Celebrities That Retreated from the Hollywood Spotlight

Some celebrities have a few minutes of fame, and some have years of fame. But what about those celebrities who would prefer to retreat away from the Hollywood spotlight once and for all? You likely would recognize their name, and some of their famous roles, but do you know where these stars have disappeared to? Now you will. Catch up with this list of stars who waved goodbye to fame and fortune.

20. Amanda Bynes

After the The Amanda Show, Bynes received critical acclaim and starred in her own shows and movies. But after a very public meltdown and DUIs, Amanda decided it was time to take care of her mental health and retired from Hollywood in 2012.

19. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Superstars from the moment they appeared on TV’s Full House, the Olsen twins were a dynamic duo. They formed their own company, Dualstar, and released books, clothing, cosmetics, CDs, made-to-video productions, and more, making millions off their likeness. Now they seem content to let sister Elizabeth Olsen have her day in Hollywood. Their last dual appearance was in 2004, in the film New York Minute, and Mary-Kate last acted in 2011’s Beastly. They have stated they’re done with acting, and will not appear in the Full House reboot, Fuller House, no matter how many times you ask.


18. Sean Connery

Sean Connery played James Bond, and acted in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster films, including The Rock, Indiana Jonesa and the Last Crusade, and The Untouchables, but in 2003, the actor departed Hollywood for good. His last film was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and in 2006, he received the AFI Lifetime Achievement award, and confirmed his retirement. He has done a bit of voice work for the Bond video game, and an animated short, but other than that, he has gone out of sight. At age 85, he’s probably enjoying his retirement more than ever.

17. Meg Ryan

America’s sweetheart has largely left Hollywood. She has yet to appear in a film since 2009, and only really appears in projects that are by friends. She popped up in a 2015 ABC Family made-for-tv movie, but has stayed from the big screen high budget movies ever since she broke up with Dennis Quaid.

16. Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Posters of JTT adorned girls’ bedrooms in the 1990’s, as the teen heartthrob shot to fame with roles in Tom and Huck, Home Improvement, and I’ll Be Home for Christmas. He even voiced young Simba in The Lion King, but in 2000, he decided to go to Harvard University then spent time studying abroad in Scotland popping up occasionally to do voice over work. He returned to TV very sparingly, doing a small guest spot on former co-star Tim Allen’s show Last Man Standing in 2015.

15. Dylan and Cole Sprouse

Twins Dylan and Cole got their start playing Ben Gellar on TV’s hit show Friends, and soon became Disney superstars with the show The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. They launched a clothing line, books, and magazines off their fame, and also appeared in the Disney show The Suite Life on Deck. Fresh out of college, they have reportedly stated they would like to act, however, they don’t have any upcoming roles yet. At one point,  Dylan was even working at a NYC restaurant.

14. Kel Mitchell

If you grew up in the 1990’s, Kel Mitchell was like your crazy best friend. He first appeared in the show All That then starred in Kenan and Kel on Nickelodeon with Kenan Thompson. The duo also made the movie Good Burger, then Mitchell left Hollywood to raise a family. He’s since popped up on a Nickelodeon show called Game Changers, which premiered September 2015.

13. Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson was likely a big part of your childhood, with her roles in Ms. Doubtfire and Matilda.  She left acting because she wanted to explore other ways to express her artistic freedom, and because “doing the same thing over and over isn’t very fun.” Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer during Matilda’s filming, and died shortly after the film was finished. At that point, she just wanted to be a normal kid, grieving her mother. She left acting, then tried to return as a teenager, only to realise  “Hollywood didn’t really want me at that point, and I was kind of over it too.” She’s now a playwright, a guest on the Welcome to Night Vale podcast, and a children’s book author.

12. Dave Chapelle

Dave Chapelle was zany and crazy on his Comedy Central show, and in doing standup. Despite the show’s popularity, he decided to end it after only two seasons. The actor retired to Africa and then started living life in Yellow Springs, Ohio doing the occasional standup performance, but mostly focused on charity work and staying out of the spotlight.

11. Phoebe Cates

Phoebe Cates is famous for her appearance in a certain red swimsuit in Fast Times at Ridgement High, but in 1994, she was over Hollywood for good. She decided to become a stay-at-home mom to her two children instead. Husband Kevin Kline kept acting. Cates appeared in one feature in 2001 as a favor to director and friend Jennifer Jason Leigh. Eventually she got the entrepreneur bug and opened a Manhattan boutique, Blue Tree, in 2006. The store is still open today, which is more than I can say for most celebrity businesses.

10. Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly was one of the most gorgeous women on the silver screen back in the day. She traded her roles for a tiara as Princess Grace Kelly, wife of the Prince of Monaco, despite being one of the highest paid actresses in the world. Kelly turned down many roles, and instead focused on helping the people of Monaco, working with charitable organisations until her death in 1982.

9. Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman is the star of your dad’s favorite movies, such as Superman and The Poseidon Adventure, but now he’s writing historical novels. The actor’s last acting credit was in 2004, and though he worked steadily through the 80’s, 90’s and even a bit in the 00’s, now he’s content to just be a writer. Even his novels weren’t released with much fanfare either.

8. Jack Gleeson

Jack Gleeson had a killer role in HBO’s Game of Thrones as King Joffrey, but he decided to leave it all and go to graduate school. Last anyone heard, he was running an Irish theatre company, and he produced a “space bear comedy with puppets” for the stage.

7. Shirley Temple Black

Shirley Temple was one of the most well known children in Hollywood, and her films still delight families today. She had child and adult fans alike, and her likeness appeared on everything from toys to paper dolls. But after a few roles as a young adult, she decided to become a public servant as the ambassador to Ghana, Czechoslovakia, and also as a board member of several corporations.  She died in 2014 from pulmonary disease.

6. Cary Grant

Cary Grant was dashing and handsome, the perfect man by many women’s standards in his day. Upon the birth of his daughter (when he was 62!), Jennifer, he decided to leave Hollywood for good to focus on parenting his child in a normal environment. He refused offer after offer to appear in movies and on stage, and only near the end of his life, did he return to the stage in a show about his life. He passed away in 1986, while preparing for a performance at the Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa.

5. Charlie Korsmo

Charlie Korsmo was a character actor who made several high-profile appearances in films such as Can’t Hardly Wait and Hook. He took up a law career however attending MIT, and now works a professor at Case Western.

4. Josh Saviano

Josh Saviano played the dorky but lovable friend of Kevin on The Wonder Years but, the actor is far from in Hollywood today. He decided to go to law school and became a partner at a prestigious law firm in New York City. He made a small appearance on Law and Order: SVU as a lawyer. And no, he isn’t Marlyn Manson, despite the urban legend.

3. Yasmine Bleeth

Many boys’ pulses raced when Yasmine Bleeth ran down the beach on the show Baywatch. The iconic role made her a household name, and her body became instantly famous, but the actress has kept out of sight for years. Her cocaine arrest made headlines in 2000, and she had completely filled her probation obligations by 2004. You might see her in paparazzi photos every now and then, but she’s definitely not in the Hollywood limelight.

2. Dolores Hart

Dolores Hart isn’t a name that you know of really, but she could’ve been a huge star, had she wanted to. She started with Elvis in his first movie King Creole, and is known as the first woman who ever kissed The King on screen. The Hollywood life wasn’t for her, however, and she actually became a nun.

1. Rick Moranis

Rick Moranis was in some of the biggest and most beloved movies from the ’80s and ’90s, but now, you won’t find him in Hollywood. His last IMDB credit was for the 2006 Disney movie Brother Bear 2, but in his heyday, he appeared in Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, and Little Shop of Horrors, to name a few. Sadly, he retired from acting altogether after his wife, Ann, passed away from cancer in 1991, to give himself the ability to raise their two children. He keeps busy behind the camera, doing occasional voice work, and released an album, but turns down movie roles, as he says he’s “very picky.”