Netflix is the holy grail of streaming services. They have set the standard for other streaming services like Hulu, Crackle, and Amazon to live up to. While Netflix has been able to bring fans some of the best shows available, they have done so much more than that. Netflix has also been responsible for bringing some actors careers back from the dead. Maintaining any career is hard but especially for actors, they have to be willing to be on a constant hustle for the rest of their lives in order to make this career work. Thankfully for them, Netflix seems to be the golden ticket to their chocolate factory.
The streaming service can be attributed to boosting the careers of dead in the water celebrities like Winona Ryder and Jodie Sweetin. But what many fail to realize is that they are responsible for putting the life back in many careers. Some that you may not even think of. It’s now to the point that no matter how dead your career is, if you can get on a Netflix show, you may just be able to salvage what’s left of it. Just ask these 15 celebs, Netflix certainly saved their careers.
15 Adam Sandler
I am putting Adam Sandler at the top of the list out of sheer respect. He isn’t nearly as far gone as some of the other celebrities on this list. That being said, he is on here because of his lack of recent hits. Sandler always seems to have a film coming out and they generate a lot of buzz like That’s My Boy, Pixel, and Blended. The problem here is that his films always flop and we can almost guarantee that if he didn’t have his own production company and millions of dollars, a lot of these films would NOT get made. So shout-out to Netflix for taking a chance on this guy who makes flop after flop.
Under Netflix, he has made The Do-Over, The Ridiculous 6, and Sandy Wexler. Again if all these went to theatres, they would be flops. However, they have managed to find a tolerable home at Netflix.
14 Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson had a fruitful career in the early 2000s. She was in several high-profile films like Sin City, Seven Pounds, Rent, Eagle Eye — the list goes on and on. Then all of a sudden, she just kind of stopped being in high-profile films and her career cooled down a bit. Then Netflix decided to get in on the Marvel game and introduced a slew of shows focusing on lesser-known Marvel characters. Dawson was cast in Jessica Jones as nurse Claire Temple. And to her surprise, it parlayed into every other Netflix Marvel show. Her character makes the rounds in Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. She is basically getting paid for five different shows and I am sure she is making bank. Not many people get that opportunity a revived career AND money to match it.
13 Deborah Ann Woll
Her name may not sound familiar but her face sure is. She played Jessica, the baby vampire, in True Blood. This was essentially the most major role of her career. However, thanks to Netflix, she was able to get out of Bon Temps and into the gritty, dirtiness of New York City’s seedy underground. She has a starring role as Karen Page in Daredevil and that parlayed into playing the same character on The Punisher and The Defenders. Of course, she can’t ride this wave forever, but she can make it count while it lasts. Hopefully, when these shows fizzle out she can stick with Netflix and hopefully not have to go back to straight to DVD letdowns like Catch .44, Highland Park, and Ruby Sparks.
12 Taryn Manning
Orange Is The New Black has saved and started A LOT of careers. In this case, it saved the career of Taryn Manning. She has had a handful of notable roles like Hustle & Flow and 8 Mile, but it seems like she has had more flops than hits. Remember Crossroads — that Britney Spears centered film? Manning has always had a struggle in Hollywood, she has always worked consistently but a lot of it is stuff that many people have never heard of. Orange Is The New Black gave her a character that not only has longevity, but is a fan favorite. Pennsatucky essentially saved her career, besides a few pretty awesome guest-starring roles on Sons Of Anarchy and the Hawaii Five-O remake. However, it seems like everyone on OITNB is just dying off, so let’s see what happens.
11 Elijah Wood
Okay so, don’t get me wrong, Elijah Wood is basically one of those actors who doesn’t really need to work anymore. He has The Lord Of The Rings under his belt and after an actor does a successful franchise, they are essentially set money-wise. Popularity-wise, if the franchise does well, they will always have that clout behind them. That being said, what kind of an actor is a non-working actor? They must be bored, right? The last couple of years Wood hasn’t done anything too exciting, but once Netflix got their claws on him he had two hits on his hands. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore. I am sure the actor would have bounced back eventually but Netflix expedited that for him.
10 Lili Taylor
Even though Lili Taylor’s role only lasted 11 episodes, what was she doing before Hemlock Grove? She had a pretty outstanding career in the '90s and even rolling into the 2000s. She’s one of those actresses that gets steady work but it’s not always quality. She’s also one of those actresses that has a hard time keeping a series going for more than a few seasons hence Almost Human and American Crime. Even though she didn’t see Hemlock Grove through all three seasons, Netflix was able to keep her around with a role in their hit Netflix original film To The Bone. It kind of gave a boost to her career, because now she has three films coming up in 2018 and she was just recently in Leatherface.
9 Kyle Chandler
Kyle Chandler will forever be known as Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights and no-one can take that away from him. That being said, Netflix has really given him a leg up. Before, during, and after Friday Night Lights finished, Chandler had parts in Grey’s Anatomy, King Of The Hill, a role in Argo, and Zero Dark Thirty. Virtually, he was flying under the radar. Then Bloodlines premiered and put him on the top of everyone’s list again. Also, let’s be clear: Bloodlines wasn’t canceled because of bad ratings, Netflix decided it cost too much to continue making so there is a chance it could come back with a smaller budget. Since the show has ended, he has a great role in the hilarious new film Game Night and two upcoming films including Godzilla with an all-star cast.
8 Robin Wright
Gosh, I hate putting the very talented Robin Wright on this list, but I have to be true to myself. The actress was flying under the radar hardcore before playing the wonderful, smart and headstrong Claire Underwood on House Of Cards. Really, did anyone realize she was in great films like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or Moneyball? No, no we didn’t. Since getting her critically acclaimed role in House Of Cards, she has not only upped her media presence, she has also been in several films that are killing it at the box office, like Wonder Woman, A Most Wanted Man, Blade Runner 2049, and Justice League in addition to still playing Claire Underwood. There is no question that her career has seen a boost. Now that House Of Cards is basically ruined and being pulled from the lineup, hopefully she has made enough of a splash for fans to see more of her.
7 Laura Prepon
Donna from That '70s Show has upped her game since signing onto Orange Is The New Black. After That '70s Show ended she was kind of just floating around Hollywood getting small roles here and there. You know the ones; TV movies and one-off episodes of TV shows. She even did a few 'made for TV' films. She assumed her luck was changing when she got the starring role in Are You There, Chelsea? based on the memoir by Chelsea Handler. Ultimately it flopped but that’s the world working in mysterious ways because in 2013 she got the role of Alex Vause in OITNB. Since being on the show her popularity has risen dramatically; she was in Girl On The Train, and even journalists want to know what she’s doing. Especially since having her daughter in 2017.
6 Taylor Lautner
Taylor Lautner is a prime example of a celebrity who was in a very successful franchise, and immediately after landing a lot of random roles (most of them not good), and then just disappearing. Then he showed up in this insanely ridiculous Netflix show by fellow list mate Adam Sandler called The Ridiculous 6. He played someone who looked like The Simpsons character Cletus the slack-jawed yokel. He then went on to star in Cuckoo which is a UK show that found a new home on Netflix. He was on it for two seasons and then was cast in Scream Queens for one season (its last season). So essentially Netflix put him back on the map and he tried to parlay that into a better career. However, looking at his IMDb page, he hasn’t done anything since 2016 when Scream Queens ended.
5 Alexis Bledel
When Alexis Bledel was on Gilmore Girls, it was the height of her career. She was able to get a few film roles based on her likability and girl-next-door looks. However, after Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants, her roles were few and far between — including small guest-starring roles on Mad Men, E.R. and her own film that failed, Post Grad. Luckily for Bledel, Netflix decided to revive Gilmore Girls just to bring the fans a little something to keep them happy. It was only a few episodes, but it put her back on the map. Shortly afterward, she appeared in The Handmaid’s Tale as Ofglen. One can really speculate that if the Gilmore Girls revival didn’t take place, she wouldn’t have gotten the role in The Handmaid’s Tale.
4 Jodie Sweetin
The Fuller House revival of the '90s TV show has been doing amazing on Netflix. It is already rolling into its third season and in doing so, it has revived the careers of not one but three child stars. However, Jodie Sweetin is one of the biggest revivals mainly because she has been trying to get back into the industry for a while. She had tarnished the crap out of her reputation with her drug problem and having her kids taken away from her because of this drug problem. Thank the Lord she has cleaned herself up and got her life back on the right track, because in the process, she was invited to do Fuller House. Without Netflix going so hard for the Full House revival, Sweetin wouldn’t be on TV period.
3 Natasha Lyonne
When people used to think of Natasha Lyonne they thought of one of two things; American Pie or Slums Of Beverly Hills. Even well into the 2000s when those films were well and gone and on nobodies mind, it was all they could associate her with. Sure, she made guest appearances here and there, but she had a few run-ins with the law. When she was cast as Red's right-hand woman, Nicky, in Netflix original series Orange Is The New Black, it’s like a new light was shining on her. Since then she has been in a good handful of things including more original Netflix content like A Futile And Stupid Gesture and Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie.
Work is work, right? Especially in Hollywood.
2 Ethan Embry
Teen movie star Ethan Embry has had a weird time in Hollywood, but he’s had steady work, though he always seems to fly under the radar. Many people either don’t know who he is or know his face but don’t know his name. Before he was on Netflix he made the rounds in teen movies and dark comedies like Can’t Hardly Wait, Empire Records, and That Thing You Do. Netflix has helped him out in that department, because he is now a regular on Grace And Frankie. This is his first regular “TV” role in over a decade and it’s also not a normal role that he would take. It’s given him a chance to step into something that he isn’t used to. Another child star saved by Netflix.
1 Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder was having a hard go of it before the hit Netflix original series Stranger Things swept in to save her. In the '90s, she was doing amazing. She was a teen actress who transitioned pretty well into adult roles. Even in the early 2000s she was doing okay in Hollywood; she had a few romantic comedies under her belt and she had made enough money in the '90s that she had a decent cushion.
Then she decided to steal from a Saks Fifth Avenue and was essentially blacklisted from Hollywood. Not only did she look insane going into an extremely popular store on an extremely notable road and stealing, she also followed up the incident with a lot of back peddling and an all-around ridiculous reason for why she did what she did. If the team at Stranger Things didn’t help her, she would still be known as the actress who stole for no reason.