Best 10 Actors Once Massive Stars in 2023


Best 10 Actors Once Massive Stars in 2023

In the glamorous world of Hollywood, every actor dreams of basking in the spotlight and becoming a superstar. But fame, like a shooting star, can be elusive and unpredictable. Some lucky stars shine brightly from the start, only to see their glow fade over time, moving from center stage to the sidelines.

This fascinating phenomenon is particularly noticeable among the actors who soared to fame during the groovy 80s and the rad 90s. Many of these talented individuals have faced an uphill battle to recapture the same level of cultural impact and widespread triumph they once reveled in. It’s like a rollercoaster ride to explore the incredible range of their careers.

1. Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen
Leslie Nielsen had been in the movie industry for many years before his career took off. In 1980, he starred in the popular spoof Airplane!, which mocked the disaster movies of the 1970s. The movie was a huge success, making over $80 million at the box office and showcasing Nielsen’s deadpan comedy skills. This led to his even more successful role in The Naked Gun series, with the last installment released in 1994. Throughout the 1990s, he became known as the go-to actor for parody films, appearing in movies like Wrongfully Accused and Spy Hard.

In addition to his film success, Nielsen made guest appearances in several successful TV series. He appeared in both Murder, She Wrote and The Golden Girls, even making an appearance in the finale of the latter. Although he mostly took on supporting roles later in his career, he always left a lasting impression. As his career came to an end, he made fitting appearances in Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4.

2. Emilio Estevez

Emilio Estevez
Emilio Estevez, known for his Hollywood lineage as the son of Martin Sheen and brother of Charlie Sheen, has left a lasting mark on the entertainment industry. In the 1980s, he became a heartthrob and a prominent member of the Brat Pack. Movies like The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire solidified his status as a recognizable and successful teenage star, with The Breakfast Club alone raking in over $50 million.

However, Estevez refused to be confined to the Brat Pack image. He went on to achieve significant success in various films, notably the Mighty Ducks series, Stakeout, Young Guns, and Mission: Impossible. These roles showcased his versatility and talent, propelling him further into the limelight.

In more recent years, Estevez shifted his focus to directing. While he made occasional appearances on television and in films during the 2000s and 2010s, directing became his primary passion. Estevez’s decision to explore the behind-the-scenes aspect of filmmaking highlights his dedication to the craft and his desire to contribute to the industry in a different capacity.

3. Steve Guttenberg

Steve Guttenberg
Steve Guttenberg, a heartthrob of the 1980s, captured hearts with his boyish good looks and irresistible charm. His comedic talent shone through in his first major role in the 1984 comedy Police Academy, a box office hit that raked in over $80 million and skyrocketed Guttenberg to superstardom.

Continuing his success, Guttenberg graced the screens in the sequels of the Police Academy franchise and took on leading roles in popular films like Short Circuit and The Bedroom Window. However, his most significant achievement came in 1987 with Three Men and a Baby, where he shared the screen with Tom Selleck and Ted Danson. This film grossed nearly $170 million, marking a pinnacle in his career.

In the years that followed, Guttenberg transitioned into a character actor, making sporadic appearances in sequels and other mid-tier films. He also made his mark in various television series, showcasing his versatility and range. Despite a shift in his career trajectory, Guttenberg remains a familiar face in the entertainment industry.

4. Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald
Molly Ringwald’s rise to Hollywood stardom can be attributed to her collaboration with filmmaker John Hughes in the 1980s. Although she had already made appearances in television series during the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was her role in Sixteen Candles that propelled her career. The film performed exceptionally well at the box office, paving the way for Ringwald to star in several of Hughes’s other hit movies of that decade, including The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. As a member of the Brat Pack, she became highly visible throughout the 80s, but her presence in the industry later diminished and she mostly took on smaller roles.

In the 2010s, however, Ringwald made a comeback and regained widespread attention with her appearances in various television series. One notable show she starred in was The Secret Life of the American Teenager. More recently, she had a significant role in Ryan Murphy’s highly controversial series Dahmer–Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, where she portrayed the title character’s stepmother.

5. Jim Varney

Jim Varney
During the 1980s and 1990s, there was a character that was adored by many – the quirky and lovable Ernest P. Worrell, brilliantly portrayed by the late and great Jim Varney. Varney’s impeccable comedic timing and his commitment to the absurdity of slapstick comedy made him the perfect choice for the role of Ernest. Ernest was a character who always found himself in some sort of trouble, but managed to save the day, often in spite of his own clumsiness.

Originally introduced in various commercials, Ernest went on to star in several films, the first being the highly successful “Ernest Goes to Camp.” This movie set the stage for Ernest’s popularity and paved the way for his subsequent appearances on the big screen.

While Ernest was undoubtedly Varney’s most famous role, he also had other notable roles in the 1990s. One such role was providing the voice for Slinky Dog in the beloved films “Toy Story” and its sequel “Toy Story 2.” Unfortunately, a year after the release of “Toy Story 2,” Varney’s life was tragically cut short due to lung cancer.

6. Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker
Chris Tucker started his career as a stand-up comedian but later transitioned into acting. In the 1990s, he appeared in several well-known films like Jackie Brown, The Fifth Element, and Friday. However, his breakthrough came in 1998 with Rush Hour, where he co-starred alongside Jackie Chan. This movie was a huge hit, grossing over $240 million even though it had a budget of only $30 million. The success of Rush Hour led to the creation of two sequels.

After the Rush Hour franchise, Tucker took a step back from the spotlight. He dabbled in stand-up comedy but didn’t take on any major film roles until 2012 when he starred in Silver Linings Playbook. It wasn’t until 2023’s Air that he reemerged on the mainstream radar.

7. Daniel Stern

Daniel Stern
These days, Daniel Stern is mainly recognized for his roles in the hugely successful films Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. In these movies, he portrays the character of Marv Merchants, the comical sidekick to Joe Pesci’s loud and straightforward Harry. The first film was particularly outstanding, making nearly half a billion dollars worldwide. During the 1990s, he also had notable roles in City Slickers (1991) and starred in films like Bushwhacked and Celtic Pride.

Apart from his iconic Home Alone performances, Stern has continued to actively participate in the industry. Although he has mostly taken on supporting roles in various productions, he has also appeared in several short films. Additionally, he lent his voice as the narrator of The Wonder Years, providing the adult voice for the main character, Kevin Arnold.

8. Jessica Tandy

Jessica Tandy
Jessica Tandy was an incredible talent who only grew more beloved and well-known as she aged. Not only was she a force on stage, but she also left her mark during the Golden Age of Hollywood. One of her most memorable roles was in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

But it wasn’t until the 1980s that Tandy experienced a remarkable comeback in her career. She took on roles in successful films like Cocoon and, in 1989, delivered a stellar performance in Driving Miss Daisy, which earned her the prestigious Academy Award for Best Actress. It’s worth noting that she became one of the oldest recipients of this esteemed award.

Tandy continued to receive critical acclaim for her work, especially in the film Fried Green Tomatoes. In this movie, she portrayed the character of Ninny Threadgoode, an elderly woman who forms a friendship with Kathy Bates’s character, Evelyn Couch. Her performance in this film further solidified her status as a talented and respected actress.

9. Andie MacDowell

Andie MacDowell
Andie MacDowell had a successful career from the ’80s and into the 1990s. She started with St. Elmo’s Fire and gained recognition for her role as Ann Bishop Mullany in Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), which remains one of her best-known roles. She appeared in diverse films like Groundhog Day, which earned over $70 million in the US, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and The Muse.

In the 2000s and beyond, MacDowell transitioned to mostly supporting roles. One of her noteworthy performances was in the 2015 film Magic Mike XXL, where she reunited with director Steven Soderbergh from Sex, Lies. More recently, she portrayed Paula Langley in the Netflix series Maid. Interestingly, her daughter, Margaret Qualley, also stars in the series.

10. Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd gained recognition and praise for her role in the 1993 film Ruby in Paradise, which even won the prestigious Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Throughout the latter half of the 1990s, she continued to make her mark in the film industry, taking on significant supporting roles in notable movies such as Smoke, A Time to Kill, and Heat. However, she also showcased her exceptional talent as a lead actress in various films, including Norma Jean and Marilyn, Double Jeopardy, and Kiss the Girls. One of her most acclaimed appearances came in the 2002 adaptation of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

Since then, Ashley Judd has maintained a consistent acting career, although she has primarily taken on supporting roles. Some of her notable credits include Olympus Has Fallen, Divergent, and Insurgent.

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