Movieline Magazine “Nipped in the Bud” Actresses Circa 1990

movieline magazine Nipped Cover

Back in 1990, Movieline Magazine ran an article about 8 actresses whose acting careers had been cut short.  It was their version of What the Hell Happened.  Ironically, the same issue featured a cover story on the rise of Winona Ryder and a pictorial with a hot up-and-coming actress named Penelope Ann Miller.  Oh, hindsight, you make everything funny!

Here’s a look at the actresses Movieline Magazine said were “nipped in the bud” in 1990.

It’s the oldest story in Hollywood, the tale of an unfulfilled promise. “I coulda been a contender,” wails Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront–and so, it seems, the following eight actresses coulda been stars but had to settle for a spot far further outside the winner’s circle than was initially predicted. By no means down for the count, all nevertheless share the experience of missing the moment that might have made all the difference. We asked four writers to tell us how they did it.

de mornay - feds


It’s harder for women, nowadays. In their hit Risky Business, Rebecca DeMornay and Tom Cruise demonstrated enough sexual chemistry to leapfrog over the competition and become overnight stars. They also became an item. With all of Hollywood courting them, both picked very badly, choosing to demonstrate their range, lest anyone mistake them for sex objects: Cruise played a sprightly forest-dweller in Ridley Scott’s lamebrained Legend, and DeMornay portrayed a rock-singing newlywed in the Hal Ashby/Neil Simon rock ‘n’ roll dramedy, The Slugger’s Wife.

Facing his-and-her mega-flops, the couple broke up around this time. In an era dominated by projects with starring roles for males, Cruise got another shot at carrying a big studio picture, but DeMornay did not. Had they stayed together and remained the paparazzi’s darlings, his continued heat might easily have helped her at this crucial career juncture. Without Cruise, she became just another beautiful blonde actress in a town filled with them, and at a time when there are ever fewer roles for women, even the slightest slip gives the all-important edge to the competition. Kim Basinger and Michelle Pfeiffer grabbed the spotlight and DeMornay found that it’s tough to get back on top. Even her about-face as a demure ingenue in The Trip to Bountiful failed to get the excitement going again. One project that might have helped was Roger Vadim’s remake of his own And God Created Woman–he had, after all, made sex stars out of Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda–but the resulting bomb, instead of raising eyebrows and/or temperatures, showcased DeMornay’s far-from-memorable rock ‘n’ roll singing.Lately she’s made films you’re likely to find on video shelves, such as Dealers and Feds.

Lebeau’s Note: Two years later, De Mornay had a comeback with The Hand That Rocks the Cradle before being nipped in the bud a second time.



Posted on February 4, 2014, in Movieline Articles, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thank you for posting this.

    I’m not sure if most of these actresses could have been stars even with good luck/material/direction. many were not particularly tanelted in the first place.


    • Some of them were pretty faces. Bo Derek was more icon than actress. I think she had the career she should have had. Probably bigger than she should have had. TV/modeling seems like the right place for Brooke Shields. She continues to be relevant even if she was never a movie star. The one on the list that I think was criminally cut short was Lea Thompson. She should have been a huge star. Note to self: What the hell happened there?


  2. Re: Brooke Shields. Some friends and I were discussing on another movie site, the fact that next weekend is remake release weekend. You have Robocop, About Last Night and Endless Love all up for release. Of those pictures Robocop is easily recognizable and About Last Night is a remake of a cult followed film based on a David Mamet play. But Endless Love Love has been pretty much forgotten by most of the general public. The song by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross has had way more staying power.


    • Good luck getting that out of your head now!


    • Brooke Shields : Why did her career ended up so badly?

      Mon May 5 2014 22:35:10

      Her mother was good about a lot of things in Brooke’s career but a bad judge of projects. If you read the list of films Brooke/Teri turned down it is kind of sad especially when the actresses who wound up doing the roles she might have had were successful in the roles. Of course, if she had done them they may not have been successful. Who can say for certain?

      Wed Oct 15 2014 23:58:13

      One of the roles, THE BLUE LAGOON specifically, she got over Diane Lane, an “it girl actress” at the time…

      IMHO, Diane would have been in a ‘flop’.

      Granted, Brooke’s acting was not up to ‘contemporary professional standards’, (or her co-star’s acting), but nearly everyone remembers that movie. Even Phoebe Cates was in a very similar film titled PARADISE; desert substituted for the island.

      Brooke also got caught up in the “firestorm” over child pornography when she portrayed an “Old New Orleans” child prostitute (at age 12), in PRETTY BABY. That was not exactly a big success, but it was heavily discussed. Right about the same time, she was also in a movie with George Burns, JUST YOU AND ME KID. I honestly do not know if it was not popular, or if it got caught up in that “firestorm”, but it was just released in Sept 2014, for the first time on any “home” media, DVD, (unless you count a few 16mm film copies).

      As far as Brooke’s voice being high in her early films, yep.
      So was the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, Kathy Ireland. If you can stand it, try her ALIEN FROM L.A.. Kathy Ireland learned from that, and worked with coaches to lower her voice, and improve her acting, but her real fame was with Sports Illustrated. I do not know if Brooke’s later training helped her, or if she outgrew that high voice, but that is no longer a problem.

      And when Brooke had her first child, she apparently suffered serious post partum depression. Does anyone else remember Tom Cruise recommending his Scientology regimen for her, instead of accepted medication? That was a big deal at the time…
      That took a while for Brooke to overcome/recover, and was just one more obstacle she has actually overcome.


    • Why Hollywood won’t cast Brooke Shields anymore

      Brooke Shields was one of the most famous faces on the planet in the 1990s. After forging a successful career as a child star with roles in coming-of-age drama Blue Lagoon, Shields was happily married to world-famous tennis player Andre Agassi, and had landed two Emmy nominations for her role in NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan.

      However, her fame began to decline dramatically, and Shields disappeared from our TV and cinema screens. We take a look at the reasons why the actress is no longer America’s sweetheart.


  3. John Derek’s first wife Pati Behrs, mother of his children, had a completely different look than the later wives. Older than him too. It was actually his only marriage to get significant press at the time. Much later when Bo became a star, photographs of Pati were conveniently absent from a lot of editorials who were trying to present this absurd idea that all his wives were look-a-likes.

    No resemblance to the other wives whatsoever. Linda and Bo were the only two who shared a resemblance in my opinion. To say Urs looked like either of them is really stretching it.


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