10 Best Actors & Actresses We Should Have Appreciated More During Their Heydays in 2023


10 Best Actors & Actresses We Should Have Appreciated More During Their Heydays in 2023

Nostalgia can be a whimsical thing. Sometimes, a mere whiff, melody, or picture can whisk us away to a place of coziness and familiarity. The same enchantment happens when we catch a glimpse of our beloved movie stars on the silver screen. These are the superstars who accompanied us as we grew up, who occupy a special corner of our hearts and continue to stay by our side as we journey through life.

It’s truly astonishing how immersing ourselves in one of the final films of Hollywood legends like Robin Williams or John Candy can ignite a whirlwind of emotions. In a single sitting, we might find ourselves grinning, shedding a tear, and then grinning once more. We dearly miss these extraordinary performers, yet we also experience a tinge of melancholy when stars choose to step away from the spotlight for various reasons. They’ve entertained us for years, and suddenly they’re no longer illuminating our screens.

In hindsight, we often yearn to have cherished these performers more when we had the opportunity. Perhaps we took their genius for granted, didn’t fully comprehend their brilliance, or were simply too young to truly grasp their talent. Nevertheless, they left an indelible imprint on us. Which actors or actresses had a similar impact on you?

1. Michael Clarke Duncan

Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Clarke Duncan was a well-known actor who appeared in movies like Armageddon and The Green Mile. He also lent his distinct voice to numerous projects and took on roles in various TV shows. Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly in 2012 at the age of 54 due to complications from a heart attack.

One of his former costars, Tom Hanks, fondly described Duncan as “a big love of [a] man.” Director Michael Bay also remembered him for his infectious spirit and great belly laugh. After his death, his manager, Dan Spilo, shared some touching memories from fans:

“He was the only actor I ever knew that more often than not when fans came up to him, of any age or race or gender, they wouldn’t ask for an autograph, they’d want a hug. He had a heart as big as the world.”

2. Robin Williams

Robin Williams
Robin Williams was a versatile entertainer, known for his roles in comedies, dramas, thrillers, and animated films. He not only made people laugh through his TV shows and live performances, but also brought joy to millions with his incredible energy. It was a shock to everyone when news broke on August 11, 2014, that he had passed away.

It was revealed that Williams had taken his own life due to declining health. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but an autopsy later showed that he was actually suffering from Lewy body dementia, also known as Lewy body disease. This progressive condition affects mental functions and causes behavioral changes.

The world was deeply affected by the loss of Robin Williams, and it continues to resonate with celebrities and fans. In fact, there is now an entire fansite dedicated to honoring his memory and celebrating his legacy.

3. Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman
Fans of Harry Potter are still grieving the loss of Severus Snape, a character beloved by many. And it’s not just his on-screen portrayal that is missed, but also the talented actor behind the role, Alan Rickman. Rickman’s performances in other films such as Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Sense and Sensibility have left a lasting impression on older generations.

But Rickman’s impact extends beyond the silver screen. He had a successful career in theater as well, which only adds to the profound sense of loss felt by many when he tragically passed away from pancreatic cancer on January 14, 2016.

As the anniversary of Rickman’s passing approached in 2022, devoted fans wanted to pay tribute to him in a meaningful way. They chose to honor him by raising their wands, a symbol of the “perfect Severus Snape” he brought to life. It was a heartfelt gesture to remember and celebrate the remarkable talent that was Alan Rickman.

Delightful Stories About Alan Rickman From Other Actors And Crew On Set

4. Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze
In 2009, Patrick Swayze sadly lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, leaving behind a legacy of entertaining fans both on TV and in movies. Known for his iconic roles in Dirty Dancing, Road House, Ghost, and Point Break, Swayze captured the hearts of many, including Esquire’s Danielle Sepulveres, who fondly remembers him as her first onscreen crush.

Fast forward to 2019, when the documentary I Am Patrick Swayze hit the screens, reigniting the deep connection fans felt towards the actor. This powerful film served as a reminder of just how much Swayze meant to his dedicated following. From reducing some viewers to “blubbering” and “teary” messes, to leaving others with aching hearts, it’s clear that Swayze’s impact continues to resonate strongly.

5. Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis, a renowned actor, announced his retirement from acting in March 2022 due to his diagnosis of aphasia. Throughout his illustrious career, he achieved Emmy-winning roles on popular shows like Moonlighting and Friends, while also starring in blockbuster movies such as Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, and The Whole Nine Yards.

Following Willis’s retirement, Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian expressed the sentiments of the actor’s fans, highlighting the sadness they felt at the prospect of him no longer appearing in movies. It was akin to witnessing a great sports star suffering an injury or a beloved sandwich shop discontinuing one of its most delectable flavors. All that remains is to offer our best wishes to Bruce and his family as they embark on a happy retirement.

In February 2023, Willis’s family provided an update to the media and his fans regarding a new diagnosis. They revealed that Bruce’s condition had progressed, leading to a more specific diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Unfortunately, communication challenges are just one of the symptoms he faces due to this disease. Although this news is heartbreaking, there is a sense of relief in finally having a clear diagnosis.

The family’s statement continued, emphasizing the lack of available treatments for FTD. They expressed hope that this reality will change in the future. As Bruce’s condition continues to advance, they also expressed a desire for any media attention to be directed towards raising awareness and conducting further research on this debilitating disease.

6. John Candy

John Candy
John Candy, known for his roles in John Hughes movies and as a cast member of SCTV, tragically passed away from a heart attack on March 4, 1994 while filming Wagons East in Mexico.

Brianna Benozich from Hollywood Insider beautifully summed up Candy’s impact as an actor in February 2022. She described him as America’s uncle, a source of positivity and laughter that shaped many childhoods through his collaborations with John Hughes. Candy’s working-class charm and larger-than-life characters made him a beloved figure and his films became cherished memories for many.

7. Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson
It’s not exactly clear what led Jack Nicholson to quit acting. Some sources suggest that he was forced into retirement, implying that it wasn’t his decision. Others suggest that his health may have played a role.

Nicholson, who hasn’t appeared in a movie since 2010, had a long and illustrious career that started in the 1950s. He starred in iconic films of the 1970s and ’80s such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shining, Terms of Endearment, and 1989’s Batman. As his career progressed, he showcased his comedic talents in movies like Mars Attacks! and Anger Management, while also taking on intense roles in films like A Few Good Men and The Departed.

In 2013, Nicholson spoke about his relationship with acting, offering some insight into his decision to step away from the spotlight:

“I’m not going to work until the day I die, that’s not why I started this. I mean, I’m not driven. I was driven – but I’m not, I don’t have to be out there anymore. In fact, there’s part of me that never really liked being out there. I learned how to function within that world. Then you get older, you change. I mean, I’m not a loner, I’m not a recluse, but I don’t need all that anymore. I don’t enjoy it, simple as that.”

8. Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger was a prominent figure in the film industry during the 2000s. He appeared in notable movies such as 10 Things I Hate About You (although it technically came out in 1999), A Knight’s Tale, and Brokeback Mountain. His portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight in 2008 continues to be highly praised.

Unfortunately, the actor passed away before The Dark Knight was released. He died from an accidental drug overdose in January 2008. On the 13th anniversary of his death, one of Ledger’s fans tweeted a heartfelt tribute:

“Still miss you, Heath Ledger. It’s sad to think about all the incredible roles we never got to see from you. But I also feel grateful for the amazing work you did give us.”

9. Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman, known for his roles in Hoosiers, Bonnie and Clyde, and Unforgiven, had a long and successful acting career spanning several decades. However, in 2004 at the age of 74, he made the decision to retire from acting. This move allowed him to explore his passion for writing and prioritize his health. In 2009, Hackman revealed that a stress test he took in New York was the final push for his retirement. The doctor advised him that his heart was not in the best condition to handle any further stress.

During this same year, Adam B. Vary from Entertainment Weekly expressed his longing for Hackman after watching his performance in 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums. Vary’s sentiments were echoed by Barry Wurst from Hollywood in Toto, who praised Hackman’s exceptional talent by citing his work in the 1975 film Night Moves as an example.

10. Rick Moranis

Rick Moranis
Rick Moranis, a well-known actor during the 1980s and ’90s, starred in popular films like Ghostbusters, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Spaceballs. However, his acting career took a hiatus after his wife, Ann, passed away from cancer in 1991. Moranis decided to step away from the spotlight to focus on raising their two children, Mitchell and Rachel. In a 2005 interview with USA Today, he explained his decision:

“In about ’96 or ’97, I decided to stop making movies. Being a single parent, I found it incredibly challenging to balance raising my kids and the demands of traveling for film productions. So, I decided to take a small break. That break ended up being longer than expected, and I discovered that I didn’t really miss acting as much as I thought I would… I’m not sure if I’ll ever return to it or not.”

Moranis prioritized his role as a parent and found it difficult to juggle the responsibilities of both parenting and the demanding nature of the film industry. As a result, he took a break from acting that extended longer than he anticipated. During this time away, he realized that he didn’t have the same yearning for acting as he once did. The possibility of his return to the industry remains uncertain.

Related Movies