14 Actors Who Had Epic Comebacks After a Long Hiatus

Some Hollywood stars totally win fans over when they make an epic return to the spotlight. These 14 actors stunned everyone with their return to acting with top-notch performances. Which is your favorite comeback?

1. Brendan Fraser

The Whale Brendan Fraser
Image Credit: A24.

It's no secret that Brendan Fraser made waves with his role in The Whale, and it seemed like this was his major comeback to acting. While he does have credits at least once a year, this role was the one that reminded people of his career and got him back into the limelight.

2. Neil Patrick Harris

10 Classic Villains Neil Patrick Harris Could Play In the Doctor Who Special
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

NPH took an on-and-off break from acting after How I Met Your Mother, and in the past couple of years, it seems like he's in everything. From Gone Girl to the HIMYM spin-off, he's done a lot. However, his most famous comeback was after his significant acting break right before he starred in Harold & Kumar

3. Keanu Reeves

John Wick Keanu Reeves Michael Nyqvist Alfie Allen
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Keanu left after taking the red pill because he was just tired of the business. However, his return in 2014 took the world by storm, as the ex-Matrix trotter put on a three-piece suit to play John Wick. Since then, seeing him as anything other than the Baba Yaga has been challenging.

4. Linda Hamilton

Linda Hamilton
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Taking a break to care for her family, Linda Hamilton stayed away from the big screen for 17 years. However, by 2019's Terminator: Dark Fate, Hamilton returned as Sarah Connor and proved that her time away from the cameras did not dull her skill or desire to take down Skynet by one bit.

5. Robert Downey Jr.

Avengers Endgame Robert Downey Jr.
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

RDJ took an unplanned four-year break from acting to deal with his well-documented addiction and legal issues. However, the charming and witty actor returned in 2008 to kick off the biggest superhero franchise of the last decade with nothing but his wit, charm, and a suit of iron. He is Ironman.

6. John Travolta

Pulp Fiction John Travolta Samuel L. Jackson
Image Credit: Miramax.

When asked what some of the greatest movies ever made are, Pulp Fiction often comes into the conversation because it is an absolute spectacle.

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson started an entire pop culture revolution with that single movie, and it is crazy to think Travolta had been on a six-year hiatus before that. Man has got talent!

7. Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Michael Keaton returned to the big screen after a five-year hiatus. After many successful movies in the 80s and 90s, one would have thought the Batman actor was done, only for his triumphant return as another bird-themed actor in 2014's Birdman. From there, he played the Vulture in Spiderman: Homecoming — didn't peg him as a bird lover.

8. Daniel Day-Lewis

Gangs of New York Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary McCormack
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

Daniel Day-Lewis is known for taking hiatuses from acting that are longer than some actors' entire careers. In the late '90s, he took a break to become a cobbler, proving he's just as dedicated to his shoes as he is to his craft.

He returned to acting in 2002 with Gangs of New York. Then, he took another hiatus before returning for Phantom Thread. With each return, Day-Lewis proves that he's not just an actor; he's a force to be reckoned with.

9. Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando
Image Credit: MGM/UA.

He's not just the Godfather; he's probably the Godfather of hiatuses. After several high-profile movies in the 50s and 60s, Brando took a nine-year break to focus on personal projects such as activism and other arts.

His return marked one of the most iconic movies of all time. Putting him on this list was an offer we couldn't refuse.

10. Ke Huy Quan

Ke Huy Quan
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Starting in The Goonies and as a child actor in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Ke Huy Quan took a break from acting, pursued his martial arts interests, and worked as a stunt choreographer.

A decade later, he returned as Jubilee in X-Men 2. However, his 2022 movie Everything Everywhere All At Once earned him his Best Supporting Actor award.

11. Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder
Image Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Talent? Check! Range? Check! The ability to make you feel emotion through her eyes alone? Check! Check! Check! Winona Ryder started acting in the 90s, and after a few films, she took a decade-long break before returning to the big screen in 2010 for Black Swan.

Since then, she's appeared in other projects. One of her most potent performances has been in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things.

12. Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

After a promising start to his career in the '80s, Rourke took a break from acting to pursue a career in boxing. He returned to the big screen in 2005 with a string of acclaimed performances, including his Oscar-nominated role in The Wrestler.

Rourke's comeback was a triumph, showcasing his raw talent and unique presence on screen. Did his performance bring us to tears? Yes, very much, yes.

13. Joe Pesci

Joe Pesci
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Martin Scorsese never miscasts, and bringing Joe Pesci back in for The Irishman was an absolute goldmine. After a stellar start to his career in Goodfellas and Casino, Pesci took a long break from acting to focus on music.

Good things come to those who wait, as his 2019 return was just the breath of fresh air Hollywood needed.

14. Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Jamie Lee Curtis' return to acting after a hiatus was a testament to her incredible talent and versatility. After establishing herself as a horror icon, Curtis took a break from acting and returned in 1994 with True Lies, showcasing her comedic timing and range as an actress.

It's one thing to get back into the movie industry and another to excel at a whole other genre, and Jamie pulls it off with finesse.

Source: Reddit.