We all have our favorite stars who decided to walk away from Hollywood. From comedians to Academy Award winners, these hiatuses always leave the lingering question: What are they up to now? Here are the current whereabouts of 15 of our favorites actors, comedians, and filmmakers who stepped away from the spotlight and are sorely missed.
Since the 1970s Gene Hackman has been among America’s most beloved leading men. This in spite of the fact he abruptly retired from the acting world in 2004, bowing out with the Ray Romano vehicle Welcome To Mooseport. Unlike many retired actors, Hackman has made good on his promise to stay out of spotlight, opting to pursue a career as a historical novelist working with Daniel Lenihan.
Oscar winner Helen Hunt has certainly pulled the reins back on her career since the mid-2000s. Aside from a series of supporting roles in the mostly-forgotten Bobby and Soul Surfer, Hunt has been content juggling her duties as a mother while dabbling in directing (she helmed an episode of Showtime’s Californication). Finally, last year saw Helen Hunt back in a buzz-worthy starring role in The Sessions. The film festival favorite– about a polio stricken poet who hires a sex surrogate (Hunt) to take his virginity– garnered Hunt an unexpected Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress. Fingers crossed this will lead the actress back to further high-profile roles in the near future.
The Man Who Knew Too Much star Doris Day is considered among Hollywood’s top grossing female stars of all time. This is in spite of the fact she all but faded from films in 1968. Following decades of legal problems, the actress/singer’s popularity resurged in 1994 with a Greatest Hits album (a breakaway hit in the UK). Nevertheless Day has shied away from public appearances since retiring to her home in Carmel By The Sea, California. There she co-owns The Cypress Inn hotel and works for the Doris Day Animal League, an organization working for animal rights. Day was honored for her organization’s work by President Bush in 2004. In 2011, she released an original album, My Heart, to raise funds for the group.
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Godfather actor Abe Vigoda was falsely reported as dead in 1982. Since then reports have trickled every couple of years lamenting the loss of the actor, some serious, most as a running joke. Though the actor hasn’t appeared in film or television since 2008, Vigoda has worked sporadically in commercials and appeared on The View last year, presumably to prove that he’s still not dead.
Actor Joe Pesci announced his retirement from acting in 1999 to pursue a musical career. On the whole, he’s managed to keep this promise, though he did cameo in The Good Sheperd in 2006 and took the starring role in Taylor Hackford’s Love Ranch in 2010. Most recently, Pesci appeared in a series of humorous commercials for Snickers that play on his notoriously short tempered screen persona. He also will be reuniting with Goodfellas/Casino collaborators Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro for The Irishman later this year.
Actor Sidney Poitier is the oldest living man to hold the honor of Academy Award winner for Best Actor. His last noteworthy role was in The Jackal (1997), opposite Richard Gere, and his last directorial credit was Ghost Dad (1990). Following his break from acting and directing, Poitier has been serving as an Ambassador to the Bahamas (his native country) for Japan since 1997. He also served on the Walt Disney Company’s board of directors from 1997 to 2003 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2009.
Dave Chappelle famously departed his hit Comedy Central series, Chappelle’s Show, in 2005, citing he was unhappy with the direction the show was taking. His departure to South Africa and subsequent retirement from Hollywood have been well documented in the media. So where is he now? Chappelle is still living a quiet life with his family in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He’s also dabbled in stand-up, performing a well-publicized show at the Chicago House of Blues last August. There have also been rumblings that Chappelle would team up with Chris Rock for a Watch The Throne style comedy tour, but those rumors have yet to be confirmed.
Photo: Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com
Jake Lloyd seemed poised to conquer the world of child actors when it was announced he would be playing Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Then everyone saw the film and his performance. Let’s just say the reactions to both were none too pleased, forcing Lloyd to depart his burgeoning career in 2002 thanks to bullying from classmates (and, let’s face it, film critics and fanboys). He reportedly threw away all of his Star Wars memorabilia and has attempted to etch out a normal life for himself. Though, truth be told, he continues to attend autograph conventions “for the fans,” a phrase that may be code language for “quick, easy money.”
Photo: Anthony Dixon/WENN.com
When considering the continued popularity of the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise, Randy Quaid may be among America’s favorite comedic actors. So where has the guy been? Quaid hasn’t appeared in a film since 2009, mostly due to a myriad of legal problems. These include an arrest after he and his wife failed to pay a hotel bill in 2009 and illegal occupancy/burglary charges that occurred in 2010. These complications have since caused the Quaid and his better half to flee to Canada. If they ever attempt to re-enter the United States, they will be arrested. So don’t expect Cousin Eddie to see him appear in that proposed Vacation reboot if it ever gets made.
Die Hard, Predator, The Thomas Crown Affair (pictured above)—John McTiernan redefined action/thrillers in the late 80s through the 1990s. So where has that guy been since then? Merely three years after the release of his thriller Basic, McTiernan was charged with lying to the FBI in regards to a case against Los Angeles Private Investigator Anthony Pellicano. This has led to a solid seven years of McTiernan’s lawyers attempting to appeal the incarceration of the director. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined McTiernan’s final appeal and will soon be serving out his one-year prison sentence.
Haley Joel Osment
The Sixth Sense earned Haley Joel Osment an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1999. After a string of successful films, Osment capped off his career with Second Hand Lions and hasn’t been seen onscreen since. The actor suffered a narsty car accident in 2006 and pleaded no contest to being under the influence of drugs and alcohol. After that media disaster put him on probation for three years, the actor turned to voice work on the ever-popular Kingdom of Hearts video game franchise. He also appeared in a well-publicized 2012 promo for It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia as the New Mac.
Phoebe Cates become an 80s sex symbol thanks to her steamy turn in Fast Times At Ridgemont High. In 1994, she made her final noteworthy film appearance as the star of the British drama Princess Caraboo. Afterwards, she retired from acting altogether to raise her family, leaving prolific husband Kevin Kline to pick up the Hollywood slack. The actress made a brief return to Hollywood, appearing in The Anniversary Party (2001) as a favor to her friend Jennifer Jason Leigh. Cates, however, has mostly stuck to her image of Hollywood-starlet-turned-super-mom. Currently the actress owns and operates the Blue Tree boutique on New York’s Madison Avenue.
Photo: Gary James/WENN.com
The Big Chill star Meg Tilly was among Hollywood’s hottest actresses in the 1980s through the early 90s. Then, after performing in the 1994 indie Sleep With Me, the actress all but retired from Hollywood. Since that time, Tilly has pursued a career as a novelist. In 2011, she quietly returned to acting with a guest role on the short-live sci-fi series Caprica. She currently has the lead role on the Canadian series Bomb Girls.
Photo: Michael Carpenter/WENN.com
Okay, so he hasn’t exactly been away as long as most on this list, but Brendan Fraser has maintained Hollywood radio silence for almost three years after the disastrous Furry Vengeance and Extraordinary Measures put him on hiatus. That’s a solid amount of time considering his last hit, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, was released in 2008. Well, according to IMDB, the actor has a solid thirteen (!) movies in the pike awaiting release this year and next. So either the actor is going the Nicolas Cage “I’ll take anything” route or he just really missed working. Either way he’ll soon be providing voice-over for Escape From Planet Earth, which hits theaters this weekend.
Sean Connery, the man behind James Bond, Henry Jones Sr., and a host of other favorite roles, bowed out of the acting game after the disastrous League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Based on his experience, the actor reasoned “idiots [are] now making films in Hollywood” and left Tinsel Town accordingly. In 2008 he published a memoir, Being A Scot, and reprised his role of James Bond for the video game adaptation of From Russia With Love in 2005. That same year Connery’s publicist reported the actor’s retirement from public appearances. However, Connery is expected to make an exception to this rule at this year’s Oscars. He’ll likely be uniting with all the other actors who played Bond to dedicate the 50th Anniversary of the film series .