If there is anything Hollywood has taught us, it is that no star is too big to fall.
One minute, a famous actor or actress is on the top of the world, everyone adores them, and their career seems unstoppable. However, no matter how beloved, beautiful, or talented they are, it can all come crashing down in the blink of an eye.
Sometimes it is due to factors outside of the star’s control. Maybe they just have bad luck with roles or have trouble landing them, or maybe a young, new star arrives on the scene and starts to eclipse them. While, some stars simply fade out from the spotlight slowly.
However, other times, a celebrity completely self-destructs in the public eye and takes their career down with them. While some manage to make a comeback after a scandal, many stars are unable to recover. As they say – it takes a lifetime to build a reputation, but it only takes a moment to lose it.
Common issues that plague Hollywood include substance abuse, a bad attitude on set, a terrible role that scarred their image, and even committing a terrible crime.
Here are the 19 Famous Actors Who Completely Destroyed Their Own Careers.
19. Shannen Doherty
Shannen Doherty graced film and television throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including Heather Duke in the film Heathers. Her breakout role was Brenda Walsh on the series Beverly Hills, 90210.
She was axed from the series after numerous fights with her co-stars, especially with Jennie Garth, and for being unprofessional. The 90210 producer, Charles Rosin, said “she had habitual lateness. Her lateness was appalling, and she had a callous attitude and an indifference.”
She also gained a reputation for bad behavior. People Magazine once called her “iconic Hollywood bad girl.” Her antics dominated the tabloids.
In 1992, she was charged with misdemeanor battery for getting into a fight with another woman. In 2001, she was arrested for driving under the influence. Doherty had a comeback role as Prue Halliwell on the show Charmed, but she departed after yet another feud with a co-star.
18. Michael Richards
Michael Richards won three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his portrayal of Cosmo Kramer on the sitcom Seinfeld.
He also appeared in the films So I Married an Axe Murderer, Airheads, Young Doctors in Love, Problem Child, Coneheads, UHF, and Trial and Error.
He returned to his stand up comedy roots after Seinfeld ended. His stand up career ended after a 2006 appearance at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. A group of guests had arrived a bit late to the show and were making noise.
Richards began flinging racially-charged insults at the table, saying “look at the stupid Mexicans and blacks being loud up there,” using the n-word, and reference lynching of the Jim Crow era. A recording of the tirade went public and Richards announced his retirement from stand up.
17. Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan captured America’s heart with roles in Disney’s remake of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday. However, the starlet’s career was derailed by multiple drug and alcohol related offenses.
Hollywood has been more than willing to give the disgraced starlet a second chance, but her career keeps getting interrupted by her partying and legal woes. Studio executive James G. Robinson wrote a letter blasting Lohan’s behavior during filming for the movie Georgia Rule.
He called her irresponsible and unprofessional, citing her numerous late arrivals and absences from set, and said “we are well aware that your ongoing all night heavy partying is the real reason for your so-called ‘exhaustion.'”
She lost a part in the film Poor Things after being arrested for driving under the influence. Until she is able to prove to Hollywood that she is sober and reliable, Lohan will keep missing out on high-profile roles.
16. Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson has starred in iconic films like the Lethal Weapon series, the Mad Max series, Braveheart, and The Passion of the Christ. Nowadays, he is more known for his drunken antisemitic and racist tirades.
In 2009, Gibson was arrested for driving under the influence with an open container of alcohol in his vehicle. When the arresting officer refused to let the actor drive home, he lost it in a rant loaded with antisemitic statements such as, “f*** Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?”
In 2010, Gibson was caught making bigoted statements once again in a recorded phone call with his girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. He said if she got “raped by a pack of n******”” it would be her fault.
15. Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes began acting at a very young age in the Nickelodeon shows All That. She then went on to star in her own series, The Amanda Show. Bynes also appeared in films such as What a Girl Wants, She’s the Man, Hairspray, and Easy A.
Her career seemed to be doing well, so fans were perplexed when the actress announced her retirement from acting. “Being an actress isn’t as fun as it may seem. If I don’t love something anymore, I stop doing it. I don’t love acting anymore, so I’ve stopped doing it,” she said.
Merely a month later, she proclaimed “I’ve unretired.” This marked the beginning of repeated strange behavior. She was charged with a DUI in 2012 and in 2013, she was detained for starting a fire in a stranger’s driveway.
She was also caught acting bizarrely in a store on camera before attempting to shoplift. Her mother was granted conservatorship over her daughter until earlier this year. Bynes is reportedly doing better, but has yet to return to acting.
14. Thomas Gibson
Thomas Gibson had it made with a starring role on CBS’ Criminal Minds from 2005 to 2016. He lost his longstanding gig due to his horrible temper.
His contract with the show was terminated after allegedly kicking one of the writer-producers on set. He released a public apology for the spat, claiming that the altercation was the result of creative differences.
His apology was not enough to save his job, however, as this was apparently the third strike for the actor. In 2010, he had another altercation with a crew member. He shoved assistant director Ian Woolf during a shoot and was forced to undergo anger management classes.
13. Stephen Collins
Stephen Collins was once beloved as Rev. Eric Camden on the series 7th Heaven. Fans were stunned when a recording of him confessing to sexual abuse of a minor leaked to TMZ.
He was investigated by both the New York City Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department, but neither department was able to charge the actor. Collins himself admitted to inappropriate sexual conduct with three different underage girls from 1973 to 1994.
He claimed that he has not acted in such a way in the last 20 years. Though Collins was never arrested for the crimes, no one in Hollywood wants anything to do with him anymore.
12. Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl is best known for her Emmy Award winning role as Izzie Stevens on Grey’s Anatomy. She also starred in several romantic comedies including Knocked Up, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Killers, Life As We Know It, and New Year’s Eve.
Unfortunately, the actress is known for bad mouthing her projects in interviews. In a Vanity Fair interview, she upset fans when she accused the film Knocked Up of being “a little sexist” and said it “paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”
She evidently did not learn her lesson — she refused to submit her name for Emmy consideration during one season and publicly stated that her material on the show did not deserve the award.
11. Mark Salling
Mark Salling is best-known for his breakout role as Noah Puckerman on the musical series Glee, in which he played a football player who joins the Glee club after previously bullying them.
However, he has not been seen much since the Fox show ended in 2015. Whatever happened to up and coming singer and actor?
On December 29, 2015, Los Angeles police busted Salling on suspicion of possessing child pornography. Police believed that he had thousands of photos and videos in his possession.
The next year he was officially charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. His trial is scheduled to begin in September 2017 in Los Angeles. Because of the charges, he was dropped from the upcoming film Gods and Secrets produced by Adi Shankar.
10. Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen has starred in dozens of films, including Wall Street, Major League, Young Guns, Platoon, and The Three Musketeers. Television is where the actor really solidified his status.
He replaced Michael J. Fox for the last two seasons of the sitcom Spin City and earned a Golden Globe for his performance. He was once the highest paid actor on television, earning $1.8 million per episode of Two and a Half Men.
His contract with the show was terminated in 2011 after he made derogatory comments about creator Chuck Lorre. He subsequently had a public meltdown where he insisted that he was “winning” and had tiger blood in his veins.
He has since returned to television, but he is nowhere near the same level he once was. His latest endeavor, a film about the September 11th terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, is already plagued by controversy due to Sheen’s past comments on 9/11.
9. Gary Busey
Gary Busey has been in over 150 movies. His best known role is Buddy Holly in the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story, which earned him an Academy Award nomination.
These days he is less known for his accomplishments as an actor and more for his odd behavior and antics. Everything changed after Busey was injured in a motorcycle accident. He was not wearing a helmet, as he was always a vocal opponent of mandatory helmet laws, and hit his head on a curb.
He suffered a fractured skull and underwent brain surgery to remove two blood clots. During an appearance on Celebrity Rehab, psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy said the accident weakened the actor’s mental filters and caused him to act and speak on impulse.
8. Jennifer Grey
Jennifer Grey was on top of the world in the 1980s after starring in two iconic films: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Dirty Dancing. Alas, one fatal decision effectively killed her career.
In the 1990s, she got two rhinoplasties to remove a bump on her nose. Her nose was one of her defining features. Once it was altered, she lost her star power. The surgery changed her face so drastically that even her close friends had trouble recognizing her.
Grey realized her mistake, saying “I went in the operating room a celebrity—and came out anonymous. It was like being in a witness protection program or being invisible.” It got so bad that she even considered changing her name and starting her acting career all over.
7. Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase is a certified comedy legend. He was a cast member on the debut season of Saturday Night Live and created the Weekend Update segment, which still exists today.
He also appeared in the films Foul Play, the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, Fletch, and Caddyshack and starred as Pierce Hawthorne in the sitcom Community.
However, as talented as Chase is, he has a habit of fighting on set. Very few people are still willing to work with him. Dan Harmon, the creator of Community, revealed that the actor refused to shoot a scene because he didn’t think it was funny.
There was so much bad blood that none of his close friends showed up to Chase’s 2002 Comedy Central Roast and he was trashed by strangers. He was visibly uncomfortable the entire time and, when it was his turn at the podium, he looked into the camera and stated, “That hurt.”
6. Mike Myers
Mike Myers began his career as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1989 to 1995. He became a household name after starring in films like Wayne’s World and Austin Powers and for voicing the titular character in Dreamwork’s Shrek films.
Over the years, he gained a reputation for being difficult to work with and for being a control freak on set. His Cat in the Hat co-star Amy Hill called working with Myers “a horrible, nightmarish experience.”
In addition to rumors of his difficult behavior, his career was hurt by the 2008 film The Love Guru. Not only was the film was panned by critics and audiences, but it was also accused of being offensive to Indians and Hindus. Ever since that tragic movie, he has not had a high-profile role.
5. Megan Fox
Megan Fox was plucked from relative obscurity to play Mikaela Banes in Michael Bay’s action series Transformers alongside Shia LaBeouf. She was immediately thrust into the spotlight hailed as one of the most beautiful women in the world.
She was let go from the Transformers series after making comments about director Michael Bay in Wonderland Magazine.
“He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he’s a nightmare to work for but when you get him away from set, and he’s not in director mode, I kind of really enjoy his personality because he’s so awkward, so hopelessly awkward. He has no social skills at all. And it’s endearing to watch him,” she said.
After the comments, three anonymous crew members released a letter bashing the actress’ behavior on set. Fox was replaced in Transformers by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Her subsequent films such as Jennifer’s Body and Jonah Hex were critical and box office failures. Though Fox and Bay appear to have made up since, there is no doubt still some tension.
4. Elizabeth Berkley
Elizabeth Berkley played the outspoken and passionate Jessie Spano on the beloved ’90s sitcom Saved by the Bell. After the series ended, Berkley’s career was promising.
She aimed to break into the movie business. Her first big film project was the 1995 film Showgirls. It was the first major motion picture to earn an NC-17 rating for its nudity and sexual scenes. The movie was such a critical and box office failure that it permanently ruined Berkley’s image.
Her agency dropped her as a client after the film’s release and other agents flat-out refused to speak with her. Director Paul Verhoeven admits that the film “certainly ruined the career of Elizabeth Berkley in a major way. It made my life more difficult, but not to the degree it did Elizabeth’s. Hollywood turned their backs on her.”
3. Jeffrey Jones
You probably know Jeffery Jones best from his renowned role as Edward R. Rooney in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the bumbling Dean of Students who is desperate to catch the truant in the act.
He also had a supporting role as the co-owner of a haunted house in the classic film Beetlejuice. His career came to a screeching halt in 2002, when he was arrested for possession of child pornography and accused of soliciting a 14-year-old boy to pose for inappropriate photographs.
He was sentenced to five years of probation and counseling and was required to register as a sex offender.
2. Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf started off on the Disney Channel series Even Stevens. He enjoyed success as an action star after playing the starring role in Michael Bay’s Transformers series. He also appeared in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and Disturbia.
As talented as LaBeouf is, he is incredibly self-destructive. He has gotten into several public fights. Once he slammed into the back of his neighbor’s car because he was blocking his path and allegedly waved a knife at him.
In another incident, he was arrested for disorderly conduct and criminal trespass during a performance of Cabaret at New York’s Studio 54 theater — he also swore and spat at the arresting officers.
1. Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby was a bonafide legend, but it all came crashing down once several sexual assault allegations against the star became public.
The allegations span from the 1960s to the early 2000s. Most of the cases fall outside the statutes of limitations, but several civil lawsuits were filed against the actor. Cosby has refused to address the allegations.
Many gave him the benefit of the doubt until court records from Andrea Constand’s 2005 civil lawsuit were released to the public and showed Cosby admitting to using the sedative Quaaludes on women. The backlash was intense.
Twenty-five colleges and universities rescinded Cosby’s honorary degrees. Walt Disney World removed a statue of him from their Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza, and his appearance in the documentary Painted Down was canceled.
TV Land announced that it was pulling all reruns of The Cosby Show from the network and taking down clips from their website. Netflix indefinitely postponed his stand-up comedy special, and NBC scrapped plans for a new sitcom featuring Cosby. Even his talent agency, CAA, severed ties with the disgraced actor.
What do you think? Did these actors completely ruin their careers? Can you think of any other actors who we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments.
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