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Star-Derailing Role
The rise, the derail, the fall.

"The Warriors opened a lot of doors for me, which Xanadu then closed."
Michael Beck

The latest blockbuster which an A-List star has starred in has just hit the theaters nationwide. They've done the usual talk show circuit hyping the film. The studio's marketing department spared no expense advertising it. Then the numbers come in...

...and the film has completely and totally bombed.

As it turns out, the studio didn't allow advance screening of the film for critics, and for good reason. Very few of them are giving the movie a positive review. Word of mouth is even less favorable. And as they say in Hollywood, you're only as good as your last role. Perhaps the role wasn't the right fit, or maybe the person's lack of actual acting skill has finally caught up to them. Regardless, the star's time on the A-List (or possibly even the B-List) has very much come to an end. If they're lucky, they may find another Star-Making Role, but more often than not, the fallen star gets trapped in a permanent Never Live It Down and ends up fading into obscurity, never to reclaim the glory they once had. Of course objectively speaking Hype Backlash is also a likely culprit (along with Hollywood Hype Machine). Tabloid fodder could also cause the adoring media to turn against them, often dismissing their latest project out of hand. If they have an out-of-control private life it makes it worse for the actors in question. This can also be subverted if the actors are Critic Proof and/or have a Controversy Proof Image.

Compare with Creator Killer for those behind the camera. Can sometimes coincide with Franchise Killer or even Genre-Killer in the most extreme circumstances. Contrast with Star-Making Role and Career Resurrection.

A good amount of these examples have been Vindicated by Cable or garnered Cult Classic status.


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    Anime And Manga 
  • This trope is rare in voiceover because an actor supplying the voice wouldn't typically be "attached" to a project in the same way an on-camera actor would be, at least in a marketing sense, and a voice actor wouldn't really hurt their career by being in a flop. Nonetheless, there are a couple exceptions:
    • Aya Hirano's career took a hit with the failure of Dragonaut: The Resonance and her own growing reputation as a "diva", forcing her managers to try to reel her in and limit her to supporting roles to save face. Hirano ultimately "left" the agency when she was caught in a scandal.
    • This might have happened to David Moo after he voiced Sanji in 4Kids Entertainment's infamous English dub of One Piece. His exaggerated and unfitting Brooklyn accent became the laughingstock of even non-fans of the series, and became something of a symbol of the dub's hammy voice acting, strange treatment of the characters, or even 4Kids and bad dubbing in general. This is most likely to blame on the crazy voice direction causing even popular voice actors like Veronica Taylor to also turn in bad performances (Moo supposedly even disagreed with how he was asked to voice Sanji). He hasn't had any voice roles since, and was the only main voice actor not to return for Slayers Revolution and Slayers Evolution-R, where he had originally voiced Xellos (although even in Slayers, an otherwise popular dub, Moo's performance was a bit polarizing). An interview with the Slayers voice director (Michael Sinterniklaas, who also took over the role) suggests that it was a decision made by the powers-that-be, and not a case of Moo leaving on his own. However, pretty much everyone else in the old One Piece dub still has at least some sort of career.
    • Jessica Calvello's career was derailed for a long time after what happened behind the scenes during the dubbing of Excel♥Saga. Because of the strain the character of Excel put on her voice, her contract with ADV Films required a 4-month break between volumes. When they didn't follow up on this, Jessica's voice was injured and she quit the show (and was replaced with Larissa Wolcott). When she recovered, she moved to New York, where she found a decent amount of work, but nothing compared to the roles she had at ADV Films. She never appeared in another dub for the people at ADV for well over a decade. Fortunately, she's getting a decent amount of work now that the Excel incident is long behind her.
    • Inverted with Soichiro Hoshi; while Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny sold well and his character remained quite popular in the Newtype rankings, the negative reputation the anime had sunk his career to role reprisals and being notably absent from many big name anime series that his fellow voice actors have taken roles in.

    Film — Actors 
  • Matthew Broderick in the live action adaptation of Inspector Gadget. This movie, in addition to the American version of Godzilla (1998), killed his career as a leading man in major motion pictures. The 2006 holiday flop Deck the Halls did nothing to help matters. He found more success in theater, most notably the stage version of The Producers, and later the musical's 2005 film adaptation.
  • Sam Worthington was a rising superstar for a few months in the advent of Avatar. Then, Clash of the Titans happened and his star went out. However, a sequel to Avatar may prove a Career Resurrection for him.
  • Dana Carvey in The Master of Disguise, which was actually a botched comeback attempt.
  • A lot of Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s work after his Oscar-winning role in Jerry Maguire (Boat Trip, Snow Dogs, Daddy Day Camp, etc.) did more to harm his career than help it. He attributes this problem to the fact that the good roles stopped coming to him once Will Smith became Hollywood's new favorite African-American actor.

    Cuba's films were the most-rented from Blockbuster at one time, till the film Radio, in which he played Inspirationally Disadvantaged. You could say that Radio Killed the Video Star.
  • Mike Myers in the Live-Action Adaptation of The Cat in the Hat, followed up by the finishing blow of The Love Guru. He was a comedy superstar in the '90s and early '00s, with Wayne's World, Austin Powers, and Shrek becoming pop culture touchstones. Cat, however, outraged the Seuss estate with its raunchy humor, causing Audrey Geisel to vow never to approve any further live-action adaptations of Seuss' books, and critics ravaged it for the same reasons. Guru, meanwhile, flopped at the box office and "won" three Razzies. Myers' only non-VA role since Guru has been a cameo in Inglourious Basterds.

    What caused this trajectory? Well, it was largely Myers' own doing. Even as early as Wayne's World, he'd gotten a reputation for being a diva and kept burning bridges on almost every project he worked on. The entire reason he ended up working on The Cat in the Hat was because he'd tried to get out of doing a Sprockets movie with Universal and Imagine Entertainment. Part of the legal settlement with them required he make a different film for them. In other words, he only made that movie because he was legally obligated. After this killed his career for several years, the opening of The Love Guru was tarnished by a massive exposé in Entertainment Weekly on just how many people in Hollywood hated him and hoped the movie would bomb. After it did bomb, it was clear that Myers had completely tapped out the audience goodwill that had kept him afloat in the past.
    • He has been attempting a comeback; for many years he has been trying to star in a Keith Moon biopic, but this will probably never happen due to the fact he is now too old for the part and it's a serious subject matter.
  • Batman & Robin is blamed for the decline of several of its lead actors (only George Clooney and, in the long term, Arnold Schwarzenegger came out comparatively unscathed):
    • Chris O'Donnell's (Robin) case is a subversion in that he said he had steady work offers, including work on major TV series (such as co-starring in NCIS: Los Angeles alongside LL Cool J), since Batman & Robin, but took some time off around the early aughts to raise his children. He also had the lead role in 2000's Vertical Limit, which, despite being ravaged by critics, recouped its budget and pulled in a respectable $69 million domestically in what was otherwise a terrible year for Columbia Pictures.
    • Alicia Silverstone (Batgirl) had this and Excess Baggage, which came out the same year as Batman & Robin and was part of a major production deal that Silverstone had with Columbia Pictures.
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger's (Mr. Freeze) drawing power went steadily downhill afterwards until Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and his retirement from acting for political reasons. He returned to acting when he left office and while both The Expendables films were successful, The Last Stand, his first lead role in a decade, did not fare so well.
    • Uma Thurman's (Poison Ivy) star fell for years, with an added assist from The Avengers (1998),note  until Quentin Tarantino pulled one of his trademark career resurrections with Kill Bill.
      • Motherhood (Budget $10 million. Box office $726,354) was easily the biggest bomb of Thurman's career. Particularly notable for its British release, where it's the second-biggest flop of all time. It was shown in only one UK cinema and took £88 on its opening weekend. On its opening night it took £9. That's one ticket.
  • Staying Alive brought down John Travolta's career for quite a while before he got cast in Pulp Fiction (his only successful roles around that time were on the Look Who's Talking films). Since then, his star power has faded considerably, likely due to his involvement with films like Battlefield Earth. The film also killed Sylvester Stallone's career as a director (barring Rocky IV) for twenty years.
  • Tom Green starred in, wrote and directed Freddy Got Fingered, and hasn't been seen much in theaters since.
  • Pretty much everyone involved in the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie with the sole exception of Steve Martin, who was so popular at the time even this stinker couldn't diminish his star. Same couldn't be said for George Burns or Aerosmith — who both suffered a brief career downturn, Aerosmith in part thanks to drug problems, before the band returned to popularity in the mid-80's — or Peter Frampton whose career took a big dip, and rumor has it that he was horrified to hear it was being released on DVD. The Bee Gees were also affected by this (in addition to the decline of disco), but they did well as songwriters, making U.S. chart-toppers, such as "Islands in the Stream" by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers and "Heartbreaker" by Dionne Warwick.
  • Heartbeeps derailed Andy Kaufman's potential film career. Universal was leery of having him make films more in tune with his Cloudcuckoolander sensibilities right off the bat, especially after In God We Tru$t (in which he played a key supporting role) bombed. Thus, appearing in a family-friendly sci-fi comedy was a way to prove he could draw an audience; also, he liked the script when he read it. It was a Troubled Production, however, and was cut to less than 80 minutes by the time it was released at the end of 1981, whereupon it flopped instantly.
  • Peter Sellers in Casino Royale (1967); he was actually fired midway through the shoot when he proved too unreliable and uncooperative, and while the film was finished without him it was extremely messy. This left a black mark on his reputation (particularly with American studios), and most of his subsequent films through 1974 would turn out to be flops if they even made it to theaters. He experienced a Career Resurrection after that.
  • Fair Game brought William Baldwin's career to a screeching halt and pretty much killed the film career of Cindy Crawford before it could even get started. It was the only film directed by Andrew Sipes and writer Charlie Fletcher didn't have another credit for six years.
  • Eddie Murphy has quite the reputation for being a good actor who should really fire his agent.
    • He emerged as a massive comedy star in the '80s, thanks in no small part to being a Saturday Night Live cast member and barely saving the show from disaster during its 1980-1981 season. After a series of comedy classics like Trading Places, 48 Hours, and Beverly Hills Cop, as well as his stand-up comedy special Delirious, Murphy's initial decline began with the 1989 vanity project Harlem Nights, after which the quality of his films took a nosedive. Roger Ebert, in his review of Harlem Nights, made an excellent point (which was, essentially, career advice) about not taking your fans for granted.
    • The remake of The Nutty Professor became a Career Resurrection for him in the late '90s, with many critics noting that Murphy's Buddy Love character was a massive Take That to what he had been reduced to in the public eye. Unfortunately, he quickly fell on the same track he was on before with another string of flops, the most notorious being The Adventures of Pluto Nash. His voice acting in the Shrek films kept him on the B-list, and his supporting role in Dreamgirls looked to be another Career Resurrection (with many going as far to peg him as the front runner for an Academy Award).
    • Then he backflopped with Norbit (despite being a box office success, it was savaged by critics) and the two family films Meet Dave and Imagine That. Following the critical ravaging of those films, he has since declared his intention to go back to making mature comedies, starting with the Brett Ratner film Tower Heist. Even this couldn't save him, however, as his next (released) film after Tower Heist was the critically mauled bomb A Thousand Words, which despite having sat on the shelf for four years previously was accompanied by a reasonably strong advertising campaign.
  • Warren Beatty, still riding high off of Bulworth, starred in the massive flop Town And Country (total budget: $90 million; total worldwide gross: just over $10 million). To date, it's his last acting role of any kind.
    • Beatty could have moved back into the spotlight after Quentin Tarantino offered him the title role in Kill Bill but he turned it down. So it looks like Beatty's lack of output in the last decade is by choice.
  • Roberto Benigni followed his Oscar-winning film Life Is Beautiful with a live-action version of Pinocchio with himself playing the title character (keep in mind that Benigni was in his fifties at the time), which earned a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 0%. He has barely worked in film since then, with only The Tiger and the Snow (another directorial effort) and a turn in Woody Allen's From Rome with Love to his credit. He is still a name performer in his native Italy, however, with his biggest post-Life Is Beautiful success the one-man stage show TuttoDante.
    • In fact, Benigni had almost killed his then-unknown career in America almost a decade before, when his performance as Jacques Gambrelli, Inspector Clouseau's illegitimate son, in Son of the Pink Panther was unanimously mauled by critics that it completely flopped in theaters overnight and earned Benigni a Razzie Award nomination for Worst New Star. Hadn't it been for Life is Beautiful, American audiences would've viewed Benigni as a talentless celebrity.
  • Steven Seagal in Half Past Dead. His career was already floundering after starring in a string of busts, which can be traced back to his vanity project On Deadly Ground, but this is the film that dealt a huge blow to his career. Since then, he has starred in a series of low-budget Direct-to-Video films — he would not see the inside of a cinema again until Machete.
  • Nearly everybody involved with Torque saw their careers destroyed, the only exceptions being Ice Cube (who did Are We There Yet? and became a popular family actor) and Jamie Pressly (who had a major role on My Name Is Earl). Martin Henderson, the then-up-and-coming actor who played the lead role, saw his career reduced to bit parts, straight-to-video films, and a TV show that only lasted one season. His role in the critically acclaimed Sundance Channel series The Red Road and the original miniseries Secrets & Lies (which is going to be remade into an ABC TV Show starring Ryan Phillippe) seems to have started a small Career Resurrection for him.
  • Jack Black and Michael Cera in Year One. Before this, Black was a top comedy actor and Cera was an up-and-comer with a few hits (Juno, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) to his name. Then critics destroyed the movie, audiences stayed away, and many people complained that Black and Cera were playing the same characters in every movie. Since then, Black had another enormous flop with the 2010 version of Gullivers Travels (although it did much better outside North America). Cera, meanwhile, starred in Youth in Revolt and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World which, despite both -- especially Scott Pilgrim -- gaining great reviews from critics, flopped at the box office (though both later found their audiences on home video), and he has fallen out of favor with moviegoers, replaced by actors like Jesse Eisenberg. While Youth In Revolt has been completely forgotten, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has become a Cult Classic and this, along with the fourth season of Arrested Development, has proven a bit of a comeback for him.
    • Steve Martin and Jack Black hardly have any future projects after The Big Year became a box office flop. Black has a short film and some voice work, while the only thing Martin's done after it is another appearance on SNL.
  • Grease 2 derailed the then-promising career of Maxwell Caulfield, who is on record as saying that it took him ten years to recover when no one would hire him after the movie. Michelle Pfeiffer's career wasn't so damaged, but it did take a beating (Brian De Palma initially refused to consider her for Scarface (1983) because of it).
  • Vince Vaughn in The Dilemma. In the early-mid '00s, he was one of Hollywood's top comedy actors thanks to films like Old School, Wedding Crashers and Dodgeball, which gave him enough clout to guarantee creative control on a film. His career was starting to slip with weaker films like Four Christmases, but on the set of The Dilemma, he suffered a major case of Small Name, Big Ego, forcing many rewrites, taking over creative control from director Ron Howard, and defending his character's homophobic comments. Consequently, audiences stayed away. His follow-up The Watch, co-starring Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill, also didn't do well with critics and audiences either. Now, he's trying to repair the damage by taking smaller roles in dramatic fare. In 2013 though, he attempted a return, co-starring with Owen Wilson in The Internship, but although the film made a decent box office return, it was generally not well received by critics.
  • David Schwimmer in Duane Hopwood, his first film project following the end of Friends. Since the indie's flop, he's only made occasional television appearances and his only major roles were in a series of financially unsuccessful independent films. His only projects worth noting are his roles in the Madagascar series.
    • Schwimmer's fellow Friends co-star, Matt LeBlanc, nearly had the worst luck with this. While still working on the series, he decided to make a big break in Hollywood with the comedy film Ed, which was an incomprehensible critical and box office disaster instead. Other than his supporting roles in the Charlie's Angels film adaptations, he has barely done any film work since then, and after Friends was canceled he attempted to keep his television spotlight with a spin-off titled Joey, which was Screwed by the Network in its second season and later axed. Thankfully it did not stop him from doing any more television work, however, as he now stars in the sitcom Episodes.
  • Ted Wass was a rising star when he appeared as a supporting character in Soap, as well as receiving praise for his roles in television movies. Eventually he was cast in Curse of the Pink Panther, which completely obliterated his film career before it could even get started and also turned him into a laughingstock on TV. But come The Nineties he found a regular gig again as Blossom's dad, and he has found success as a director for various television programs such as Rules of Engagement and 2 Broke Girls.
    • A similar "curse" also struck Herbert Lom; after the failure of 1993's Son of the Pink Panther he retired from acting — at least in the film spectrum, as he continued to make occasional television appearances. His last major project was appearing a 2004 episode of the ITV series Marple; he died eight years later.
  • Stephen Baldwin was an up-and-coming actor with roles in films such as Last Exit To Brooklyn, Threesome, 8 Seconds and The Usual Suspects who was looking to become a successful sibling act to his brother Alec. Then he starred in Bio-Dome, which damaged his theatrical career, forcing him to make a living doing Direct-to-Video films.
    • His Bio-Dome co-star, Pauly Shore, didn't fare much better. This film's critical thrashing, along with the premature cancellation of his self-titled FOX sitcom Pauly, turned Shore into a running joke for most of the late '90s.
  • Larry The Cable Guy's film career stalled right out of the gate following the abysmal flop Health Inspector, which fell $2 million shy of its $17 million budget and was critically ravaged (though it would be Vindicated by Cable soon after). The only major acting roles he's had since then are the more-acclaimed voice part of Tow Mater in the Cars series, and starred in another string of ravaged comedy movies. Today, Health Inspector, along with some of his other film work, has garnered a small but respectable cult following.
  • Between them, Leonard Part 6 and Ghost Dad convinced pretty much everyone that Bill Cosby doesn't belong on a screen that can't fit in your living room.
  • To quote Michael Beck: "The Warriors opened a lot of [acting] doors for me, which Xanadu then closed."
  • Daniel Stern in Bushwhacked and Celtic Pride. After the successes of Diner, The Wonder Years, Home Alone, and City Slickers, much was expected from him. Then these films, in which he intended to be his big breaks in Hollywood, were ruthlessly savaged by critics and failed miserably at the box office. Since then, he's been reduced to working on straight-to-video films and television parts, notably voicing the title role in the short-lived television adaptation of the comic strip Dilbert, and has never gotten out of the garbage heap. Whip It could have served as a Career Resurrection for him, but despite being praised for his role, it flopped at the box office instead, failing to change his career direction. Now, he's trying again to hit the big time, co-starring with Miranda Cosgrove in the upcoming NBC television series Girlfriend in a Coma (although with the show's release having being pushed back several times and no official air date yet, this may not be as big a career resurrection as he hoped).
  • Dan Fogler, a Broadway award-winner who was tapped by Hollywood executives to headline several major comedy films, including School For Scoundrels and Balls of Fury. The final straw, however, came with Good Luck Chuck, which bombed and mostly killed his film career before he could go anywhere with it. The only films he appeared in after this were the financially-unsuccessful Fanboys and Take Me Home Tonight, both of which were shot years before he broke into Hollywood, and Mars Needs Moms, which just put the coffin in the ground.
  • Tom Selleck was expected to be the next face in the action film industry after Magnum, P.I. gave him the catapult to the A-list, subsequently starring in action-packed thrillers like Runaway, An Innocent Man, and occasionally Playing Against Type in Three Men And A Baby and In And Out. Then he did The Love Letter, which bombed critically and commercially and blacklisted Selleck from Hollywood; an awkward appearance on the Rosie O'Donnell Show to promote the movie that turned into a gun control argument (Selleck is very pro-guns; O'Donnell very much isn't) didn't help either. He subsequently starred in low budget television movies and his only role in film since The Love Letter was the romantic comedy action film Killers, which pretty much was the straw that broke the camel's back. (Fortunately, he still has Blue Bloods.)
  • Michael Chiklis starred as John Belushi in the 1989 biopic Wired, which was universally panned by critics and bombed at the box office. While it effectively derailed his career in films, Chiklis ended up carving out a respectable career for himself on TV, where he headlined two successful, long-running shows (The Commish, The Shield).
  • The universally savaged and colossal flop Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star derailed Nick Swardson's career as a leading man in motion pictures before it could even get started. The film also led to Comedy Central terminating their contract with Swardson and canceling his Pretend Time sketch series, further damaging his reputation.
  • Jon Heder's star rose with Napoleon Dynamite and fell not long after with School For Scoundrels. Most of his later projects have been barely released (Mamas Boy, Moving McAllister) or bypassed theatres (Woke Up Dead). It also brought down co-stars Billy Bob Thornton and Jacinda Barrett, and nearly killed director Todd Phillips' career before he rebounded with The Hangover.
  • Christopher Reeve in Switching Channels. In his autobiography, Still Me, Reeve claims that this film's failure, along with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, The Aviator, and Street Smart (which he in part agreed to do Superman IV under the condition that he was allowed to star in this long time "pet project" of his), knocked him off the A-list in Hollywood and he would have to audition for major roles for the rest of his career. Reeve also expressed regret in making Switching Channels (Reeve took on the role because he felt that making a comedy would be a good distraction from the depression steaming from his split with his long time girlfriend, Gae Exton), believing that he had "made a fool of himself" (Reeve played decidedly against type as Kathleen Turner's hapless fiancé) and had to act as a referee for constantly feuding costars Turner and Burt Reynolds. During his career, Reeve also turned down the lead roles in American Gigolo, The World According to Garp, Splash, Fatal Attraction, Pretty Woman, Romancing the Stone, Lethal Weapon and Body Heat. Reeve even turned down the lead role in a remake of Mutiny on the Bounty titled The Bounty after Katharine Hepburn recommended him to the director, Roger Donaldson, who ultimately went with his second choice, Mel Gibson.
    • Christopher Reeve's career was not the only one to take a hit after the failure of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; newcomer Mark Pillow, who portrayed Nuclear Man in the film (though his voice was dubbed by Gene Hackman) was subject to much of the film's criticism for his performance onscreen. This, combined with the critical thrashing of nearly every other aspect of the film, meant Pillow would never return to the big screen again, having sadly been brought down by the film's own incompetence.
  • Following the mixed reception of the third Naked Gun film, Leslie Nielsen was unlucky enough to have starred in four critically savaged flops over the next three years: Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Spy Hard, a Live-Action Adaptation of Mr. Magoo and Wrongfully Accused. Following these disasters he spent the remaining years of his life appearing on TV movies and spoof films (which he was notorious for), never playing a lead role in a major motion picture again.
  • Gene Wilder played this straight with Haunted Honeymoon, then was hit with the finishing blow of Another You. He became one of the most, if not the most, beloved comedic actors of all time during the late 1960s-early 1980s, gaining prominence in The Producers, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. However, his momentum soon lost steam when he appeared in the critical and commercial flop Haunted Honeymoon. Wilder attempted to make a comeback with longtime comedy partner Richard Pryor in the film See No Evil, Hear No Evil, but despite being a moderate success at the box office, it wasn't well received. Finally, Another You was ravaged by critics and flopped at the box office. Wilder's only notable role since then was a supporting role for two episodes of Will and Grace.
    • Pryor's career was also badly damaged by it; it turned out to be his last leading role in a film. He later found success in supporting roles and music.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was notable for not only being the final film Sean Connery starred in before retiring, but bombing hard enough to kill the careers of most of the starring cast (including Peta Wilson, who played Mina Harker in the film and had previously established herself as a star of the La Femme Nikita TV series). The film also killed Stephen Norrington's directing career - to date, he hasn't helmed another film.
    • Connery was offered the chance to reprise his role in the fourth Indiana Jones film, but turned it down saying that retirement was too much fun.
  • The infamous 1970 Box Office Bomb Myra Breckinridge ruined the careers of several of the people involved. Director Michael Sarne had only made one notable film prior to it, and after it he never made another film in Hollywood again. The film also killed the career of actor Roger Herren, who played Rusty (the character that gets sodomized by a strap-on by Raquel Welch) - it was his first and last film appearance. 20th Century Fox appearently thought so little of it that aside from a brief early '80s VHS release it was unavailable on the home video market until 2004.
  • Steven Wright in Son of the Mask. In the late '80s to early '90s, Wright was a massive comedy star with the short film The Appointments of Dennis Jennings earning him an Academy Award, and roles such as Reservoir Dogs and So I Married an Axe Murderer helped his career grow to ultimate stardom. He hit minor snags with weaker hits such as Mixed Nuts and Canadian Bacon, until he starred in this Mask sequel, which was torn apart by critics and audiences alike and flopped at theaters, resulting in the complete meltdown of Wright's career; he never appeared in another film again and his only appearance since then was a cameo in the FX comedy Louie.
    • It also hurt the career of lead actor Jamie Kennedy, who has been stuck doing Direct to DVD and TV movies (with the exception of Good Deeds, which came out 7 years later).
      • If Son of The Mask didn't kill his career, then Kickin It Old Skool, which made back a fifth of its budget and holds a 2% at Rotten Tomatoes, was a more-than-adequate double-tap.
    • All that Traylor Howard has done since? Her much more acclaimed performance as Natalie Teeger in Monk and feature in a climate change video, and the director, Lawrence Guterman, never directed another movie.
  • Prince's acting career was derailed by his second film, the critical and box-office flop Under the Cherry Moon. He waited another four years to make Graffiti Bridge, and when that flopped he took the hint and stopped making films.
  • Although not a box office failure, there's an apocryphal account here that the mockery Jake Lloyd received for his performance as the young Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace caused him to retire from acting at the age of ten. However, it's been revealed in an interview between him and a Star Wars fan site that, contrary to popular belief, Jake Lloyd does not hate Star Wars after all he's been through.
    • In turn, Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin for the next two prequels, managed to get a career push from the films but never managed to achieve quite the same success.
  • Rex Harrison permanently damaged his career with Doctor Dolittle becoming a colossal bomb, made possible in part by him acting as a drunken prima donna demanding endless script rewrites, completely impractical production changes, ridiculous cast changes so he could guarantee no one can show him up singing and insulting his Jewish co-stars.
    • It didn’t help either that Harrison, by the late ‘60s older than most leading men, outright refused to play supporting roles. A few years after Doolittle, Sam Spiegel approached him to play Count Witte in Nicholas and Alexandra. Harrison took offense, angrily telling Spiegel "I don’t do bit parts!" The role went to Laurence Olivier, who famously had no such reservations.
  • Star Trek: Nemesis was supposed to be Tom Hardy's breakout role. The film was a box office disaster, flattening his career, which eventually drove him to drink, and to the brink of suicide. He eventually got out of the slump with Bronson, a fact his success portraying Bane in 'The Dark Knight Rises made clear.
  • Jaden Smith in After Earth. Following the success of the Karate Kid remake, Jaden was hyped as a child star in the making and a successor to his father, Will Smith. As a result, Will convinced director M. Night Shyamalan to have Jaden play the starring role in After Earth, while he took the supporting role of the main character's father. This came a month after Shyamalan was trying to recover from the massive critical flop of The Last Airbender; he was impressed by the script for After Earth and saw it as an opportunity to try to repair his failing career. However, the film was savaged by critics, with many specifically pointing to Jaden's performance as one of the bigger problems and alleging nepotism on the part of Will getting him the part. While the film was a hit overseas, it bombed in the US and turned Jaden into a laughingstock.
    • Will Smith himself has arguably suffered the start of one with the same film. After his breakout role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and his success in such blockbusters as Bad Boys and Independence Day, he became a superstar almost overnight. Following the exception of Wild Wild West, his career had an almost unprecedented string of smash hits, notably Men In Black and I Am Legend. After Earth was his first real flop in YEARS, and his performance was critically panned. The fact that his very next film was Winters Tale didn't help matters. While he remains a very bankable star overall, public opinion of him seems to have soured quite a bit.
  • Taylor Kitsch of Friday Night Lights had the dubious distinction of being the lead actor of not one, but two of the most high-profile blockbuster bombs of 2012. John Carter and Battleship both failed to inspire audiences to turn out and tanked so hard, each film posted a loss of over $200 million for Disney and Universal, respectively. Just John Carter tanking was bad enough, despite getting average critical reviews (though hints have been dropped that there's still some hope for a sequel), but the failure of Battleship just a few months later really closed the door on Kitsch being a big-time leading man in Hollywood.
  • 1981's The Legend Of The Lone Ranger was the film debut and film farewell of Klinton Spilsbury. It didn't help that his voice was dubbed and an earlier Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore, who to many is still the Lone Ranger) was being sued by ITC over his mask in a move that would've won the film a unanimous Razzie for Worst Publicity had the award existed.
  • The 2013 adaptation of The Lone Ranger pretty much ended Armie Hammer's career. Hammer gained notice after playing the Winkelvoss twins in The Social Network, only to see his hype vanish overnight after this film. Apart from a role as Illya Kuryakyn in a film adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., his IMDb list of film credits is virtually empty after 2013.
    • A bigger career casualty from that film, though, may well be Johnny Depp, who played Tonto. After spending the '90s and early '00s as an acclaimed yet B-list actor in indie films, low-budget dramas, and quirky comedies, Depp hit the big time with the Pirates of the Caribbean films in the mid-late '00s, with him and his character, Captain Jack Sparrow, becoming pop culture icons thanks to his "pirate Keith Richards" performance. During the time that the Pirates films were successful, nearly every other role that Depp took was a megahit that brought audiences out just to see him. While his career started slowing down in the early 2010s with flops like The Rum Diary and Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger seems to have been the turning point, with his performance in particular being heavily criticized and the film becoming a legendary Box Office Bomb. Most of his work since has disappointed critically and commercially.
  • Stephen Boyd in The Oscar. Before making the film, he was a regular actor in a number of big Hollywood productions (such as Ben Hur and The Fall of the Roman Empire). Outside of a few films shot before this one opened, Boyd was stuck in smaller films for the rest of his career (he died in 1977 while in talks to make a possible comeback with The Wild Geese).
  • Robot Jox pretty much ruined Gary Graham's career for a long time outside Alien Nation TV movies.
  • Zach Braff in The Last Kiss. After the success of Garden State and the popularity of Scrubs, much was expected from him. Then this film (which he was given near-complete creative control over in an attempt to create another Garden State) fared so badly with critics and audiences that he more or less disappeared after the cancellation of the latter and little has been heard from him since (his only film projects after this one were the little-seen 2006 film The Ex and 2011 film The High Cost of Living. His role in Oz: The Great and Powerful might have brought him back from oblivion, but then he followed it up with Wish I Was Here, which had to turn to Kickstarter just to get the funding, and which opened in limited release.
  • Brad Johnson in Flight of the Intruder. Hyped as a star in the making with his role in Steven Spielberg's Always, he took on a similar role (paired with Danny Glover and Willem Dafoe) with this big-budget war movie with hopes that it would meet the hype. The film's failure basically torpedoed those chances and Johnson has spent the rest of his career in straight-to-video sequels and religious films.
  • Josh Lucas in Stealth and Poseidon. After years of taking small and supporting roles in numerous films, Lucas got his first taste of stardom playing the estranged ex-husband of Reese Witherspoon's character in Sweet Home Alabama. Following that film's success, he went on to appear in the 2003 version of Hulk and was given the chance to headline two big-budget films in a span of one year, Stealth (opposite Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx) and Poseidon (alongside Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss among others). But after those two movies became massive critical and commercial failures, Lucas has went on to continue to appear in supporting roles, never basically being leading man material ever again.
  • True Identity was British comedian Lenny Henry's bid for both American and silver screen stardom, but the disastrous critical reception and poisonous box office (on both sides of the Atlantic) ended his US career before it started; other than the concert film Lenny Live And Unleashed, this is his only non-voice-related starring movie to date. (It also singlehandedly ruined the career of the film's director (and fellow cast member) Charles Lane, who's only had one directing (for American Playhouse) and two acting credits since.)
    • Much like Rik Mayall, maybe film wasn't for him.
  • Macaulay Culkin in the 1994 films Richie Rich, The Pagemaster and Getting Even With Dad. He has not been seen often since then, partially due to the Stage Dad tendencies of his father Kit, from whom he is now estranged.
  • Virtually the entire cast of the feature film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, but especially former Oscar-winner Patty Duke, whose career since then has largely been relegated to B-movies and TV.
  • Adam Sandler in That's My Boy. Sandler's movies always received, at best, lukewarm critical receptions; out of a twenty-year leading man career, he has only one movie, Punch Drunk Love, that is rated higher than 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, and all but four of his other films are rated Rotten. However, from the mid '90s through the '00s Critical Dissonance was in full effect, with Sandler being among the biggest comedy stars of the era. Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, and The Wedding Singer are nowadays viewed as comedy classics, and even his few flops like Little Nicky and Eight Crazy Nights were easily brushed off.

    As the '00s went on, however, audiences' opinions of Sandler began to fall more in line with those of critics. While most of his films were still making big money, complaints about his low-brow, vulgar style began to mount, especially after Judd Apatow's style of comedy started earning the favor of critics and audiences. That's My Boy was his first out-and-out flop in years, and (along with Jack and Jill, which earned a record ten Golden Raspberry Awards but at least made money) arguably marked the turning point in the public's opinion of him. While the Grown Ups films and Hotel Transylvania were financially successful, Blended, his reunion with his Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates co-star Drew Barrymore, was a dud.
  • Jim Carrey's first film, Once Bitten, was also almost his last. At the very least, his film career hit a speed bump that he wouldn't recover from for several years.
  • Singer Kris Kristofferson had forged a successful acting career for most of the 1970s with lead roles in Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid, Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore, the 1976 version of A Star Is Born, and Convoy. However, he was cast as the protagonist in the 1981 Michael Cimino-helmed western Heaven's Gate, and his career was one of many left in ruins by the film's Troubled Production and dismal box office take. He returned his attention to his music career, and his film career has since been limited to supporting roles (most notably in the Blade trilogy as the title character's mentor, Abraham Whistler).
  • Paul Rust's career as a leading man began and ended with I Love You Beth Cooper (and outside of a bit part in Inglourious Basterds, his acting career seemed to end as well).
  • Wesley Snipes in Blade: Trinity. His career was beginning to cool by the late 90s and early 2000s with the exception of the first two Blade films, which were box office successes. By the time the third movie came out, it received a negative reaction from both critics and fans alike, leading to a disappointing total. And it also doesn't help that Snipes filed a lawsuit against New Line Cinema (which distributed the trilogy) and the film's director David S. Goyer, claiming that they cut him out of casting decisions and filmmaking processes. After the film's failure, Snipes appeared in a string of straight to DVD releases and didn't make another theatrical appearance for six years (with the film Brooklyn's Finest), plus he went to federal prison for tax evasion, putting the franchise on hold, though now that he's been released, there is talk of doing a fourth film (at Disney; long story) and there's also the possibility of him being cast in the third Expendables movie.
  • Ray Romano and Gene Hackman's careers never really survived Welcome to Mooseport. After its release, Romano never headlined another live action movie again and has been doing mostly Ice Age sequels, TV appearances, indies, and one direct-to-video movie while Hackman retired after making the film.
  • Peter Boyle and Marty Feldman in In God We Tru$t. Before that, Boyle headlined classics like Joe, Young Frankenstein, and Taxi Driver and Feldman was a top comedy star in his home country of England (and also worked with Boyle on Young Frankenstein). Then this movie, co-written and directed by Feldman, was largely panned by critics and flopped at the box office. Both Feldman and Boyle's careers went downhill thereafter, and both tried to bounce back with Yellowbeard, co-starring with the Monty Python troupe, but Feldman suddenly died of a heart attack in a hotel room in Mexico before he could finish his role, consequently resulting in his character getting killed off in the movie. The film opened to mixed reception and flopped instantly, failing to help either Feldman or Boyle experience a Career Resurrection (Executive Meddling from Hemdale and Orion didn't seem to help either.)
    • Boyle would not finally experience a resurrection until he guest-starred in an episode of The X-Files, which he won an Emmy Award for, and he finally got cast into the television sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, which earned him two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations and one Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Boyle was on the verge of derailment again with The Santa Clause 3, but in a twist of luck, he died of heart disease just a month after its release.
    • The film also damaged hopes of Andy Kaufman having a successful film career (see above for more details).
  • While it didn't completely kill his career, The Ref probably didn't convince studios to give Denis Leary any more starring roles despite its decent reviews.
  • Noah Ringer's career has pretty much been killed due to the failure of The Last Airbender and, to a much lesser extent, Cowboys and Aliens.
    • Jackson Rathbone's career also took a beating due to The Last Airbender. Besides Twilight sequels, he hasn't been seen in many movies. Nicola Peltz's career went a similar direction; she's currently taken a supporting role in the show Bates Motel. Dev Patel has fared a bit better, but even he wasn't totally immune, as after the movie he's done mostly supporting parts and TV.
  • Somehow, Adrien Brody signed up for In-APP-ropiate Comedy, his first American theatrical release since Midnight in Paris. Torn to shreds by critics, it could be his last for a while. That being said, the fact that Brody had been doing many Direct-to-Video films before that has shown that he didn't have much of a career before that.
  • Drug problems had already put a damper on Brad Davis' post-Midnight Express career when he did Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Querelle (in which Davis played a gay sailor who dabbles in drug-dealing and murder), described as "career suicide" by at least one commentator.
  • Joe Piscopo in Dead Heat. Following Johnny Dangerously and Wise Guys, this proved to be the final nail in the coffin of Piscopo's career as a movie leading man - and probably didn't do Treat Williams' career any favors, either.
  • Jack Frost (1998) pretty much ended Michael Keaton's run as a leading man in mainstream roles as he went into semi-retirement shortly thereafter. Keaton would occasionally resurface in mainstream roles like First Daughter, Herbie Fully Loaded, Post Grad and The Other Guys but only as a supporting player. Keaton's most high profile leading role since then was in White Noise. But otherwise, Keaton hasn't come close to reclaiming his 1980s-early '90s success/popularity.
  • Red Planet as well as his growing reputation of sabotaging the production of his movies (such as Batman Forever and most notoriously, The Island of Doctor Moreau) ensured that Val Kilmer wouldn't headline mainstream productions for the foreseeable future.
  • The character of George Valentin in The Artist is a once-successful silent movie idol whose career is badly damaged as a result of the prominence of "talking pictures." Valentin's downfall parallels that of real-life silent star John Gilbert. His suave, dashing, and handsome image gained the attention of moviegoers, especially when paired with leading lady (and alleged lover) Greta Garbo. That image was forever destroyed when he appeared in a disastrous "talkie" called His Glorious Night. Audiences laughed when Gilbert squeaked "I love you, I love you, I love you!" to his female lead, literally destroying his career reportedly because of the sound of his voice. Many sources claimed that Gilbert's voice was fine, but was altered in post-production by studio head Louis B. Mayer (the third "M" in MGM). Mayer hated the star for his erratic behavior and allegedly maneuvered his downfall by giving him roles in awful films, including that one. A heartbroken Gilbert ultimately drank himself to death in 1936; he was 38 years old.
  • The awful reception of Alone in the Dark (2005) with critics and moviegoers marked the beginning of the end for Christian Slater as a leading man in mainstream films, pushing him down to Direct-to-Video territory and four television shows later in the 2000s that failed to make past a single season.
  • David Hemmings became an international star after appearing in Blow Up (1966), only for his career to implode thanks to the high-profile flops The Charge Of The Light Brigade (1968) and Alfred the Great (1969). His reputation for being extremely temperamental and arrogant didn't enamor him to producers, either. Hemmings all but disappeared, doing a few foreign movies and directing some television, until a brief Career Resurrection with Gladiator and Gangs of New York before his death in 2003.
  • Alberto Tomba was not a movie star (or even an actor by trade) to begin with; he was an acclaimed alpine skier with multiple medals and championships under his belt when in 2000, after his retirement, he decided to star in a movie called Alex l'Ariete. His extremely poor performance (often not even speaking intelligibly) ensured he will never grace the big screen again. The movie also bombed mightily, grossing a total of 2000 ''(two thousand)'' euros against a budget of 3 million.
  • Chris Klein's career as a leading man was sent several steps backward after he starred in the critically lambasted 2002 remake of James Caan's Rollerball. His next leading role in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li seems to have removed him from the spotlight for the foreseeable future.
  • Gigli came to destroy Ben Affleck's career right at the time when the poorly received Pearl Harbor and Daredevil had put in question his meteoric rise as blockbuster lead material. Fortunately, it rebounded by the end of the decade when Affleck embraced his talent as a writer/director to great acclaim. Gigli's director Martin Brest wasn't as lucky though (he later retired from filmmaking due to this film constantly suffering from Executive Meddling).
  • Paul Mercurio first garnered attention for his role in the acclaimed Australian dancing film Strictly Ballroom. Its success brought him to the USA where he landed his first American movie role in Exit to Eden. The latter film earned a savaging from critics and flopped at the box office, causing Mercurio to retreat back to his native country and appear in a string of low budget and direct to video flicks, plus he was also more successful as a dancer and as a television personality back there later, never giving another chance in Hollywood since then.
  • After a decade of bit parts and stunt work, a young actor named John Wayne finally landed the lead in a major picture - Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail (1930). Unfortunately, the film proved an expensive flop, and Wayne's performance was roundly criticized. The Duke spent another decade slumming in low-quality B Pictures before John Ford gave him another chance in Stagecoach.
  • After the failures of R.I.P.D. and Turbo, both of which were released on the same weekend, and combined with the failure of 2011's Green Lantern, it is highly likely the major studios will become convinced Ryan Reynolds should not be headlining any major films.
  • Not even Morgan Freeman was immune to this. Following his award-winning role in Se7en, he starred in the 1996 films Moll Flanders and Chain Reaction, both of which were unpopular among critics and audiences alike (though the latter recouped its budget thanks to overseas gross). His star power was weak for seven years before he was cast into Bruce Almighty, which was followed by an Academy Award-winning Career Resurrection known as Million Dollar Baby.
  • The Prodigal was intended to solidify Edmund Purdom's stature as a Hollywood leading man. Instead, it tanked at the box office, and Purdom spent the rest of his career in Europe.
  • The enormous animated flop Delgo spelled the end of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s days as a leading man in Hollywood. Once the popular choice for teen romantic comedies in the late '90s and early 2000s, he has seen his résumé grow very skimpy since then, with his only major role after Delgo being Lt. James Vega of Mass Effect 3 and the animated prequel Mass Effect Paragon Lost.
    • After the huge success of She's All That, director Robert Iscove worked once again with Freddie Prinze Jr. on Boys and Girls (Budget, $35 million. Box office, $25.8 million). Iscove never really had a theatrical hit again, and this movie was part of a rut that Prinze was stuck in during the early '00s.
  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas was an immensely successful child actor through the 1990s, having starred on the sitcom series Home Improvement and co-starred in movies such as The Lion King. After growing up, he attempted new acting ventures, eventually landing the starring role in 1998's I'll Be Home for Christmas. The film proved to be a massive flop and Thomas' career as an adult has slowed down significantly as a result.
  • Turk 182 (Budget, $15 million. Box office, $3.5 million) put Robert Urich's theatrical career to a screeching halt.
  • Ryan O'Neal became an A-list star in The Seventies thanks to Love Story, but his acting career began to sag by the following decade, leading to his infamous performance in Tough Guys Don't Dance ("OH GOD, OH MAN!"), which he has never fully recovered from. By the '00s, however, he managed to secure a respected recurring part as Temperance Brennan's father on Bones.
  • Bait (Budget, $51 million. Box office, $15.4 million) nearly ended Jamie Foxx's leading career, as he wouldn't lead again in a theatrical film for four years, but his later resurgence with Collateral and Ray thankfully saved him.
  • Big Bully (Budget, $15 million. Box office, $2 million) was one of the career-halting films with Tom Arnold released that year and was also the last theatrical live-action movie that Rick Moranis would star in (though it was less to do with this movie and more to do with his wife's passing).
  • Deuce Bigalow European Gigolo put the death knell on Rob Schneider's power as a leading man after it underperformed at the box office. Since then, the only leading roles he's had in theatrical releases are ensemble pieces and, for a little while, the only thing keeping him in the studio system was supporting roles in Adam Sandler's movies. Now that he's stopped appearing in Adam's movies, he's pretty much done only straight-to-DVD films and a couple of independent movies.
  • Superhero Movie and College are the only theatrical movies Drake Bell had a lead role in. After both underperformed at the box office, he's only done Straight-To-DVD or TV movies (and some TV shows here and there).
  • Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London killed Frankie Muniz's career as a leading man. After that movie, the only lead role he had was a voice over performance in Racing Stripes and he only did two other theatrical movies after that — both in supporting roles. Lately, he's been seen in a Syfy Channel Movie!
  • Tim Allen's career outside of Home Improvement and the Toy Story series had been made up of many critically bashed films, along with his highly publicized DUI incident in Michigan, that pretty much turned him into a walking joke. However, he still kept getting lead roles until Wild Hogs which, despite being a financial success, seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back as the only mainstream role he's gotten since then is reprising his role as Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 3. Other than that, he's pretty much been doing independent films and also went back to TV in Last Man Standing.
  • Though his career had been on a slippery slope for a while, Robin Williams was still headlining movies until Old Dogs. After that, he's been taking supporting roles and, like Tim Allen, went back to TV with The Crazy Ones.
    • That film didn't kill John Travolta's career but From Paris with Love seems to have. His career, after that movie, has been made up of mostly supporting roles or indie films and he hasn't led a film since!
  • David Spade's previous efforts with Happy Madison, Joe Dirt and Dickie Roberts: Child Star, both bombed at the box office. Despite doing better than the previous two movies, however, The Benchwarmers seems to have been the film that made sure Dave would never lead another movie in Hollywood again, as he's done only supporting roles since (unless you count him as one of the leads in the Grown Ups movies).
  • Throughout the '70s and '80s, Chevy Chase was a big star but by the '90s, movies like Nothing But Trouble had turned him into a walking joke. But he was still getting lead roles until Vegas Vacation, which killed his status as a leading man in Hollywood. His only big role since has been on Community.
  • After starring in Employee Of The Month, Dane Cook went on to have supporting roles in Dan in Real Life and Mr. Brooks, plus he also starred in two other movies - Good Luck Chuck and My Best Friends Girl. The latter movie seems to have derailed his movie career as he didn't act in another movie until 3 years later, when he was in Detention, where he only did a supporting role. Actually, most of his post-My Best Friend's Girl film work have been supporting roles in independent films except for Planes, which came out in 2013, 5 years after his last starring role in a Hollywood movie.
    • While Employee of the Month started Dane's career, it killed Jessica Simpson's. While The Dukes of Hazzard flopped with critics, it did well at the box office, boosting Jessica's star power. After this movie underperformed, however, she only did two movies, one which only saw a limited release (Blonde Ambition) and the other which went Straight-to-DVD (Major Movie Star).
  • In the early '90s, Sinbad had done some supporting roles in movies like Necessary Roughness and Coneheads. Then Hollywood tried to make him a lead with House Guest and First Kid but, after both flopped, he didn't lead another movie again. In fact, he only did two more movies (Jingle All the Way and Good Burger) before fading into obscurity. It took him 16 years (Planes) for him to be in another theatrical movie again.
    • House Guest also derailed Phil Hartman's film career. It was the only movie he led in; before he was only doing supporting parts in movies and, after it, he went back to being a supporting actor in movies before his death three years later.
  • Shia La Boeuf was considered an up-and-coming actor with movies like A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints and Disturbia. After making some poor choices with the Transformers films, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Wall Street Money Never Sleeps, LaBoeuf turned from a promising actor to one hated by the majority of the public. But it seems that Transformers: Dark of the Moon coupled with some controversial off-screen behavior killed his career for good as, after that movie, he's gone back to doing the smaller, independent movies he was doing before Transformers.
  • In the early-mid 2000's, Spencer Breslin was an up-and-coming child actor who was in many mainstream movies like The Kid, The Santa Clause 2 and Raising Helen. But his career seems to have been killed by three movies in 2006 — Zoom, The Shaggy Dog, and The Santa Clause 3. After those movies, he stopped appearing in big, Hollywood films and has done mostly independent work, with the exception of The Happening. Ironically, his sister Abigail's career kickstarted the same year his career died.
  • In the 1990s, Brendan Fraser was an up-and-coming actor with hits like School Ties and The Mummy 1999, but by the late '90s and early 2000s most of the movies he did were flops. However, it seems like Looney Tunes: Back in Action was the movie that ended his career as he didn't do many mainstream releases for 5 years after that, except for a supporting role in Crash. Then, after having a small comeback with Journey to the Center of the Earth, his career was again killed in 2010 by Extraordinary Measures and Furry Vengeance. After those two flops, his career has been limited to voice acting roles in films like Escape From Planet Earth and The Nut Job on one hand, and indie/arthouse films on the other.
  • Justin Long had done many supporting roles in mainstream films like Walk Hard, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and Live Free or Die Hard. He had also starred in the movie Accepted. When his next starring role, Going the Distance, flopped it seems to have killed his career as he hasn't been seen in a mainstream movie since except for some voice acting gigs and a supporting role in Movie 43. Drew Barrymore's career hasn't fared much better as she's only done two movies since then and hasn't done movies as frequently as she used to do beforehand.
  • After starring in the hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Russell Brand seemed to be on the road to being a successful comedic actor. Unfortunately, most of the movies he starred in after Sarah Marshall didn't manage to get the same critical acclaim or even box office numbers as Sarah Marshall did. But after Hollywood tried to make him a movie star with Arthur, he seems to have disappeared from movies almost entirely as the only movies he was in since were Rock of Ages, Despicable Me 2, and the independent film, Paradise. Also, after his T.V. Show, Brand X With Russell Brand flopped, he seems to have disappeared from Hollywood entirely. Being the ex-husband of Katy Perry probably didn't help.
  • Country music star Glen Campbell attempted to jump into film by voicing Chanticleer in Don Bluth's animated film Rock-A-Doodle, which, to the animation field, was a legendary critical and commercial failure. This ensured Campbell that he would never play a role in film again, and became a target of repeated mockery in the early-mid 1990s.
  • Cop Out and Death at a Funeral were more or less the end of Tracy Morgan's film career — besides the Rio movies and 30 Rock, he's mostly done independent or straight-to-DVD movies since. His controversial comments about how he would kill his son if he found out he was gay probably didn't help his career.
  • Superdad was basically the beginning and the end of Bob Crane's career as a leading man on film as he was unable to translate the success of Hogan's Heroes to the screen (Disney shelving the film for a year also didn't help). The film's critical and box office failure was so great that he only appeared in one more film before being murdered in 1978.
  • The Hangover Part 3 pretty much ended Ken Jeong's reign as a popular comedic supporting actor. Beforehand, he had roles in movies like The Hangover, The Muppets, or Knocked Up. After that, most of the movies he has that are in development are independent movies and he even recently did a Straight-to-DVD animated film called Birds Of Paradise.
  • Though he had a few starring roles in the late 80's, Patrick Dempsey didn't really hit it big until he got the role of Mc Dreamy in Grey's Anatomy. Due to his suddden burst of popularity, they tried to make him a movie star again — first, he got the male lead in Enchanted, which proved to be a big hit. Unfortunately, he followed it up with Made Of Honor which didn't do well either critically or financially. After that movie, he's been relegated to supporting parts with his only leading role being the little seen indie Flypaper.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen become big in America after the controversial Borat became a hit. His follow-up, Brüno didn't do as well critically or financially and most people saw it as a Borat rip-off. Then he did The Dictator, which did even worse critically and financially and pretty much caused him to resurrect his Ali G character for television as opposed to doing another movie.
  • In the early 2010's, Hollywood tried to make Josh Duhamel a movie star with movies like When in Rome, Life As We Know It, and New Years Eve. However it seems that Safe Haven killed his career as, despite doing well at the box office, his next movie after it was a Direct-to-DVD Planes rip-off called Wings and he doesn't have any big roles slated in the future.
  • Despite not being a huge hit financially, Max Records got a lot of praise for his performance in Where the Wild Things Are. After The Sitter flopped both financially and critically, he has not been seen in a movie since.
  • Tom Arnold became well known mostly for being Roseanne's husband and Hollywood tried to make him a movie star with supporting roles in movies like True Lies and Nine Months and also lead roles in films like Big Bully and The Stupids. Then his career came to a crashing halt when he did the film version of McHale's Navy. After that movie, he has hardly been seen in a mainstream film since and has done mostly independent or Direct-to-DVD movies.
  • C. Thomas Howell was an up-and-coming teen actor who starred in hits like The Outsiders and Red Dawn. Then he made Soul Man, which garnered controversy because he spent half of the movie in blackface. After the movie bombed, he's hardly been in a major Hollywood movie since and, when he has, it's mostly been in smaller roles.
  • Joe Pesci was pretty successful in the early 1990s with an Academy Award for Goodfellas, as well as being a huge part in the sequels to Lethal Weapon and the first two Home Alone films, coupled with My Cousin Vinny and Casino. Then in 1997, Pesci's star was killed by the back-to-back bombs of Gone Fishin' and 8 Heads In A Duffel Bag. Following the fourth Lethal Weapon movie the next year, he retired from acting and has only done occasional gigs since then.
  • The career of Jim Sturgess was looking like it would go places after Across the Universe and 21 did well. But then he did the historical drama Fifty Dead Men Walking, which despite earning praise from critics, the film flopped at the box office. He has followed it up with a few high profile projects, but even those flopped and Sturgess' buzz is all but non-existent today.
  • In the 80's, John Cusack made many hit movies like Better Off Dead and Say Anything. In the 90's, his career was cooling off a bit but he still had some hits like Grosse Point Blank. However, in the 2000's, most of the movies he made were critical (and even sometimes commercial) flops. However, in 2012, The Raven was pretty much the last straw as he's mostly done only independent films since then, with the exception of a cameo in The Butler.
  • J. Evan Bonifant was a child actor who did mostly guest appearances on T.V. shows, with the exception of playing Tum Tum in Three Ninjas Kick Back. Then he got a role which could've potentially made him a big star, Blues Brothers 2000, but the movie flopped with both audiences and critics and it pretty much led him back to mostly doing TV work (with the occasional short film here and there).
  • Jon Voight used to be a respected actor who was in such critically and commercially successful movies as Midnight Cowboy and Deliverance. However, as he got older, the qualities of the movies he appeared in started to diminish, to the point where he was doing a movie literally titled Superbabies Baby Geniuses 2. However, it wasn't that film but rather the film adaptation of the toy line Bratz that killed his career as he's mostly stuck to being in independent movies, T.V. shows, and Direct-to-DVD Baby Geniuses sequels after that movie completely and utterly bombed at the box office.
  • Jerry Springer attempted to jump into the film medium by replicating the success of his talk show with the comedy film Ringmaster, in which he essentially played himself as a tabloid talk show host. The attempt enormously failed at both the box office and critics, the latter of which helped Springer a Razzie Award for Worst New Star. Other than co-starring with Dolph Lundgren in the direct-to-video movie The Defender, he has not made any film appearances since then.
  • Chairman Of The Board was the first and last starring role for Scott "Carrot Top" Thompson.
  • Nicol Williamson won extraordinary acclaim for John Osborne's Inadmissible Evidence and Tony Richardson's production of Hamlet onstage. Between 1968 and 1970, touted as the next Marlon Brando, Williamson starred in a quick succession of movies, two based on his theater roles: Inadmissible Evidence, The Bofors Gun, Laughter in the Dark and Hamlet. Each film flopped, which along with Williamson's crude off-stage antics short-circuited his career. Williamson later found his cinematic footing with roles in Robin and Marian and Excalibur, but as a character actor rather than a leading man.
  • At the height of his success playing Cyclops in the X-Men films, James Marsden made the monumentally bad decision to defect to Superman Returns so that he could play... erm... Lois Lane's non-Super boyfriend. Meanwhile, his character in the X-Men films was killed off. He hasn't had a major film role since.
  • 1980's The Apple was George Gilmour's film debut and film farewell.
  • Matt Dillon was a big star in the 80's but laid rather low in the 90's and pretty much did only supporting or bit parts. Then he had a Career Resurrection with Crash which got him nominated for an Oscar. However his career then fell not soon after when he starred in You Me And Dupree, which, despite being a box office success, got terrible reviews. After the movie, he's pretty much gone back to doing supporting roles or indie/arthouse films and even some TV work.
  • Aziz Anzari has had a lot of success as a T.V. actor but he tried to become a movie star by snagging the 2nd lead role in 30 Minutes Or Less. However, after that movie underperformed at the box office, he has mostly stuck to acting on T.V., except for voice roles in Ice Age: Continental Drift and Epic and a cameo in This Is the End.

    Film — Actresses 
  • Halle Berry both subverted this trope and later played it straight. Her role in Catwoman killed interest in the possible Die Another Day spinoff featuring her character, Jinx, and was a factor in killing the budding sub-genre of female-fronted superhero films (although Elektra deserves some of the credit, too.) At the same time, Catwoman humbled her enough to graciously accept the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in person, saving her career from a complete meltdown; she almost wasn't in X-Men: The Last Stand movie because she was demanding a higher salary and a bigger part. However, Perfect Stranger was the death knell for Halle as a leading lady, and her subsequent filmography has been a very small series of low-profile character dramas while lending her face to a glut of cosmetics endorsements. The birth of her daughter and the nasty custody battle that followed couldn't have done anything to help. Cloud Atlas seemed like it could have been a Career Resurrection for her, but it ended up bombing at the box office instead; it didn't help that several actors, Berry included, performed in Yellowface during the segment "An Orison of Sonmi~451".
  • Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls. To note, just after the film debuted to savage critical reviews and middling box office performance, Berkley tried contacting a number of studios were aggressively courting her for taking such a risky role, only to discover that none of them would return her calls, and her agent unceremoniously canned her. While she's had some decent success with small films (Roger Dodger) and bit parts in shows like The L Word and CSI: Miami since then, it's a far cry from her days of ultra-popularity. The film pretty much derailed the career of director Paul Verhoeven, as well, though he would later recover somewhat with Starship Troopers and Black Book.
  • Thora Birch in Dungeons & Dragons. On top of this, her father also contributed to her career's decline as he has cost her roles, and yet she refuses to dismiss him.
    • After the D&D film Thora starred in Ghost World and The Hole. The former was praised by critics, but audiences stayed away. The latter saw theatrical release in the UK but went straight-to-DVD in the US and garnered mixed reviews. Neither earned more than $10 million globally.
  • Drop Dead Fred killed the career of Phoebe Cates, who was at the time known for her roles in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins. She would later retire from acting in the mid-'90s. Becoming a mother likely also contributed to her leaving Hollywood.
    • Rik Mayall, for whom the film was intended as a breakout Hollywood role. After this and Carry On Columbus he went straight back to television. Maybe film wasn't for him.
      • Guest House Paradiso was also a flop and Rik and Adrian Edmondson haven't done any other movies. Also, apart from the last two Bottom Live shows, they haven't done that much on TV either.
  • Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight and Cutthroat Island. The latter also sank the studio, director Renny Harlin's career, her marriage (she was married to Harlin at that time), and the entire swashbuckling adventure genre. (Even now, the Pirates of the Caribbean films are the only such movies being produced.)
  • Lindsay Lohan in I Know Who Killed Me. Though her out-of-control personal life and diva antics on the sets of many of her films were largely responsible for the downfall of her career, this film bombed at the box-office and was ruthlessly savaged by critics and audiences alike, so it's a pretty safe bet to say that even if Lindsay's life hadn't gotten so out-of-control, it's still not too likely that her career and "it girl" status would've fared much better after the critical and box-office flop of this film.
  • Jennifer Lopez in Gigli. Like her male counterpart's, her career would recover (though their relationship didn't survive.)
  • Madonna has had a couple of these throughout her acting career, at least one per decade. Shanghai Surprise killed her '80s film career, then Body of Evidence killed her film career in the '90s, and finally the 2002 remake of Swept Away (directed by then-husband Guy Ritchie) killed it for good. (Going behind the camera with W.E. didn't help her much either.)
  • Demi Moore was one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood in the early '90s, owed mainly to her star-making turn opposite Patrick Swayze in Ghost, but her star power faded around 1995 after a string of flops such as the loose film adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, Striptease and G. I. Jane (the latter two films were "Worst Actress" Razzie winners for Moore). In the years following those films, Moore's productivity slowed as she took time off to raise her daughters, only appearing in a few big-named movies, the last such big hit being Mr. Brooks. She has since found some success acting in independent films.
  • Leelee Sobieski's (who was fresh off the momentum from Never Been Kissed and Eyes Wide Shut was regarded as the next It Girl) first lead acting role, The Glass House, was a critical and commercial (with a $18m domestic TOTAL) flop. Once the next "It Girl", she has been reduced to working in lesser roles in the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man, 88 Minutes and In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Her TV debut in the swiftly-cancelled NYC 22 doesn't look likely to change much in her career direction, either...
  • Sherilyn Fenn in Boxing Helena. She was riding high after Twin Peaks and a well-received film adaptation of Of Mice and Men, but after Boxing Helena bombed, she soon went back to television for good. Also a very near-miss for Kim Basinger, who decided to break her contract to avoid starring in the film and was sued into bankruptcy, but sustained no career damage, and won an Academy Award only a few years later.
  • The winner (Kelly Clarkson) and runner-up (Justin Guarini) of the first season of American Idol were forced to act in the tie-in movie From Justin To Kelly, which was a legendary critical and popular bomb. Clarkson's talent and appeal helped her withstand that disaster as she went on to sell 10 million albums and become one of the biggest music stars of the 2000s (though, without question, it's a major Old Shame for her), but Guarini's potential career was totally derailed, and he became the most notorious laughingstock in the show's Top 10 until Sanjaya Malakar. The only actor whose career escaped from the shadow of this movie was Anika Noni Rose, who won a Tony Award shortly after this film was released, and has since starred in Dreamgirls and The Princess and the Frog.
  • Whoopi Goldberg's career as an A-list star faded into center square and moderator on The View gradually, but it can be argued that the catalyst was Theodore Rex. Before that, she starred in The Color Purple, Ghost, The Lion King, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Sister Act. And after it? Not a whole lot. Whoopi only completed the movie because New Line Cinema threatened to sue her if she walked off the film — and after seeing Kim Basinger get sued into bankruptcy in the fiasco that was Boxing Helena, she decided she could live with the shame if it meant keeping the lights on. Theodore Rex was initially intended as a theatrical release but went straight to home video instead, making it the most expensive Direct-to-Video movie ever made. That's certainly something to keep in mind if you dare to watch it.
  • Emile Hirsch and Christina Ricci's careers were damaged with the high-budgeted flop Speed Racer. Hirsch, who had been in a number of acclaimed films before it, has mostly disappeared in supporting roles since (not doing another lead role until the 2011 flop The Darkest Hour) while Ricci's been mostly appearing in low-budget indies, with the exception of the aforementioned Bucky Larson, which fortunately didn't affect Ricci due to her indie cred.
    • Ricci's career had barely survived an earlier derailment in the early 2000s following the failure of Prozac Nation, in which she was the star and co-producer.
  • Rachael Leigh Cook in Josie and the Pussycats. While the failure of that film was clearly the biggest blow to her career, she was unlucky enough to play supporting roles in two other flops (Antitrust and Texas Rangers) the same year (Texas Rangers had actually been filmed back in 1999 but was only released in 2001.) The only significant role she's had since then is being the voice of Tifa in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy and playing the lead female in TNT's summer procedural Perception.
  • Sofia Coppola isn't an actress by trade to begin with, and was a last minute replacement for The Godfather Part III after Winona Ryder fell ill. However, her heavily criticized performance as Michael Corleone's daughter, as well as charges of nepotism (since her father was the director), pretty much effectively ended Sofia's acting career. However, she has enjoyed much greater success following in her father's footsteps as a director in her own right.
  • Mena Suvari in the 2008 Day of the Dead reboot. Prior to this, Suvari was an indie queen who made a name for herself by starring in a string of popular and well-regarded teen films (including American Pie and Sugar and Spice) and the critically-acclaimed American Beauty. She followed this up with several more teen films (including the 2001 flop The Musketeer), culminating in the aforementioned Day of the Dead, which went straight to DVD and flopped domestically. Aside from her work in Kingdom Hearts II as the voice of Aerith, she's only appeared on bit parts in TV shows and Direct-to-Video films.
    • In the same vein, the supposed "American Pie curse" caused several of the film's lead and supporting actors to suffer from derailed careers as a result of box-office flops during the early '00s. Jason Biggs rode a wave of critical acclaim for his performance as teen nerd Jim — unfortunately, his choice of roles in 2001 and 2002 included the teen comedy flop Loser, as well as the adult comedy box-office disaster Saving Silverman, which ensured that he would never receive any leading roles again outside of the Pie franchise. The same goes for Chris Klein, whose first leading role (the 2002 remake of Rollerball) burned his career just before it could truly start. The only one who managed to avoid this was Alyson Hannigan, who starred on the popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother — and that can probably be attributed to the fact that she already had a good deal of acclaim and popularity from Buffy as well.
    • The Pie curse extends to directors as well. Outside of the Weitz brothers, every director of the series has seen negative effects to their career. The second film's director didn't direct another film for eight years (which still hasn't received a release), the third film's director made one more film before disappearing, and the straight-to-DVD installments had directors with already dead careers.
  • Loretta Swit in Beer. After this TV commercial satire film tanked, Swit went from being one of Hollywood's top actresses to a notorious blacklist victim, having spent the recent years doing television appearances and cameos (her IMDB page has nothing noteworthy since M*A*S*H and has had no acting jobs after 1998.)
  • Amber Tamblyn in The Grudge 2 (although she eventually came back with Two and a Half Men), which also derailed the career of director Takashi Shimizu.
  • Linda Fiorentino made her breakthrough in the 1994 neo-noir The Last Seduction, to the point where critics said that she deserved an Academy Award nomination. (In fact, the only reason she didn't get one was because the film's producers premiered the film on HBO before releasing it in theaters, thus disqualifying it from any Oscar nominations.) Fiorentino received further fame for playing the female lead in Men In Black and Dogma. Then it all fell apart in 2000, when her films What Planet Are You From? and Where the Money Is both flopped critically and commercially. Her next film Liberty Stands Still went straight to video, and she didn't do another film for seven years after that. It certainly didn't help when Kevin Smith, in the DVD Commentary for Dogma, talked about how difficult she had been to work with, to the point where he wished he had cast Janeane Garofalo (his second choice for the role) instead.
  • Megan Fox became the latest in a long line of "it girl" sex symbols due to her role in the Transformers franchise. 20th Century Fox decided to put this to the test by marketing an entire movie around her hotness and newfound fame, the teen horror flick Jennifers Body. Not only did it disappoint at the box office and with the critics, but her performance was singled out as one of the film's bigger problems. After that, she invoked Godwin's Law in her criticism of Transformers director Michael Bay, directly resulting in Mikaela dumping Sam before the third film, and her follow-ups Jonah Hex and Passion Play were disasters. She was largely relegated to supporting roles afterwards (often playing the "hot chick"). She has since reunited with Bay for his upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film reboot; time will tell if a Career Resurrection is in the cards.
    • The failure of Jennifer's Body also badly damaged the Hollywood career of its writer, Diablo Cody. See Creator Killer for more.
      • Cody tried to bounce back with her screenplay for Young Adult but despite critical acclaim, hardly anyone saw the film (possibly due to ongoing Cody backlash) and it became director Jason Reitman's lowest grossing film.
  • Denise Richards' performance in the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough pretty much derailed her rising career; her biggest role since this film was two years later as a middle-billed cast member in the slasher film Valentine which also flopped.
  • The Reaping and P. S. I Love You ground Hilary Swank's career to a screeching halt in 2007. She tried to gain back some of her critical respectability (she had been a two-time Oscar winner with Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby) with the biopic Amelia and the drama Conviction over the next two years, but the former was a critical and commercial failure, and while the latter got good reviews (Swank was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance), it didn't pull in that much money at the box office. By 2011, Swank's movies were going Direct-to-Video, as seen with the thriller The Resident. Following a part in the poorly-received ensemble romantic comedy film New Years Eve, not much of her upcoming projects have been announced since.
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in New York Minute. The twins' one and only "adult" theatrical outing only grossed $21 million during its whole box office run, which put an end to their "twin" films. (Mary-Kate did do a few supporting in films like The Wackness and Beastly.) However, they remain successful in other ventures, as shortly after the film's release, they both became presidents of their company Dualstar, which continues to see success & their fashion line 'The Row', which is largely respected amongst their peers.
  • Meg Ryan had a brief moment where her career was derailed after making Against the Ropes in 2004, having not appeared in a theatrically released film until 2007's In the Land of Women. Although she's still acting to this day, she has never recovered the A-list status she had throughout beginning in 1989 with When Harry Met Sally and continuing throughout the 1990s. Before that, Ryan's derailing role was in 2000's Hanging Up, ironically the final film Walter Matthau, who died shortly thereafter, did (he was its narrator.)
  • Bette Midler's big-screen career was red-hot by the end of The Eighties via films like Ruthless People, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and Beaches. Two duds followed with Stella and Scenes from a Mall, but derailment came with For the Boys. An Oscar Bait star vehicle showcasing both her acting and singing skills, it quickly faded at the box office, having opened the same day as The Addams Family and Beauty and the Beast. She won a Golden Globe for her performance and even got a Best Actress Oscar nomination, but the disappointment was too much for her film career to overcome; aside from The First Wives Club (which teamed her with Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn), none of her starring vehicles hit the big time again.
  • Faye Dunaway with Mommie Dearest. Prior to that, she was in Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown, and Network. And after? Supergirl and Dunston Checks In. Dunaway's performance was especially polarizing, earning the acclaim of the notoriously Caustic Critic Pauline Kael on one hand but a Razzie award for Worst Actress on the other. Despite having become a Cult Classic since, Dunaway has had nothing but bad things to say about the film and her performance, and in her later years refused to even talk about it.
  • Bridget Fonda with Monkey Bone. Shortly after this film was released (and coinciding with her marriage to Danny Elfman and her involvement in a serious car accident), Fonda pretty much retired from acting to be a full-time wife and mother.
  • Pia Zadora in The Lonely Lady, who had only a handful of small roles and cameos after this film. (Her musical career, however, proved to be more successful.)
  • Miley Cyrus in LOL. It barely got any sort of theatrical release and very little promotion, and the few that did see it weren't too fond of it, which basically assured that her Hannah Montana days have long passed. Another movie she made around the same time as the former, So Undercover, went straight to DVD in North America in February 2013 (although it got released theatrically overseas the previous December).
  • Eva Longoria in Over Her Dead Body. Before the film opened, much was expected of her due to her role on Desperate Housewives and her status as a sex symbol. Then the film opened and showed while looking good was a strong suit of hers, headlining a movie wasn't. The film's failure assured that Longoria won't be leading anything for some time and she has rarely appeared in films since then (mostly in supporting roles).
  • Lori Petty in Tank Girl. Following well-received roles in Point Break, A League of Their Own and Free Willy, Petty was given the chance to headline her own major movie with the comic book adaptation of Tank Girl. Once it received negative critical reviews and bombed quickly at the box office, she has since been stuck doing straight-to-video films and guest appearances on television shows.
    • This almost happened to Naomi Watts as well. Once that film failed, she barely got any work from American film until she was cast in Mulholland Dr., leading her to have a solid career... until the critically-drubbed biopic Diana in 2013. Happily, she has a few high-profile movies coming out, so her career may yet survive.
  • Maria Pitillo in Godzilla (1998). After years appearing in small roles in such numerous films and television shows, Pitillo was cast as the female lead in the big-budget adaptation of Godzilla. But once it underperformed, she didn't do much work after this (and the disastrous Something To Believe In didn't help), with her highest-profile work subsequently being a regular role on Providence, and nothing since 2008.
  • V.I. Warshawski seems to be a dividing line in Kathleen Turner's career. Before, she'd been riding the success of Body Heat and Romancing the Stone to critical and commercial success (and award nominations) in films like Prizzi's Honor, Peggy Sue Got Married and The War of the Roses. Along the way, though, her rheumatoid arthritis worsened and she developed a drinking problem and a reputation for being difficult to work with. After Warshawski failed to launch a series of movies based on the other books in the series, which she expected to star in, Turner was a lead in three more films (House of Cards, Undercover Blues, Moonlight and Valentino), none of which set the screen on fire, then did Serial Mom and later A Simple Wish and Baby Geniuses. Since then she's accepted mainly supporting roles in smaller films and drifted into TV work.
  • The flop of BloodRayne killed most of the buzz Kristanna Loken had after starring as the T-X in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and she's mostly been doing low budget direct to DVD and independent movies since.
  • Elisha Cuthbert received an "it girl" push from her role on 24 and films like The Girl Next Door and the House of Wax remake... until the flop of the 2007 Torture Porn film Captivity. She spent the rest of the decade in bit parts and indie films; her most notable role has been on the Too Good to Last sitcom Happy Endings.
  • While Chloe Sevigny hasn't been hard up in getting work in TV and small movie roles since The Brown Bunny (in which she performed unsimulated fellatio), she has successfully blown off any mainstream cinematic success in the process.
  • The failure of Barb Wire pretty much killed Pamela Anderson's film hopes. What perhaps also didn't help her ability to move on as an actress was her turbulent marriage to Tommy Lee and the release of her sex tape.
  • The 1970 film version of Song of Norway might have made Florence Henderson (who had already played Maria in the touring production of The Sound of Music) into the next Julie Andrews. Its critical and box-office failure, especially compared with the runaway success of The Brady Bunch, effectively killed her big-screen career as soon as it began; her next appearance in a theatrical film was a literally nameless supporting part in Shakes the Clown over two decades later. (Her Norwegian co-star, Toralv Maurstad, more predictably went back to making movies in his home country.)
  • The critical and box office failures of I Dreamed of Africa and Bless the Child (and to a lesser extent, her bitter divorce from Alec Baldwin) pretty much derailed Kim Basinger's post-Oscar momentum. It didn't help that Basinger, after her Oscar-winning role in L.A. Confidential (which in itself, provided a brief career resurrection), didn't release another movie for three years. With the exception of 2004's Cellular, Basinger hasn't had a major, mainstream starring vehicle (instead, more than often appearing in limited released features or supporting roles in things like 8 Mile, The Sentinel, and Charlie St. Cloud) since.
  • Material Girls killed Hilary Duff's career in film after a string of critical flops.
  • Sean Young in Dr. Jekyll & Ms. Hyde. Her career was already floundering by the time of the movie's release in 1995 after a string of critical and commercial failures by the beginning of that decade, but this ultimately proved to be the last straw for the actress. Between the film tanking, a string of accusations of stalking actor James Woods, and her spectacular failure to get the role of Catwoman in Batman Returns, Young gained a reputation as being difficult to work with in Hollywood, allowing her to struggle with alcoholism and appear on reality television shows afterwards.
  • Olivia Munn's career as a leading lady began and ended with The Babymakers, which was a critical and commercial disaster (the distributor had expected Munn's cult appeal to sell the film but not even that could save it.) She has gained a comfy supporting role in The Newsroom, but hasn't become the leading lady in any films since.
  • Rene Russo in Yours, Mine and Ours. She wouldn't appear in another movie for six years (Thor), and this is, to date, her last headlining role.
  • Melanie Griffith in Cecil B. Demented. In the mid to late 1980s, she was on the rise with films like Body Double, Something Wild and Working Girl. Once the 1990s reached, Griffith's career began to falter once she appeared in poorly-received box office disappointments like The Bonfire of the Vanities, Shining Through, Milk Money, and Mulholland Falls. 2000's Cecil B. Demented marked the end of her run as a leading lady.
  • Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct 2. The film's box office disaster and bashing by critics marked the end of Stone's run as an A-list leading lady, following other noteworthy failures early in the 2000s like Cold Creek Manor and Catwoman.
  • The critical ridicule and financial failure of the film version of Demon Seed all but destroyed Julie Christie's career as an A-list actress until the 1990s, when she earned an Oscar-nomination for Afterglow.
  • Diana Ross in The Wiz. Already an immensely popular singer during the 1960s and 1970s, Ross attempted several forays into acting, achieving modest success until taking up the role of Dorothy in the 1978 film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical The Wiz, a role Ross fought for despite concerns that she was too old for the role, being in her early thirties at that time. Ross' casting led to some of the most drastic changes found in the screenplay, none of which resonated well with audiences. The film was a major critical and financial flop with most of the criticism being leveled at Ross' performance, effectively ending her career as an actress. Fortunately, the film's failure barely harmed Ross' immensely successful singing career.
  • Milla Jovovich's career started with Two Moon Junction, which was a critical disaster but was successful at the box office. She then starred in flops such as Return to the Blue Lagoon and Kuffs. Dazed and Confused was a critical success that was Vindicated by History, but a box office failure at the time. After that, Jovovich disappeared from movies, until she appeared in 1997's The Fifth Element, which was successful. But alas, she starred in two more flops, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc and Zoolander, though again, the latter became a Cult Classic later on. It wasn't until the Resident Evil movies that her career got picked up again, but any movie that isn't part of the Resident Evil franchise is a flop, such as No Good Deed, Ultraviolet, A Perfect Getaway, The Fourth Kind, Stone, and The Three Musketeers.
  • Betsy's Wedding (Budget, $26 million. Box office, $19.7 million) arguably marked the end of Molly Ringwald's stardom, as afterwards she wouldn't do another theatrical film role for six years.
  • Emby Malley's career as a film actress began and ended with Touch of Satan.
  • The Beautician and the Beast (Budget, $16 million. Box office, $11.4 million) was Fran Drescher's first and only theatrical lead role in 1997. Her next theatrical role was Hotel Transylvania in 2012 as a supporting character.
  • Danielle Harris had a successful film, TV, and voiceover career before starring in a string of B-horror movies, eventually coming to be typecast as a "scream queen" and unable to get work outside the genre. Rob Zombie's Halloween II was only a modest success, was panned by critics, and is a highly polarizing film for fans of the series. It ended up being (as of now) the last film she made that's even close to being mainstream.
    • The two Rob Zombie Halloween movies may have also killed Scout Taylor Compton's acting career, since the biggest things she's done since are bit parts in nighttime dramas.
  • Mara Wilson's movie career pretty much died with A Simple Wish. After that movie, she only did one more theatrical movie, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, before she decided to retire from film acting after not finding it to be fun anymore. In-between those two movies, though, the only work she got was a guest appearance on Batman Beyond and a role in the TV movie Balloon Farm.
  • Melissa Joan Hart's career as a movie star began and ended with Drive Me Crazy, which put her back on the TV movie and show trail she'd been following up to that point. Since then, her only film roles have been in Recess School's Out, Not Another Teen Movie (in which she only had a small supporting role), Nine Dead, and Satin, the latter two seeing limited release and which virtually nobody has ever seen.
  • Due to a string of Pepsi commercials, Hallie Kate Eisenberg became a big star for a short time. However, her movie career and 15 minutes were pretty much killed by Paulie and Bicentennial Man underperforming at the box office. After those two movies, she only did two theatrical movies — Beautiful, which only received a limited release, and How To Eat Fried Worms, which came out 7 years after her last wide release film. After those two movies, she was pretty much relegated to TV movies and independent films before disappearing in 2010.
  • After being nominated for an Oscar for Chicago, Queen Latifah got a lot of starring and supporting roles throughout the 2000s and even into the early 2010s. But it seems that Joyful Noise killed her career, as the only mainstream release she's done since is reprising her role as Ellie in the fourth Ice Age movie. Otherwise, her career after that movie has been made up of a Lifetime movie, a movie that went directly to Netflix, and TV work, including guest appearances on Single Ladies and Let's Stay Together and her own talk show.
  • Before License To Wed, Mandy Moore had a somewhat successful career as a movie star, even though her movies weren't huge hits critically or financially. The movie seems to have been the one that killed her career as, after the movie, she's done mostly TV movies with her only theatrically released movie since then being Tangled.
    • The movie also hurt John Krasinski's movie career. Before the movie, he was doing supporting roles in movies. The movie tried to make him a lead actor but failed and, since then, he's gone back to doing supporting roles in films.
  • Happy Birthday to Me arguably killed Melissa Sue Anderson's career. Fresh off the success of Little House on the Prairie, her starring in a B-list slasher flick must not have looked too good on a resume, as her career ever since has been filled with nothing but D-list projects at best. Despite this, the film has become a cult classic among slasher fans.
  • Hailee Steinfeld with Romeo and Juliet (2013). After being Oscar nominated for her acting debut in True Grit, Steinfeld was hyped as a potential star of tomorrow with a number of offers for major projects. But she turned down and took a few years off of acting, choosing to return with a new adaptation of Shakespeare's classic. But the film flopped and Steinfeld got singled out in the film's numerous negative reviews. Since then, a glut of recent projects featuring her, including Ender’s Game (which was not helped by certain remarks the source material's author made before its release) and Three Days To Kill have been released to critical and audience indifference and her potential has turned into a "what could have been" had she not taken that time off.
  • The Phantom pretty much did in Kristy Swanson as a star; she's been mostly relegated to bit parts and guest roles since then. It also killed Billy Zane's chances at being a leading man, whose career since has been unremarkable save for his Smug Snake, Cal Hockley in Titanic. The only one to escape unscathed to greener pastures was Catherine Zeta Jones.
  • While The House Bunny was a modest hit, it didn't really convince anyone to make Anna Faris a movie star and she continued to be in supporting roles. They tried again to make her a movie star with What's Your Number? which did so badly that she's only been in one or two movies since and ended up having to lead a T.V. show with Mom.
  • Victoria Justice with Fun Size. Before the film, she was headlining Nickelodeon's Victorious and looked like an up-and-coming star. After the film flopped, the show was canceled, Nickelodeon severed ties with Justice and she has basically disappeared from the public eye. Adding the fact that one of her Victorious co-stars has become a bigger superstar than she ever was is just rubbing salt into her wound.
  • After co-starring with Mike Myers in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Elizabeth Hurley started snagging supporting parts in many comedies like My Favorite Martian, EdTV and Bedazzled. However none of these movies came close to matching Austin Powers' success. In fact, most of them flopped at the box office. However, Serving Sara was pretty much the last straw, as she didn't headline another mainstream film since and only did one more movie, Method, before focusing more on her modeling work and less on her acting career. She did start acting again 7 years later but has stuck to mostly doing television.
  • Katherine Heigl got a lot of attention while starring in Grey's Anatomy, and got some high profile film work in movies like Knocked Up and Twenty Seven Dresses. She was on her way to becoming a household name before leaving Grey's Anatomy presumably to pursue more film work, and went on to star in flops like Killers, New Years Eve, One For The Money, and The Big Wedding. She later started doing commercial work, voiceover, and unsuccessfully attempted to make a comeback on Grey's Anatomy. She'll now be starring in a TV drama this fall entitled State of Affairs from the creator of Grey's Anatomy. Back to television she goes.
    • Her reputation for being difficult to work with, in no small part thanks to her mother/manager, has had a lot to do with the post-Grey's fizzling of her film career.
  • Renee Zellweger was one of the biggest actresses of the late 90's and early-to-mid 2000's starring in hits like Jerry Maguire, Bridget Jones' Diary, and Chicago. She was even established as one of Hollywoods' highest paid actresses in 2007. As her career went on, however, her movies became less financially and critically successful but she was still able to snag some decent parts. Then she made Case 39, a movie that was delayed twice and, when it was finally released in 2010, recieved negative reviews and flopped at the box office, opening at #7 on its first week, despite the fact that she was a big star. This movie pretty much killed her career as she hasn't been in a movie since. Their have been some talks of a comeback but nothing so far has come to fruition.
  • Diane Keaton in Because I Said So. Before then, she was a highly-respected actress with an Oscar and decent drawing power. But after this film, which got awful reviews (mainly for Keaton's performance), she has mostly appeared in little-seen flops.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park more or less did this to Vanessa Lee Chester. She was never a big star but did have some supporting roles in some moderately successful children's movies like A Little Princess and Harriet the Spy. One would think this movie would've helped make her a big name but, despite being a box office success, that was not the case as, seeing as it flopped critically, it did nothing to help her career — in fact, it might have hurt career as she has pretty much followed it up with only doing T.V. work and some film roles here and there where she only plays characters like "Student #2". Remember, again, that in Lost World she was playing Jeff Goldblum's daughter. In a Steven Spielberg movie. Ouch!
  • Coming off of the critically-acclaimed adaptations of Millennium Trilogy, Swedish star Noomi Rapace moved on to Hollywood, where she planned to become the next Sigourney Weaver by starring in the Alien sort-of-prequel Prometheus. Unfortunately, Prometheus sank under the weight of Executive Meddling and took Rapace's Hollywood career with it. She's done other movies since then, but nothing with the kind of high profile she once enjoyed.
  • Amanda Bynes got famous when she was little for her Nickelodeon series' including All That and The Amanda Show. After The Amanda Show was cancelled, she went on to star in the WB Sitcom, What I Like About You and also starred appearing in many movies. However, besides Hairspray, most of her movies weren't successful critically or financially. Then Sydney White killed her career as it bombed at the box office and got terrible reviews. Since that movie, she never got a leading role and only did a supporting part 3 years later in Easy A plus a supporting role in a lifetime movie and a guest spot on Family Guy before retiring from acting altogether.
  • Bryce Dallas Howard in Manderlay and Lady in the Water. Hyped as a star of the future and being the daughter of Ron Howard, much was expected of her and she made an impression right away with The Village. But then, her stock quickly fell with these back-to-back failures (the former was a critically-panned sequel that was hardly seen, the latter came during the height of the hate of M. Night Shyamalan). Though Howard has gone on to carve a niche as a character actor (in films such as The Help and 50/50), she never reached the levels that were expected from her.
  • Jessica Harper had some success in the seventies with leading roles in cult classic Phantom of the Paradise and the horror film Suspiria. The eighties were not nearly as kind, as she starred in Stardust Memories - which was one of Woody Allen's biggest commercial flops at the time - and Shock Treatment, which bombed both critically and financially.

    Live Action TV 


  • Emeril Lagasse in Emeril. After this sitcom tanked, he went from being one of the hottest chefs in the country to being just another face in the TV chef crowd. (It also has the misfortune of being Robert Urich's last series.)
  • Michael Richards in The Michael Richards Show, the first post-Seinfeld project that established the "Seinfeld curse". Since it flopped in 2000, he's only done voice-over work (including in his old co-star's Bee Movie) and played himself in Curb Your Enthusiasm. His career was buried in 2006 by deciding to deal with a heckler at one of his stand-up comedy shows by screeching racial epithets at him. The incident was captured and uploaded to YouTube, ensuring that it would live on forever.
  • The Paul Reiser Show promptly bombed as soon as it aired, and NBC cancelled it after two episodes. Considering he has done nothing noteworthy since Mad About You came to an end over a decade ago, this likely signals the end of Paul Reiser's on-screen career. He recently appeared in Behind The Candelabra, but given that that was an HBO biopic about a gay relationship (which puts it "outside the mainstream"), it's unlikely to provide a Career Resurrection.
  • Dick York's career pretty much ended with Bewitched. The show was highly successful, but his famous departure and replacement with Dick Sargent after six seasons due to a back injury resulted in him being out of the spotlight for a few years as he focused on recovery. When he attempted a comeback a decade later, he only booked one or two small things due to being out of the Hollywood loop for so long. He never acted again after that.
    • Dick Sargent didn't have it much better. Nobody could see him in any role other than Darrin, and the only roles he could get were guest-star walk-ons on a handful of sitcoms. He mostly went back to stage acting after his on-camera career faded.
  • Bob Denver could not follow the success of Gilligan's Island, and Dusty's Trail - an out-west carbon copy of Gilligan in which he played the title role - prevented him from making another prime time series thereafter. (He did find work on Saturday morning shows well into The Eighties, with two animated versions of Gilligan's Island and Far Out Space Nuts.)
  • Dan Fogler's attempt to jump into television after his film career died started with the ABC sitcom Man Up!, in which he served as co-star. Only eight episodes of the series were aired, and his TV pilot Prairie Dogs, produced the following year, did not go forward and was received negatively by those who saw it.
  • Jay Mohr was billed as a rising star in the late '90s, playing memorable roles in movies such as Jerry Maguire and Picture Perfect, as well as having a recurring role on The Jeff Foxworthy Show. Action was meant to be his ultimate catalyst into fame, but it was panned by critics and burned out after one season. Since then, he's only managed supporting roles and TV shows that either were low-rated or short-lived.
  • Rob Schneider of all people (known best for playing bit parts in Happy Madison movies and/or leading in ridiculous ripe-for-parody comedies ("Rob Schneider is: A Carrot!")) headlined a sitcom for CBS aptly titled Rob, where he played a milquetoast white guy married to a fiery Latina (and both lived with her family.) It didn't last a full season and no one from the show, except for Eugenio Derbez, who would go on to star in the sleeper hit, Instructions Not Included, has been seen since.


  • Bette Midler in Bette, the spectacular failure of which effectively ended her entire acting career after For the Boys (see Film) crippled her film career. She now usually gets work performing her hits on various shows.
  • Although Geena Davis was still stinging from her film disasters above, her The Geena Davis Show didn't help matters. One telling clue: usually when a show is named after its star, they keep that name in the show - Emeril played "Emeril" in Emeril and Bette played "Bette" in Bette, for example - with Bill Cosby being the only notable exception (The Bill Cosby Show, The Cosby Show, The Cosby Mysteries, Cosby and, of course, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids - in none of those is his character called Bill). Despite being The GEENA DAVIS Show, Geena Davis's character was named "Teddie".
    • There other notable exceptions: Dick Van Dyke was Rob Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show. While Bob Newhart was Bob Hartley in The Bob Newhart Show, he was Dick Loudon in Newhart.
    • Davis' career was really thrown off the rails when Commander In Chief failed. It was supposed to be Davis' comeback and initially started strong, but ratings declined throughout the year before it was ultimately cancelled after 18 episodes.
  • Lucille Ball, the star of I Love Lucy, conceived of the idea for, produced and acted in another primetime comedy series, Life With Lucy (no relation to Ball's Star-Making Role) on ABC in the /80s. Given her past television successes through the 60s and 70s even after the end of her most famous show, Ball was given complete creative control over the series - which meant that she tried to replicate I Love Lucy's success in the 50's for an 80's crowd. Suffice to say, the attempt didn't work, and the resulting series (about a widow who goes to work at a hardware store) was painfully unfunny and cringe-inducing to watch (at least partially because Lucy was trying to duplicate her famous slapstick comedy, which didn't work nearly as well for her as it did when she was younger (pratfalls by a senior citizen make you want to call a doctor to check their hip, not laugh). The show flopped on arrival, and its failure made Ball stop working on any more projects (she died three years later).
  • Wanda Sykes's once-strong career as a comedienne and actress fell apart after the failure of her talk show The Wanda Sykes Show. It was said that her openness about her lesbianism and her inability to appeal to Middle America blackballed her from ever heading a major production again. Her post-cancellation work has been mostly in smaller theatrical projects in recent years.
  • Amber Heard had a lot of buzz about her movie career, reaching its height when she beat actresses like Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley for the role of Johnny Depp's Love Interest in The Rum Diary, which flopped at the box office. Then she starred in the dreadful flop TV show The Playboy Club, and her buzz was all but killed overnight. Heard's next few films like Paranoia and Three Days To Kill were critical and box office letdowns, and it seems most likely that her career won't reach new heights after that.
  • Joan Rivers's career took a major hit in The Eighties when she agreed to do a talk show for the then-new Fox network after it became clear she wasn't going to be tapped to replace Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show despite being its regular guest host by then. Carson refused to speak to her after she did this, and after she was fired from The Late Show she was blacklisted from Hollywood for years.
  • Nikki Cox became an instant sex symbol in her role as the teenage daughter, Tiffany Malloy on The WB sitcom (one of the network's earliest shows back in early 1995) Unhappily Ever After. When Unhappily ended its run after 100 episodes in 1999, Cox starred in her own sitcom for the WB called Nikki, which lasted for two years. However, sometime after leaving the NBC series Las Vegas, Cox reemerged in a guest appearance on the CBS series Ghost Whisperer alongside her real-life husband Jay Mohr (a former SNL cast member from season 19 to season 20. While his screentime was very limited and he ended up getting screwed out of being a member of the season 21 cast, Mohr is remembered for his impression of frequent host Christopher Walken). Since that time, Cox's most notable acting role has been voicing Silver Sable on The Spectacular Spider-Man.
  • Pink Lady's popularity in Japan had peaked in 1978, and by 1980 they had been rocked by a few scandals that had pushed their Japanese record sales into decline. So they shifted their focus to the United States, and ultimately gambled on Pink Lady And Jeff reviving their careers. Except it didn't work out, and they disbanded a year later.
  • The short-run of FOX sitcom Stacked pretty much marked the end (as Chris "Rowdy C" Moore further explained in his TV Trash review) of Pamela Anderson's career as a television star.
  • The failure of the 2011 remake of Charlie's Angels seems to have ended Minka Kelly's career as a leading lady, as her career has mostly been quiet since (outside of a small role in The Butler).
  • Eliza Dushku hasn't had any prominent live-action TV roles after Dollhouse, after many reviewers expressed the opinion that a role intended to display her versatility, and ability to play something other than a sexy, morally-ambiguous action hero, actually had the reverse effect. Most of what she's done since has been voice acting in parts that reflect her standard Type Casting and appeal to her established geek fanbase.

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