Bagging a lead role in a massive movie is no mean feat, and many who do go on to enjoy hugely successful roles headlining other hit films. Sometimes though, things don’t work out that way.

Landing that high-profile part doesn’t always mean you’re set for life, as these briefly famous Hollywood stars found out the hard way.

1. Thora Birch

Thora Birch American Beauty

Heralded as Hollywood’s next female starlet after her eye-catching role as disillusioned teen Jane in the Oscar winning 1999 film American Beauty, things didn’t work out for Thora. A healthy glut of B-Movies and straight to DVDs followed, including such illustrious titles as My Life as a Teenage Robot and Escape from Cluster Prime.

2. Jake Lloyd


The curious case of Jake Lloyd. He was touted as the natural successor to Macauley Culkin as world’s favourite/most annoying child star following his leading role in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Like many things in the world however, 10 year-old Lloyd’s hopes and dreams were crushed under the deadly weights of Jar-Jar Binks and George Lucas’ directional skills. Lloyd soon quit acting altogether.

3. Wentworth Miller

Wentworth Miller Prison Break

Leading man for hit TV series Prison Break, his starring role in the hugely successful drama had him tipped for natural progression to the big screen as the next action-movie star. The only problem seemed to be Miller’s ability to act. Questionable at times, in the same way that Uwe Boll’s directional skills are, Miller never made that transition – and remains elusive. Still, he’s actually not a bad screenwriter it turns out – as fans of acclaimed thriller Stoker will testify.

4. Linda Blair

The Exorcist Linda Blair

For an actor that can rotate her own head 360 degrees and projectile vomit on cue, you’d assume that agents would be queuing round the block outside the door of Linda Blair’s place. An Oscar nomination for The Exorcist wasn’t enough – and Blair has since cropped up in the likes of LA 7  and Whoa! (yep, we haven’t heard of them either).

5. Paul Hogan

Paul Hogan Crocodile Dundee

Australian TV actor turned Steve Irwin prequel story, Paul Hogan made his name as everyone’s second favourite reptile-wrestler in Crocodile Dundee. He actually received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay believe it or not, having co-written the script to the first movie. Hogan has since been seen in the likes of Crocodile Dundee II and Crocodile Dundee in LA. Outings as Dundee makes up a third of Hogan’s credit list.

6. Peter Ostrum

Peter Ostrum Charlie Chocolate

His role as Charlie in mentally-scarring 1971 children’s classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory proved to be Ostrum’s only ever dip into the movie world. He quit acting to pursue a career as a veterinarian, a decision we can only assume had something to do with that nightmarish tunnel-ride.

7. Alicia Silverstone

Alicia Silverstone batgirl

Teen-star Silverstone made her name with hit teen comedy and guilty pleasure of many (so I’ve been told…) Clueless. After that, she looked destined to become a breakout star in her own right and scored a part in the legendary Batman and Robin. Legendary, that is, for all the wrong reasons. Of course, it proved hard for anyone involved in that nuclear-disaster to come out with any credibility – and Silverstone has since faded out of the Hollywood spotlight altogether.


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