Top 25+ Actors Who Squandered A Promising Career, According To The Reddit

The road to fame is full of obstacles. Many celebrities took years to receive widespread international recognition, even some of them earned many prestigious awards and were at the top of their careers. However, some famous people ruined their careers in a matter of seconds. Most of them were involved in terrible accidents or crimes and delivered awful performances and continuously received negative reviews.
In these cases, some A-list stars voluntarily removed to Hollywood or were forced out of the spotlight, while a few attempted to mount comebacks. No matter what the circumstance was, the results were pretty much the same. Both their fame and fortune faded forever.
If you’re curious about which actors missed their careers, scroll down to see.

#1 Emile Hirsch

Source: IMDb

Always thought of he was born a decade earlier his career would've been solid. Had the 90's heartthrob look. (mvcourse)

#2 Katie Holmes

Source: Jemal Countess

Katie Holmes had so many projects going until she got with Tom Cruise. (moscatodogiscute)

#3 Jennifer Grey

Source: Amy Sussman

Jenifer Grey was sensitive about her large nose because of her school years and early acting career. With Dirty Dancing being a hit, she finally had the money to get herself Rhinoplasty. Unfortunately, Hollywood disagreed and felt she lost her distinctive look; she was deemed too plain for the big screen and couldn't build off her success. She continued working but didn't get to have a career as the leading lady. (JewcyBoy)
Her quote is something like “I walked into the surgeon’s office a celebrity and came out a nobody.” (powabiatch)
She was unrecognizable! At first, I didn't believe it was her when I saw pictures after her surgery. She couldn't work because no one recognized her as the same actress from Dirty Dancing. (wuzacuz)
The saddest part is that her old nose was perfectly fine! (whinecube)

#4 Ja Rule

Source: Discogs

Ja Rule turned down an offer to remain in the fast-in-furious franchise after the original movie because he thought they were lowballing him with their offer. After he turned them they wrote in a new character to fill the slot in the script that a rule would have had and gave the part to Ludacris. (JJKingwolf)
Luda gets paid so much from the fast movies he doesn’t need to rap anymore. (alexdas77)

#5 Matthew Fox

Source: Wikipedia

Matthew Fox pretty much did nothing after LOST. (green4355)
Dom Monaghan said in an interview “just because you’re on a show together doesn’t mean you’re friends” about him. Might be a dick. (winnower8)

#6 Will Friedle


Will Friedle ended up with anxiety issues due to an undiagnosed medical condition but he did continue doing voice-over work. (PostRun)

#7 Ryder Strong

Source: Wikipedia

Ryder Strong is more interested in directing these days and hosts a podcast (Literary Disco). He was my first celebrity crush, but he talks about how uncomfortable the teen heartthrob thing made him.

#8 Lillo Brancato

Source: Getty Images

He broke out in A Bronx Tale, was a good supporting character in Crimson Tide, and had a recurring role in The Sopranos. He became addicted to heroin and was involved in a home invasion robbery where his accomplice murdered the off-duty police officer living there. Promising career right down the toilet like in Trainspotting. (S-WordoftheMorning)

#9 Lea Michele

Source: Jason Merritt

The lead in the funny Girl revival was hers for the taking, but she spent her entire career being mean and difficult to work with, and now, shocker, no one wants to work with her. With her talent, she should have taken Broadway by storm and scored the lead in a hit movie musical or two. And this isn’t about her being more or less talented than anyone else in the Glee cast, but her voice and acting style were made for musical theatre. (DramaBrat)

She was pretty well known for being difficult after Spring Awakening, and I seem to remember some scuttlebutt about her having a whole attitude about going to Hollywood for Glee. (milleribsen)

#10 Mischa Barton

Source: Mischa Barton

Mischa Barton quit the OC because she didn’t want to become a type cast. (sharpie456)
She was having drug problems and suffering from depression. It's understandable but still ruined her career. (nerdy_latino)

#11 Josh Hartnett

Source: Pinterest

He quit. He didn’t want to be an actor anymore. Just wanted to live… but damn I love rewatching all his old films, definitely one of my celebrity crushes when I was a kid. (drnkpnkprincess)
He's brilliant in Lucky Number Slevin, one of my favorite films (Ahandfulofsquirrels)

#12 Sean Young


She did No Way Out and Bladerunner. Then she went batshit over not getting Catwoman and after Ace Ventura faded into obscurity. (EastGlencoe)

#13 Armie Hammer

Source: Wikipedia

This name still throws me off. It’s like if there was someone named Dunkin Donut. (ItsJellyJosh)

#14 Edward Furlong

Source: bilibili

Terminator 2, American History X, the man was in so many great things and on his way to becoming a legend. Then it all went downhill. Such a shame. (PreciousPraline)

#15 Lindsay Lohan


Is anyone also old enough to remember her album? And her disaster of performance on SNL? I wish I could say I wasn’t an angsty teenage girl who loved her album, but I did. (BasicWitch999)
Any criticism of LiLo needs to include her shitty mom as well. (CollegeAssDiscoDorm)
I feel bad for Lindsay; she had no parenting and was a multi-millionaire at 19. Whenever I think of all the cringy shit I did as a dumbass 19-year-old WITHOUT unlimited funds and WITH engaged, responsible adult supervision... the poor girl had no chance. (RickardHenryLee)

#16 Brendan Fraser

Source: wikilogy

Brendan Fraser's career was squandered, but it wasn't his fault. (Buldit8888)

The dude has amazing acting chops. While he's probably best known for Encino Man or The Mummy, check out God's and Monsters with him and Sir Ian McKellen. I couldn't get into Doom Patrol but I wish him well in his comeback. (Yunafires)

#17 Terrence Howard

Source: Wikipedia

Terrance Howard was not continuing his role as James Rhodes/War Machine in Iron Man. To be fair Marvel was lowballing him on money for Iron Man 2, but it would have probably paid off if he continued in subsequent Iron Man/Avengers films. He still seems pretty bitter about the whole thing. (draiman)

#18 Harrison Ford

Source: Wikipedia

Harrison Ford could have gone on to be a really good finish carpenter, even a cabinetmaker! (klykerly)

#19 Gary Dourdan

Source: Themoviedb

Gary Dourdan who played Warrick on CSI. I thought he had leading man potential and was going to transition to the big screen as Clooney did. (human_suitcase)
Drugs messed him up. but he's doing alright. He even sings and he's pretty good! (MyStationIsAbandoned)

#20 Corey Haim

Source: IMDb

What's even sadder is that his addiction is in part because he was sexually abused as a child star. (astarisaslave)

#21 George Lazenby

Source: fandom

The guy that followed Sean Connery as James bond and then just stopped after one film. (Duke-Guinea-Pig)

#22 Cuba Gooding Jr.

Source: Britannica

His more recent sex abuse charges probably won't help him much. (Kittykittynobangbang)

#23 Katherine Heigl

Source: Wikipedia

I slightly remember this, she went from doing feature film (27 dresses, knocked up), and then the next thing I saw her in was a kitty litter commercial. (Last_Sundae_6894)

#24 Charlie Sheen

Source: Disney Wiki

Could have been one of the greats. Went from the platoon in 1986 to Wall Street in 1987 and then shot his fiancé and future wife of John Travolta, Kelly Preston in the arm "accidentally" by 1990. And then a series of ups and downs before we all saw the unraveling into tiger blood and "winning" two decades later. (LordCheezusChrist)

#25 T.J. Miller

Source: Fandom

T.J. Miller was doing pretty good until his public freak out, wasn't he screaming about a bomb or something. (KawiNinjaZX)

#26 Shannen Dougherty

Source: Getty Images

Shannen Dougherty was the lead female role on the hottest show on TV at the time…and just couldn’t stop herself from blowing it all up. It must suck to peak at an age when you’re too young to appreciate it.

#27 Cory Monteith

Source: Wikipedia

I feel like Cory Monteith (main dude from the early seasons of 'Glee') had a very bright future, sadly the guy always had some issues with addiction, which eventually took him. Shame. (hardyflashier)
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