They Deserved Better: 15 Actors And Their Final Performances In Bad Movies

Queen of the Damned PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

You never know when your life's ticket is going to get punched, so make everything you do something that matters. This adage can be applied to everyone, even Hollywood's most rich and famous actors. For proof, see these 15 stars who climaxed their acting careers not with a bang, but with a whimper. Here are 15 final performances that happened in bad, forgettable movies.

Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

Bernie Mac wasn’t known for starring in particularly stellar films, but he made everything he appeared in substantially better. Yet some films were seemingly beyond even Mac’s golden touch. His last film before his untimely death was the John Travolta flop Old Dogs. Watch him putter around the background in the trailer below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhY8AP806tU

Aaliyah

Queen of the Damned PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

Aaliyah’s music and movie career was cut down too early by a tragic 2001 plane crash. While she was off to a promising start with Romeo Must Die, Aaliyah’s last finished film turned out to be the disastrous Anne Rice adaptation Queen of the Damned. Ironically, the pop star’s death is the only thing that kept the feature from going straight-to-video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gu9HtN05sc

Lloyd Bridges

Bridges MAFIA PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

Lloyd Bridges, patriarch of the family that gave us Jeff and Beau, reinvented his square jawed hero performances to great comedic effect in films like Airplane! and Hot Shots! Unfortunately the actor’s final funny performance was in the much maligned gangster spoof, Jane Austen’s Mafia! If you're inclined to the lesser works by frequent Zucker brothers collaborator Jim Abrahams, the full movie can be found here.

John Candy

Candy Wagons PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

John Candy’s posthumous release was a lame Western comedy co-starring Richard Lewis called Wagons East. The posthumously released movie was universally panned upon its release and is only, only (can we stress this more?) noteworthy for being Candy’s last acting effort.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfabKcoGFmE

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

Academy Award winner Joan Crawford may have the most ridiculous final effort of anyone on this list. The Academy Award winner’s final opus was Trog, a caveman on-the-loose schlocker that cast Crawford as the scientist studying the titular creature. Watch her yell “Trog!” over and over again below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riJ4LPzHppg

Don Knotts

Don Knotts PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

Between The Andy Griffith Show and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Don Knotts will always have a place among Hollywood’s most celebrated comedic actors. So how is it the star managed to go out on a low note like an Air Bud sequel? We're still scratching our heads, but you can see Knotts voice a talking dog provide narration for the Air Buddies trailer below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP5hSdVmvsI

Andy Griffith

Andy Griffith PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

If his The Andy Griffith Show co-star went out on a bad note, the show’s star himself went out on a really, really cringeworthy one. The late star’s final turn was in an indie sex comedy (!) set in a nursing home. Check out the aw-shucks actor’s o-face in the green band trailer below. Actually, don’t.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSaBKNkoY6U

Mae West

Mae West PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

Comedienne Mae West clung to her previous role as an old Hollywood sex symbol to the bitter end. Her final role was in the musical romp Sextette, a movie that began filming when West was 81 years old. Watch her seduce youngster Timothy Dalton in the trailer below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as6Iv5R1G0M

Anne Bancroft

The Graduate PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

The Graduate actress Anne Bancroft passed in 2005, though her final acting role would premiere in 2008. Bancroft provided voice-over work in Delgo, one of the most expensive animated films ever made that also became one of the biggest theatrical flops ever made. Though the film was universally reviled by critics, Bancroft’s performance was well-praised.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Gi8ZG7UE5Q

Bela Lugosi

Dracula Lugosi PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

In what may be the most notorious case of an actor going out on a bad note, Bela Lugosi’s final role was in Plan 9 From Outer Space. The film is generally considered to be one of the worst of all time and Lugosi’s role amounts mostly to silent footage that frames the narrative. The film became so notorious that Tim Burton made it the centerpiece of his biopic Ed Wood in 1994. The entire public domain film can be viewed below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5DZhDH8eew

Lon Chaney, Jr.

The Wolfman PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

Like his contemporary Lugosi, Wolfman actor Lon Chaney Jr. ended his career in bad horror films eager to cash in on his iconic Universal monster roles. The most reviled of these is his final turn in Dracula Vs. Frankenstein. Though Chaney previously played both characters during the 1940s, the movie instead cast him as a Groton, the mute assistant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UByJ3z4MATU

Raul Julia

Raul Julia PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

The photo of Raul Julia above is from Sidney Lumet’s The Morning After. The actor wasn’t lucky enough to go out working on such an established film, however. Instead Julia’s last effort had him cartoonishly chewing scenery in the video game adaptation Street Fighter. Nicolas Cage, eat your heart out with the sample below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF1KKAs-RmY

Peter Sellers

Peter Sellers PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

Peter Sellers was a comedic genius, but unfortunately couldn’t quite keep up with the changing current of counter-culture humor dominating Hollywood in the 1970s. For evidence of this you can watch Sellers’ final film, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu. The mystery spoof showed off Sellers’ failing health and penchant casually rac1st stereotypes, a combination that made audiences around the world squirm. The film was only overshadowed in badness by The Trail of the Pink Panther, a posthumous film literally constructed from deleted scenes of previous Pink Panther movies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIy37fEVnwo

Orson Welles

Citizen Kane PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

Orson Welles directed and starred in the one of the greatest movie ever made, Citizen Kane. Prior to his death, he starred in one of the greatest movies based off an action figure line ever made, Transformers: The Movie. Though the animated feature fares better than most films on this list (not to mention Michael Bay’s live action efforts), you certainly get the feeling that the childish material was beneath an auteur like Welles. For proof, check out the clip below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DPW44-I3n4

Sean Connery

S Connery PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

Unlike everyone else on this list, Sean Connery is still alive. Indeed, the actor’s final effort, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, was such a fiasco that it drove him away from the film business and into an early retirement. While the film is not quite as bad as its reputation claims, you can see Connery’s disinterest in the LXG trailer below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfdux5WPX2c

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Comments

  • Guest

    Sean Connery is not dead

    • demoncat_4

      one does not have to be dead to have made this list. for the loeg was so bad that it made sean decide he was done with acting for good. he did not want to be part of holly wood any more.

    • Mimihaha

      And it says so, right in the story, that while he is not dead, he is no longer acting.

      Learn to read.

  • Better than guest

    ^ Ur an idiot.

    • Samuel Tyler Sprowl

      Hey, be nice now.

  • Laila

    Bernie Mac’s last movie was “Soul Men,” also a considerable flop.

  • akp

    am I insane for loving street fighter

    • Troy Nunyah

      Yes

    • Joel0903

      Don’t feel bad. It was an eye candy movie and meant to be one. Just look at Cammy and don’t worry about the rest.

  • DearbornJimbo

    I wonder what Lloyd Bridges would think if he knew he were being described as a “matriarch.”

    • elyshirley

      I liked Mafia and of course so did my kids.

  • Samuel Tyler Sprowl

    Transformers: The Movie is great. Sure, it’s a little childish, but who cares? It doesn’t really deserve to be on this list, regardless of Wells’ opinion of the material.

    • Prince Raw D

      That is not even the same voice that is used in the movie. Not sure who that even is. Your right though, this should not be on this list!

      • Samuel Tyler Sprowl

        I’m glad you agree friend. I will always consider this to be the real Transformers movie.

  • thatonedude

    Yeah Transformers: The Animated Movie is largely considered one of the best animated movies of all time. So Orson Wells shouldn’t even be on this list.

    • spackle

      I’m a TF fan but be realistic. It’s a cult classic, not a good movie. It’s a bunch of fight scenes wrapped in a commercial. Or a bunch of commercials wrapped in a fight scene.

      • Skaught

        I completely agree with spackle. Yes, it holds a special place in the hearts of millions who saw it as a child (myself included), but it is not a good movie. It has a plot that could have been covered in a single episode of the show (a two-parter at most) and in the middle it goes off on tangents that are never really resolved. You could argue that they were setting up elements for the next season of the show, but a good movie stands on its own, and TFTM definitely does not.

    • zaz_cag

      It was his ‘biggest’ role of his career.

  • Author is a moron

    omg… i love that whoever wrote this doesnt know what a matriarch is. Lloyd Bridges did not give birth to Jeff and Beau Bridges, he was the father, therefore PATRIARCH. Patriarch is the father, matriarch the mother…

    … idiot

  • Colin Howell

    Maybe this movie doesn’t count as bad enough, but I still think Lawrence Olivier deserves a special place on lists like this for being turned into a digital zombie in “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” as the villian Dr. Totenkopf (whose name turns out to be both a spoiler and a bizarre inside joke).

  • Miss Y

    Lloyd Bridges is not a MATRIARCH – he’s a man. Who writes this stuff?

  • John Connor

    No mention of Heath Ledger?!? His last movie ”The Imaginarium of Doctor something” was horrible.

    • Joel0903

      I think people just ignore it pretend TDK was his last film, since only – approximately – 2 people not related to the cast and crew saw his last actual film. I’m not sure if that number has actually been confirmed and the total may be half what I have listed here.

  • Ian Mora

    Wagons East is awesome

  • carre1

    Plan 9 from Outer Space is so bad, it’s good.

  • virusts

    Sean Connery still does some voice work. So he shouldn’t be on this list.

  • Chris Barber

    No mention of poor Tom Arnold getting destroyed by The Stupids?

  • fairportfan

    The only good thing about “Trog” is that inspired John Landis’ spoof, “Schlock”.

  • fairportfan

    Wot – no love for “Cuban Rebel Girls”, Errol Flynn’s last film?

  • Steve Bergman

    It’s really too bad about “Queen of the Damned”. That was one of Rice’s best novels. The producers bought the rights and then sat on them until the last minute, when the rights were to revert back to Rice since they hadn’t ever done anything with them. So they hurriedly threw together a really badly done adaptation. I’d love to see a remake by another studio, done right this time. The story is intricate and quite engaging.

  • Commander Balok

    The Man With The Snake on His Face was the Cats Arse. RIP you funny funny kind man

  • Laura Keefer

    Sean Connery is not dead. Wow…

  • Laura Keefer

    Sean Connery is not dead. Wow…

    • Mimihaha

      Learn to read.

  • elyshirley

    I liked Wagons East. I’m going to go feel my forehead now.

  • mytwocents

    Was with ya till the last 2. There hasn’t been a better transformer since the 1987 animated classic. League of Extraordinary Men was a good movie too.

  • James Rawlins

    The sad thing about Peter Sellers is that Fu Manchu came out not long after Being There, which Sellers was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. More than one critic (including Siskel and Ebert) noted that this was one of the saddest things they could remember in a brilliant career.

  • Phuh Que

    hey this website is the most god-awful ad filled poorly written piece of sh!t I have ever seen. it even tried to install spyware.

  • Karl Hungus

    I didn’t think ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ was bad at all; I actually enjoyed it.

    • KARD_LOVER

      I agree with you, and why you say? Because I actually watched the movie.
      And, now I’m going to go spend this week’s spare money on a Blu-ray
      box-set with HD original included just to piss some haters off at the
      check-out counter.

  • dfizzo

    Come on, Raul Julia’s performance as Bison is legendary. The an KNEW he was dying and was fully aware how campy and ridiculous the movie was. He mostly made it because his kids loved Street Fighter.
    The brilliance of it is that Julia is bascally the only actor who DOESN’T try to take the movie seriously and said “If I’m going to act in something this ludicrous let’s go all the way” and it is EPIC.

  • Tony

    No mention of Edward G. Robinson in Soylent Green? That movie was awful. It looked more like a bad TV movie than a huge Hollywood production.

  • tevra

    Citizen Kane can be an instructional tool on how to make a soap opera – as far as movies go it fits the norm of what critics consider great the most of us who watch it will fall asleep during a snoozfest – too much self centered talking.

    while the people involved are talented they are not as good as they think they are or they they wouldn’t think we want to listen to them yammering on and on for the entire show

  • IpseCogita

    Your adds keep changing size, forcing the article up and down the screen and making the whole page unreadable.

  • Pizza the Hut

    Transformers 1986 is not all to bad.

  • Todd Campbell Bobo

    The Trial of the Pink Panther was not the last of Peter Seller’s movies, I remember him in “Being There” , a much better flick! Bravo Peter Sellers!

  • Todd Campbell Bobo

    I liked Sean Connery in “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and every other performance he gave, me thinks thou doth protest to much!!!

  • zaz_cag

    Trog was a good arcade game.