The recent announcement that Shelley Duvall is going to return to the big screen after a lengthy hiatus is welcome news to those who enjoyed her performance in The Shining. Though she had achieved a great deal of success in Hollywood, 20 years ago, she decided that it wasn’t for her any more.
Duvall isn’t alone in deciding that Hollywood stardom isn’t worth the hassle and headache of staying in the business. Having achieved a measure of success in a given movie, some go on to carve out careers in other fields. The users of Reddit have identified a number of such actors.
Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory is often regarded as one of the best family movies ever made. It manages to stay true to the disturbing spirit of Roald Dahl’s novel, while also having a lighter touch. There’s also no question that its hero, Charlie, is charmingly portrayed by Peter Ostrum.
LijeBailey42 remarks, “Professionally, he became a veterinarian, although he has participated in many of the cast reunions over the years (conventions, DVD commentaries, etc).” Given how very easy it is for child actors in particular to have their lives derailed by early fame, Ostrum’s career choice, and success, is all the more remarkable.
For some, The Shining is one of the best horror movies ever made (even if it leaves something to be desired as an adaptation of Stephen King). There’s no question that it is Danny Lloyd’s portrayal of Danny Torrance which is one of the film’s best aspects, as he brings out the essential essence of the character.
An8thofFeanor has this to say: “He became a professor at a community college, and was not on screen again until a brief cameo in Doctor Sleep.” Like so many other child actors, he made the wise choice to leave Hollywood behind and pursue a career with fewer trials and potential pitfalls.
The Best Years of Our Lives is truly a masterpiece of classic Hollywood. Among other things, it is an emotionally resonant exploration of the types of lives that people try to lead in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event like the Second World War. Of particular note is the actor Harold Russell who, in real life, lost both of his hands and whose character in the film experienced, as well.
CaptainCanuck15 reminds the reader that “director William Wyler encouraged him to go back to school after production for The Best Years of Our Lives wrapped up.” Given just how powerful Russell’s performance was (he won an Oscar for it) it is still rather sad that he didn’t pursue a longer career in the industry.
The Back To The Future movies are some of the most beloved films of the 1980s, and they still have a powerful nostalgia for many who grew up in the era. Claudia Wells was particularly notable for portraying the character of Jennifer Parker, Marty McFly’s girlfriend.
However, she didn’t return for the sequel. As rnilbog writes, “She did that to take care of her mother who had cancer.” In fact, she would go on to become a successful businesswoman in her own right, demonstrating the extent to which it is possible to create a career out of the spotlight, even after having been in such a high-profile role.
The Crying Game excited quite a bit of commentary when it was released. In large part, this was because it features a transgender character, Dil, a revelation that occurs partway through the movie and was considered a “twist” at the time and now obviously problematic. Jaye Davidson’s performance as the character was rightly praised for its emotional richness and authenticity.
As oohlah2 states: “Jaye Davidson […] was nominated for an Oscar in his first film, The Crying Game 1992. He only did 3 other movies following that, one which was Stargate.” Like many others before and after, Davidson made the choice to leave the industry before it could crush him.
Jurassic Park is arguably one of the best movies of the 1990s, and it cast a very long shadow over the history of science fiction. It also featured a very memorable cast of characters, one of whom was the young Lex, who proves to be something of a computer wiz, and her ability to manipulate computers is precisely what allows her to restart the power to the park.
Though Ariana Richards gives a memorable performance in the movie, she ultimately didn’t pursue many projects afterward. As ConstableGrey says, she “ had some smaller roles in the 90s but then became a full-time artist.”
Moira Shearer is best known for appearing in the haunting and beautiful film The Red Shoes. She delivered a remarkable performance, made all the more so by the fact that she was by training a dancer and not an actress.
As Vernawoods notes: “She was so apprehensive about taking the role in The Red Shoes because she didn’t think she’d be able to return to her ballet career afterward because ballet on film was never taken seriously. She really only went on to star in two other Powell & Pressburger films.” Though she acted in remarkably few movies, she earned her place in the Hollywood firmament because of The Red Shoes.
There are few movies quite like the The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is widely regarded as one of the best cult movies. Though Tim Curry steals the show as the delightfully camp Dr. Frank, Peter Hinwood also made an impression as the muscle-bound hunk that the doctor creates.
In fact, however, this was one of only three movie appearances he made. AnyNamesLeftAnymore writes: “Without looking down, Peter Hinwood as Rocky Horror just sort of didn’t like acting and he’s an antique dealer now.” Though he now cherishes the quiet life he leads, he still made an impression in Rocky Horror.
Many actors have stepped into the iconic role of James Bond. While George Lazenby is not typically seen as one of the best Bonds, given that he only ever starred in one film, he nevertheless deserves a great deal of credit for being able to step into the role rather seamlessly.
CassiusCreed has this to say about Lazenby’s career: “George Lazenby played James Bond once and then gave it all away. There is a documentary about him called Becoming Bond which is great. The life that guy led was absurd.” Though he may not be as prominent as Connery, Moore, Brosnan, or Craig, it’s still impossible not to admire Lazenby.
Though she might be better known for her music, Bjork also has dabbled in other performing arts, particularly acting. Most notably, as sgmctabnxjs points out, “Bjork carried Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark. She won best Actress at Cannes and the European Film Awards, and was nominated for a Golden Globe. The film itself also won major awards. Afterwards she said she was never going to act again (although she’s done a little since, but nothing as major).”
Given her self-imposed exile from Hollywood, it’s all the more remarkable that she appears in the bleak historical epic The Northman. Though her appearance there is brief, it is definitely memorable.