Do you ever find yourself looking at the lifestyle of your favorite celebrity and thinking 'I wish that was my life?' Well, maybe it's time to stop. The good times enjoyed by the rich and famous are incredible, but fame is also a very insecure profession. It can end suddenly.
When it does end, people we used to see on our television screens and read about in glossy magazines are faced with the same problems and fears as the rest of us. They have bills to pay, and they need to generate an income in order to get them paid.
When that happens, they have to go back to work, and that can be work of any kind. Some of the names on this surprising list have found themselves working a regular 9-5 after their fame ended. Others have turned their back on fame and re-joined the rat race voluntarily.
1. Chris Owen
We imagine it's difficult enough to be a slightly-unattractive teenage boy without being cast in a movie where you're the butt of every joke for being exactly that. Chris Owen grew and developed into a fine-looking man, but his acne, spiky hair and shocking dress sense as 'The Sherminator' in several of the 'American Pie' movies basically made him a poster-boy for bullying. Not only was Owen being laughed at for what he looked like, teenage boys in every school in the western world were called 'Sherman' as an insult. That can't be good for one's self-esteem.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Owen is mostly done with the world of acting. His list of credits after 2005 are mostly for straight-to-DVD movies, and an article in 2014 published in the New York Daily News revealed that he was working as a waiter in a sushi restaurant.
2. Steven Anthony Lawrence
Being a child star is a double-edged sword. It's either an early launching pad into a career of fame and fortune, in the style of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, or it's a story destined to end in tears and make you the subject of 'where are they now' articles for the rest of your life. Steven Anthony Lawrence would be able to tell you all about that - he was once the face of 'Even Stevens' on the Disney Channel, but he was unable to translate his early success into acting work as an adult.
Being able to perform in front of an audience did turn out to be useful for Lawrence's chosen career though - he's now a teacher. Specifically, he teaches acting to children in the hope that he can pass his skills on to someone who'll do better than him. In a neat twist, he also tells his pupils how to handle the money side of the business as well, making sure that they don't get ripped off by sneaky agents or production companies.
3. Lisa Welchel
Lisa Welchel wasn't forced away from stardom; she found a calling and followed that instead. We know her as Blair Warner from 'The Facts of Life,' but the facts of her own life changed completely when she met her husband Steven Cauble, who is a pastor. Getting married was a religious experience for Welchel as much as it was a romantic one, and she re-evaluated what she wanted to do with her life.
One of the results of that re-evaluation was that she wanted to stay at home and raise a family, channeling her energy in her spare time into writing. It turns out she was probably destined to write anyway; she has more than ten books published on topics ranging from motherhood to being a better Christian. She couldn't shake off the desire to be on screen altogether; she entered 'Survivor: Philippines' when the opportunity arose. She finished runner up and pocketed $100K in the process. Nice work if you can get it!
4. Erik Estrada
When actors land a new role, they study the part extensively and immerse themselves into the mindset of whomever or whatever they're playing. When Erik Estrada was cast as Frank Poncherello, a Highway Patrol officer in the show 'CHIPs,' his research gave him a new-found respect for the people who are sworn to serve and protect the public.
Estrada knew what he had to do. He got out of the acting profession, trained to be a police officer, took all the necessary tests and finally got his badge. He's now an officer of the law in St. Anthony in Idaho. It's a long way from Hollywood, but we're sure it still brings Estrada his fair share of drama. The job also comes with a pension, which is the kind of financial security you'll never have working in the creative arts.
5. Al Green
Al Green has been so successful in his revamped career than many people now know him better as a Reverend than they ever did in his previous life. Those of us who are a little older know what he used to do though - Green was a gifted and vibrant soul singer. He wasn't just a jobbing musician either - if you look up the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you'll find that Green's name is still there, up in lights. Everybody has heard the song 'Let's Stay Together.' Not everybody realizes that it's Green they're listening to.
When people listen to Green now, they'll be hearing the word of God. Some traumatic issues in his personal life saw him turn to the Good Book, and after some soul-searching, he felt a calling to enter into the ministry himself. Green is now a pastor in Memphis. He may be in music city, but music doesn't pay his bills anymore. The church doesn't pay well, but Green's musical success means the royalty checks are still coming in.
6. Lauren Conrad
Lauren Conrad could, if she'd wanted to, have gone on to be the next Paris Hilton. She came from a wealthy family, and she found her way into the reality TV show 'Laguna Beach' before moving on to 'The Hills.' Beautiful and rich, Conrad could easily have drifted from reality show to reality show pocketing checks if she'd so desired, but by 2009 she was becoming bored and found fame to be an empty experience.
Looking for something better to do with her time, Conrad turned her hand to fashion design. It always helps to have the money to get yourself set up in a new trade, but there's no denying that Conrad has a good eye for style. Kohl's agree, which is why they've taken on her line of swimwear. When she isn't using her pen to etch new designs, she's using it to write books. Reality TV won't last forever, but people will always need new clothes. We think it was a good move.
7. Louise and Lisa Burns
You might not recognize this pair of twins from their movie days, so we'll give you a hint. If we said, 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,' would that jog your memory at all? That's right - you're looking at the creepy twins from 'The Shining,' all grown up. Louise and Lisa Burns didn't originally want to give up on acting. They believed that their film role would get them accepted to the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. The Academy was sadly unimpressed and turned them down. Their careers in acting ground to a sudden and early halt.
There was brilliance in both girls though, and though they didn't enter the same profession, they've both excelled. Louise is a research scientist with several published theses, and if you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law, you might want to look up Lisa's services as a lawyer.
8. Taran Noah Smith
Here's another man who found out that youthful fame doesn't always translate into a sustainable career - Taran Noah Smith once wormed his way into our hearts in 'Home Improvement' with Tim Allen, where he was the youngest member of the Taylor family. When he grew up a little, Smith found out that his concerns were more environmental than they were artistic, so he gave up acting to start working for the planet instead.
Smith has his own range of vegan soy-free cheese. Given that more people seem to turn vegan every day, it's the kind of business that will get busier over time. The cheese is just one aspect of 'Playfood,' Green's all-vegan cuisine company. As a very kind and generous man, Smith has still been known to make some 'home improvements' from time to time - he volunteered to help with the rebuilding operations caused by the destruction of Hurricane Harvey.
9. Geoffrey Owens
When you've been famous and you're not famous anymore, it becomes easy for other people to poke fun at you. The notoriously cruel British newspaper the Daily Mail found out that former 'Cosby Show' star Geoffrey Owens was working at Trader Joe's, and ran an article mocking him for his fall from grace. Quite rightly people were appalled by this, and the newspaper suffered quite a public backlash.
Although it's hard to have fond memories of the 'Cosby Show' now because of what's happened in recent years, Owens did make us laugh as Elvin Tibideaux. He's never given up on acting and keeps a positive attitude when he shows up to auditions. In the meantime, he's happy to have a full-time job with a steady wage - something nobody should ever be mocked for. Hopefully one of those auditions works out for him.
10. Jeff Cohen
You've definitely seen this man on screen before, but he looks so different that you have no chance of recognizing him unless you're familiar with his back story. This is Jeff Cohen, but to most of you, he's the one from 'the Goonies' who did the truffle shuffle. Yes, this really is 'Chunk,' in much better shape than he was as a child!
Cohen may have played his role for laughs, but he was a clever child. He paid attention to who was making the real money on Hollywood sets, and realized it was the lawyers. Instead of chasing his acting dream, Cohen took the bar instead and passed it with flying colors. He still works in show business, but now he does it as an entertainment lawyer. He has several major Hollywood stars on his books and offices in Beverly Hills.
11. Adrian Dantley
You'll commonly see it written or hear it said that professional sportspeople earn too much money, and in most cases that's true, but it doesn't mean they make enough money to support them for the rest of their lives after retirement. Even if it does, some ex-professionals don't want to sit at home and do nothing when their playing careers are over, so they find something else to do. Adrian Dantley is a good example.
Dantley spent fifteen seasons in the NBA, becoming an All-Star in the process. He coached for a few years after he finished playing, but now he does something else entirely. He's a crossing guard in his home town of Silver Spring in Maryland. Dantley says that the job helps him to keep a routine, as it gives him something to get up for in the morning.
12. Angus T. Jones
If you really don't like the job that you're doing, it doesn't matter how much money you make from it. Eventually, you're going to give it up and walk away. That's exactly what Angus T. Jones did despite at one point being the best-paid child actor anywhere on television. You may not recognize his current look, but he was once the star of 'Two and a Half Men.' He grew up on screen before our eyes, and then walked away when he became a man.
Jones retired from acting at an earlier age than most of us have even decided what we want to do with our lives. He'd been so well paid that he had time to sit back and think about what he wanted to do next. He's now decided that he'd like to go into the event-planning business with his own company, named 'Tonite.' He's got an excellent business partner to do it with - he shares his new enterprise with P Diddy's son Justin.
13. Gene Hackman
Be honest - did you know that Gene Hackman had retired from acting? He had such a long career in Hollywood that he feels ever-present, and his films are repeated on television so much it feels like he's still working. He isn't, though - Hackman appeared in front of the camera for the very last time in 2004 and decided to walk away before he got too old.
He didn't retire though. The whole time he was acting, Hackman was hiding his true passion - studying history. As someone who knows a thing or two about a good story, Hackman now writes historical fiction. So far, he's had five novels published, and has said that he enjoys it far more than he ever did acting. He's got no plans to stop, so expect more. We wonder what will happen if one of his books is turned into a movie? Could he be tempted back?
14. Mara Wilson
Add another one to the list of child actors who found the job harder as they got older. There was no getting away from Mara Wilson in the mid to late 90s - she was as box office as a little girl as Macauley Culkin was as a little boy. Wilson is unforgettable as the title character in 'Matilda,' and also warmed our hearts in 'Mrs. Doubtfire' as Natalie, the daughter of Robin William's favorite character.
People who act and people who write must have similar brain chemistry, because we're noticing a lot of transitions between the two worlds. Wilson is now a full-time author. She was inspired to start after seeing her name repeatedly appear on 'where are they now' articles and deciding that she'd tell the people who were asking by writing 'Where Am I Now?' - a biographical tale of child fame. That was the start of her writing career, and she's been continuing it ever since.
15. Phoebe Cates
There's a very famous scene in 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' in which Phoebe Cates' character pops her red bikini open and exposes herself. According to some reports, it was the most-paused scene in the history of the VHS tape. Cates was a sex symbol and a superstar of the 1980s, and then she disappeared. She didn't run out of acting work though - she deliberately retired at the age of 31.
Cates met her husband, fellow actor Kevin Kline, on the set of a film. They fell in love quickly, and they were soon married with children. As soon as that happened, Cates was done with performing. She was happy to stay at home and raise the children, with Kline continuing to go out and work. Now the kids are a little older, she runs a boutique store in Madison Avenue in New York. If you ever pay a visit to 'Blue Tree,' you may find Cates behind the counter.
16. Ali MacGraw
You get your hand prints on Hollywood's Walk of Fame simply by being famous. You get your footprints outside Grauman's Theater by being incredibly good at your craft. So phenomenally gifted an actress was Ali MacGraw that the theater gave her the honor after she'd appeared in only three movies. At one point, it was impossible for a film with McGraw in it to be bad. No matter how poor a script might be, she found ways to elevate it with her performance. Directors would probably still like to cast her now, but they can't - she's out of the business.
As she got older, MacGraw developed an interest in yoga to keep herself supple and stave off joint pain. The physical side of it helped her, but she developed more of an interest in the spiritual aspect than she was bargaining for. Yoga became her obsession, and she wanted to share it with others. That's why she turned her back on Hollywood and became a yoga teacher.
17. Kevin Jonas
How many Jonas Brothers are there? If you answered 'two' you're wrong, and we're guessing you don't remember the Jonas Brothers at the start of their career. Nick and Joe may be the ones who still have entertainment careers now both separately and together, but all the way back at the start of their fame there were four of them. The third was Kevin Jonas.
The problem with being a successful musician is that you spend a lot of your life on the road touring. That didn't sit well with Jonas after he met and married the love of his life; his wife, Danielle. Kevin was always the older of the brothers, and therefore the most likely to settle down first. That's precisely what he did, quitting the band and setting up a construction company instead. Now a husband and a father of four, he clearly feels there's more security in building work than there is in worrying whether anyone will buy your next album.
18. Mike Vitar
You can't say you were a 90s kid if you didn't see 'The Mighty Ducks' at least once, and if you did, then you'll have seen Mike Vitar in one of his youthful starring roles. He was a teenager when he appeared in the film, but he'd been acting since he was much younger - he was barely more than a child when he was cast in 'The Sandlot.' Vitar was good at what he did but found it didn't bring him any satisfaction. He walked away and focused on his studies instead
After graduating, Vitar found out that being a hero in real life is a lot more rewarding than playing one on screen. Vitar is now a firefighter; he's the man who will run into a burning building when everyone else is running out. As his most famous acting role was set on ice, and now he works with flames, we think it's been quite a poetic career!
19. Vanilla Ice
For all the jokes that come at his expense from Eminem and a thousand others, there's an achievement that nobody can ever take away from Vanilla Ice. He was the first person ever to hit the top of the charts with a hip-hop song. 'Ice Ice Baby' is probably one of the most sampled songs of all time, but was itself sampled from a Grandmaster Flash track. Sadly, for the man whose real name is Robert Van Winkle, it was his only major hit.
If you're only going to have one hit, you better hope it's one that will continue paying you royalties forever. Ice has no concerns on that front - the money is still rolling in, and helping him in his new trade as a house flipper. He buys run down homes, refurbishes and modernizes them, and then sells them on to new owners. It's a lucrative business if you've got the time and money, and Ice has plenty of both.
20. Nikki Blonsky
The fates of fame give, and the fates of fame take away. Nikki Blonsky already had a regular job and was enjoying it just fine when she was spotted working at a Cold Stone Creamery by a talent agent. She was whisked away and promised the stars, and briefly seemed destined to find them when she landed a big role in 'Hairspray,' but she was never able to build on that success and found herself back in the rat race.
She'd seen enough of the movie world to know that it would always need hair and makeup workers, and so she decided to learn all the secrets of that craft and find her way to the top in the beauty trade instead. Now she's a full-time stylist and make-up artist and isn't ashamed to say it, happily conversing with fans on Twitter (and offering them her services). She still goes to auditions, so don't rule out a comeback.
21. Peter Ostrum
This man turned up in a few newspaper interviews when Gene Wilder passed away, which is a big clue to his identity. He had one movie role ever, but it was a memorable part that most children would have watched when they were growing up. If you haven't guessed from those clues then we'll tell you - he was Charlie Bucket in the original version of 'Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,' long before the questionable Johnny Depp movie.
Ostrum says he loved his time making the film but also realized it wasn't something he wanted to do forever. A talent agency offered him a three-year contract to become a full-time child star when the movie was over, but he rejected it and decided to live a normal life instead. He'd always been more fascinated with the animal world - an interest that slowly developed from riding horses to looking after them as a vet.
22. Dylan Sprouse
There's being a child star, and then there's being a star as a baby. Babies are required all the time for television and movie roles, and so (sometimes pushy) parents are free to sign their offspring up for them. That's what happened to Dylan Sprouse, but he took to it like a duck to water. A few years later he was a regular on the Disney Channel as the star of 'The Suite Life on Deck,' and had the world at his feet. He used those feet to turn around and walk in a different direction.
The older Sprouse got, the less he seemed to like the acting world. He was known to advise other performers to invest their money wisely because acting was a 'commission job' with no guarantees and plenty of room to fall down. In what might be the most unusual career change we've seen so far, Sprouse now owns a brewery in which he produces mead - an alcoholic drink which was at its most popular during medieval times.
23. Jamie Walters
People tried very, very hard to make Jamie Walters famous. When Aaron Spelling was in charge of 'Beverley Hills 90210', he wrote a character to play his daughter Tori's boyfriend in the show, and he wrote it with Walters in mind specifically. Walters took the part reluctantly, but he was always far more interested in singing than he was acting. He stuck it out for two years, but ultimately quit so he could pursue a music career full time instead.
In retrospect that was a bad idea. Try as he might, Walters couldn't get a break in the music industry and had to turn to something else to make his money. He actually turned his hand to two things and saves lives doing both. Walters never left Los Angeles, but now he serves the city as both a paramedic and a firefighter. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
24. MC Hammer
We find it difficult to imagine MC Hammer doing anything other than leaping around a stage in absurd pants, telling everybody that they can't 'touch this,' but we suppose if that's all he ever did he'd have become very bored of it after thirty years. Hammer was a superstar in the 80s with his own cartoon show and millions of fans, but as we've seen already on this list, if you have a calling you'll eventually hear it.
In the case of Hammer, he found God when he was at a low point. His music career had hit the skids, and he was facing bankruptcy. He felt that all he had to fall back on was his faith, and in falling back, he became inspired to preach to others. He still refers to himself as 'MC Hammer,' but says the 'MC' stands for 'Man of Christ.' He's now a fully ordained minister, giving regular sermons to people who have no idea they're in the presence of rap greatness.
Tiffany was the quintessential pop star of the 1980s, with her smash hit 'I Think We're Alone Now' the sort of ear worm that still finds its way onto radio rotation occasionally, as well as being a regular on party and wedding play lists. You won't find her hoping to be alone anymore though, because if she is it means there's nobody in her Nashville boutique store.
Tiffany was young when she broke into music and at first panicked when she realized her star was fading, as she had no idea what else to do with her life. She even posed naked for Playboy in the hope it would generate press attention, but she couldn't make it last. Now, though, she's happy with her new life. Her store sells stylish clothes on a budget - clothes of the type she always wished she could find herself when she was out shopping. Despite all that, she occasionally records new music for her loyal fans.
26. Jon Gosselin
Jon Gosselin is yet another person who could tell you a thing or two about the transient nature of reality television fame. There's good money to be made if you can generate interest, but it's also very intrusive being followed by a camera everywhere you go. In Gosselin's case, the camera was there every hour of every day filming his show 'Jon & Kate Plus 8', and he ultimately snapped and quit after feeling that he no longer had a life of his own.
Quitting, of course, deprived Gosselin of his only form of income. He set about trying to find steady work but struggled at first, drifting from one job to another without feeling any connection to any of the work he tried his hand at. In the end, he found cookery, and discovered he had a passion for it - and most importantly, it was a passion he could fit in part-time around his DJing work in the evenings. Gosselin prepares meals for diners at the TGI Fridays in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
27. Shirley Temple
When a young woman breaks into showbusiness as a child star, they're sometimes referred to as a 'Shirley Temple,' because Temple was the one who wrote the book on how to do it. She' also, sadly, the classic cautionary tale of what can happen when child stars fail to find success when they get older. Temple had the 'cute' factor in a big way, and audiences fell in love with her singing and dancing. She became less cute as she got older, and Hollywood cast her away quickly when they had no further use from her. Temple quit acting for good in 1950.
It's a shame that so few people know what she did next, as it's actually fascinating. Temple developed an interest in politics during the 1960s and tried to find a way to get involved. Somehow, she ended up as the official United States Ambassador to the African nation of Ghana. How that happened, we may never know, but Temple was said to have loved the role.
28. Rick Moranis
There are probably screenwriters and directors out there at this very moment, still trying to find a working phone number for Rick Moranis so they can try to talk him out of his acting retirement. Moranis was the perfect comedy actor, beloved to audiences for 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids' and 'Ghostbusters' among many other triumphs. He was everywhere in the 80s and 90, and then suddenly he was nowhere. Sadly, there's a tragic reason for that.
Moranis lost his wife at a young age to serious illness, leaving him as a single father. Heartbroken, and with duties to attend to at home, Moranis banked his movie checks and stayed at home to take care of his broken family. In recent years though, he's started taking the occasional job as a voice-over artist. Is it too much to hope that he'll make a full comeback?
29. Susan Boyle
Susan Boyle was a reminder to all of us that we should never judge a book by its cover. The audience - and judge Simon Cowell - laughed when the dowdy-looking woman marched onto the 'Britain's Got Talent' stage in 2009 and announced that she wanted to be a singer. Nobody was laughing by the time she'd finished 'I Dreamed a Dream,' but plenty of people were crying. She absolutely blew everybody watching away with her phenomenal singing voice. She didn't win the talent show, but Cowell signed her anyway.
Boyle didn't cope well with fame. She hated the press attention, and later revealed that she suffered from autism which made things even more difficult for her. Eventually, she stopped answering the phone and applied to work in a local betting store instead. She stayed out of the limelight for several years, but more recently she surprised everyone by turning up on 'America's Got Talent' in January this year. She's back!
30. George Foreman
If George Foreman's boxing career had happened in the current day and age, he'd have been able to retire with the kind of money that Floyd Mayweather currently earns. Sadly for George, he was born in the wrong era, and although he was Heavyweight Champion of the World twice and fought in one of history's most famous matches against Muhammad Ali, Foreman arguably never got paid what he was truly worth.
He's got that money now though - and plenty more to go with it. Foreman signed an endorsement deal with a company that had designed a brand new 'fat reducing' grill for the kitchen and wanted a celebrity partner to help with the marketing. Foreman gets paid a percentage of every unit sold - and so far, that's more than one hundred million grills. He's earned more as a salesman than he ever did as a boxer. Just don't tell 80's wrestler Hulk Hogan - he turned the endorsement deal down!
31. Shaquille O'Neal
We did say that not everyone on this list went into another profession because they needed the money, and as a case in point, here's basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal. He earned millions of dollars over the course of his career and is one of the very best who has ever appeared on an NBA court.
O'Neal has always had other business interests. He was the star of a video game during the 1990s, and has made a couple of appearances in the world of wrestling. Since retiring he's released rap records, but his most interesting career move was to join the police as a sheriff's deputy in his home state of Georgia. We think if you were ever approached by officer O'Neal, you'd correct your behavior very quickly. He may yet go into teaching - he's been studying in his spare time, and now has a doctorate in education.
32. Charlie Korsmo
Who could ever forget the lovable child star Charlie Korsmo? He was the baby-faced star of the Robin Williams movie 'Hook,' and also won hearts in a story about overcoming bullying in 'Can't Hardly Wait,' in which he played William Lichter. As we've seen so many times already, work dried up as Korsmo got older, and by the time he was an adult he was having to make alternative plans for the future.
You won't find him calling himself 'Charlie' anymore - it wouldn't suit his new and much more serious profession. Mr. Charles Korsmo studied hard, passed the bar and took to a new life as a lawyer. He worked on cases big and small for several years in New York, eventually becoming so good at deciphering the law that Case Western Reserve University hired him to work and lecture as a law professor.
33. Jack Gleeson
If you're a fan of 'Game of Thrones' (which seems to be just about everybody in the world - and yes, we're also eagerly awaiting the eight season), you probably got angry the moment you saw this picture, and then had to force yourself to remember that the evil boy-King Joffrey was just a character. If you hated him, it's because Jack Gleeson was excellent in his role. Joffrey made our skin crawl, and when he was finally killed off via poisoning at his own wedding viewers quite literally threw parties.
Gleeson enjoyed his time on the show and remains on good terms with his former co-stars, but for now at least, he's decided that acting isn't for him. He wanted to ensure that he had options to fall back on in the future, and so he enrolled as a student at Dublin's Trinity College, studying both theology and philosophy.
34. Josh Saviano
All of us go through at least a brief stage in our teenage years where we feel awkward in our appearances and awkward in our outlook on life - it's part of growing up. The cast of 'The Wonder Years' went through that process in front of our eyes, with the characters played by the cast often going through the same things as the people playing them. Josh Saviano, in his role as Paul, may have been the most awkward of them all.
Much in the same way as we've seen plenty of former actors turn to writing, there also seem to be a disproportionate amount of them turning to law. Maybe it's the performance aspect of being in court that appeals to them? In any event, Saviano is another child star who took and passed the bar. He studied at Yeshiva University before going back home to New York to work as a lawyer.
35. Sarah Michelle Gellar
At one point in the late 1990s, there was something that almost every teenage boy in America could agree on, and that was Sarah Michelle Gellar being the sexiest woman on the planet. She routinely took the number one spot in the annual poles held by glossy magazines, and she made fantasy shows and vampires cool when she took the lead role in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.'
Gellar crossed over effortlessly from the small screen to Hollywood, where she made a perfect damsel in distress in horror films like 'The Grudge.' Unfortunately, many performers hired at least partially for their looks find that work is harder to find as they get older, and that's what happened to Gellar. She doesn't mind, though. These days, if you find her driving a stake through something, it's probably cookery related - she's set up a baking company called 'FoodStirs.'
36. Amanda Bynes
Not so long ago, everybody was very worried about Amanda Bynes. She'd grown up as a talented, attractive and popular teen TV and movie star, but her life seemed to be heading out of control. She was accused of having drink and drug issues, and some of her behavior on social media suggested she was having mental health issues.
Happily, she's now in a much better place, and it seems she had to take a few paces away from the acting world to find it. Bynes found therapy through education and hopes to reinvent herself as a fashion designer after she completes her course at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California. We're happy for her that she's getting her life back on track. We suspect that Drake is just happy that he doesn't have to log onto Twitter anymore and break into a sweat before he opens his DMs.
37. Al Franken
All across the country, you'll find millions of people who think that the state of politics is a joke. Al Franken is a man who's intentionally set out to prove it. The funnyman spent more than twenty years entertaining us on 'Saturday Night Live', but eventually all of us get itchy feet, and as the 20th century gave way to the 21st, Franken decided that he was running out of material, and he'd be better off trying to improve the world than mocking it.
Franken went from cracking jokes at the expense of the political class to joining them. A passionate campaigner about social issues, he put his money where his mouth was and stood for election on Minnesota. He won. Franken took up office as a senator in 2008, and he's been there ever since. Clearly, the people of Minnesota think he's doing a great job.
38. Michael Maronna
We know that as adults we're not really supposed to watch children's programming on Nickelodeon, but millions of us will admit that we tune in to the occasional show if we're being honest with ourselves. One show that had quite a lot of grown-up viewers was 'The Adventures of Pete and Pete', which made a star out of Mike Maronna. He was fantastic in his role, but he couldn't find a way to stay involved in the performing arts when it was all over.
That doesn't mean that Maronna left the entertainment business, though. In fact, he's on TV and movie sets all the time- he just doesn't appear in front of the camera. Maronna retrained as an electrician, and then combined that new knowledge with his existing knowledge of how sets are rigged for making films and television shows. He's now a specialist electrician who works behind the scenes of major productions. If you looked hard, you'd have seen him credited with such a role recently for 'Shades of Blue.'
39. Danny Tamberelli
If you're thinking it was a shame that one of the Petes from 'The Adventures of Pete and Pete' didn't make it, but you're also presuming that the remaining Pete must still be out there making television shows, we're afraid you're wrong. That other Pete was Danny Tamberelli, and he didn't find another way to break through after the end of the show either. Nor did he decide to become an electrician - although he does still work with Mike Maronna every now and then.
We're not sure if it's his 'main' occupation, but Tamberelli pursued a career in music after he abandoned life in front of a camera, and he describes his job as 'musician.' That could mean anything from playing gigs in bars to working as a session musician, so he could be doing anything. When he's not playing, he finds time to record podcasts with Maronna. Imaginatively, they call the podcast 'The Adventures of Danny and Mike.' We wonder where they got the inspiration?
40. Karyn Parsons
Now this is a story all about how Karyn Parsons' life got flip-turned upside-down. Looking at this picture, it's incredible how young Parsons is still looking. Much like Will Smith, she seems to have defied the aging process completely. Maybe there was something magic in the water on the set of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.' If so, we wish we knew where it was bottled.
Parsons, of course, played Smith's snobbish, highly-strung and occasionally infuriating cousin Hilary. Hilary was quite the princess, and never took kindly to Will's antics - which was often the source of the show's comedy. It seems that Parsons is nothing like her character in real life - she's actually very charitable. She runs an organization called the 'Sweet Blackberry Foundation,' which tours schools telling true stories of unheralded heroic African Americans to children, hoping to inspire the next generation.
41. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Some of you may not recognize this elderly gentleman, and if you're one of them, then allow us to introduce you to basketball royalty, and a true trailblazer in the NBA. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played professional basketball during a time when Muslim players were practically unheard of - especially Americans who had converted to the religion. He overcame prejudice and protest to become a legend of the sport both as a player and, for years afterward, a coach.
As a man who's led a colorful and interesting life, and seen a lot of basketball and the world in general, Abdul-Jabbar has a lot to say, and as a gifted communicator, he's found entertaining and inspiring ways to say it. So far, he's been the author or the co-author of fifteen books, one of which is a 'Sherlock Holmes' style mystery featuring the great detective's brother Mycroft. In one of Barack Obama's final acts as President of the United States, he awarded Abdul-Jabbar the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.
42. Danny Lloyd
Red-rum. Red-rum. Much earlier on in this list, we showed you what the iconic twins from the Stephen King horror movie 'The Shining' are up to these days. They weren't the only child stars in the film though - in fact, they weren't even the main ones. That honor went to Danny Lloyd, who played Jack Nicholson's son (also called Danny). The assignment was no easy job for a child, but Lloyd pulled it off admirably.
That made him something of a loss to the acting profession when he decided not to continue. Lloyd only has one more credit to his name as an actor - a mostly-unknown television movie in 1992 called 'Will.' He then retired from acting and grew up as a perfectly normal child, who became a perfectly normal man. He still gets asked about his horror movie past and deals with the questions with good grace, but Lloyd is a professor of biology at home in Kentucky. He's also a married man with four children of his own.
43. Andrew Shue
The Shue family in general are an interesting topic when it comes to entertainment. Both Andrew Shue and his sister Elisabeth were child actors, and both of them appeared in 80s cult hit 'The Karate Kid.' When they got a bit older, both of them completely walked away from the acting profession, too. We're sure their parents were really thrilled after all the money we presume they spent putting them both through acting school!
Shue had a number of roles as a child actor before starring in 'Melrose Place' as a young adult, where he made many a teenage girl swoon. He never felt comfortable with the work though, and instead went into professional sports for a while, playing soccer during the 1990s in Zimbabwe and then returning to the USA to play for Los Angeles Galaxy. An injury put an end to that, so he went into business and set up a website called 'CafeMom,' which contains forums which dispense parenting advice and other women's interest issues.
44. Angelina Pivarnick
Of all the ways that someone can find their way to fame, reality television is probably the most insecure. People are selected to appear in such shows either because of their age, or because they look a certain way or lead a certain lifestyle. When any of those factors changes, they find the rug pulled out from underneath them very quickly.
That was the case for Angela Pivarnick, who eagle-eyed readers may recognize as being one of the original members of the 'Jersey Shore' cast all the way back in the first season. A dispute about being forced to work in a t-shirt shop saw Pivarnick storm off the show, so it's ironic that she now works in a regular job. We have to salute her though because it's vital work that she does - she's now an EMT.
45. Kurtis Blow
We're beginning to notice a definite correlation between people who've worked in the music business (especially rappers) and giving it all up in favor of spreading the word of God. Kurtis Blow is another former rapper who can now be found spreading the good word as a minister. Blow hasn't done it in quite the same way as some of the others have, though. He's put his own spin on it - quite literally.
Blow is the founder and chief minister at the 'Hip Hop Church' in Harlem, and part of his job as a minister is also to man the decks as a DJ. Blow is a born-again-Christian, but he didn't lose his passion for music when he found God. Instead, he's combined the two things together to bring people what sounds like an entertaining sermon experience.
46. Geena Davis
Movie stars of the 1980s didn't come much bigger than Geena Davis. She'll always have a special place in our hearts as Barbara Maitland on 'Beetlejuice,' but her biggest success came in 1988 when she won the 'Best Supporting Actress' Oscar for 'The Accidental Tourist.' If you're more of a 'horror movies' person, you'll be more familiar with her from her role with Jeff Goldblum in 'The Fly.'
Davis seemingly became more aware of the world around her as she got older, and wanted to use her platform and her fame to try to influence positive change. Lending her name to a cause she believed in, she opened the 'Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media,' which focuses on both how women are represented and how many opportunities women are presented with compared with their male colleagues. She could, therefore, be called a professional activist these days, even if she does still act.
47. Hayden Christensen
Appearing in a 'Star Wars' movie is no guarantee that you'll have a long and glittering career in Hollywood - ask Mark Hammill about that, and he'll enthusiastically tell you the same thing. That didn't seem to apply to Hayden Christensen though - even though the so-called 'prequels' weren't well received by fans, Christensen's star quality shone through on the screen, and he wasn't short of offers for work. He didn't take any of them.
Maybe he hated the prequels more than anyone else did, or maybe he was just bored of acting, but when they were done he bought a plot of land in Ontario and set himself up with a new life as a farmer. That wasn't enough for him though; he has also launched a clothing line and set up a production company, before finally returning to acting in 2017's 'First Kill.'
48. Freddie Prinze Jr.
Freddie Prinze Jr. was famous at the same time as Sarah Michelle Gellar, somewhat famous for the same reason as Sarah Michelle Gellar (i.e., he was very attractive), and even shared Sarah Michelle Gellar's career trajectory into teen horror movies by starring in 'I Know What You Did Last Summer.' He had so much in common with Sarah Michelle Gellar that he married her in 2002, before doing yet another thing she'd also done - he quit the movie business.
He tried his hand at a lot of different jobs in the years that followed. For several years, he was working behind the scenes in Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment as a member of the creative team, scripting out some of the crazy things that happen on wrestling television. Now, he's reinvented himself once more as a chef. His first recipe book 'Back to the Kitchen' was released in 2016, offering 75 easy-to-cook recipes which are apparently his personal favorites.
49. Jennie Garth
Never was there such a collection of beautiful people in one place than the one we saw on 'Beverly Hills 90210' in the 1990s. Many of the cast tried to treat the show as a springboard to greater fame, staying in the show for as long as it was useful to them and then moving on to bigger and better things. Jennie Garth didn't. She stayed loyal from the first season to the tenth and final one.
She didn't get much in the way of reward for her loyalty. Although she did pick up one or two more jobs, nobody wanted to take on someone who was so well known for playing a single part for so long. Garth exited showbusiness and decided to become an online retailer instead. She owns and operated a website called thegiftbox.com, where people pay a subscription and receive boxes of gifts on a monthly basis.
50. Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz is still having to remind people that she's retired from acting. She publicly made the announcement in early 2018 after a long period of inactivity, but she says she's regularly stopped in the street by people asking her where she's been. Hopefully, plenty of people will read this so she gets hassled less! Diaz was the perfect sweet and kooky leading lad of the late 90s and 00s, making us laugh in 'There's Something About Mary' but also showing her more serious acting skills in ''Gangs of New York.'
Over time, her interest in writing overtook her interest in performing, and that persuaded her to stop stepping in front of the cameras and start writing full time instead. She has a particular interest in physical and mental health, and has written self-help guides with catchy titles like 'The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time.'
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