Monday, July 11, 2016

Actors and actresses who are gone but should come back

There are some actors you never see anymore. (And in some cases that’s fine. Not having a Mike Myers movie every year has not left a huge void.) But there are those actors that I miss. To my knowledge they’re currently retired, out of work, or are flying under the radar. I apologize if one or two of them is starring in a TV series I just don’t know on a network I’ve never heard of. And this is an incomplete list to be sure. Please feel free to add your own entry. Or tell me where Bridget Fonda gets her car lubed so I can tell her GODFATHER III was not her fault and she should come back.

Anyway, here are some actors that are MIA that I really M.

Bridget Fonda – Loved her in SINGLE WHITE FEMALE. And SINGLES. And especially POINT OF NO RETURN (The US remake of LE FEMME NIKITA.) Married Danny Elfman in 2003 and disappeared.  Why should Aunt Jane get all the gigs? 

Linda Fiorentino – MEN IN BLACK, DOGMA, and she played the most delicious villain ever in THE LAST SEDUCTION. Nothing since 2009. So sexy I’d be satisfied even if she just did voice overs.

Gene Hackman – The best screen actor alive. Equally brilliant in drama and comedy. Sorry his last movie had to be WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT.


Phoebe Cates – No male under 80 doesn’t have that swimming pool scene from FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH burned permanently into their brains. Hasn’t made a movie in twenty years. I saw her in person ten years ago and happy to report she still looked spectacular. Married to Kevin Kline. I wonder if they have a swimming pool?

Sean Connery – Last seen in THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN in 2003. I know he’s getting up there but he could still play James Bond. He just needs a hairpiece and Viagra.

Jennifer Grey – Loved her in DIRTY DANCING. But that was a different era and face. She did win DANCING WITH THE STARS a few years back. All that means is that she can dance. It doesn’t mean she’s still a star.

Tara Reid – Fun in THE BIG LEBOWSKI and CRUEL INTENTIONS. And who can forget AMERICAN PIE? She was also in AMERICAN PIE 2, but everybody can forget that one. Last seen in SHARNADO in 2013. I hope that wasn’t considered her comeback vehicle.

Val Kilmer – One-time Hollywood heartthrob. One of forty current actors to play Batman. Fame didn’t destroy him. Unruly behavior and buffets did.

Jessica Harper – The waif in MY FAVORITE YEAR, a Woody Allen favorite when he was still young enough to hit on her and not repulse audiences, and she was the star of Brian DePalma’s cult classic PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. Now has a website, book, and videos as the Crabby Cook, but so far no major studio has optioned it.

Rick Moranis – Very funny and a former DJ (so points in my book). Has seemingly retired. He could easily have Kevin James’ career.

Kathleen Beller – A swimming pool scene in THE BETSY to rival Phoebe Cates’. Also very funny in MOVIE MOVIE – the 1978 movie written by Larry Gelbart that is worth seeking out. Her last credit was 1994 and that was playing a voice on a video game.

Meg Ryan – Or whoever that now is that calls herself Meg Ryan. Haven’t seen her in front of the camera but she directed a movie that’s supposed to come out soon. I so wish she and Jennifer Grey had spoken to me first.

Annabella Sciorra – Did Spike Lee movies and had a recurring part on THE SOPRANOS. (Tony was having an affair with her and it ended, as most do, with thugs telling her if she ever said a word they’d kill her.) Maybe she said a word because you don’t see her on TV anymore.

Joe Pesci – Always got killed in Scorsese movies. And discovered Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons. How they did VINYL without him I will never know.

Emilio Estevez – Only slightly less crazy than brother Charlie (although he did marry Paula Abdul). Hasn’t been seen in years.

Wilson – Had such a great debut in CASTAWAY and then nothing.

70 comments:

Richard Y said...

What?? No wedding photos?

Patrick Algermissen said...

Initially Wilson was supposed to be in the final act of Cast Away, but tragically he was actually lost at sea during filming (what became) his final scene. Zemeckis wanted to recast his chiropractor in the role, but Hanks insisted the character be written out.

Mike Barer said...

Michelle Pfeiffer was smoking hot in the 80s, but I guess that only lasts for so long.

BA said...

Many actors I wonder about ("what happened to...") pop up in small indies and it's often a surprise, Howard Hesseman in RUBIN AND ED for example.

Matt said...

While Wilson's breakout role may have been Castaway he had been working for many years. In the 80s and 90s he was a regular on Magnum PI and Baywatch. I believe he had a minor role in one of The High School Musicals. Rumor has it that he makes an appearance in the new Baywarch movie and many expect it to be the most lifelike performance in the movie.

But Wilson is not just an actor. He is an athlete at the highest level. He will be in the Olympics this summer, possibly pulling the double of both indoor and outdoor, last done by Spalding in 1988.

thirteen said...

You mentioned Kathleen Beller in MOVIE MOVIE. Loved that film. Settled down to watch it again recently and found that the b&w first feature about the prizefighter was now in color. Good Christ! What is the matter with people?

VP81955 said...

Jennifer Grey, post-nose job, was fun on "it's like, y'know...", the short-lived sitcom from Peter Mehlman of "Seinfeld" fame, a classmate of mine at the U. of Maryland.

Peter said...

First up, mazel tov to you, Annie, Jon and the whole family for the wedding yesterday. Hope you all had a great time. I'm sure your father of the bride speech was hilarious. I'm certain everyone would love to read it if you decide to post it!

The actor I really miss is Frederic Forrest. He is absolutely brilliant - his neo-Nazi in Falling Down still scares the shit out of me and it's a crime he didn't get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for it - but for some reason decided to retire ten years ago. I still hold out hope that the right project could bring him out of retirement. Tarantino and Nolan love hiring people who haven't been seen in a while. Here's hoping!

Bridget Fonda - Totally agree, especially on Point of No Return. And she was terrific in Jackie Brown.

Linda Fiorentino - From what I've read, she was a touch difficult to work with to put it mildly. So much so that some directors vowed never to hire her again.

Gene Hackman - Agree again, but he's said he is happily retired and has turned down several offers of comeback roles and now prefers writing novels.

Phoebe Cates - Gorgeous and talented. I think I read somewhere she just decided to retire from acting and be a homemaker.

Sean Connery - Officially retired, but also, if you believe some reports, is sadly no longer able to remember lines.

Jennifer Grey - According to IMDB, she did a comedy series last year on Amazon set in the 80s called Red Oaks.

Tara Reid - Actually, last seen in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!. Just finished filming Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens.

Val Kilmer - The very underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, from the brilliant Shane Black, was supposed to be a comeback of sorts but just didn't get the box office it deserved. But he's confirmed Jerry Bruckheimer wants him to return for Top Gun II.

Jessica Harper - I loved her in Suspiria. I'd like to see more of her too - a tiny cameo in Minority Report wasn't enough - but I guess when you're married to studio mogul Tom Rothman, you don't have to worry too much about needing work.

Rick Moranis - He was actually interviewed last year after turning down the offer of a cameo in the Ghostbusters remake. He said he didn't want to do a cameo just for the sake of it. He said he's not strictly retired, just that he hasn't been offered anything interesting and is always open to considering something if it's good enough.

Kathleen Beller - Sorry to say I'm not really familiar with her except that she's married to Thomas Dolby. Again, I guess that means she doesn't really need to work.

Meg Ryan - You seriously miss Meg Ryan?

Annabella Sciorra - Her IMDB confirms she's still doing movies, just not very high profile ones.

Joe Pesci - He's 90% retired but has confirmed that he's going to reunite with Scorsese and De Niro for gangster film The Irishman.

Emilio Estevez - He's now mainly directing. Just as long as he doesn't do Mighty Ducks 4.

Mitchell Hundred said...

Minnie Driver! She's pretty cool.

Brian Phillips said...

Pesci was also in a lineup of Joey Dee and the Starliters ("Peppermint Twist").

Rick Moranis seems to be happy making music nowadays. http://www.rickmoranis.com/

brian said...

Rick Moranis went on a long hiatus to take care of his young kids after his wife passed away from breast cancer in 1997.

CRL said...

Dennis Franz.

Finished NYPD Blue, dropped the mic, and left the stage.

Glenn said...

Connery and Hackman are retired and it is sad, since I would love to see both come back. But never mind that Hackman's last one was Welcome to Mooseport; how about Connery's last one being The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Ouch. That one hurts. As for Rick Morannis, he left Hollywood after his wife died and he was a full-time single dad for years. By the way, Hackman writes books...have you read any of them? Any good?

Brian Phillips said...

A better update from Moranis himself, but I do miss him in front of the camera as well.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/rick-moranis-reveals-why-he-829779

Justin Russo said...

I am happy to report of rumors that Pesci is teaming up with DeNiro and Pacino in a new Scorsese movie.

GREAT list! Can we also add the following:
-Harvey Keitel
-One LAST Olivia de Havilland film (She looks incredible!)
-Sophia Loren
-Laura San Giacomo
-Helen Hunt
-Laura Linney (in film)
-Jennifer Aniston (on TV- she's like Mary Tyler Moore or Betty White; suited for television)
-Angela Lansbury (off the stage once more)
-Michelle Pfeiffer
-Geena Davis
-Goldie Hawn
-Philip Bosco
-Olympia Dukakis

Justin Russo said...

OH! And Barry Pepper. He was in all these great war films...then dropped.

And as always, Ed Burns.

DwWashburn said...

Susan St James seems to have retired since Kate and Allie. And it was so nice that Pam Dawber came out of retirement to do an episode of Robin Williams' The Crazy Ones. With Robin passing in less than a year after recording that episode, her appearance takes on added poignancy.

Mike Barer said...

Karen Valentine, Jan Smithers, Cynthia Geary?

Igor said...

No mention of Bridget Fonda in "Aria"???!!!

But the second-best reason to see that film (OK, maybe first-best) is the Buck Henry storyline.

Terrence Moss said...

Moranis left the industry to raise his children after his wife passed.

Grey is hilarious in "Red Oaks" on Amazon.

Mark Murphy said...

If you're a Frederic Forrest fan and haven't already seen it, I would recommend seeking out HAMMETT, directed by Wim Wenders and based on a novel by Joe Gores. Forrest plays the title role, and there's also a nice cameo by Elisha Cook Jr. as a cabbie in San Francisco.

SharoneRosen said...

What a great list!

Just one thing... My Favorite Year is one of my Favorite Films! And, Woody Allen had nuthin' to do with it. It was directed by Richard Benjamin and written by Dennis Palumbo and Norman Steinberg.

Woody would have to hit on Jessica Harper somewhere else.

If you had the botched face-job that Meg Ryan had, would you go out in public???

sanford said...

It is amazing how some of those people just dropped off the map. For some of the older actors mentioned they just didn't want to do it any more. Or they are just too old to get parts. Makes feel happy to see the Michael Caine is still acting even in smaller roles. Same goes for Norman Lloyd who is 100 and still gets the occasional small role. I hope some of them saved their money because they don't seem to be doing much otherwise.

Steve Bailey said...

You sure you want to bring back Tara Reid? Have you seen "Josie and the Pussycats"?

John Hammes said...

For good or ill, the "Sharnado" films have pretty much become an annual event, the Syfy network airing a new one every late July, with lots of promotion and lots of twitter viewing response encouraged.

Given the audience reception and participation, this series apparently is not going away anytime soon. We have been warned.

Stephen Marks said...

Matt is correct, Wilson is in the new Baywatch as well as the Rio summer games. He also stars in this fall's Volley Of The Dolls and, in an amazing, Billy Bob Thornton/Sling Blade transformation, is going to star in Paramount's Xmas release of Deflategate.

David said...

Emilio Estevez directed and had a small role in 2011's THE WAY, starring his father, Martin Sheen. It's a marvelous film, and even better was the dual memoir "Along The Way" they wrote afterward:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12640989-along-the-way

KB said...

Gene Wilder?

Barry Rivadue said...

I think Faye Dunaway is among the ostracized for being difficult. She would have made an ideal Cruella DeVille.

MichaelPH said...

Jennifer Grey was/is outstanding in Red Oaks, a comedy series (Amazon) set in the 80's. She plays the mother of the main character who is bored by life and has about had it with her husband (Richard Kind). She starts to look to women for love which hasn't been consummated, yet...

Voit said...

Wilson was in a scrimmage with Tom Brady and nobody's seen him since.

YEKIMI said...

As Syfy runs the "scary man eating sharks falling from the sky bit" into the ground it will transition to them having the sharks turned into a delicacy that becomes the rage to eat at sushi restaurants all over the nation.Unknown to them they all contain a virus that cause severe intestinal distress thereby spawning "Shartnado: The Revenge" movies.

tb said...

What ever happened to Connie Selleca?

Buttermilk Sky said...

Randy Quaid was so good in QUICK CHANGE and THE PAPER, I wish he would return from whatever state of legal and psychological limbo he now inhabits.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

SharoneRosen: I think Ken knows MY FAVORITE YEAR wasn't a Woody Allen film. Around the same time (looking it up, I see it was two years before, which is close enough) he cast her in STARDUST MEMORIES. And before that she was in LOVE AND DEATH.

wg

Gary said...

Great to hear that Martin Scorsese will be really stretching with his new movie. A gangster film -- who could have guessed?

Anonymous said...

Kilmer is thought to be having a protracted battle with a serious illness but his religious beliefs(Christian Scientist) have prevented him from seeking medical help.
Jeniffer Gray is very good in Red Oaks (like most of the cast, especially Ennis Esmer).
Hackman will never be replaced. We don't make leading men like we used to.
Bob

MikeK.Pa. said...

"Gene Hackman – The best screen actor alive. Equally brilliant in drama and comedy. Sorry his last movie had to be WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT."

So is he.

Tom Wolper said...

Since Jan Smithers got mentioned in the comments, she was interviewed by Newsweek two months ago as they followed up a feature they did on teenagers in 1966. They noted that Jan was very hard to find.

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/05/27/jan-smithers-newsweek-teens-issue-457672.html

JR Smith said...

Phoebe Cates. For sure.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I love Rick Moranis, but you have to admire and commend him for his reasons to retire: his wife passed away, so he retired to care for and raise his children as a single dad. I've also read that he said once he retired, he found that he really didn't miss acting that much anyway - he prefered being a comedian, where he had his own control over his own material, as opposed to being an actors, where you have writers telling you what to say, and directors telling you how to say it.

VP81955 said...

More power to him

James said...

Sean Young. Looking great in [b]Third Watch[/b]. Now??

Glenn E said...

One actress who should have had an encore was Madolyn Smith. Most notable for playing Debra Winger’s rival in Urban Cowboy, Chevy Chase’s spouse at the Funny Farm and Steve Martin’s orgasm faker in Carl Reiner’s All of Me. That was fun to type, let me repeat that – Steve Martin’s orgasm faker in Carl Reiner’s All of Me. Yes, well – Madolyn’s beauty and humor were always deserving of more screen opportunities.

If you want to enjoy some of what Rick Moranis has done with his days, check out his two albums of music (My Mother’s Brisket and The Agoraphobic Cowboy). Rick’s music is just as entertaining as his film and TV work, not surprising from the man who, for my money, was the catalyst for SCTV’s greatest years.

Hackman and Connery are certainly retired and it’s doubtful they would need or want to jump back in the ring. And possibly the same with Jack Nicholson, although nothing is official. Maybe Jack will make one last bow like James Cagney did with Ragtime after years away.

Voit said...

Won't you come home Bill Bailey Quarters, won't you come home?

Nice article @Tom Wolper, thanks for the link.

Didn't you go to school with her, Ken? And Ann Jillian? Saw a brief video clip of her recently, maybe on Decades tv. Any others from your class make it big?

craig m said...

Ken, were you aware that the movie podcast "How Did This Get Made" just tackled "Mannequin Two: On the Move"?

D. McEwan said...

Hackman and Connery are certainly missed, but I respect their decision to stop making movies. Did I actually want to watch their physical decline? Not really. Connery's last movie was the abominable The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, whose sheer awfulness made him decide to leave movies and go golf, rather than waste any more time making crap movies for money he certainly did not need. He had nothing left to prove, and is, I assume, happy in his retirement. (And it's not like Hackman voice-overs don't still pop up once in a while. I always recognize his voice.)

"No male under 80 doesn’t have that swimming pool scene from FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH burned permanently into their brains."

I'm a male under 80, I saw that movie, and I have no memory whatever of that scene. In fact, beyond Sean Penn playing the living double of a friend I had back then, I recall almost nothing whatever about it. I do recall Miss Cates's work in the two Gremlin movies, and have the second one (which I prefer. Christopher Lee!) on Blu-Ray.

Does anyone miss Val Kilmer? Certainly no one who ever had the misfortune to work with him. Sometimes stars go away and it's good riddance. (And sometimes they come back. John Travolta's comeback annoyed the hell out of me. I certainly didn't want him back.)

I do miss Jessica Harper, who is a wonderful talent, and one hell of a singer. (Plus, we're Facebook friends.) One of the biggest "Huhs?" ever was casting her in Pennies From Heaven to just move her lips to old recordings. Stupidest use of a good singer since they dubbed a singing voice over Angela Lansbury in The Harvey Girls.

Yes, come back Rick Moranis. And he's vastly funnier than Kevin James. The TV ads for Kevin's about-to-start comeback TV series announce "The King of Comedy is back!" By no stretch of the imagination is Kevin James "The King of Comedy."

I forgot Katherine Beller was ever in anything other than Dynasty I had a room mate then who deeply lusted for Beller. She wasn't what I remembered from Movie, Movie (That would be young Harry Hamlin making his screen debut wearing little more than his boxing trunks) or in The Betsy (I literally have no memory of her being in that, just horrible Pia. No one's asked Pia to comeback), about which all I remember was being transfixed by Olivier's "Youth Make-Up" in the flashbacks, and wondering how anyone not blind thought it was effective, though not as stupid as the script.

Tallulah Morehead said...

It's not a comeback, it's a return, a return to all the little people who've never forgiven me for abandoning them. In any event, you seem to have forgotten to demand my comeback, despite my being ready, willing (Very willing!) and occasionally still able.

D. McEwan said...

"Mike Barer said...
Michelle Pfeiffer was smoking hot in the 80s, but I guess that only lasts for so long.
"

She is still smoking hot, and still working. She has two films completed awaiting release and she's shooting another even as I type.

D. McEwan said...

"Justin Russo said...
-Laura Linney (in film)"


She co-starred with Sir Ian McKellan in Mr. Holmes just last year,so she's still on the big screen, just not in big release crap.

Cap'n Bob said...

If Fonda married Danny Elfman she's probably holding a set of tomato paste cans at the $cientology Celebrity Center and giving all her money to those scam masters.

mdv59 said...

WTF?! Somebody needs to hunt down the plastic surgeon who worked on Meg Ryan and Mickey Rourke and send him to prison for life before he gets his hands on Jennifer Aniston.

Hackman is 86 so I guess he's earned a break but to me he was the best actor of my generation.

Shrill1 said...

Ken, you probably saw Rick Moranis did an interview with the Hollywood Reporters a few months back. He seems to be happily retired. Fyi, I think it shows superhuman restraint on your part not to list the actors you feel who should disappear.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I loved Meg Tilly in THE BIG CHILL (and AGNES OF GOD) and was sorry she disappeared. She returned a few years ago in BOMB GIRLS. I think I read an interview where she said she loved acting but hated being a star. She had someone asking for her autograph *while she was giving birth*, so I can see her point.

wg

Bill O said...

The whole point of Pennies From Heaven, tv and movie, were the actual vintage recordings in the lead character's fantasies. No slight to Jessica Harper.

Andrew said...

"Does anyone miss Val Kilmer?"
I do. His performance as Doc Holiday in Tombstone was by far the best thing in the movie.
I recall that Siskel and Ebert had not seen Tombstone and were not planning to review it until they kept hearing good things about Kilmer's performance.

I don't like Tom Cruise said...

Cap'n Bob

I'm happy to reassure you that Danny Elfman is not and never has been a Scientologist. It's his brother and nephew who are members of that gruesome outfit.

Bill O said...

Kilmer's been known to be tough on directors. Got himself removed from Batman and Robin - lucky for him. John Frankenheimer, who directed him in Island of Dr Moreau, said "I wouldn't do another film with Val kilmer even if I were making The Val Kilmer Story.

D. McEwan said...

"Bill O said...
The whole point of Pennies From Heaven, tv and movie, were the actual vintage recordings in the lead character's fantasies. No slight to Jessica Harper."


I never said it was intended as a slight. I said it was a waste of a good singer, as it was for Bernadette Peters as well. (My brother was a sound mixer on that movie. It's a good movie. Christopher Walken's dance number is sheer Heaven. He was well-used.)

Bill O said...

But since neither were hired for their vocal abilities, but rather to emote to prerecords, the comment holds no weight. It's neither a slight nor a waste - it's the film's premise. To compare it to Walken's strip number is inaccurate.

Shaun S said...

I'd like to see Traylor Howard on TV again, she was terrific in Monk, 2 guys a girl, West Wing, Me, Myself & Irene and everything else I've seen her in.

Unknown said...

That is why we need a new love boat, or fantasy island. They can do cameos.
Or on "Match Game 16" airing now. Only place I ever saw JP Morgan.

thirteen said...

Margaret Colin. I don't know why she didn't make the cut for the Independence Day sequel, which is a film I'm not going to see until at least its third anniversary on HBO, but where is she?

D. McEwan said...

"Bill O said...
But since neither were hired for their vocal abilities, but rather to emote to prerecords, the comment holds no weight. It's neither a slight nor a waste - it's the film's premise. To compare it to Walken's strip number is inaccurate."


It's not a slight, it IS a waste. And comparing it to Walken's dance number in the film is on the nose. His talents were well-used, Harper's and Peters's were not.d

Bill O said...

Try to think of it as they were cast in non-singing roles. Martin would only hear the voices of his own period - not those fifty years in the future. It's integral to the concept - whether you appreciate integrity is up to you. Pretty sure both actress were proud of their work, and the film's concept.

D. McEwan said...

I have no problem with the movie's concept. It's a very good, if awfully depressing, movie, but it's still a wasteful use of two really fine singers.

Bill O said...

Tenacious you are. But you can't embrace the concept and cry waste at the same time. One precludes the other. The film's subject matter resulted in a huge flop - even with a latterly added "happy" ending. Original Bob Hoskins British tv version also way worth seeing.

SharoneRosen said...

Wendy M. Grossman- well, that's what I get for speed reading! Now it all makes sense. Thanks!
Doc Sharone

D. McEwan said...

"Bill O said...
Tenacious you are. But you can't embrace the concept and cry waste at the same time. One precludes the other. The film's subject matter resulted in a huge flop - even with a latterly added "happy" ending. Original Bob Hoskins British tv version also way worth seeing."


Tenacious I am, and I can embrace the concept and cry waste at the same time. In fact, I've done so twice so far and this makes it three. And yes, the Bob Hoskins TV version is worth seeing. I know because I saw it.

Aaron Hazouri said...

Someone mentioned Dennis Franz up there. According to a NY Post article from late last year, Dennis took a year off after NYPD Blue and decided he liked it so much, he'd take another year... and now he's unofficially retired but still retains an agent in case something really good comes up.