Celebrities | Pop Culture | 90s

11 Stars Who Left Hollywood To Pursue A Normal Career

While many among us aspire to become rich and famous, there are some who have been in that position and did not enjoy it. Being a celebrity isn't all that it is cracked out to be, and not everyone is cut out to be a star.

Over the years, some recognizable faces from 80s and 90s film and television have called it either because they've failed to book jobs, or the pressure proved to be too much.

Here are 11 celebrities who have traded Hollywood for a normal life:

1. Charlie Korsmo - Jack Banning in Hook

The former child actor made his big-screen debut in 1990 and appeared in three movies that same year. In the following year, he became a household name when he played Jack Banning alongside the late Robin Williams in Hook. He took on one last role seven years later as the supporting character William Lichter in Can't Hardly Wait.

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Korsmo left the acting world behind to pursue a degree in physics from MIT. He worked for the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Republican Party in the House of Representatives. In 2006, he received a degree from Yale Law School and passed the bar exam the next year. He worked for a few law agencies before joining Case Western Reserve University School of Law as a professor.

2. Jeff Cohen - Lawrence "Chunk" Cohen in The Goonies

Despite delivering an unforgettable performance in the 1985 film The Goonies, it wasn't enough to help Cohen remain in the entertainment industry. He appeared in two more movies and had guest spots on television shows in the late 80s, but he eventually left Hollywood.

Unlike his co-stars Corey Feldman and Josh Brolin, Cohen decided to follow a very different career path as a lawyer. He is a founding partner of Cohen & Gardner LLP. in Beverly Hills, California. He also periodically writes about business, legal and political topics for The Huffington Post and CNBC.

3. Peter Ostrum - Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory

Ostrum's one and only acting credit was his role as Charlie Bucket in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. Ostrum was quick to realize that acting was not for him, so he opted to stay in school and pursue a totally different career.

These days, Ostrum runs a veterinarian practice in Lowville, New York. "I worked with horses when I was a youngster and felt that was my calling. Acting wasn't something I saw doing as a career," said the former child star.

However, he did make a return to the silver screen in a guest spot on a chocolate factory-themed episode of Top Chefs: Just Desserts, alongside his Willy Wonka co-stars.

4. Brittany Ashton Holmes - Darla in The Little Rascals

Holmes first won our hearts when she played the cute and sassy Darla in the 1994 movie The Little Rascals. She went on to appear in a couple of projects, but fell out of the spotlight after 1996.


Holmes currently lives in Los Angeles and is reportedly working as a barista while attending school as a political science major.

5. Danny Lloyd - Danny Torrance in The Shining

Lloyd was only 5 when Stanley Kubrick casted him in one of the most iconic horror films, The Shining. Despite his buzz-worthy performance as Danny Torrance, the child actor couldn’t find success in the industry. He only appeared in one more film, Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy, before leaving Hollywood to chase another dream.

NY Daily News

Lloyd now works as a pig farmer while simultaneously teaching biology at a community college a few miles from Louisville. He is happy to no longer be recognized by people.

“I lead a pretty normal life now,” Lloyd recently told NY Daily News.

6. Taran Noah Smith - Marcus "Mark" Jason Taylor

Smith, best known for his role as Tim and Jill's youngest child on the long-running 90s sitcom Home Improvement, made cameos in a few other television shows and a movie called Little Bigfoot 2: The Journey Home before quitting acting.

Stanton Daily

Smith married Heidi Van Pelt, who was 16 years his senior in 2001. In the following year, he gained full control of his $1.5 million trust, then in 2005 the couple founded a non-dairy cheese manufacturer and restaurant, Playfood, in California. Although, the couple divorced in 2007, the company still stands.

These aren't the only stars who took up regular jobs...

7. Kirk Cameron - Mike Seaver in Growing Pains

Kirk Cameron's role as the mischievous Mike Seaver in Growing Pains made him every 80s girl's crush, but upon realizing that this popularity was going straight to his head, he decided to go to church and "found God."

NY Daily News

After Growing Pains ended in 1992, Cameron decided to turn away from Hollywood and be "a follower of Jesus Christ." Unlike his famous sister, Full House's Candace Cameron Bure, Cameron no longer acts in mainstream productions. He founded an evangelistic ministry called The Way of the Master.

8. Pheobe Cates - Linda Barrett in Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Cates wooed fans with what Rolling Stone described as "the most memorable bikini-drop in cinema history" in the 1982 film Fast Times At Ridgemont High. The brunette bombshell later starred in Gremlins and landed roles in a variety of TV shows up until 2001 when she decided step away from the acting scene.

Cates along with her husband, actor Kevin Kline, and their two children moved to New York City where they still reside. In 2005, the actress opened her own boutique on Madison Avenue called Blue Tree.

9. Mike Maronna - Big Pete in The Adventures of Pete & Pete

Maronna rose to fame after he took on the role of older Pete Wrigley in the Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete. He also landed roles in box-office hits such as Home Alone and its sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He had cameos in a few movies and television shows through the early 2000s, but decided to take a step back from acting.

Life & Style

Although he has always been passionate about the entertainment industry, Maronna had more of an interest in the behind-the-scenes aspects of film and television. Since 1996, he had worked as an electrician for films and television shows, including Sex and the City, Ugly Betty, and Elementary.

10. Mara Wilson - Matilda in Matilda

Mara Wilson is probably best known for playing the ever so charming Matilda in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel of the same name. She appeared in a handful of movies and TV shows, including Mrs. Doubtfire, Miracle on 34th Street and Melrose Place before finding another calling.

Movie Creed Live

The former child actress attended New York's coveted Tisch School of Arts and is now pursuing a career in writing. As of 2013, she also works with Publicolor, a NYC-based nonprofit organization that provides disadvantaged and high-risk youth with design-based programs that "mentor them for success in college, career, and life."

11. Michael Schoeffling - Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles

Even before starring in Sixteen Candles, Schoeffling was no stranger to the limelight. He modeled for GQ and was a gold medal-winning member of the United States National Junior Wrestling Team. After his role as the popular Jake Ryan alongside Molly Ringwald, he appeared in eight more films and an episode of Deadly Nightmares before retiring from acting in 1991.


Schoeffling currently lives with his wife, former model and actress Valerie C. Robinson, as well as their two children in Pennsylvania. He started a woodworking shop where he produces unique handcrafted furniture.

Would you like to see these former actors make a comeback?