit," and "Pumps and a Bump." Despite his success in the music industry, financial difficulties eventually led to bankruptcy. However, Hammer did not let this setback define him and chose to pursue a new career path as a minister.
He has found success in this role and is grateful for the opportunity to shift his perspective. MC Hammer will always be remembered as a highly talented rapper and dancer of the 1990s.
12. Angus T. Jones
Angus T. Jones is widely recognized for his portrayal of Jake Harper in the highly popular sitcom Two and a Half Men, alongside Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer. Prior to this, Jones had also appeared in several films including Simpatico, See Spot Run, and The Rookie.
In recent years, Jones has decided to take a break from acting and has ventured into event management as the co-founder of Tonite. Jones seems to have found fulfillment in this new career path.
13. Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Jonathan Taylor Thomas is an accomplished actor known for his portrayal of Randy Taylor in the popular sitcom "Home Improvement," which aired for eight seasons and starred comedy legend Tim Allen. Thomas has also appeared in a number of films, including "The Lion King," "Tom and Huck," "Man of the House," and "Wild America."
Despite his success in acting, Thomas decided to shift his focus to writing and directing for television. He has since pursued a successful career in these fields, remaining active in the entertainment industry.
14. Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz is a highly accomplished actress known for her roles in a number of films starting in the 1990s, including "The Mask," "There's Something About Mary," "Charlie's Angels," and "The Holiday." She was one of the top actresses at the time and enjoyed a successful career in the entertainment industry.
In 2014, Diaz decided to take a break from acting to focus on raising her family and pursuing other interests. She became a writer, publishing two books on living a healthy lifestyle, and even founded a company that produces organic wine. While there have been rumors that Diaz may return to acting in the future, no official announcements have been made.
15. Charlie Korsmo
Charlie Korsmo is an accomplished actor best known for his roles as the Kid in "Dick Tracey" and Jack Banning in "Hook." He has also appeared in a number of films including "Men Don't Leave," "What About Bob?," and "The Doctor." Despite his successful acting career as a child, Korsmo decided to pursue a different path and earned a law degree from Yale University.
His hard work and dedication were recognized by Barack Obama, who nominated Korsmo to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.
16. Jack Gleeson
Jack Gleeson is an accomplished actor known for his role as Joffrey Baratheon in the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones," as well as his appearances in films such as "Reign of Fire," "Batman Begins," and "A Shine of Rainbows." Despite his success in the film industry, Gleeson decided to take a break from acting to focus on his education, earning a degree in philosophy and theology from Trinity College in Dublin.
He then co-founded the Collapsing Horse Theatre Company with a classmate. While Gleeson had previously stated that he was retiring from acting, he has since returned to the industry and is looking to star in additional films.
17. Dylan Sprouse
Dylan Sprouse is an accomplished actor known for his role alongside his twin brother Cole in the popular television series "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody." He has also appeared in films such as "The Astronaut's Wife" and "Just for Kicks," as well as the Adam Sandler film "Big Daddy."
In addition to acting, Sprouse is also the owner of All-Wise Meadery, a business located in Brooklyn, New York that sells a variety of products including coffee and beer. Running the meadery is one of Sprouse's passions, and he continues to act while also pursuing this venture.
18. Nikki Blonsky
Nikki Blonsky is an accomplished actress and singer known for her role as Tracy Turnblad in the musical film "Hairspray." Her performance earned her nominations for a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
In addition to acting, Blonsky has also appeared in a number of films and television shows and has worked as a hairstylist and sales associate at a high-end shoe store in New York City. Despite her success in the entertainment industry, Blonsky is not afraid to work hard and take on various roles to support herself.
19. Vanilla Ice
Vanilla Ice is an accomplished musician best known for his hit song "Ice Ice Baby," which was highly popular during the 1990s. He continued to create music throughout his career, but faced setbacks including a lawsuit from the band Queen over the similarities between the beat of "Ice Ice Baby" and one of their songs.
Despite these challenges, Vanilla Ice decided to pursue a new career path and became a house flipper. He has found success in this venture and remains financially successful.
20. Mike Vitar
Mike Vitar is an accomplished actor best known for his role as Benjamin Franklin "Benny the Jet" Rodriguez in the popular 1990s film "The Sandlot." He also appeared in a number of 1990s children's films, such as "D2: The Mighty Ducks," "D3: The Mighty Ducks," and "Sunset Grill."
Despite his successful acting career as a teenager, Vitar decided to pursue a different path and became a firefighter for the Los Angeles Fire Department in 2002. He has been working as a firefighter ever since, while also looking back on his acting career with no regrets.
21. Kevin Jonas
Kevin Jonas is an accomplished musician best known for his role as a member of the highly popular pop-rock band the Jonas Brothers. Alongside his brothers Nick and Joe, Kevin contributed to the band's success, which included selling millions of records worldwide.
In 2013, the Jonas Brothers decided to take a break from making music, and Kevin decided to pursue a different career path. He is currently a home builder and contractor, enjoying the opportunity to create new homes for people and finding fulfillment in his new career.
22. Karyn Parsons
Karyn Parsons is an accomplished actress known for her role as Hilary Banks in the popular television series "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Throughout her acting career, she has also appeared in a number of films and television shows. In addition to acting, Parsons has also pursued a career as a writer, having authored three children's books to date with plans to write more in the future.
She is also actively involved in charitable work, focusing on organizations that support children facing challenging circumstances. Despite taking a break from acting, Parsons continues to take on acting roles on occasion.
23. Ali McGraw
Ali McGraw is a highly accomplished actress known for her roles in films such as "Goodbye, Columbus," "The Getaway," "Convoy," and "Players." She received the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year and was a highly popular actress during the 1970s.
In addition to acting, McGraw also pursued other career paths, including becoming a yoga instructor and advocate for animal rights. She has released a number of yoga instructional videos and has not returned to the big screen since focusing on her new lifestyle.
24. Danielle Fishel
Danielle Fishel is a highly accomplished actress, known for her portrayal of Topanga Lawrence in the hit series "Boy Meets World." Throughout her career, she has also appeared in a number of films and television shows, including "Full House," "The Chosen One," and "Girl Meets World."
In addition to acting, Fishel has also pursued other careers, such as reporting for the YouTube channel and website PopSugar, and serving as a spokeswoman for Nutrisystem, a company specializing in weight loss products. She has also ventured into directing, having directed episodes of various television shows following her time on the set of "Girl Meets World."
25. Phoebe Cates
During the 1980s, Phoebe Cates was a prominent actress in Hollywood, known for her roles in popular films such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Gremlins, and Drop Dead Fred. In the early 2000s, Cates chose to take a hiatus from acting and instead focused on managing her own boutique store in New York City.
Cates is married to Kevin Kline and the couple has two children. While she has left the spotlight of acting, Cates has indicated that she is content with her current career and has no desire to return to the film industry.
26. Mara Wilson
Mara Wilson may be recognized for her roles as a child actress in several films from the 1990s, including Mrs. Doubtfire, Miracle on 34th Street, Matilda, and A Simple Wish. As she grew older, Wilson decided to step away from the film industry and pursue other opportunities.
Wilson eventually turned to writing, publishing the book Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame. While she has primarily focused on her writing career, Wilson has also made occasional appearances on television.
27. Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman is a highly regarded actor known for his roles in iconic films such as The French Connection, The Quick and the Dead, and Enemy of the State. Hackman retired from acting in 2004 with his final film being Welcome to Mooseport, citing a desire to move on from the film industry.
In the years following his acting career, Hackman turned to writing and published five historical novels. He has since retired from writing and is now enjoying his retirement. Hackman's long and successful career in Hollywood has cemented his status as a legend in the industry, with numerous film credits to his name.
28. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar is widely known for her portrayal of Buffy Summers in the popular television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Throughout her career, she has also appeared in various films and television shows, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scooby-Doo, Southland Tales, and Ringer.
In addition to her acting work, Gellar has also made a foray into entrepreneurship. She is the co-founder of FoodStirs, a company that produces non-GMO baking products. While she has temporarily taken a break from acting, Gellar has indicated that she may return to the industry in the future.
29. Jeff Cohen
Jeff Cohen, known for his role as Chunk in the classic film The Goonies, is another example of a child actor who chose to pursue a different path in life. Despite his success in the 1980s, Cohen only appeared in a few television shows and movies before deciding that acting was not for him.
Cohen eventually transitioned to a career in law, obtaining a degree and eventually becoming an entertainment lawyer. He founded Cohen Gardner LLP and has since established himself as one of Hollywood's leading entertainment attorneys.
30. Peter Ostrum
Peter Ostrum is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring alongside Gene Wilder at the age of 12. Despite this memorable role, Ostrum only appeared in one film throughout his acting career and declined the opportunity to be a part of a three-movie series, opting instead to pursue a different path.
Ostrum eventually followed his passion for animal care by becoming a veterinarian. This decision was influenced by his parents' purchase of a horse for their ranch, which sparked Ostrum's interest in the field. While he sometimes reflects on his time as an actor with fondness, Ostrum is content with his decision to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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