With so many celebrities competing for the spotlight nowadays, it's easy to forget how many great actors and actresses are still out there. Every hour of every day seems to bring hundreds of new casting announcements for upcoming movies; it can make your head spin just trying to keep track of them all. With so much constant information thrown at us, we tend to forget the actors who were once huge deals, and even the ones who are still around.
So many veterans in Hollywood have decided to call it quits over the years, and the ones who haven't have gotten so old that they've mostly dropped out of the limelight. Some of the most acclaimed performers in some of the biggest movies have fallen in the crevice of obscurity. Sometimes their star power fades, sometimes they end up being too picky about the projects they choose, and, more often than not, sometimes we forget that they're even still alive.
Below you'll find some of the biggest actors who have completely vanished from Hollywood, and others who you might have forgotten are still kicking. Odds are you haven't seen or heard their names in a long time, but that doesn't mean you should count them out just yet.
Here are the 7 Actors You Didn't Know Were Still Alive (And 8 Who Completely Vanished).
15 Completely Vanished: Shelley Duvall
Though she's appeared in everything from Woody Allen's Annie Hall to Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits, you probably best recognize Shelley Duvall for her turn as horrified housewife Wendy Torrance in Stanley Kubrick's horror classic The Shining. With just the right amount of scares and tension, the film became an overnight sensation when released in 1980, and has since remained as a must-see for all film buffs.
Though the role launched Duvall's career, the experience on set was an entirely different matter. During the shoot, director Kubrick continually berated Duvall on set to the point where the actress was suffering mental breakdowns.
Duvall has later recounted The Shining shoot as one of the most grueling experiences of her life. Though she can look back on the incident fondly enough now, her career was never able to recover. Duvall went from an iconic scream-queen to a complete vanishing act, only popping up in a handful of projects since 1980.
14 Still Alive: Honor Blackman
Stylish, sultry, and charismatic, Honor Blackman, like many actors, started her career on stage before moving on to movies and television. Her big break came in 1962 with the popular television show The Avengers, but she was able to become a household name with the 1964 James Bond flick, Goldfinger.
There have been tons of Bond girls over the years, but Blackman's Pussy Galore has left one of the biggest marks on the franchise. Sexual innuendo aside, Blackman was absolutely magnetic and fierce in Goldfinger, setting the high standard for all Bond girls to come.
Although Blackman's career definitely peaked in the swinging '60s, the actress still pops up now in then in "blink and you might miss them" cameos over the years. She had a minor part in 2001's Bridget Jones Diary, as well as various television roles in You, Me & Them and By Any Means.
13 Completely Vanished: Phoebe Cates
Like Judge Reinhold in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, actress Phoebe Cates was probably on the mind of every teenage boy growing up in the 1980s. Her big break came in 1982 with the aforementioned Fast Times alongside other stars in the making like Reinhold, Sean Penn, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Cates' career continued to flourish in the go-go '80s with the Speilbergian hit Gremlins in 1984 and then later with it's sequel released in 1990, but unfortunately, as the '80s faded, so did Cates stardom.
Since Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Cates has only appeared in a handful of projects like Drop Dead Fred, Princess Cariboo, and The Anniversary Party. With an average gap of several years between projects, Cates has all but vanished from the modern movie scene, with her last appearance in an obscure voice over role in 2015's Lego Dimensions video game.
12 Still Alive: Christopher Plummer
Though Christopher Plummer's resumé spans nearly seven decades, he's probably best remembered as the Captain Von Trapp, the handsome widower who falls in love with Maria in The Sound of Music.
Although Plummer has gone on record recalling that he wasn't that fond of the Von Trapp character, it did open the door to his career, allowing him to appear in various movie and television roles well into his older age.
However, just because Christopher Plummer isn't exactly a spring chicken anymore, doesn't mean that his best years of acting are behind him. In 2012, Plummer finally won an Oscar for his turn as Hal in Beginners at age 82, becoming the oldest actor to win an Academy Award in history.
Now at age 87, Plummer's career is still going strong. This year he'll appear in movies The Star and Howard Lovecraft & the Undersea Kingdom, and in 2018 star alongside Sebastian Stan and Samuel L. Jackson in The Last Full Measure.
11 Completely Vanished: Kel Mitchell
If you were a kid growing up in the ‘90s, then chances are you remember Kel Mitchell. The teenage actor broke out on the Nickelodeon sketch show All That with his now famous character Ed, a surfer-dude cashier that works at a fast-food joint called Good Burger.
The character proved so popular that Mitchell rode it all the way to super-stardom. In 1997, a feature Good Burger film was made costarring Mitchell’s longtime comedic partner in crime, Kenan Thompson. The two went on to star in the Nick sitcom Kenan & Kel, which was a hit with audiences and lasted for four seasons.
However, as Mitchell's youth dried up, so did his opportunities. He nabbed a bit part in 1999’s black comedy Mystery Men alongside Ben Stiller, and since then not much else. Although Mitchell has kept busy with voice over work in Veggie Tales and South Park, he’s a far cry away from his pop culture status in the ‘90s.
10 Still Alive: Angela Lansbury
With three Oscar nominations and an Honorary Academy Award, Angela Lansbury is responsible for creating some of the most memorable characters in cinema. While the British actress studied acting from her youth, her first appearance in film came with 1944’s Gaslight, a film-noir which earned Lansbury her first Oscar nomination.
She was nominated again for Best Supporting Actress a mere one year later with The Picture of Dorian Gray. Making a reputation for herself as a strong supporting character actor, Lansbury nabbed perhaps her most famous role as the icy Eleanor Shaw in 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate.
Aside from the original Beauty and the Beast and the popular crime drama Murder, She Wrote, Lansbury has continued to work in her later years. You can catch her in the role of the Balloon Lady when Mary Poppins Returns hits theaters next year.
9 Completely Vanished: Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Few child actors have had the impressive resumé that Jonathan Taylor Thomas had in the ‘90s, and even fewer who seemed to vanish without a trace afterwards. Beginning his career in Kelloggs cereal commercials, Thomas landed his breakout role in 1990 when he signed on to play Randy Taylor on Home Improvement.
The quirky sitcom starring Tim Allen turned out to be a huge hit and allowed Thomas the chance to star in feature length movies. He played the voice of young Simba in Disney’s The Lion King in 1994, starred along Chevy Chase in Man of the House in 1995, and got the chance to play legendary adventurer Rom Sawyer in 1995’s Huck and Finn.
Then, unlike so many child actors, Thomas voluntarily left Hollywood at the height of his career. Since his hiatus from acting he’s only been in a handful of television projects, including The Simpsons, Veronica Mars, and a brief stint on Tim Allen’s ill-fated Last Man Standing.
8 Still Alive: Tippi Hedren
Best known for her collaborations with Alfred Hitchock, Tippi Hedren was one of the most iconic actresses of the early 1960s. Hedren began her career as a New York fashion model, leading to her dabbling in acting in television and commercials.
Hitchcock discovered young Hedren one day when he saw her on a commercial on NBC Today. The director knew right away that he wanted to cast her in his upcoming horror The Birds, a film which earned Hedren a Golden Globe for her riveting performance. She worked again with Hitchcock in his following film, Marine, but her relationship with the famous director broke down soon after.
It was until years later that Hedren came out publicly about Hitchcock tormenting and sexually harassing her on the set of their movies. Awful as it may be, Hedren was able to overcome it and still takes parts in the occasional B-movie and television series.
7 Completely Vanished: Mischa Barton
Born in England and raised in the US, actress Mischa Barton started her career in New York Theater until she moved on to parts in feature films in the late ‘90s, including The Sixth Sense, Lawn Dogs, and Notting Hill.
Despite roles in big-budget projects, Barton’s career didn’t hit the next level until she was cast as the wild and rebellious teenager Marisa Cooper on FOX’s hit television series, The O.C.
Focusing on Californian teens and their tumultuous time in high school, the show was a hit with younger audiences. Unfortunately, after quitting the show and her signature role, Barton has all but vanished from television screen and movie theaters everywhere.
However, just because you haven’t seen Barton on screen lately, doesn’t mean that she isn’t finding work. Nowadays, the actress sporadically takes parts in various B-movies, movies which no one has really seen like L.A. Slasher, American Beach House, and Executor.
6 Still Alive: Doris Day
Singer, songwriter, actress, and animal rights activist, Doris Day’s career is as long as it is eclectic. She kick-started her career as a big band singer in the ‘30s and ‘40s and transitioned her talents to the big screen with her first starring movie role in 1948’s High Seas.
Day’s career peaked in the ‘50s with major hits like Calamity Jane, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Pillow Talk. Unfortunately, the following decade saw the actress enter a slump, despite starring in her own show for a brief period of time. By the end of the ‘60s, Doris found she was in millions of dollars in debt due to poor investments.
Thankfully, she was able to win a massive court case against a man who poorly invested her money. Although she hasn’t been in any films since that time, Day has devoted her life to animals, founding the Doris Day Animal League which supports good homes for pets.
5 Completely Vanished: Rick Moranis
With his thick-glasses and nasally voice, Rick Moranis became the poster-boy of the nerdy neighbor of the 1980s. Moranis began his career off camera as a radio DJ in high school. This led him to a career in writing and eventually acting, joining the Canadian TV series SCTV in the ‘70s.
Moranis became a household name in the 1980s when he appeared alongside the biggest stars in Hollywood in various blockbusters. He found himself acting alongside comedy legends Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd in 1984’s Ghostbusters, leading to a starring role in Mel Brook’s 1987’s farcical Spaceballs as the dastardly villain Dark Helmet. In 1989, Moranis was the face of his own franchise with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, a movie that spawned two sequels.
Then, just as quickly as he appeared, Moranis seemed to disappear from the spotlight entirely. Though he’s known to do a voice over every so often, Moranis hasn’t appeared in a single movie since 2007.
4 Still Alive: Dick Van Dyke
With a career spanning seven decades, actor, singer, comedian, and dancer Dick Van Dyke began his career on radio and smaller roles on Broadway. He received his breakout role in the 1960 musical Bye-By Birdie, later appearing in the movie based on the play in 1963.
The actor became a household name in the early ‘60s with the hit television sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, which ran from 1961 to 1966. Dick also starred in a number of feature films during this time period, including classics like Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Fitzwilly.
So many years later and Dick is still successfully working in Hollywood at the age of 91. He’s appeared in 2014’s Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Buttons in 2016, and will reprise his famous role of Mr. Daws in next year’s Mary Poppins Returns.
3 Completely Vanished: McCauley Culkin
Macauley Culkin is known as one of the biggest child stars in cinema history, and for good reason. At age 9, Culkin starred alongside famous comedian John Candy in director John Hughes’ Uncle Buck.
The relationship between Hughes and Culkin helped the young actor nab the leading role in the following year’s Home Alone when Hughes suggested the actor to director Chris Columbus.
Home Alone ended up grossing more than $285 million domestically, becoming one of the top grossing movies in history at the time and launching Culkin into superstardom. The next few years saw the actor star in more movies such as Home Alone 2, My Girl, and Ritchie Rich.
However, along with puberty came diminishing returns. Culkin started taking parts in various box office nightmares, including The Pagemaster and Getting Even with Dad.
Just as fast as he appeared, Culkin vanished from the limelight. While he’s not above popping up in a Home Alone revival spoof, nowadays you’d be lucky to see Macauley Culkin in a low-budget arthouse film.
2 Still Alive: Mel Brooks
Actor and director Mel Brooks is responsible for some of the funniest movies ever made. Like many comedians, Brooks started his career in writing. He was a writer for the TV variety program Your Show of Shows and also co-created the hit comedy series Get Smart.
Brooks reached the peak of his career in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. He became one of the biggest film directors of the decade, starting with The Producers, which earned Brooks an Oscar for Best Writing.
Afterwards, he fell into his groove with broad spoof movies, including Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, all of which were hugely popular with audiences.
Although Brooks hasn’t directed anything since 1995’s misfire Dracula: Dead and Loving It, you can still see him show up in various comedies at the ripe, old age of 91.
1 Completely Vanished: Mara Wilson
Young Mara Wilson was infected with the acting bug at a young age after seeing her brother act in commercials. Mara herself went on to appear in a number of commercials herself before scoring her first feature film role in 1993 alongside Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire. She continued to show early promise in the following year's Time to Heal as well as the remake of Miracle on 34th Street.
At just 9 years old, Wilson became the lead in the big-screen adaptation of Roald Dahl's book, Matilda. While fantasy film was a modest success, Wilson suffered a personal tragedy when her mother died during filming.
After Matilda, Wilson's box office draw began to diminish more and more. The 2000s signaled the beginning of the end of Wilson's film career, as she left Hollywood in order to focus more on school and family. Today, she lives a modest life as a stage and voice actress and appearing in bit parts in a few high-profile projects like BoJack Horseman and Broad City.
Are there any other actors or actresses who completely disappeared that we forgot about? Let us know in the comments!
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