Pop Culture | Movies | 80s

She Was A Huge Star In The 1980s, So Why Did Sean Young Leave Hollywood?

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Warner Bros.

When Ridley Scott went looking for the perfect actress to play the android who was "more human than human," he settled on dancer and actress Sean Young.

While Young's part as Rachel in Blade Runner was just her third film role, starring alongside Harrison Ford in the sci-fi epic made her an instant star. While she's arguably most famous for this breakout role, Young had no trouble finding jobs in Hollywood in the '80s.

Young as Rachel in 'Blade Runner.'Warner Bros.

She starred with Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman in No Way Out, where a fiery love scene between her and Costner captured everyone's attention. Smaller roles in Dune (another sci-fi movie with a cult following) and Wall Street cemented her status as one of the decade's biggest stars.

Young and Kevin Costner lit up the screen in 'No Way Out.'Orion Pictures

Young even came close to playing Vicki Vale in Tim Burton's groundbreaking superhero movie Batman. She was actually rehearsing for the part when she fell off a horse and broke her arm, being replaced at the last moment by Kim Basinger.

The young actress's fall wasn't just a stroke of bad luck, it was the beginning of her acting career's slow decline. But decades later, as fans look back and ask just why Young vanished from the spotlight, there's two conflicting stories.

Young and James Woods in 'The Boost.'Hemdale Film Corporation

Throughout her career, Young was plagued by rumors and gossip, but none were as vicious as the ones about her public clash with actor James Woods.

After starring together as a pair of cocaine addicts in The Boost, rumors swirled that Young and Woods were a real couple.

Then, Woods slapped Young with a $6 million harassment lawsuit, claiming the actress was trying to ruin his relationship with his fiance. He also claimed Young had left a disturbing voodoo doll on his front step.


The story made waves in Hollywood, but Young says her relationship with her costar never really happened. She also blames the lawsuit on the actor's jealous fiance.

"It was a crush being turned down," she says about the story. "That's all.... So sue me! And he [Woods] did."

In the end, the lawsuit was settled out of court, but Woods wound up paying for Young's legal fees.

Woods insists she and Woods were never a real couple.Hemdale Film Corporation

Young says the whole episode "[boiled] down to two people plotting to set me up and make me look like I was a crazy person, partially because of their own mental illness, partially because of revenge." But even if it wasn't true, it had a lasting effect on her career.

Then, in the 1990s, Young says another powerful Hollywood man helped to finish off her career.

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