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[[quoteright:220:[[Film/SunsetBoulevard http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/89231fbe12b9963d96df2d35af34bd2c.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:220:"All right, Mr. [=DeMille=], I'm ready for my close-up!"]]

->''"Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl\\
But that was thirty years ago, when they used to have a show\\
Now it's a disco, but not for Lola\\
Still in the dress she used to wear, faded feathers in her hair"''
-->-- '''Music/BarryManilow''', "Copacabana (At the Copa)"

She was [[GloryDays once one of the biggest stars in film, theatre, or popular music]]. But now, her time in the spotlight is over. She's over the hill. A joke. A "Where Are They Now?" trivia question. A White Dwarf Starlet: like stars the kind in outer space that have ceased to burn and are now glowing only with residual heat from their younger days.

But she still yearns for the adoration she received [[TheIngenue during her years as the It-Girl]], and believes her big comeback will happen any day now. She tends to live in a run-down mansion [[ShrineToSelf full of memorabilia of her lost golden years]], wears moth-eaten {{Outdated Outfit}}s from her great hits, and still expects everyone to recognize her. She refuses to believe she's too old to play [[Theatre/{{Hamlet}} Ophelia]], and still insists she's not old enough for Gertrude.

This character is nearly AlwaysFemale, for some reason. Maybe it's because a woman in this position is more likely to draw sympathy than a man, or maybe it's because this fate befalls women a lot more [[TruthInTelevision in real life than it does men]]. Many women find it difficult to get work in the entertainment industry once their beauty fades and they're overlooked in favor of the latest pretty young thing, whereas [[DoubleStandard a male performer can find gigs]] for as long as he can remember his lines, despite any [[HatesTheJobLovesTheLimelight issues in later life]] or [[AdamWesting similar career decay]].

Like actual stars of the outer space, sometimes the White Dwarf Starlet can go nova - [[CareerResurrection burst in new brightness]], if the character indeed does manage to get a role in a hit movie, TV show, or play (even a minor role that's [[EnsembleDarkhorse well remembered]]), or releases a comeback album.

Compare with FormerChildStar. See also IWasQuiteALooker. Related to HollywoodOld.

Contrast with SilverFox.

Has absolutely nothing to do with [[Magazine/WhiteDwarf the magazine]] published by Creator/GamesWorkshop, or with [[Film/WhiteDwarf the 90s made-for-television SF movie]].



[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* In a major twist, the [[TheManBehindTheMan true villain]] in Satoshi Kon's ''Anime/PerfectBlue'' turns out to be [[spoiler:Mima's overweight, middle-aged female manager Rumi, who was a former pop idol who didn't last and now thinks she's the real Mima]]. The climax of the film where [[spoiler:Rumi chases Mima in the illusory form of Mima's giggling, pop-idol alter-ego while trying to kill her]] is genuinely disturbing.
* Subverted in another Satoshi Kon film, ''Anime/MillenniumActress''. The titular actress has faded from the limelight and lives a reclusive life surrounded by memorabilia of her past fame; but her departure from the spotlight was intentional -- resulting from a broken heart -- and she has no interest in a comeback. She lives in the past, because she's not interested in the present.
* In the anime anthology ''Anime/{{Memories}}'', the first short, ''Magnetic Rose'' ([[CreatorThumbprint also directed by Satoshi Kon]],) has key to its story a once-great opera singer [Eva] who isolated herself in a satellite in the wake of a scandal. It is filled with reminders of her success and uses holograms to simulate a lavish mansion. Her consciousness still haunts the decaying satellite long after her death.
* [[HatesTheJobLovesTheLimelight Akira Kogami]] qualifies for this at age ''14'', having worked as an IdolSinger since she was 3 years old and now relegated to a three-minute GreekChorus {{show|WithinAShow}} at the end of each ''Anime/LuckyStar'' episode. And boy, [[{{Yandere}} is she bitter about it]].
* It's AllThereInTheManual. Ever wonder why [[spoiler: B.T., the manipulative DistaffCounterpart to Bear]] behaves so peevishly in ''Anime/DotHackSign''? According a hidden message in the [=OVAs=], [[spoiler: she's actually a model who was recently told she's too old to keep in the business]]. Undoubtedly, [[ShowWithinAShow The Game Within The Show]], ''The World'', is a vent for her.
* In one of the ''VideoGame/SakuraWars'' {{O|riginalVideoAnimation}}AVs, a particular movie studio was supposedly [[spoiler:haunted by the ghost of such a lady; a silent film star whose roles dried up with the introduction of Talkies. Supposedly this was because while she was beautiful, she had a bad speaking voice but the truth is that her diva attitude alienated everyone in the industry. Since this is ''VideoGame/SakuraWars'', the rumors are true and her horrific spectre really is hanging around and deadly jealous of the Hanagumi members filming in the studio. The OAV ends with an aesop of respecting both the cast and crew of a production and the ghost fades away as she returns to the state she was in during her glory days]].
* Averted in ''Manga/GlassMask'', where top actress Chigusa Tsukikage was horribly disfigured in a stage accident but she remains extremely popular and famous, and she hasn't even lost her acting skills. Now she's more into teaching and finding a "heiress", and the biggest candidates are Ayumi and Maya.
* ''Manga/PrivateActress'' is a manga about the acting industry in the Japan of TheNineties, so there are some of these:
** [[spoiler: Shiho's mother]] Sayuri Nagasawa ''almost'' became this in [[spoiler: While she IS both beautiful and a very talented actress, getting a huge scar on her face almost ruined her career. Ultimately, she's hinted to have averted the trope by returning to stage acting.]]
** [[spoiler: Sayuri]]'s old rival Ruriko Daichi deeply fears to become this, and Shiho spends some time posing as her assistant and helping her to deal with the prospect and her own inner demons. Shiho even gets to beautifully lampshade the trope:
-->'''Shiho''': All actresses have their era to shine. Afterwards, they fade away. Like Greta Garbo, retiring in a beautiful house. Or in the case of Creator/MarilynMonroe, death. But some actresses are still around! Ingrid Bergman, Marlene Dietrich, Creator/AudreyHepburn... they're all old. They follow the change of seasons, spring being followed by autumn...

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'':
** The original Silk Spectre, by the time 1985 has rolled around. Subverted in that while she's lost her beauty and her following (and never got the actress career she wanted), she is happy in retirement, with no wish to take up adventuring again, only to reminisce about her glory days and live vicariously through [[SpinOffspring her daughter]] (whom she raised and trained to be Silk Spectre II) a bit.
** Captain Metropolis is a borderline male example, clinging to his heroic past and trying to organize a new team in the late 60s, despite the fact that where he was once dashing and handsome, he's become a neurotic, paunchy mess whose prejudices have come to the fore.
** Nite Owl, Hollis Mason, is surrounded by his memorabilia and tells his only friend and successor Dan Dreiberg the same old heroic stories. In Mason's case though, he retired voluntarily after the debut of Dr Manhattan, figuring that with a literal superman, the world didn't need him anymore.
* Anthem in ''The Order'', a washed-up actor and friend in long standing of Comicbook/IronMan's. How bad is he? Not only had he sunk into depression and become a severe alcoholic, he was resistant to the idea of a comeback because he felt he didn't deserve it. Luckily, he got better before the series began.
* Franchise/{{Batman}} villain Basil Karlo--the original Clayface--is conceived as a male version, a former horror film star who's been left behind by changes in the business.
* Looney Leo from ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' is a [[RefugeeFromTVLand living cartoon character]] who used to be a major movie and television star, but now spends his day as a restauranteur and living novelty. While he's somewhat used to his life now, he used to be ''much'' worse off, having spent time as a homeless drifter after his career faded, made worse by a romantic liaison where the girl turned out to be underage. On top of that, he was haunted by memories of his lover and his three nephews back in the cartoons he came from, people who never actually existed.
** Then there's Charlie Provost aka Quark. He used to be Starfighter's sidekick until he went out of control, forcing Starfighter to depower him. Nowadays, he's an alcoholic wreck, bitter over the loss of his powers and living off money earned from convention appearances.

* The premise of ''Film/TheArtist'', where male superstar actor George Valentin is slowly fading into one as talking movies become the new craze. However, [[spoiler: he somewhat manages to avoid this fate by becoming a dancing performer]].
* The TropeCodifier would probably be Norma Desmond from ''Film/SunsetBoulevard'', a silent film star who never made the transition into talking pictures. Despite her advancing age and secluded existence, she still believes she's big enough to star in one more picture, with Creator/CecilBDeMille to direct her. Includes a double helping of RealitySubtext, as Desmond was played by Creator/GloriaSwanson, who had been one of silent film's biggest stars but who never made the transition to "talkies". In a GeniusBonus, Desmond watches one of her old films, which is the Gloria Swanson movie ''Queen Kelly''. This was directed by Erich Von Stroheim, a once-prominent director whose career behind the camera ended with the silent film era (though he maintained an acting career), who plays Desmond's butler (who, it turns out, [[spoiler:was also her first director...and her first husband]]). (Because ''Queen Kelly'' went grossly over budget, and was never completed, it effectively ended both Gloria Swanson's and Erich von Stroheim's careers in the silent movie business.) Interestingly, Swanson had to be made up as older than she looked to play a character who was younger than she was!
%%* Dame Evey from ''Driving Lessons''.
* ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' finds WesternAnimation/BettyBoop working as a nightclub cigarette girl, having been put out of business by cartoons going to color.[[note]]There actually is one color Betty cartoon, ''Poor Cinderella'' (1934). And Betty's a SignificantGreeneyedRedhead in it![[/note]] She's fairly philosophical about it, though. Counts for a bit of a TearJerker, especially Eddie's sad after she assures him she's "Still got it."[[note]]Eddie: "Yeah, you still got it."[[/note]] You can thank this movie for helping to [[CareerResurrection revive Betty Boop's career]], if not as an animated film star then as a merchandising icon.[[note]]It should be noted however, that she technically never "lost" it in the first place, making it a slight subversion of this trope.[[/note]]
* Susan Alexander in ''Film/CitizenKane''. A bit out of the ordinary: ''Now'' she's running on the fumes of her former notoriety, but initially she was pushed into the limelight somewhat against her will and found stardom humiliating.
* Creator/MerylStreep as Madeline Ashton in ''Film/DeathBecomesHer'' is one, with the added twist that even in her prime, she actually kinda sucked at performing (she's introduced while starring in a horrendous musical version of ''Sweet Bird Of Youth'' that has the audience walk out on it), with her only real appeal being her beauty. Happily, Streep has averted this trope in real life, being one of the longest-lasting starlets in Hollywood history.
* ''Theatre/{{Alegria}}'' has a touching variant in the Cafe Opera, a watering hole that specifically caters to old, forgotten performers, providing them comfort and support from their peers in their twilight years (some even engage in romances with each other). The owner himself is a dancer and now alcoholic known as [[PunnyName Old Taps]]. (Ironically, his actor, Brian Dewhurst, is a circus performer who had already worked with Cirque on and offstage. A year or two after the film was shot, he joined Cirque's ''Mystere'' as a clown, and is still with the show today...)
* Sam (Creator/PeterSellers) in ''The Optimists'' is a variant. He apparently was almost famous in English vaudeville at one point and certainly has the ramshackle house, old costumes and clippings, and drinking problem. But in his old age he still performs as a busker (street performer) and seems content to get by that way, with no delusions of grandeur.
* ''After the Fox'', another Creator/PeterSellers film, has former "international handsome star" Tony Powell. He's artificially tanned and white-toothed (which he shows off as a PerpetualSmiler), uses shoe polish to cover his graying hair, and is convinced that he's perfect to make a comeback as the hero of the old noir films he used to star in while his agent tries to bring him to reality. Sellers' character is easily able to manipulate him. Powell was played by a [[AdamWesting self-parodying]] Victor Mature.
* Downplayed male example: Alex Fletcher in ''Film/MusicAndLyrics'' certainly fits the 'forgotten has-been' aspect of the trope, but doesn't display much serious desire to get back to the way things were; his main motivation is not to get back onto the top but to keep his profile up high enough so that he can keep doing the low-rent theme park gigs that sustain him (and possibly even land a lucrative contract at Disney Land).
* Another male example: Buddy Young Jr. in ''Film/MrSaturdayNight''.
* Vitriolic producer Les Grossman uses these exact words to describe Tugg Speedman if ''Film/TropicThunder'' (the [[ShowWithinAShow movie-within-the-movie]]) fails.
--> "Speedman is a dying star. A white dwarf...[[{{Metaphorgotten}} heading for a black hole.]] That's physics."
* Creator/BelaLugosi in ''Film/EdWood'', which makes him perfect for a starring role in [[ShowWithinAShow one of the worst movies ever]].
* Velma Von Tussle in ''Film/{{Hairspray}}'', especially in the later versions. Her song "The Legend of Miss Baltimore Crabs" details her beauty queen past.
* Elise Elliot is on her way to becoming this in ''Film/TheFirstWivesClub''. She is still recognised by her fans, but her career is fading. She is struggling to get a role and when she finally thinks she will be cast as the star of a new film it turns out the young and hip regisseur wants her as the ugly and grotesque Mother. She has undergone major plastic surgery and is an alcoholic. She drunkenly complains about how Creator/SeanConnery is 400 years old and still a star, but women are cast as the mother when they are older than 20. In her apartment she has an entire room filled with her memorabilia, including prizes she won, gifts etc. Fortunately at the end of the film she gets better.
* Bertha in ''Poor Pretty Eddie'' was a successful and glamorous showgirl, but is now an overweight, middle-aged alcoholic who surrounds herself with old photos of herself and practically defines herself by her abusive relationship with a much younger Eddie. When Liz, a famous jazz singer, ends up at Bertha's motel, Bertha immediately becomes jealous of her and constantly antagonizes her, most notably by refusing to help Liz after she's raped by Eddie. In her mind, she believes that keeping Liz as Eddie's captive at the motel will teach her a lesson about how one day, Liz's fame will dry up just like hers did.
* ''Film/HowToLoseFriendsAndAlienatePeople'' has a very sympathetic example as a minor character. Sidney notices that she's alone and downcast at a huge celebrity hobnob, ignored by everyone else in attendance, despite her long and respectable career in Hollywood. The older actress is genuinely touched when he introduces himself as a huge fan.
* Max Bialystock in ''Film/TheProducers'' was once a successful Broadway Producer (at least in his own mind), but is washed-up and forced to sponge off of little old ladies when the show starts. This is especially true in the musical version, where he opens the show singing, "I used to be the King, the King of Old Broadway."
* The entire band in ''Film/ThisIsSpinalTap''. Not that they aren't popular anymore, not by any means, it's just that "their appeal has grown more selective." A truly sad moment in this uproarious comedy is when the band hears an oldies station playing one of their hits as "The Thamesmen"... followed by the DJ consigning them to the "Where Are They Now?" file, when where they are is playing a concert in that very city. Ultimately subverted: it turns out they're [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff big in Japan]].
** Truth in Television for Anvil as portrayed in Anvil! The Story of Anvil. Band was huge in the 80s, sharing the stage with Bon Jovi and Whitesnake but ended up completely forgotten by history. Their documentary ends with a concert in Japan, where thousands of fans turn up despite a bad spot on the schedule.
* Peter Vincent in ''Film/FrightNight1985'', a former B-movie actor once famous for playing a vampire hunter in a series of Film/{{Hammer|Horror}}-esque films who now hosts a late-night horror program that's just been canceled. He gets called out of retirement to reprise his role for real.
* An infamous example: Joan Crawford (played by Faye Dunaway) in ''Literature/MommieDearest''. As Crawford got older (both in the film and in real life), she parlayed her talents into increasingly ridiculous guest appearances and starring roles in an attempt to regain her stardom. Most infamously, Crawford took over a role intended for her daughter (who was a good thirty years younger than her) in a bid to get her name back in the spotlight.
* Helen Sinclair in ''Film/BulletsOverBroadway''. "''Don't'' speak!"
* Faded rock star Rex Manning in ''Film/EmpireRecords''. This is {{lampshade|Hanging}}d by a teenage boy who gets an autograph from Manning because "my mom has all your albums" despite never personally having heard a single one of Manning's songs. Subverted in the Director's Cut version of the film. In an alternate take of the "You're just a has-been" scene, he trades his cocky attitude and quote from Music/TheWho's "My Generation", for a heartfelt and bitter "you might be right" acknowledgement.
* ''Film/DinnerAtEight'' provides a very sad example in Larry Renault, who was a big star in the silent movie days but who now is a washed-up alcoholic who can't even get jobs in vaudeville. After his disgusted manager gives Larry an epic TheReasonYouSuckSpeech, Larry is DrivenToSuicide.
* This is the entire premise of ''Film/WhateverHappenedToBabyJane?''. Jane Hudson shares a home with her crippled sister Blanche, who she constantly torments and starves. All the while Jane speaks of being a FormerChildStar and goes just about anywhere to see if anyone remembers her. She says something to the effect of "Someday I'm going to get up and dance, then everyone will gather around me." The audience sympathizes with Blanche, whom Jane allegedly crippled by running her over with a car. [[ItMakesSenseInContext When Jane decides that she must move away]] and finally takes Blanche out of the house she reveals that [[spoiler:Jane never hit her with the car. She'd gotten in an accident and blamed Jane when the cops arrived.]]. She's dying when she confesses this and Jane [[TheOphelia has slipped into insanity.]] The film ends with [[spoiler: the authorities approaching the dead body. Jane (who had gone to get an ice cream cone) , starts dancing slowly as awe-struck people gather to see what has happened. In her mind, her dream has come true. They've all remembered Little Baby Jane Hudson.]].
* Roy Munson from ''Film/{{Kingpin}}'' is a former bowling star who lost his hand.
* Jimmy from ''Film/TheAirUpThere'' is a former college basketball star until he blew his knee. To be accepted into the Winabi tribe, he had to throw away his championship ring.
* {{Deconstructed|Trope}} in ''Film/PostcardsFromTheEdge'' with Doris, and {{lampshade|Hanging}}d with her performance of "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkjQSpfW3iw I'm Still Here]]".
* The short film ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIWRI1g_NFE Conventional]]'' stars Creator/KarenGillan (who also wrote and directed it) as a former UsefulNotes/{{scream queen|s}} whose career burned out once she was seen as too old by casting directors, and laments how her TypeCasting as "the hot chick who dies in horror movies" essentially made it impossible to get any different roles. Now, she's had extensive (and obvious) plastic surgery to hide her age, and she works the convention circuit where the only people who still care about her are [[LoonyFan the most deranged fans]] of her older films. [[spoiler:When one of them kills her during a photo session, her last words are "thank you", partly because it will finally [[DeadArtistsAreBetter put her name back in the spotlight]], and partly because she hated how pathetic her life had become.]]
* The former ''Film/GalaxyQuest'' cast, most of whom are only getting paid from publicity appearances these days.
* ''Film/CrookedHouse'': Magda claims that she and Philip were once the most glamorous couple in London. If this is true, then current position definitely makes her one: doing provincial reparatory and cling desperately to the hope that Philip's screenplay is going to make her a star again.

* Male example: Igor Metzger from ''Literature/TheCryingOfLot49'', a FormerChildStar turned HandsomeLech.
* [[Series/DoctorWho The Doctor's]] [[JewishMother mother]] in the ''Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures'' novel ''[[Recap/EighthDoctorAdventuresTheBlueAngel The Blue Angel]]'' comes across like this.
* ''Literature/SansFamille'' has a Male example. After his death, it is revealed that Vitalis was once a famous singer named Carlo Balzani, but old age caused him to lose his voice. And since he was too proud to sing in lesser venues, he decided to adopt a new name and disappear.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'':
** The episode "[[Recap/TheTwilightZone1959S1E4TheSixteenMillimeterShrine The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine]]" was about a White Dwarf Starlet, Barbara Jean Trenton, who becomes so obsessed with her old movies she literally gets pulled into one.
** A rare [[DistaffCounterpart Spear Counterpart]] episode "The Trouble With Templeton" has an actor, Booth Templeton, who misses his late wife and his time as a Broadway actor in 1927. He escapes to the past, only to find his wife and close friends callous and indifferent to him. He runs out of the speakeasy and returns to the present. But, when he reads a playbill he snatched from his wife in 1927, it says "What to Do When Booth Comes Back."
* Faith from ''Hope and Faith''.
* Nina Van Horn from ''Series/JustShootMe''. Wendie Malick does this very well, just look at Victoria Chase on ''Series/HotInCleveland.''
* Not AlwaysFemale: Rembrandt from ''Series/{{Sliders}}'' was certain his singing the National Anthem at the baseball game he'd been on his way to attending would have restored him to stardom if not for that pesky portal accident.
* Creator/WillSmith from ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir'' was once roped into a date with a thoroughly unpleasant version of this character, who was portrayed as a diva who was rude to everyone and refused to accept that her career was over.
* Parodied in ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'' when Sally began to act like one when her "15 minutes of fame" ran out.
* Jenna Maroney of ''Series/ThirtyRock'' lives in perpetual fear of becoming one. Of course, she can't really become a has-been since she wasn't really that famous to start with. Instead, she'd be more of a never-was.
* In the ''Series/{{Angel}}'' episode "Eternity", an actress in her late twenties shows signs of slipping into this territory, though she's still arguably at an average level of fame. Terrified, both of that and of her own "advancing years", she tries to get Angel to turn her into a vampire, so she'll have eternal youth.
* ''Series/AllMyChildren'''s Erica Kane may count as either a White Dwarf Starlet or as a {{gender flip}}ped Hugh Hefner (i.e., an increasingly desperate and creepy has-been who insists on acting like she's still just as relevant {and vital} as she was decades ago).
* The ''Series/{{Columbo}}'' episode "Forgotten Lady" casts fading Hollywood star Creator/JanetLeigh as a White Dwarf Starlet driven to murder in order to facilitate her comeback.
* The main character of Colombian SoapOpera ''La Diva'' is an actress that, after having a big success in her home country, got a diva-ish attitude and decided to try her luck in Hollywood, leaving her reluctant family behind. After 10 years with no success she decides to came back, only to find that, while still beautiful and talented, she is no longer relevant, and her sons are still deeply hurt from the abandonment.
* In ''Series/AbsolutelyFabulous'': Patsy Stone.
* In ''Series/SlingsAndArrows'', Shakespearian diva Ellen Fanshaw begs her director not to cast her as the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet, because she can't stand to think of herself as being that old. She also spends a lot of time seducing inappropriately younger men. The trope is both played straight and subverted, because while the show makes fun of its aging starlet, Ellen never loses her dignity as an actress, taking on such weighty parts as Queen Gertrude and Lady Macbeth.
* Petula from ''Series/{{Dinnerladies}}'' thinks she's one of these.
* The Norma Desmond character from ''Film/SunsetBoulevard'' was frequently parodied on ''Series/TheCarolBurnettShow''.
* ''Series/DesperateHousewives'' has former runway model Gabrielle Solis (who somehow managed to be a runway model at five-foot-nothing) returning to New York in one episode to schmooze with former co-workers (including RealLife supermodel Paulina Porizkova), only to find out they all hated her. Another episode features her trying to prove she's still model material, only to find that she's considered too old by the crew because she's in her 30s.
* ''Series/{{Castle}}'' has Martha Rogers (played by Susan Sullivan) as a past-her-prime actress who still gets work (although not the kind of roles she ''used'' to get) and is remarkably well adjusted to her later years for a fading starlet, but still wanting to retain some of her former glamour. The show has included Martha watching a clip from ''Series/TheIncredibleHulk'' movie (which Susan starred in) and several of her glamour shots from her ''Series/{{Dynasty}}'' days. There is also Castle's first ex-wife Meridith, who is an early-onset case, and not so well adjusted to it.
%% * [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]] uses the same pun as the trope title in ''Film/TheGiantSpiderInvasion''. An astronomy lecturer makes mention of "white dwarf stars" and "collapsed stars," each of which is followed up by the bots with, "like Linda Hunt." [[note]]Linda Hunt is a little person, not a former star.[[/note]]
* Sidra from ''Series/OneThousandWaysToDie'''s episode "Inject-icide". She's an elderly former beauty queen who injected her face with corn oil as a cheap substitute for Botox (as she couldn't afford the actual treatments). Some of that got into her bloodstream, and then it started leaking out of her face...
* Raquel in ''Series/TheLAComplex'' had some fame 10 years or so ago, but now she's pushing 30 and still auditioning to [[DawsonCasting play teenagers]]. She makes a point of not wanting the "mom roles".
* Daisy Adaire from ''Series/DeadLikeMe''.
* On an episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'', Creator/CarolBurnett played a former ballerina whose rich husband is accused of murdering his mistress and her lover. When Benson comes to question her, she's sitting in her den watching old films of herself dancing while drinking herself into a stupor. She points at the screen and tells Benson,"You see that girl? She used to be me."
* A ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' skit set in the future portrayed Creator/LadyGaga this way, where an elderly and delusional Gaga had sent for a plumber and was desperately trying to get the poor man to recognize her when he simply wanted to do his work and leave. This skit came out after her album ''Artpop'' was a commercial failure, since people were starting to tire of her over-the-top antics. Ironically, she would later reinvent herself as a classier, more low-key performer in the years that followed, and she's had a respectable amount of fame since.
* Kandi Buress from ''Series/TheRealHousewives Of Atlanta'' was a member of the 90's GirlGroup Xscape. She sees the show as a chance to re-enter the spotlight.
* One unsub on ''Series/CriminalMinds'' was the son of a onetime starlet, and has several conversations with her during the episode that makes it clear that she's a ''very'' gone-to-seed version of this trope. [[spoiler: Subverted in the final scene, which reveals that the "conversations" were her son's hallucinations as he talked to her long-mummified corpse. Black Dwarf Starlet?]]

* "The Right Profile" by Music/TheClash, about the messed-up RealLife fate of Creator/MontgomeryClift, is a male example, complete with a ''heavy'' dose of BlackComedy or LyricalDissonance, depending on your point of view.
* Lola of the Barry Manilow song "Copacabana".
* Music/{{Metallica}}'s song "The Memory Remains" is about an unnamed actress past her prime. Especially poignant since they managed to have 1960s starlet Marianne Faithfull sing backing vocals on the song and appear in the video. Talk about hitting close to home...
* ''Yesterday's Hero'' by John Paul Young.
* Bucks Fizz's (never spoonerise that name) ''Golden Days'' and ''Now Those Days Are Gone'' seem to be about this trope.
* Nina Simone's ''Stars''
* Dog Fashion Disco wrote a rather creepy song, "Plastic Surgeons", that is a plastic surgeon's serenade to his white dwarf starlet clients.
-->''Would you like a new face to face a new day?''\\
''It seems the mirror is your worst enemy''\\
''For I am Christ to the shallow and aging''\\
''A plastic surgeon to the stars of old''
* Music/PrefabSprout's "The King of Rock And Roll" is about a one-hit wonder who becomes one of these. It was their only hit... in the US.
* Music/FaithHill's "When The Lights Go Down", dedicates a verse to this phenomenon.
--> So another star falls from the Hollywood Hills\\
without a sound, when the lights go down.
* "Mr. Richland's Favorite Song" by Music/HarryNilsson, about a (male) teen idol who goes from the heights of fame to being "a fallen star who works in a bar where yesterday is king."
* "New Age" by the Music/VelvetUnderground is about a love affair between a "fat, blonde actress" and one of her fans.
* "Della Brown" by Music/{{Queensryche}} tells the story of a middle-aged homeless woman who was once a great beauty that had the world at her feet and her pick of men. Once her beauty faded, she was cast aside and had to live on the street because she had no other means of supporting herself other than with her looks. The song ends with her waiting for a man to come along and make her happy again.
* "Duchess" by Music/{{Genesis}} depicts a starlet for whom "everybody cried for more" lose popularity with her fans, to the point where "nobody (cries) for more".
* [[Music/BoneThugsNHarmony Krayzie Bone's]] "What would you do?" tells the story of a washed up rapper who returns back to the life of crime with disastrous consequences.
* "Paperitähdet" (Paper Stars) by Finnish rock artist Juice Leskinen.
* "The Lucky One" by Music/TaylorSwift is about an aspiring actress who went to Hollywood seeking fortune and fame, but ended up as one of these when she realized that said fortune and fame weren't what they were cracked up to be. It has a HappyEnding though: She uses her money to buy a big plot of land and retire to a quieter, simpler, life.

* The Music/StephenSondheim musical ''Theatre/{{Follies}}'' is full of elderly showgirls. Though most of the songs are period pastiches, "I'm Still Here," an anthem to ex-stardom, practically sums up this trope. Some poignant lyrics include:
-->"First you're another
-->Sloe-eyed vamp,
-->Then someone's mother,
-->Then you're camp.
-->Then you career from career
-->To career.
-->I'm almost through my memoirs.
-->And I'm here."
* Grizabella the Glamour Cat from ''Theatre/{{Cats}}''. Also Gus the Theatre Cat, the elderly veteran who [[TearJerker breaks down crying]] reminiscing about the star he once was.
* [[MeaningfulName Stella Spotlight]] from the Franco-Canadian musical ''Theatre/{{Starmania}}'' is a textbook example, particularly in her song ''Les Adieux d'un Sex Symbol''.
* Norma Desmond again in the Broadway musical version of ''Film/SunsetBoulevard''.
* Archie Rice, the title character in John Osborne's ''The Entertainer'' (later made into a movie with Creator/LaurenceOlivier in an Oscar-nominated role). A broken-down old vaudevillian in late 1950s England still trying to desperately cling to the last shreds of his fame (which, to hear his family tell it, [[SmallNameBigEgo may only have ever existed in Archie's mind]]) while trying just as determinedly to ignore his family's disintegration around him. It's more explicit in the film version, where Archie's an obviously terrible performer who's openly heckled by his audiences and coasts on his father's reputation.
* It's strongly implied that Margo in ''Theatre/{{Applause}}'' is headed in this direction, lampshaded by a review which describes her as "discreetly lit by all the pink gelatin on Broadway." (Light filtered through pink "gels" can make people appear younger; if a production uses enough of them for you to notice, it's a sign that one of the actors is too old to play the role they're in.)
* Meg Giry in ''Theatre/LoveNeverDies'' is a very young example, being only around her late 20s-early 30s. In the original show and novel, she is the lead dancer of the corps de ballet with a promising career ahead of her. However, in this story ten years later she is a washed-up stripper who longs to return to her glory days and wants the Phantom to turn her into a star as he did Christine. [[spoiler:It's pretty much all downhill from there.]]
* Shelly "The Machine" Levine from ''Theatre/GlengarryGlenRoss'' was once his firm's top salesman but has become over-the-hill and becomes desperate to keep his job.
* ''Theatre/TheDrowsyChaperone'': Beatrice Stockwell, the [[ShowWithinAShow actress who plays the Chaperone]], is implied to be one of these in the years since the record was made. It's said that she had a great love of "rousing anthems", although by the end of her life "she didn't rouse so much as stupefy".

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Gloria van Gouton from ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'', though her decline was a result of [[spoiler:her mother's suicide]] rather than a harsh industry, though that certainly didn't help. She's incredibly bipolar and delusional (performing for a collection of pots with faces drawn on them) until Raz goes into her mind and cures her. Her mother was also this, and it was Gloria's success outshining her own that led to her [[spoiler:jumping off a building]]. When Raz fixes her mental issues, she decides to retire from acting permanently (which she never really wanted to do in the first place, having been pushed into it by her StageMom).
* Flurrie from ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'', although her acting background isn't mentioned much after she joins your party. Although she [[spoiler: returns to the stage in the epilogue]].
* ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines''
** A rare male example- Gary Golden. Having lost both his career and his good looks when the local Nosferatu Embraced him, much of his spare time is spent dressed up in a tuxedo, conducting "wrap parties" with the corpses of long-dead actors, and occasionally trying to remind visitors that he was once a Hollywood star. Aside from that, though, he's pretty happy with his position.
** Quite perversely, Gary has created one himself: Imalia, a former model who grew too arrogant for the local Nosferatu to stomach. Following her Embrace, she has become obsessed with the models who have taken her place on the spotlight, to the point of paying the Player Character to disgrace one of them. She'll also pay a lot for any footage (especially pornographic) of herself in her GloryDays, most of which Gary has spitefully removed from the public market.
** Another male actor: Ash, an actor who was being groomed by Isaac, one of the local Toreador, as a hot leading man. Then Isaac found Ash overdosed one night and Embraced him -- leading to the death of his acting career and a ''major'' case of IHateYouVampireDad. Ash spends his nights running a club gifted to him by Isaac and trading on the last fragments of his movie career, but refuses to have anything to do with his sire -- which is sad, because Isaac really ''does'' care for him.
* Evelyn Morrison, B-movie actress turned motel owner, from ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxHitTheRoad''.
* [[MeaningfulName Gloria Swansong]] from Creator/{{Sierra}}'s ''[[VideoGame/LauraBow The Colonel's Bequest]]''.
* Naoko Mihama from the first ''VideoGame/{{Siren}}'' game is a former model and actress reduced to B-list status. She ends up going crazy due to the horrifying situation she finds herself in, and, combined with her vanity, she [[spoiler:willingly allows herself to become a shibito in a misguided attempt to stay eternally young and beautiful. Following her transformation, she is first seen as a regular shibito, before eventually mutating into a dog shibito]].
* ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney''
** Jack Hammer in the third case of the first game. It turns out that [[spoiler:he accidentally killed his co-star and Dee Vasquez--whose husband/boyfriend was the co-star in question--covered it up, forcing him to take on villains' roles in children's shows for low pay as revenge]].
** Wendy Oldbag was also a star in her younger days (or, as she referred to herself, a little twinkle between the stars). Now she's a security guard for the studio.
* One of the Splicers in the ''VideoGame/BioShock'' series is [[MeaningfulName Baby Jane]], who's clearly one of these from her dialogue: "Came here to be a star! Came here to be a star - Not too late, not too late!" (She might ''never'' have been a star, though, having simply opted to fake until she could make it -- and never did.)
** Bonus points for being clones of the original Baby Jane, due to Adam overdose and memory overwrite. 'Shadow of her former self' is an understatement.
* Bibi Swan from ''VideoGame/DeadRising2'', a former Vegas stage starlet who got old and ended up in Vegas knock-off Fortune City. She's now got a literally captive audience (i.e. the zombies ate most of her audience, she went insane and took several random people as hostage to serve as her new audience, which she also considers the zombies to be a part of), and makes Chuck run "errands" for her to set up her show, threatening to blow herself and her audience up if he doesn't humor her. [[spoiler: If you humor her and help her with her show, she ends up jumping into a crowd of zombies, thinking they're her rabid fans, allowing you to either leave her there to be eaten by them or save her after you free her hostages, at which point she finally comes to her senses.]]
* ''[[VideoGame/HuniePop HuniePop 2]]'' reveals that this has happened to Jesse Maye. Now that she is approaching her 40s, offers for her in adult movies have reduced drastically and she was forced to quit. She's described as being depressed about it and yearning for some attention through flirting, hoping to be shown that she is still attractive.
* Momoka in ''VideoGame/OmegaQuintet'' is on her way to becoming one, retiring after the [[ATasteOfPower first episode]], her hand being forced not by lack of appeal (though [[MissionControl Ayumi]] claims they had been avoiding closeups without telling her) - she's still get plenty of fans. It's [[OlderThanTheyLook old age]], which not only gives her trouble in the physical combat against [=MADs=], but it's a small miracle her MagicMusic has continued to function this far beyond the CompetenceZone as it is. She's self-aware of all this, and rather than deny it, she's ''incredibly'' bitter, bullying her replacements, refusing to give them any training whatsoever, and generally acting like a diva despite having no life skills in a CrapsackWorld. [[spoiler:It turns out to be at least partially rooted in self-loathing after she overestimated her abilities as a mentor and nearly got her first pupil killed making her debut too early. She starts to mellow out - eventually - when she's convinced Takt and the Quintet can look after themselves.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Podcast/TheThrillingAdventureHour'': Averted in the short-lived segment "Desdemona Hughes, Diva Detective", where the eponymous protagonist is a former SilentMovie star turned detective. Despite having had a long career in the spotlight until the talkies came along, she is never seen moping about having lost it, but relishes in her new line of work.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* A number of Creator/AdamWest parodies, [[AdamWesting most of them voiced by West himself]], tend to fall under this trope. Most notable is "Timothy North," who used to star as "The Fearless Ferret", a ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' universe analog of Batman that ran during the same era, and in his old age has come to think he ''is'' the hero. He spent a considerable amount of his fortune having his home redesigned into a replica of the Ferretcave and his alter ego's mansion so accurate that everything actually worked. In fact, he even ropes Ron Stoppable into becoming his successor when he discovers his secret (a shoutout to Batman Beyond, especially since Ron's voice actor also voices the titular Batman of the future.) An actor who played a skunk-themed one-shot villain fell into the same delusion, but went further to actually commit a plot. Eventually, the two recognize each other and proceed to greet each other warmly before happily enjoying themselves in Ferretcon with the fans who do still care and remember while savoring the old times:
-->'''Whitestripe:''' How've you been?
-->'''North:''' Oh, you know, living in a delusion, confusing fantasy with reality. You?
-->'''Whitestripe:''' Me too.
** West plays it [[PlayedForDrama For Drama]] in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' as the Grey Ghost, ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'''s hero. Simon Trent, the actor who played the Ghost in the ShowWithinAShow Bruce Wayne watched as a kid winds up broke in a run-down one-room apartment hoarding memorabilia from his one starring role and laments it as it kept him from moving. However, Batman's kind words and encouragement (especially because the crime was based off of a Grey Ghost episode) has Simon suit up and help Batman take down the bad guy. This rockets Simon back into popularity with Bruce Wayne giving a hint that he's Batman at a signing. His popularity remains constant at least until '''''Batman Beyond''''' (''50 years later''), where a young Terry went to see [[Comic/TheDarkKnightReturns The Grey Ghost Returns]], indicating that the Grey Ghost enjoys a similar level of love and popularity that Batman does in RealLife.
* Stan and Francine encounter one named June Rosewood in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' who believes Stan is the reincarnation of her dead husband, Leonard Zane. June claims the two of them were a famous comedy duo back in the 1930s, but from the one film of their's shown, Leonard was the one who had all the talent and comedic abilities while June just entered scenes commenting on how ridiculous everything was (which she thinks was hilarious). June still manages to convince Stan to help finish the last film she and Leonard were working on before he died, with Stan humoring her for a while about the reincarnation thing. [[spoiler: June tries to kill Francine after she fills in for Gloria Delmar, an actress who had several routines with Leonard in the original film, to keep Stan to herself. Stan later finds out June killed Leonard and Gloria because they fell in love, and ''Francine'' is Gloria's reincarnation. When June tries to drown the Smiths the same way she drowned Leonard and Gloria, Stan and Francine accidentally run her over with a motorboat and kill her.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''
** Slappy Squirrel is an inversion of this. The gag behind Slappy isn't really that she's a fallen starlet seeking to regain her fame it's that she's a retired slapstick comedy star whose old antagonists don't seem to have let go as well as she has, only now, she's not only smarter than her opponents, she's old, grumpy, sarcastic and arthritic (think of an aged, vindictive WesternAnimation/BugsBunny), so not only is great harm befalling her geriatric rivals, it's gotten easier with practice and she enjoys it more.
** The episode "The Warners 65th Anniversary Special" (a parody of MilestoneCelebration specials) reveals that this is (supposedly) what happened with the Warners' original co-star Buddy (an actual WB cartoon character from the 1930's, infamous for his boring [to some] cartoons). Buddy was fired from the studio after Plotz decided that the Warners didn't need him anymore, though Buddy is seemingly okay with mundane life (he's a nut farmer in Ohio at this point). However, it's then revealed that the episode's mystery villain is in fact Buddy, bitter that the Warners cost him his career.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'':
** Recurring villain Mary "Baby" Dahl, a White Dwarf Starlet, [[NotAllowedToGrowUp with emphasis on "Dwarf"]], who abducted her long-separated sitcom co-stars. Dahl had a peculiar form of dwarfism that made her look permanently like an 8-year old, making her attempts at legitimate acting after quitting her sitcom doomed from the start. Decades later, Dahl has become delusional and desperate to recapture the happiness she had felt in the glory days of her show, leading to her kidnapping her former co-stars to forcibly reunite the cast (and to get revenge on the annoying CousinOliver character that drove her out of the show). It's a tragic example as Mary eventually breaks down in tears when she sees how she could've been in in a funhouse mirror.
** "The New Batman Adventures" episode "[[Recap/TheNewBatmanAdventuresE13MeanSeasons Mean Seasons]]" has a former model intent on killing the people who had led to her downfall, wearing full-body covering and a featureless mask to hide what she's become since her fame ran out. TheReveal shows that she looks to be in her 30s and is still beautiful, but she "can only see the flaws". Wanna know the kicker, though? Her voice actress was former model Sela Ward, which sort of makes the episode TruthInTelevision, although Ward obviously didn't go stark raving nuts in RealLife.[[note]]At the age of 39, she expressed interest in being a Bond Girl opposite 42-year-old Creator/PierceBrosnan, and was told "What we really want is Sela, but Sela ten years ago."[[/note]]
* Big Food from ''WesternAnimation/{{Chowder}}'' is a perfect example of this trope, even using the line "I am a big star, it's the roles that got small!" with her name and fridge replacing "a big star" and "roles" respectively.
* WesternAnimation/BettyBoop's ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' [[{{Expy}} analog]], Toot Braunstein, is the burnt-out husk left after the collapse of a white dwarf starlet. She's a Planetary Nebula Starlet (not as hot but larger). Unlike most versions of this trope, she still looks exactly the same as she did in her prime since toons dont age, but what was considered an ideal body in the 1920's is seen as chubby and unappealing today (by mainstream entertainment standards).
* A Norma Desmond-like character was featured on the ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'' episode "The Uncrashable Hindentitanic." And, at least going by a critic's reaction to her old films being shown, she apparently wasn't a very good actress in her heyday.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "That's Lobstertainment!", Dr. Zoidberg's uncle [[Creator/HaroldLloyd Harold Zoid]] is a silent film star who now lives in obscurity in a retirement home. While not as delusional as Norma Desmond, Harold still believes he's one film away from getting back into the business, and tries to use his nephew's money to make that film. At other times, he seems resigned to his fate as a has-been.
--> [On the red carpet before the Academy Awards]
--> '''Joan Rivers' Head:''' Oh, and here's washed-up actor, what's-his-name, Harold Zoid. Are you presenting one of those tacky honorary awards, or just getting one?
--> '''Harold Zoid:''' I'm a seat-filler, Joan's head. My only marketable skill is to occupy space.
* ''WesternAnimation/IAmWeasel'' once had I Am Weasel and I.R. Baboon as ghosts who are tasked with scaring a retired starlet (played, [[NewJobAsThePlotDemands as usual]], by The Red Guy), who spends all her time reminiscing about her glory days. However, we're shown that she only ever played bit parts (and she sucked at those too), and is completely delusional. By the end, [[spoiler: their failure to scare her has their boss return Weasel and Baboon to life, only to find out The Red Guy recently died and was assigned to be their ghost]].
* One ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' skit featured a middle-aged, overweight {{WesternAnimation/Jem}} taking up a job as an entertainer for children's birthday parties.
-->'''Man:''' ''(paying Jem for [[DreadfulMusician "performing"]] at his daughter's birthday party)'' Forty dollars, right? You know, this is really embarrassing, but in the 80s I used to masturbate to you all the time.
-->'''Jem:''' Yeah, you were just a boy then, but now you're a ''man,'' right?
-->'''Man:''' Uh, yes. A ''married'' man.
-->'''Jem:''' So is it an open marriage, or... ''(hacking smoker's cough that continues for several seconds)''
* Randy Marsh in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''. He used to sing in a boy band, but instead of stardom he eventually went to college. He still sometimes memorizes his youth in music and he can play guitar really well.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{SpongeBob SquarePants}}'' features Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, Bikini Bottom analogues of Batman and Robin (and actual superheroes within the [=SpongeBob=] universe, [[OldSuperhero albeit far past their prime]]) who (via the intervention of [=SpongeBob=]) frequently end up attempting to relive their past days of glory.
* ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'':
** The episode "Sepulveda Boulevard" is a parody of both ''Sunset Boulevard'' and the trope itself with Elmyra playing the Norma role, a former cartoon star whose career tanked because audiences no longer wanted cute (in her own mind, anyway).
** The episode "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny?" has Sappy Stanley, an embittered elephant who moved to France after losing the UsefulNotes/AcademyAward to WesternAnimation/BugsBunny.
** Both cartoons even paraphrase the "pictures that got small" speech from ''Sunset Boulevard''.
* Piella Bakewell from ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit: WesternAnimation/AMatterOfLoafAndDeath''. Wallace recognizes her as the spokeswoman for Bake-O-Lite Bread, but she was fired as the "Bake-O-Lite Girl" when she became too heavy to fly the balloon they used in advertising. She's more broken-up about this than she lets on, as Wallace and Gromit learn when she [[spoiler:turns out to be the "cereal killer" who's been offing bakers all across town]]. Though given the content of the spoiler, one really does wonder if [[UnreliableNarrator whether her version of events shouldn't be taken with a pinch of salt.]]
* The title character of ''BojackHorseman'' is a rare male example. Bojack was the star of a surprise hit sitcom called "Horsing Around" back in the 80's and early 90's, but quickly fizzled out after the show ended, and has spent the past 20 years pining for the glory days and sabotaging any chances at a comeback because of his massive ego and emotional problems. He spends most of his time, especially in season 1, watching old episodes of the show, to the point where he carries around DVD's of it!
** Sarah Lynn, who played the youngest child on the show, is just on the cusp of becoming one of these. She was by far the most successful of the cast (aside from Bojack, one of the other child actors went into theater and the other quit acting), and had a massive success as a teen pop star and actress. However, by the time the show starts, her career is winding down as she's replaced by younger icons, and she's even dumped by her publicity boyfriend RobertPattinson. Ironically, she doesn't even like acting all that much, having been pushed into it by her StageMom, but eventually became addicted to the attention and fame (making her a distaff counterpart to Bojack who had the same happen to him). Season 3 ends with her winning an Oscar and seemingly set up a comeback, but she says herself that the win isn't making her feel any happier [[spoiler: and she dies of a drug overdose, making the whole thing moot]]