Everyone has thought about what it would be like to be famous. Having all eyes on you and being the person on everyone’s lips. But have you ever thought about how’d you actually feel once you got your fame? It can be hard being constantly in the public eye and scrutinized for everything you do. We can understand then when we see celebrities give up their life of fame and pursue something a little more subtle and out of the public eye.
No matter what reason they find for leaving their Hollywood roots behind them, these former celebrities wanted to give up their fame for other things. Some of them have even done great things with their lives after disappearing from the silver screen.
The first celeb on our list is Al Green, he was big in the 1970s and made it as a renowned musician. He released numerous singles and he’s now traded his guitar in for a bible. You heard us right, he’s now known as Reverend Al Green.
Now he preaches in sermons rather than playing on stage. We can safely say his new audience is better behaved than that from his old career. He’s a Baptist Minister and we can only hope that he sings when he preaches, wouldn’t that be cool!
Shakespeare’s famous line was “all the world’s a stage” and we think Tony Danza really took those words to heart. In 2009 he decided to become a 10th-grade English teacher in Philadelphia. Danza left his acting career behind and filmed the A&E reality show Teach: Tony Danza.
Having a long history in the entertainment business, Danza thought that teaching would be no different and feel just like another form of entertainment. Only after a year did he decide that teaching is different and has more to it than a well-rehearsed performance.
Freddie Prinze was very popular in the 90s due to his acting in both films and TV. He had all of what most actors dream of – a great personality, charming looks, and talent to boot. But he wanted something different and made a drastic career change, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute in Pasadena, Californa in the hopes of pursuing his passion as a chef.
He even became an author in 2016 with the release of his first cookbook. It’s called Back to the Kitchen and shows readers how to make 75 great meals and also contains true stores about the actor.
In 1967 a man named Gene Hackman debuted in the film Bonnie and Clyde as Buck Barrow. He quickly got noticed and starred in other major films afterward. He’s received lot of awards and nominations over the years.
In 2004 Hackman did an interview with Larry King and announced that he was retiring. Nowadays he spends his time as an author writing books. He’s received acclaim in his new field and has even written four books with Daniel Lenihan.
In the 90s MC Hammer was renowned for songs like “U Can’t Touch This”, “2 Legit 2 Quit”, and his pants of course. He had the charm to become famous but with new emerging artists he was overshadowed.
His real name is Stanley Kirk Burrel and just like Al Green he decided to trade his mic away and use his voice to reach another audience. Nowadays he’s a certified preacher and minister! We wonder if he still goes by M.C. but now it stands for Man of Christ.
Here’s an actor you’d recognize instantly if he stayed the same age forever. Macaulay Culkin was on the big screen at a young age when he starred in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York as our favorite character who gets into all sorts of high jinks: Kevin McCallister! When he turned 14, however, Culkin decided he was tired of acting.
Instead of pursuing his rapidly rising stardom, Culkin decided to leave his acting career for music. He pursued his passion with his band The Pizza Underground, which parodies The Velvet Underground. The former actor has also launched a comedy brand called Bunny Ears.
Sir Sean Connery, that’s right, he’s a knight! Anyway, the actor at the height of his career was considered the sexiest man alive, the sexiest man of the century, and James Bond! Who wouldn’t want all those titles? Well Connery decided it was time to hang up his belt in 2006.
Connery was put off of acting when he wasn’t getting any big roles like he got when he was young. Feeling like acting was a young man’s game, he decided to retire, and he’s been enjoying the life he deserves.
When Nikki Blonsky starred as Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 remake of the film Hairspray, she gained instant acclaim. He could act, dance, and sing, what wasn’t to there love about her? But when she finished up the filming of the movie she could to hairspray in a very different way…
After the film released she decided to go back home to New York. She graduated from cosmetology school and ended being a hair and makeup artist in Long Island. We wonder if anyone in the salon ever tries to replicate a scene from the movie.
Her acting career is most notable from movies like Thelma & Louise, A League of Their Own, and Tootsie. Geena Davis always wanted to be an actress since she was a child, but many years into her acting career, she felt that something else called her – Activism.
The Geena Davis Institute was created by her in 2004. It fights gender equality and reflects Geena’s strong leading roles as a woman in all of her years of acting.
Cat Stevens has reinvented himself a few times, he was first Steven Georgiou which was his birth name. He then became Cat Stevens when he became a successful musician and when he converted his religion he became known as Yusuf Islam. Each of these names signify an important part of his life.
He left his career as a musician after converting to Islam and going off to study their religion. Afterwards, nobody was sure if he’d ever come back. In 2006 fans were ecstatic when he returned with guitar in hand to make more music.
One of the stars in The Breakfast Club, Elmo’s Fire, and The Outsiders, Emilio Estevez also became known for his involvement in the Brat Pack. He was no stranger to fame already since he’s brother to Charlie Sheen and son of Martin Sheen.
He starred in many movies as an adolescent but felt that he had another calling, he wanted to be a director, writer, and producer. He pursued his passion and accomplished his dream.
Former 80s film actress Phoebe Cates had memorable roles in movies like Gremlins and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And she’s just one of many stars who began seeking normalcy after a stint in the spotlight.
It wasn’t until 1994 that she and her husband decided to spend less time at work and more time at home. She retired to be home with her family and acted on her dream of owning a boutique. In 2005 she opened Blue Tree in New York City.
American actress Candace Cameron-Bure found fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s with her role as D.J. Tanner on the beloved TV series Full House. Although she continues to star in Hallmark movies and has returned to the revived-and-rebooted Fuller House (2016), Bure spends her time off-screen as an entrepreneur.
In 2006, she and her husband launched Bure Family Wines, a wine label and winery based out of California.
Well-known American journalist Ann Curry has spent the majority of her working years being on-camera. She was employed by NBC News for more than two decades before making the decision to retire from her position in 2012.
Curry continued reporting after her departure, starting her own production company, Ann Curry, Inc. She also finds joy in photography and continues to work on new and upcoming projects in her spare time.
Peter Ostrum is the actor who portrayed Charlie Bucket in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. His name is one that many haven’t ever heard before because this was his first and last experience with the film industry. Although fame wasn’t for him, he does have fond memories of filming—like Gene Wilder sharing chocolate bars with him every day after lunch.
Unlike his character, Ostrum’s career didn’t lie within the walls of a chocolate factory. Instead, his golden ticket was an acceptance letter to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He now spends his days working as an equine veterinarian in upstate New York. He’s also a husband and father.
If you’ve ever seen the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining, you know Danny Lloyd. He’s best known as the 6-year-old boy who played Danny Torrance, son of the villainous Jack Torrance. Does “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” ring a bell? Well, this saying must’ve rang true for Lloyd…
He grew up and had no interest in working as an actor. Instead, he decided to pursue a career as a biology professor in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. To each their own!
Rick Moranis became an entertainer in the early ‘70s. Over the span of two decades, he made a name for himself and welcomed a busy career in feature films. In 1986, he married Ann Belsky and had two children with her.
When Belksy passed away from cancer in 1991, Moranis made the decision to take a hiatus from acting to care for his family, realizing that he didn’t really miss the fame.
Cynthia Nixon, who is better known as the career-minded, intelligent, and self-assured Miranda Hobbes from the HBO’s Sex and the City, decided to take note of her fictional character’s career goals…
In 2011, she made a name for herself in political circles, lobbying for education, LGBTQ+ rights, and women’s health care, and in 2018 she ran for governor of New York. From actress to activist, Nixon has found her place in a career that is in a different kind of spotlight.
When remembering Shirley Temple, it’s almost impossible not to think of her as America’s Little Darling: curly hair, freckled cheeks, and a sweet smile. She was discovered at the age of 3 by two producers as she danced around Mrs. Meglin’s Dance Studio in Los Angeles, California. She went on to be a successful child star that embodied the American spirit, but it didn’t last…
What many don’t realize though is that Temple’s career in show business ended so that she could dedicate herself to human service. Temple became a U.S. representative to the United Nations, the first female U.S. Chief of Protocol, and first-ever U.S. Foreign Service Officer.
Amanda Bynes was a child star that got her start with her own show on the kid’s network Nickelodeon. From there, she went on to star in multiple movies in the early 2000s. Bynes was touted as the next Lucille Ball, but that all changed in 2010.
It was then she announced her retirement from acting–citing the fact that she didn’t love it anymore. In the ensuing years she’s had some problems with the law and with substance abuse, but she recently announced three year’s sobriety and a desire to get back into acting.
For years Cameron Diaz was Hollywood’s “It” girl. After her debut role in The Mask, she went on to star in numerous big-budget comedies like There’s Something About Mary and Shrek. However, after a string of poorly reviewed performances, the superstar decided to remove herself from the limelight.
These days, Diaz is still keeping busy with her family and her career as an author, but she hasn’t had a movie role since 2014. And she seems to be just fine with that.
You might recognize Jack Gleeson as the Game of Thrones character everyone loved to hate, King Joffrey. However, don’t expect to see him on TV anytime soon again.
Gleeson had been acting since age eight, and he just wasn’t liking his career choice anymore. Although he’s made a few appearances on stage since then, he’s most kept a low profile.
Greta Garbo took the world by storm in the 20s and 30s as one of Hollywood’s hottest actors of the time. However, even during her acting career she wasn’t too fond of the spotlight–she never gave interviews or autographs and never attended the premiere of any of her movies.
So, it was only a matter of time before she withdrew from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood entirely. At the age of 36 she called it quits on acting and lived a fairly reclusive life until her death in 1990.
Being a child actor can be a strange experience, but Angus Jones’ career in acting was made all the weirder by the fact that he starred next to Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men. But despite the fame, Jones put it all behind him.
These days he works as a production manager, which is a pretty standard job. But there is a Hollywood twist–the company he works for is run by P. Diddy’s son.
During Hollywood’s Golden Era, there weren’t many stars bigger than Doris Day. She starred in classic movie hits like Calamity Jane and Pillow Talk, and eventually made her way to television as well.
However, she announced her retirement from acting in 1975, and, for the most part, kept good to her word. She did release an music album and did some charity work for animal organizations, but she largely remained reclusive until her death in 2019.
When it came to 90s teen heartthrobs, Jonathan Taylor Thomas was king. In addition to a successful role on the sitcom Home Improvement, Thomas starred in numerous movies in the 90s. But his once-young fans haven’t heard from him in a while.
While he does make the occasional appearance on Last Man Standing, created by his former Home Improvement co-star, Tim Allen, he’s largely remained off the radar. He did graduate college in 2010, but he hasn’t been up to much in the public eye besides that.
For fans of the 80s film The Goonies, Jeff Cohen needs no introduction. He played Chunk–a.k.a. the “truffle shuffle” kid. While he made a splash in this film, it was the last time he’d been seen in Hollywood.
These days, Cohen works as a lawyer. That pays well enough that he was finally able to stop searching for One-Eyed Willy’s treasure.
You would be hard-pressed to find someone who’s done as much of a career 360 as Danica McKellar. She got her start as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, but boy, have things changed.
After leaving Hollywood, McKellar studied to become a mathematician. Now, she writes books, blogs, and gives speaking engagements encouraging young women to pursue a career in math.
Mara Wilson had a whirlwind career as a child actor in the 90s. She starred in big hits such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Matilda, and A Miracle on 34th Street. However, after all her success, she’s decide to expand her talents in other areas.
These days, Wilson makes a living primarily as a writer. However, she has dipped her toes back into the Hollywood waters by doing some voice acting on the side as well.