Fame is a fickle thing. One day someone is making headlines, everyone is talking about them and predict an amazing acting career in the future for them. And then - BAM! - no one knows this same person and we can only recall them due to some of the roles they had in the past. Sometimes we can't even remember their name and call them nothing but "The guy from Terminator 2" or "The little girl from Mrs. Doubtfire."
It's an especially common thing to happen with child actors, who seem to be growing into prominent actors, but then they disappear into the thin air. Some of them quit acting altogether, while others still keep on trying to regain the bygone level of fame, but nothing works for them.
Let's recall the '90 stars who never appear anywhere these days and live out of the spotlight.
Shannon Elizabeth was famous in the 1990s for playing in such movies as American Pie, Scary Movie and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. All these films were very popular, so it's no wonder that Elizabeth enjoyed all the nice consequences of fame. But, for some reason, she didn't have any major roles in successful movies afterward, so her popularity quickly faded.
It's hard to name an actress more synonymous with the '90s than Meg Ryan. She was in so many notable films, from When Harry Met Sally to Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. We still remember and rewatch these movies and can easily recall Meg in them. But where did she go afterward? Why was she in so few notable movies in the 2000s? And why did she eventually move away from the spotlight? There're no answers to these questions.
What '90s kid doesn't remember Alicia Silverstone? She was huge back then, especially after playing the lead role in Clueless. Due to her numerous roles, she became a role model of kids and teens from all over the world. But since her '90s heyday, Alicia didn't get to play a lot of roles. These days, she focuses on her family and activism for animal rights.
Brady was a singer, songwriter, and actress back in the '90s. She sang with Atlantic Records and her debut album had three top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1994. After all this success, Brady got her own sitcom named Moesha that quickly turned into the most-watched program on UPN. Throughout the '90s, she was in quite a few movies and even starred in ABC's TV production of Cinderella. But then she slowly faded away from the spotlight.
Madeleine Stowe was a constant presence in the '90s and she was known for adding something special to every movie she participated in. She played alongside famous actors numerous times. For example, she worked with Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez in Stakeout, with Daniel Day-Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans, and Bruce Willis was her partner in 12 Monkeys.
Just like Meg Ryan, Wesley Snipes was synonymous with the '90s. He was in quite a few movies that seemed to indicate a very promising career. And when he played the lead role in Blade, based on Marvel comics, his fans were fascinated by the actor. But then... everything abruptly ended. In the early 2000s, the actor was charged with attempting to get false tax refunds and he even got a 3-year prison sentence. That was the end of his career.
Due to such movies as Thelma and Louise, Beetlejuice and A League of Their Own, Geena Davis was incredibly popular in the 1990s. Then she suddenly disappeared from our cinema and TV screens. It turns out, she left the spotlight for a good cause. These days, Davis still focuses on social activism for gender equality in media and she takes some roles only occasionally.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas was famous in the '90s due to his role in Home Improvement, as well as due to voicing young Simba in Lion King. It might seem that it'd be logical to get him to voice adult Simba in the new installment of Disney's classic, but he wasn't asked to do it because he's not acting anymore. In the early 2000s, he quit acting and focused on his studies of philosophy and history at Harvard.
If you're a '90s kid, you probably remember Charlie Korsmo, or, at least, you can recognize his face. His acting career wasn't long and he didn't play in a lot of movies, but he's still recognizable. In only two years, he played in several notable films, including Stephen Spielberg's Hook and What About Bob? where he partnered with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. In the late '90s, Korsmo left acting to later become a lawyer.
We mostly remember Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, although he kept on acting on a pretty regular basis after it, most of us haven't seen him anywhere else. Since Buffy, Brendon was arrested a few times because of his drinking addiction, which also hasn't helped his career. These days, he's writing for the Buffy comic series, focusing on the stories about his character from the series.
Bridget Fonda began acting when she was only 5 and when she landed roles in Single White Female and Point of No Return, she became really famous. The last movie she was in was 2002's TV film Snow Queen. After it, she never acted anywhere else, and it seems like she quit her career altogether. It's unclear why Bridget decided to do it, but if she changes her mind, we'll be glad to see her again.
The '90s kids remember him from Home Alone, while the '90s teens and adults also certainly recall his roles in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas and Casino. Given the cult character of all these films, it can't be doubted that Joe Pesci is an American treasure. Since the late '90s, we could see him only in two movies. Let's hope that the upcoming Scorsese's The Irishman, where Pesci will reunite with his old pal Robert De Niro, will become a big comeback for him.
Catherine Zeta-Jones was huge in the '90s and early 2000s. Especially memorable are her roles in The Mask of Zorro, Chicago, and No Reservations. But since then, the actress seems to have hit the brakes on her career. She decreased her workload considerably and focused on her family and health after having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The actress is never too shy to discuss her disorder and thinks it's important to remove the stigma of it.
When Macaulay Culkin became incredibly famous to the whole world after playing in Home Alone and numerous other movies, everyone thought that he was going to be even more famous when he grows up. But it never happened. As soon as he could, Culkin broke free from his parents, who made him play so much, and then he mostly retired. These days, he still stays away from the spotlight.
In the early '90s, Rick Moranis was one of the most famous comedy actors. No one could ever forget his performance in Mel Brooks' Spaceballs and in Joe Johnston's Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. But in the late '90s, a tragedy happened that made the actor turn his life upside down. His significant other passed due to cancer and Moranis was forced to quit acting and focus on raising their two children. How sad...
We remember Mara Wilson from such movies as Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda. But, although her popularity grew in the '90s, we don't see her anywhere these days. In fact, Wilson decided to quit acting in 2000 because she was frustrated with the film-making process and wanted to have a normal childhood. It's completely understandable!
The star of the Austen Powers series and Bedazzled, Elizabeth Hurley quit acting after giving birth to her son Damian and getting married to Arun Nayar. After 8 years of marriage, Hurley and Nayar split, but she never came back to acting full-time. Elizabeth decided that she still needed to focus on raising her son and giving more time to herself. Both Elizabeth and Damian look happy today, so it seems that it was a good decision.
As a child star, Christina Ricci started gaining popularity after playing Wednesday in The Addams Family. Then, due to Casper (1996) and Sleepy Hollow (1999), she became even more famous. But in the 2000s, she didn't manage to reach the previous level of fame and started to slowly go out of the spotlight. These days, her name isn't completely forgotten and we see her once in a while, but it's a far cry to how she was in the '90s.
When he appeared in Terminator 2, which is still considered one of the best action movies of all time, Edward Furlong seemed to have a long and promising career in front of him. But these predictions didn't come true because after playing John Connor, Furlong kind of disappeared from the public eye. He only played in a few independent movies, but we never saw much from him again.
In the late '90s, Leelee Sobieski was considered one of the most prominent teen stars. We could see her in such notable movies as Deep Impact (1998), Never Been Kissed (1999) as well as the mini-series Joan Of Arc in 1999, where she played the lead role. This role earned her a nomination of Golden Globe and an Emmy. But, for some reason, Sobieski didn't regain her popularity in the 2000s and eventually retired from acting in 2010 to focus on her family.
Sources: Screen Rant, Head Cramp, Met Daan, Refinery 29