Imagine if you will: You’ve got it all. Your name on a movie poster. A steady, generous income. Everybody knows who you are. You’re a famous actor or actress, and you’re at the peak of your career. There couldn’t possibly be an end in sight, right?
Unfortunately, if there’s a peak involved, that means there is also a downfall. For many actors it’s a slow and steady slope that ends in fulfilling memories of a career and ample funds in the bank. But for others, it’s tough to sustain a career as an actor, and it’s even tougher to let go of the lavish lifestyle and legacy that comes along with the career. Perhaps that’s why so many washed-up celebrities cling to their fame like a pool noodle in the middle of the ocean, taking any outrageous role they can get and pulling any publicity stunt they can to stay afloat and remain relevant.
It’s a sad thing. But hey, it comes with the territory. Eventually, someone has to budge and allow the next big to step into the spotlight.
Without further ado, let’s look at the rise and fall of 15 Washed Up Actors Who Just Want To Stay Famous.
15. Tara Reid
As the decade came to a close, Reid’s career sort of fizzled off, as it did for many pop culture icons of the time. Perhaps it was her dangerously drunken antics on her reality show Taradise or her concern-causing waifish frame that adorned tabloids that did her in and prevented her from getting more “serious” roles.
Regardless, Tara Reid has kept on trucking through her career and grabbing at what she can, such as guest appearances on reality shows like Hell’s Kitchen and spots in the Sharknado series of films. She’s also starring in the upcoming thriller film Worthless.
14. Corey Feldman
It’s tough to bag on Corey Feldman. The Lost Boys actor has been through a lot. From losing his best friend Corey Haim to being involved in the dark molestation controversy in 1980s Hollywood to his very public battle with drugs, it’s a miracle that Corey Feldman has come out alive and with a desire to keep pushing his career forward.
Feldman isn’t really in films anymore, but he’s very much invested in his new (though kind of weird) music career. Corey Feldman & the Angels performed on the Today Show last year to an overwhelming cringe from viewers.
However, even though the fact that Feldman is making grasps for relevancy is very much apparent, he’s not doing a bad job of it– even the biggest naysayers attended his live musical performances a year later and were wowed.
13. Paz de la Huerta
Even if you’ve never heard the name Paz de la Huerta, you’ve probably seen her at least once or twice.
The New York actress starred as Lucy in the drama series Boardwalk Empire and had roles in films that include Choke and Enter The Void. Her personal life is almost more famous than the actress herself, too. Her Scientology connections, very public antics while intoxicated (one particular antic was spliced into the video for Lana del Rey’s “Video Games” music video), and physical assault against another actress likely led to dwindling career.
She’s since written a book and made a surprise attention-grabbing appearance in My Scientology Movie. The 2015 drama film Bare was expected to reinvigorate her career, but it unfortunately doesn’t seem like it did much.
12. Tori Spelling
Tori Spelling, the TV heiress and actress behind Donna from 1990’s Beverly Hills 90210, has been trying to keep up with her former glory for a couple of decades now.
Though she did write a riveting and cleverly titled best-selling autobiography called Stori Telling in 2008, she’s only really been doing lackluster sitcoms, reality shows, and made for television movies since her heyday in the nineties. And the five additional books she’s written since Stori Telling haven’t quite caught the magic of her first book.
Spelling admitted to having serious financial problems in 2012 after the cancellation of her reality show, despite inheriting nearly 800,000 from her father’s estate. Recently, she’s appeared in a handful of web series and was a guest judge on the ninth RuPaul’s Drag Race.
11. Nicolas Cage
Love him or hate him, Nicolas isn’t planning on disappearing anytime soon. The National Treasure star has boasted a massive career since the eighties and has appeared in dozens of movies, many of which were pretty massive blockbusters, albeit a few not so great films (we’re looking at you, The Wicker Man).
Nowadays, as his career is on the downturn, we see Nick Cage in a lot of direct to digital films and Hollywood flops. Why not just retire? Cage himself says it has to do with integrity, but others believe he has to take whatever role is handed to him to pay off his massive debts stemming from bad real estate decisions.
For some, staying famous isn’t about the fame at all– it’s all about the cash.
10. Lindsay Lohan
After years and years of pop culture infamy that greatly outshone her professional work as an actress, Lindsay Lohan’s relevance is just about gone. Which is a shame, because Lohan is a genuinely talented actress– she’s just better at being a celebrity.
When all you have to do is act erratically and pull random publicity stunts, who would bother doing another movie anyway? Lohan has been in the news for everything from reckless driving to converting to Islam to dating another woman to having a seriously enabling mother. Pretty much everything but a new movie.
Fortunately, Lohan seems ready to get back to work. She’s set to star in an upcoming horror film called The Shadow Within, her first film in several years.
Madonna is, first and foremost, an iconic musician whose musical works won’t soon be forgotten– though nowadays, her music doesn’t connect with fans like it used to. Madonna’s acting career is definitely a bit more forgettable. She’s been in quite a few movies since the eighties, none of which have been particularly great.
The desperation seems to run deep in Madonna, who wrapped up her tenth tour last year. She’s continued to make grabs for attention in the media by force-kissing Drake on stage and (allegedly) faking fall during a performance a couple years back.
A “suddenly unearthed” letter from the nineties in which she calls Whitney Houston mediocre also surfaced this year as well, tossing her back into the spotlight, albeit negatively. When will it end?!
8. Jessica Biel
Too often is Jessica Biel just described as “Justin Timberlake’s wife”. Biel has starred in a ton of films, particularly in the early 2000’s, which include Blade: Trinity, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Total Recall.
Her girl-next-door looks nabbed her the “Sexiest Woman Alive” title in 2005 and she’s also won numerous awards for her work. Biel has a rich filmography and has had an equally rich career. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem willing to let it end. She’s resorted to crappy crime dramas like A Kind Of Murder and voice acting for various animated films.
Though her show The Sinner is reportedly good and she is set to star in the upcoming Iraq War drama film Shock and Awe alongside James Marsden, Biel’s recent track record with roles isn’t too promising.
7. Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser has been through a lot in the last few years. A messy divorce and financial woes have made The Mummy actor desperate for more work.
Fraser was once the heartthrob of the nineties and shone in roles like George of the Jungle and Bedazzled. The film world hasn’t been too kind to Fraser as he’s aged. He hasn’t been in anything decent since Journey to the Center of the Earth in 2008. He didn’t even cameo in the newest Mummy adaptation, either.
Fraser hasn’t appeared on film since 2013’s direct-to-DVD flop Breakout, but that hasn’t stopped Fraser from trying to get back into the spotlight.
6. Charlie Sheen
Ah, good ol’ Charlie Sheen. Here’s another example of somebody whose personality and celebrity are more memorable than their roles. That’s not to say Sheen is a bad actor– he’s been in a ton of successful films and he was television’s highest-paid actor in 2010. However, his drug and alcohol abuse and subsequent antics made him a larger than life figure. Meme-worthy, in fact. But unfortunately, even that doesn’t last too long.
Sheen’s been washed up for a while now after several semi-successful comebacks, but doesn’t seem interested in stopping. He’s set to star in the upcoming 9/11 drama film, which is expected doesn’t look too promising. If this movie doesn’t boost him yet again, it may really be the end for Charlie Sheen.
5. Doug Hutchinson
Doug Hutchinson is a great character actor. Known for roles as the ultra-creepy Eugene Tooms from The X-Files and Percy Wetmore in The Green Mile, Hutchinson’s career peaked in the mid-2000’s. His last film was 2009’s Give ’em Hell, Malone and his last television appearance was in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in 2015.
Regardless, we’re still hearing about Doug Hutchinson in tabloids– and it’s mostly because of his famous-for-being-famous wife Courtney Stodden, who he married at only sixteen years old. How did Hutchinson go from famed actor to creepy pedophile disowned by his family and many of his Hollywood connections? We may never know.
After appearing on many talk shows and even Celebrity Big Brother together, he couple appears to have split up earlier this year. Hutchinson effectively alienated himself from Hollywood when he married Stodden, so it’s unclear what will happen now.
4. Dustin Diamond
Man, Screech went downhill.
Diamond is one of the few actors on this list who didn’t have a particularly rich career. His only major role was on Saved By The Bell. After the show’s cancellation, Diamond went on to do a laundry list of stunts to get back into the spotlight that he wasn’t really in to begin with.
He directed and released his own sex tape in 2006. He appeared in many reality shows, including Celebrity Fit Club (where he threatened the host and his trainer), Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, and Celebrity Big Brother. He also published a story, titled “Behind The Bell” in which he outs many of his Saved By The Bell co-actors and their unhinged behavior, though critics have consistently questioned his unfounded accusations.
Diamond has been arrested numerous times, particularly for disorderly conduct and endangerment of public safety in 2015.
3. Mischa Barton
Mischa Barton had a rough time dealing with the cancellation of her show The Beautiful Life in 2009.
Tabloids ripped her to shreds for gaining weight and “having a meltdown” during a time that pretty much marked the end of the peak of her career. Originally known for her role on The O.C., The Beautiful Life was supposed to be the next big thing for Barton. When it was quickly canceled due to lackluster ratings, Barton seemingly fell apart.
She was held on an involuntary psychiatric hold that year and disappeared from the public eye for a while before making a total genre switch to indie movies, of which she’s starred in dozens. And, like any washed up celebrity trying to get back into the spotlight, she’s appeared on Dancing With The Stars.
2. Stephen Baldwin
While his brother Alec seems to be doing fairly well, Stephen Baldwin isn’t doing so hot in his career.
Baldwin has been in quite a few movies in the nineties and early 2000’s, but his career has been on the decline for a while now. His reality show stint, particularly with Celebrity Big Brother in 2010, was a cringe-worthy mess involving religious tirades and constant attempts to convert his housemates. Whether his appearance on the show is the reason for his lack of recent roles, we don’t know for sure.
His most recent movie was the Turkish horror film Magi in 2016 and his most recent television appearance was on All-Star Celebrity Apprentice in 2013. In another grab for media attention, Baldwin claimed to the media that he was estranged from his brother Alec due to political differences over the 2016 presidential election.
1. Steven Seagal
Sorry Steven, but you’re one of the OG poster childs for lists like these.
Back in the late eighties and nineties, Steven Seagal was pretty huge. The martial arts and action movie boom at the time fit the 7th-degree black belt perfectly. He starred in a handful of big films like Under Seige and Hard To Kill, and quickly became one of America’s favorite action movie tough guys.
Unfortunately, his career began to dwindle at the turn of the millenium. Blockbusters turned into direct-to-video flicks as he aged, but that hasn’t stopped Seagal from trying to keep going. He has since started his own cop reality television show, made a line of energy drinks with his face on them, and even released a musical album.
Are there any other stars you can think of who just can’t let go of fame? Let us know in the comments!
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