13 Actors Who Unexpectedly Left Hollywood

Are there people who crushed a significant role on screen but chose another career path? For example, recently, someone asked, “Which actors had a massive role in one movie then left the business?

1. Karen Lynn Gorney

Karen Lynn Gorney
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

She played Stephanie, the love interest, in Saturday Night Fever; while that was considered Travolta's show, you think she'd stay and build off what notoriety she got from being in that movie.”

“But instead, she quit acting after making that movie, started an art gallery, returned to the business 14 years later, and has been doing bit roles here and there.” Here are the top-voted actors who left the business after experiencing success. 

2. Ariana Richards

Ariana Richards Jurassic Park
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

ConstableGrey stated, “Ariana Richards, who played Lex in the first Jurassic Park, had some more minor roles in the 90s but became a full-time artist.” Another user expressed, “I forgot she was in Tremors and was also the love interest in Angus!”

3. Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen The Goonies
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Edwardothegreatest said, “Jeff Cohen, Chunk in The Goonies, is a lawyer now.” Another user argued, “But he stayed in the movie business. He is an entertainment lawyer. And so he was the one who drew up fellow Goonie Ke Huy Quan's contract for Everything Everywhere All At Once.”

4. Skandar Keynes

Skandar Keynes The Chronicles of Narnia
Image Credits: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Milkbreadroll volunteered, “Skandar Keynes, who played Edmund in the Narnia movies, was my first thought. I think he stopped acting not long after the movies.” “After reading your comment, I checked his Wiki page to see what he's up to these days and also learned he's the great-great-great grandson of Charles Darwin,” replied one commenter. 

5. Jake Lloyd

Jake Lloyd Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

One user asked, “Maybe Jake Lloyd? The kid from Phantom Menace. Essentially he only did video game voiceovers afterward.” “He faced a lot of ridicule and bullying from Star Wars fans, much like Hayden Christensen, Ahmed Best, Kelly Marie Tran, etc.”

“These actors landed dream roles in Star Wars films, only to be harassed so much that it led to mental trauma and quitting the industry. As a result, we suck as a fan base,” added another. 

6. Jaye Davidson

Jaye Davidson Stargate
Image Credit: Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

“Jaye Davidson was nominated for an Oscar in his first film, The Crying Game (1992). But he only did three other movies following that, one of which was Stargate,” one commenter said. Another shared, “Fun fact, he didn't want to be in Stargate and was ready to leave the industry immediately, so he made what he thought was a ridiculous salary demand, one million dollars… the studio accepted.” 

7. Jack Gleeson

Jack Gleeson Game of Thrones
Image Credit: HBO.

“Jack Gleeson had a huge role in a TV show, not a movie, but yeah. He played a primary antagonistic in the first half of Game of Thrones and did so exceptionally well. Gleeson retired from acting as soon as his contract with HBO was over,” one user commented. Another corrected, “He was in Batman Begins before Game of Thrones.” He was also in A Shine of Rainbows (2009).

8. Claudia Wells

Claudia Wells Back to the Future
Image Credit: University Pictures.

One user said, “Claudia Wells in Back to the Future. Replaced by Elizabeth Shue for the sequels and didn't do any more movies for over two decades.” Another user noted, “She did that to care for her mother, who had cancer.”

9. Carrie Henn

Carrie Henn Aliens
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

MikeSizemore volunteered, “Carrie Henn, who played Newt in Aliens. I believe she became a teacher.” Many users agreed with another who expressed, “An actor who hit it big as an adult and then disappeared is more interesting than child actors, which is more common.”

10. Danny Lloyd

Danny Lloyd The Shining
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Another Redditor volunteered, “Danny Lloyd, who played Danny Torrance in The Shining. He had no idea until years after he was in a horror movie; instead, they told him it was a drama. He became a professor at a community college and was not on screen again until a brief cameo in Doctor Sleep.”

11. Peter Ostrum

Peter Ostrum Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

One user nominated “Peter Ostrum from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. He played the leading role of Charlie in the movie but decided not to pursue an acting career afterward.” Another stated, “This was my first go-to. I think he's a veterinarian.” Finally, a third commenter exclaimed, “He is! My hometown. Lowville, New York.”

12. Harold Russell

Harold Russell
Image Credit: RKO Pictures.

The only actor to win two Oscars for the same role, Russell's departure from acting is tragic.

One film buff explains, “He lost his hands while training in the military in 1941. Since there weren't likely many roles for a guy with hooks instead of hands, director William Wyler encouraged him to go back to school after production for The Best Years of Our Lives wrapped up.”

13. Alison Lohman

Alison Lohman Big Fish
Image Credit: Sony Pictures.

Lohman left the industry after starring in films such as Big Fish and White Oleander.

One fan explains that she's involved in the farm life now and loving it. She got the itch to live in the country after working on Flicka and went for it.

A thread inspired this list.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.