About What the Hell Happened

About What the Hell Happened

The “What the Hell Happened” series started when I caught the Day of the Dead remake on cable.  Since the movie had never received a theatrical release, I entered with extremely low expectations.  But somehow, the movie failed to live up to my low standards.  My mind wandered.  All I could think was “What the hell happened to Meena Suvari?”

I started wondering what had happened to other actors I used to follow.  How had Michael Keaton gone from playing Batman to semi-retirement?  How did Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue end up slumming it in a Piranha remake?

As I worked my way through the series, I learned about Val Kilmer’s weight gain, Rick Moranis’ personal loss and Kathleen Turner’s illness.  I discovered how many actresses were victims of bad plastic surgery like Meg Ryan.  All that, and Steve Guttenberg.

Eventually, the series became more popular than I could have ever imagined.  In an effort to give readers more of what they wanted, I decided to expand the scope of the series.  Originally, I was very selective when choosing subjects for WTHH.  Candidates had to be A-list actors who had disappeared from the spotlight.  Also, I would only write about actors and actresses I had actually been a fan of.

Little by little, I loosened those criteria.  I started writing about actors who had shown promise but never achieved A-list status.  This allowed me to write about some of my favorite actresses like Penelope Ann Miller, Bridget Fonda and Mira Sorvino.  I also started writing about actors who are still in the public eye but aren’t as big of stars as they used to be.  This let me cover working actors like Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey and Chevy Chase.

Finally, I decided it was okay to write about actors I was never especially fond of.  This made Steven Seagal eligible.

There have also been some changes regarding the scope of each article.  When I started, the articles were much shorter.  I hit the highlights and lowlights of the subject’s career.  Their personal lives were only commented on if it had a direct impact on their career.  TV guest spots and direct-to-video movies were usually omitted.  But as I have written the series for the last several years, I have come to appreciate that those things are important to painting a full picture of the actor’s career.  While no article is ever likely to be 100% comprehensive, I now try to include relatively obscure projects along with the ones everyone is familiar with.

I will be the first to admit that the title of the series sometimes requires interpretation.  It’s a little weird to ask what the hell happened to an actor who is currently working.  And frequently the answer to the question isn’t all that compelling.  A lot of times, an actor just got old.  Or they decided to concentrate on their families or personal lives.  Sometimes they just decide staying on the A-list is no longer worth the effort.

At this point, the series is intended to be a career retrospective.  Sometimes I am dissecting a train wreck like Sean Young or Mel Gibson.  Other times, I’ll look at squandered potential like Nicolas Cage or Heather Graham.  Some careers will be long and distinguished.  Others will be relatively short-lived.  All that is needed is a rise and a fall.

Frequently, the mild profanity in the title puts fans of the subject on the defensive.  While I respect the passion of these fans, I think their anger is usually misplaced.  The fact that these actors have been selected for a retrospective means that they have achieved a level of greatness that merits such treatment.

The articles are written with what I hope is a humorous tone.  I do crack wise at the expense of the celebrities.  But I figure these guys can take it.  All of my jokes are intended in the spirit of good fun.  If articles ever veer into being mean spirited, that is a failure on my part.

I hope you enjoy looking back at these careers with me.  If you do, please be sure to let me know in the comments section.  If you don’t, let me know that too.  Although I appreciate constructive criticism much more than a drive-by “You suck”.  The comments sections of these articles have been lots of fun.  I have enjoyed long conversations with several like-minded readers over the years.  I have even made friends with movie lovers around the world.

Also, if there is a subject you would like to see covered, let me know.  I have taken several suggestions since starting the series.  Be sure to vote in the poll to select the next candidate.  I frequently let the poll guide me when choosing who to write about next.

As always, thanks for reading.  Hope you stick around.

More “What the Hell Happened?”

Karen Allen   Tim Allen   Rosanna Arquette   Kim Basinger

Tom Berenger   Elizabeth Berkley   Michael Biehn   Thora Birch

Orlando Bloom   Matthew Broderick   Nicolas Cage

Neve Campbell   Jim Carrey     Phoebe Cates   Lacey Chabert

Chevy Chase   Kevin Costner   Cameron Crowe   Joe Dante

Geena Davis   Rebecca De Mornay   Matt Dillon   Kirsten Dunst

Emilio Estevez   Colin Farrell   Linda Fiorentino   Bridget Fonda

Brendan Fraser   Edward Furlong   Mel Gibson   Cuba Gooding Jr.

Heather Graham   Jennifer Grey   Melanie Griffith

Steve Guttenberg   Linda Hamilton   Daryl Hannah   Josh Hartnett

Anne Heche   Katherine Heigl   Helen Hunt   Elizabeth Hurley

Jeffrey Jones   Ashley Judd   Michael Keaton    Nicole Kidman

Val Kilmer   Jude Law   Martin Lawrence   Kelly LeBrock

Jennifer Jason Leigh   Lindsay Lohan   Ralph Macchio

Tobey Maguire   Kelly McGillis    John McTiernan

Penelope Ann Miller     Demi Moore   Rick Moranis   Eddie Murphy

Mike Myers     Judd Nelson   Edward Norton     Jason Patric

Michelle Pfeiffer     Freddie Prinze Jr   Keanu Reeves

Ivan Reitman     Molly Ringwald     Kurt Russell   Rene Russo

Meg Ryan     Winona Ryder     Arnold Schwarzenegger

Steven Seagal     Ally Sheedy     Elisabeth Shue

M Night Shyamalan     Alicia Silverstone     John Singleton

Christian Slater   Wesley Snipes     Leelee Sobieski     Mira Sorvino

Sylvester Stallone   Sharon Stone     Madeleine Stowe

Mena Suvari     Hilary Swank   Lea Thompson     Uma Thurman

John Travolta     Chris Tucker   Kathleen Turner     Liv Tyler

Jean-Claude Van Damme     Damon Wayans     Robin Williams

Debra Winger   Reese Witherspoon     Sean Young     Billy Zane

Renee Zellweger


  1. 10 Actors Who Just Stopped Working In Their Prime:

    Actors, to make a sweeping generalisation, enjoy the spotlight. That’s at least part of the reason they go in for the acting lark in the first place; to be seen by millions of people across the world, to be adored by strangers, to have their ego fed, to have people pay attention to them. So it stands to reason that when they decide to quit their chosen profession they go and make a big song and dance about it, too. Just look at the recent shenanigans of the kid from Even Stevens.

    There are exceptions to that rule, though. Actors who quietly disappeared, fading into obscurity rather than burning out in a blaze of self-promotion for whatever other field they’re devoting their time to (which usually culminates in them returning to acting after all; I call this “Jay-Z retirement”). There are actors who don’t necessarily intend to stop working, but whose IMDb pages haven’t been updated in years. Work dries up. Skin sags. And people just disappear.

    Here’s ten of those very thespians who inexplicably disappeared from Hollywood at the height of their fame.

    1. Michael Schoeffling

    Unless, like me, you’re a John Hughes aficionado, you may be asking “who”? But let me assure you, for a brief period in the mid-80s, Michael Schoeffling was the proverbial hot stuff (and the literal, check out that tank top, phwoar). Breaking out with his debut role in Sixteen Candles, the teen movie classic starring Molly Ringwald, Shoeffling capitalised on the film’s success by booking roles in eight films you’ve probably never heard of, and promptly fell off the face of the Earth.

    Since officially retiring in 1991, not seven years after his turn as Jake Ryan, Shoeffling has given few interviews. In the handful he has accepted, he admitted that he had trouble finding suitable roles and found himself with a growing family to provide for. So, naturally, he became a carpenter. He now owns a woodworking shop and creates handmade furniture to order.

    Jake Ryan, meanwhile, remains an iconic character in the John Hughes film pantheon, immortalised in synth-pop duo Summer Camp’s song of the same name, and his legacy was discussed 20 years later in a Washington Post article called “Real Men Can’t Hold a Match to Jake Ryan of Sixteen Candles”.

    1. Alison Lohman

    The way things have turned out for her, you can’t help but speculate that maybe Alison Lohman has fallen foul of some sort of gypsy curse. That was the fate that befell her character in Sam Raimi’s 2009 horror Drag Me To Hell, which happens to be the last film Lohman has made to date. Where that film revitalized the career – or at least the average review scores – for the director of Spider-Man 3, it was a death sentence for Lohman.
    Since her first role in, ahem, Kraa! The Sea Monster, Lohman booked parts in films as diverse as Big Fish, Matchstick Men, Beowulf, and Gamer, yet she hasn’t appeared on our screens since 2009. That last film is the real reason why, however: Not long after it’s release (in the same year as Drag Me To Hell) Lohman married its co-director, Mark Neveldine, also known for his work on the Crank films. Since then the couple have had two children and, from the looks of things, Lohman has gone for the stay-at-home mom route. For the time being, at least.

    1. Renee Zellweger

    Bridget Jones. Beatrix Potter. Whatever she was called in Empire Records. What do all of these characters have in common? They were all played by Renee Zellweger, who up until recently was one of the most talented actresses working in Hollywood, as at home playing the perpetually single Brit Jones to Southern belle Ruby in Cold Mountain to a fish in Shark Tale.

    That is, up until a few years ago, where her CV begins to get a little more sparse. Romantic comedy New In Town and horror flick Case 39 were both heavily delayed, shot some years ago but only released in 2009 to mixed reviews; her most recent role was as a paralysed musician in 2010′s My Own Love Song.

    Since then we’ve heard nary a peep from her, save for a TV pilot she co-created and produced that wasn’t picked up last year. This one’s especially weird because there doesn’t seem to be any reason for Zellweger’s disappearance from the radar, and nobody seems to have noticed, either. Shame.

    1. Bridget Fonda

    The Fondas are quite the dynasty in Hollywood. In the golden age of film Henry Fonda lit up the screen with star turns in the Grapes of Wrath and 12 Angry Men. His kids, Peter and Jane, helped to reinvent cinema with subversive sixties classics like Easy Rider and Barbarella. Then came Bridget, Peter’s daughter, who looked like she was headed down a similar path, with memorable appearances in A Simple Plan, Jackie Brown and Single White Female. Well, maybe the last one less so.

    Except then she just seemed to peter out. She made her last film in 2002, a TV version of the Snow Queen. She had previously been linked with Ally McBeal when it was in development, but turned it down, and more recently was replaced in a role written especially for her in Lipstick Jungle.

    So what happened? Like with Zellweger, it’s not clear. Neither actress seems quite old enough to have hit the film industry’s stunningly sexist cut off for the point that they’ll hire females in leading roles, neither has given any statement as to why they’ve stopped working, and both were at pretty good places in their careers. As with Lohman, however, the reason behind Fonda’s disappearance might just be love. In 2003 she married Danny Elfman, the guy who does the music for every Tim Burton film (plus The Simpsons theme tune), so maybe she’s busy…being busy?

    1. Mena Suvari

    In the summer of ’99, you couldn’t turn without hitting a film with America in the title and Mena Suvari in the cast list. Well I mean, I think there was only two – American Pie and American Beauty – but the young blonde actress was a big part of both of them, and seemed destined for greater things. Cut ahead to about 15 years later (ie the present day) and outside of a cameo appearance in the recent American Reunion, I can’t say I’ve seen much of Ms Suvari. Except in the direct-to-video remake of Day of the Dead that I try really, really hard not to remember. Dammit, failed again. Stupid article.

    To be fair to Suvari, she hasn’t quite finished with acting altogether, just faded from the public consciousness somewhat. Y’know, compared to when she starred in two of the biggest films of the year in the same summer. It has been a couple of years since she’s appeared in anything, though, which means it’s been about three years since she’s been filming. besides a bit part in firefighting TV show Chicago Fire (that’s a show about firefighters, not a show that fights fires itself).

    Suvari, sadly, just seems to be one of those lost souls that picked the wrong parts and is dealing with the consequences. I blame Kevin Spacey, personally.

    1. Joe Pesci

    What do you mean this article’s funny? What do you mean, you mean the way I write? What? Funny how? What’s funny about it? I’ll have you know I’m no clown, and neither is Joe Pesci. At least not for the past few years, where the pint-sized rage machine has put in barely any on-screen performances, save for a cameo in his mate De Niro’s The Good Shepherd and a role in little-seen 2010 drama Love Ranch.

    After coming up with Martin Scorsese with memorable parts in his movies Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and the casino-based remake of Goodfellas (Casino) – with a side order of hammy bad guy in the first two Home Alone movies, THE ONLY HOME ALONE MOVIES IF YOU ASK ME – Pesci announced his retirement from the acting game in 1999. Which is more than a lot of the people on this list have bothered doing, let me tell you.

    Of course he has appeared in bit parts since then, and in a terrible Snickers advert in 2011 for some reason (money, the reason was money). In fact the almighty dollar is probably the reason Pesci hasn’t felt the need to act properly for over a decade, since he’s instead been working as a producer on the Broadway/West End smash-hit stage musical Jersey Boys. No doubt the news that a film adaptation in the works will be good for his coffers, if not his career on screen. Still, at least he’s not quit to pursue a musical career himself.

    1. Greta Garbo

    In a lot of ways Great Garbo was the original Shia Labeouf. And in a lot of other, much more accurate ways, she wasn’t anything like him: she was one of the best and most successful actresses of both the silent and golden age of Hollywood films, a multiple Oscar nominee, and her name autocorrects as “Great Gatsby” on my phone. Suddenly, though, she threw that all away. At the tender age of 35, Garbo announced her retirement from both the silver screen and public life as a whole.

    Of course, that didn’t stop people trying to coax her back into both. Producers were trying to tempt her back into acting roles right up until her death in 1990, aged 84, but the German-born actress wouldn’t even compromise with cameo roles as some of the other “retired” actors we’ve looked at have. Her private life, meanwhile, was intensely scrutinised: she never married, never had children, and lived the majority of her adult life alone. This wasn’t anything new, either, as during the height of her fame she rarely gave interviews, shirked fancy Hollywood parties and never signed autographs. Her studio bosses, initially frustrated, eventually capitalised on Garbo’s mysterious nature.

    The tl:dr of this is, basically, Garbo was an incredibly talented and popular actor who got bored, didn’t like the attention, and decided to live a quiet, simple life instead. Oh and she was an art collector, with a personal gallery with millions of dollars. So that probably helped.

    1. Amanda Bynes

    One of the saddest stories of celebrity troubles in modern times is that of Amanda Bynes. Starting as a TV star on kids channel Nickelodeon, Bynes parlayed her experience into teen movies like She’s The Man, Syndey White and Easy A. She had a comedic timing that a lot of rom-com actresses lack, and looked like she could have been her generation’s Alicia Silverstone…well, except more successful, ideally.

    Instead, Bynes fell prey to pretty much all of the darker temptations LA has to offer: drink, drugs, and plastic surgery. Since 2012 she has been arrested numerous times for driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and more. Not-so-coincidentally, 2012 was the year she announced her retirement from acting, although it had already been two years since her last job. Since then Bynes has been checked into a private facility for mental health issues. It would be nice if Bynes one day managed to recapture her initial promise, but what’s really important is she gets healthy.

    1. Gene Hackman

    Like Pesci, he might not have been in his “prime” – that’d be the 70s, when he was as at home playing complicated cop Popeye Doyle and uncomplicated pantomime villain Lex Luthor – but in the early days of the new millenium, the notoriously prickly Gene Hackman seemed to be going through a latter-day career renaissance. He had already reprised his role from the paranoia classic The Conversation in Enemy of the State, and won a Golden Globe for his more grounded (or just OTT in a different way) part as the patriarch in Wes Anderson’s masterpiece, The Royal Tenenbaums.

    But that’s pretty much the last we’ve heard from Hackman. In films, at least. Over the past few years he has published three historical novels in collaboration with an undersea archaeologist, along with a Western book. In 2004, during an interview with Larry King, Hackman admitted he had no acting roles lined up, but it wasn’t until he was promoting his third book in 2008 that he officially confirmed he had retired.

    Even then, nobody made a big song-and-dance about it. For most, Hackman just sort of dropped off the map. Which might be because his final screen role to date was opposite Ray Romano in the awful comedy Welcome to Mooseport, and we’re all secretly hoping he’ll do something else, and go out on the high he had been building too.

    1. Thora Birch

    We’ve gone through a lot of strange, sad and silly stories throughout this odyssey of missing actors, but perhaps the strangest, saddest and silliest is that of Thora Birch. Like Mena Suvari, her co-star in American Beauty, there was a period where Thora Birch was in every hip, successful film going, most notably her starring role in the cult classic Ghost World. She was also in that big-budget Dungeons and Dragons film, which probably seemed a good idea at the time. Maybe if she’d got a better roll on initiative…

    Anyway, after that brief period where she was one of the hottest young actors working she, well, stopped working. Or at least, stopped working in films of the quality and popularity of her breakout turns. So whatever happened to Thora Birch’s career? Her weird dad, that’s what.

    There’s a reason we’ve not seen much of Thora as of late – her last film was in 2012, and I can say with some certainty you didn’t see it – and that’s because her dad is her manager. And her dad is insane. Besides doing creepy stuff like practically directing his daughter’s sex scene in 2009′s Winter of Frozen Dreams, the elder Birch – who was a porn actor in his heyday, and “acted” with his wife in not-a-Watergate-film Deep Throat – has lost his daughter/only client pretty much every stage and screen part she’s been up for in the past five years by threatening anyone who goes near her, any director whose staging he disapproves of, and generally being a nutcase.

    Unfortunately for Birch, whilst firing your manager can be a tricky business, firing your dad is even harder. So I wouldn’t hold your breath for a return by Enid Coleslaw any time soon, unless her dad comes up against a producer that’s equally insane. And I really, really hope there isn’t any such producer.


  2. The CineFiles – COULDA’ BEEN CONTENDERS (Rising Stars Who Fizzled Out) PART 1:

    Coulda’ been contenders… the stars who seemed to reach their peak then fizzled. What happened to them? And are some of the actors mentioned worthy examples of this topic? The CineFiles aka Andre, Jeff and myself debate some of the subjects brought up. I was, however, very tired from an all night attempt at rendering 3D graphics (which wound up in our 70s/80s SPACE OPERA show which you can view here). And it shows. I’m haggard and drinking a big ole’ cup of iced coffee.

    But the convo is interesting enough that The CineFiles decided to experiment by breaking it up into three, 8 to 10 minute parts. So here’s the first. In this segment we focus on Colin Farrell, Val Kilmer, Katherine Heigl, Wes Bentley and Thora Birch. Hopefully this new format will allow some of you to watch something from the comfort of your desktop during your lunch break or something. Or maybe not. Let’s see what happens.


    • The CineFiles – COULDA’ BEEN CONTENDERS (Rising Stars Who Fizzled Out) PART 2:

      Here’s the second part of The CineFiles’ discussion on COULDA’ BEEN CONTENDERS (Rising Stars Who Fizzled Out). In this segment we debate the state of the current careers of Michael Keaton, Vin Diesel, Linda Fiorentino, Chris Tucker and Mike Meyers. But for some reason Jeff brings up Gene Hackman which… makes no sense. But there you go.

      And I’m still tired. And Andre is still nursing that hard cider.


      • The CineFiles – COULDA’ BEEN CONTENDERS (Rising Stars Who Fizzled Out) PART 3:

        The CineFiles finally present their third and final part of COULDA’ BEEN CONTENDERS (Rising Stars Who Fizzled Out). In this segment we discuss and debate the careers of Billy Bob Thornton, Thomas Jane, Aaron Eckart, Kevin Spacey (Jeff’s choice. Not mine), Jennifer Connolly, Rene Zellweger, Mark Harmon and… Adrian Zmed. Sort of. Phew! Well, the coffee didn’t work out as well as I hoped. But Andre more than enjoyed his hard cider.


        • 10 Actresses Whose Careers Went Downhill After Winning An Oscar:

          1. Jennifer Connelly

          Oscar Win: Best Supporting Actress, A Beautiful Mind (2002)

          Jennifer Connelly’s descent into mediocrity was not immediate. For a few years after her Oscar win, she did star in a handful of solid films such as House of Sand and Fog and Little Children. Since then, she has consistently appeared in movies that range from disappointing to just flat out terrible.

          The absolute nadir of her acting career would have to be 2012′s Virginia, a movie that received universally negative reviews and only grossed $12,000 in the box office. Now, you can hardly blame her for wanting to star in the film. Months before production began, writer/director Dustin Lance Black won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Who could have predicted that his directorial debut would turn out so badly? Jennifer Connelly has also starred in promising films like Reservation Road and Creation which were botched in the execution as well. Perhaps the Oscar-winning actress just has bad luck.

          On the bright side, she will star alongside Russell Crowe in Noah, which comes out next month. This will be her first collaboration with director Darren Aronofsky since 2000′s Requiem For A Dream, a film that helped Jennifer Connelly break through to the mainstream. Can Noah be the film that steers Connelly back on the right track? Fingers crossed.


  3. Gwyneth’s at it again………might wanna put her on your list & fast!!!!!!–internet-war-code-conference/


    • daffystardust

      probably a dumb way for her to try to make her point, but honestly, if people hate her so much, why don’t they just ignore her. She’s just an actress, it’s not like she’s an elected official who votes on our futures. All this constant kerfuffle about her just makes me yawn.


  4. Craig Hansen

    I think Shia LaBeouf is way overdue for a WTTH article. For a minute there, Shia was well on his way to the A-list. In spring 2007 Shia got his first opportunity to headline a film, Disturbia, an entertaining thiller that was a solid hit at the box office. Spielberg, who produced, saw something in LaBeauf and helped him get cast as the lead in The Transformers, a huge blockbuster that following summer. The following year, summer of 2008 Spielberg cast him alongside Harrison Ford in Indy 4, another summer blockbuster. Fall of 2008, he starred in Eagle Eye; this was the first real test of his drawing power without having giant robots or snake-fearing archaeologists to provide support and the film did well, earning over $100M domestically: it proved this LaBeauf guy can be a box office draw, even if the film was a stinker. Two more Transformers sequels raked in the big bucks after that, but his star has definately faded greatly since then. Even Shia himself has joked “I’m not a star anymore”.

    With his career imploding and his frequent shenanigans, exploring what the hell happened there would be a very juicy article, LeBeau. Hmmmm, LeBeau, LaBeouf, LeBeau, LaBeouf….. I know there’s a good joke in there somewhere! You must write this epic tale, LeBeau!


    • Craig Hansen

      I’m glad at least to see Shia LaBeauf among the current contenders for future write-ups. With his frequent outbursts, arrests, and various indiscretions over the past several years, not to mention his meteoric career rise and fall in such a short time, I do think Shia would make for one of your strongest potential write-ups.

      One suggestion on my part? Please do include his disparaging comments about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (whew, seriously, you couldn’t have shortened that title a bit?). I’m a huge Indy fan myself, the original three films are among my favorites, yet even I’ll admit the 4th one was…. left wanting, shall we say? But LaBeauf’s comments about the failure of the film, along with Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg’s reactions to said comments are classic. You can see those bridges burning in real time. I think you’ll have real fun writing that eventual article.


      • There is no way I would leave out LaBeauf’s comment’s on Indy 4. At the time, I actually respected his honesty. That was before I realized we were dealing with a crazy person. Ford summed it up nicely.


  5. pierce Bronson will smith, tobey maguire ,warren beatty ,richard gere ,diane keaton and hugh grant


    • Derailed Film Stars: A Grooveless Richard Gere:

      Richard Gere has been on the scene a long time. It’s hard to remember now, but Gere was Diane Keaton’s creepy stalker in 1977’s Looking For Mr. Goodbar. The ’80s, though, were Gere’s peak. He carried Debra Winger off to a better life at the beginning of the decade in An Officer and a Gentleman, and as it closed he was doing the same for Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Heck, the actor was even a favorite of the Dalai Lama. Things haven’t quite been the same since, though. His strong work in Arbitrage in 2012, was sandwiched between such forgettable fare as The Double and Movie 43. Where did his career go sideways? We take a look.


  6. dont forget billy bob


  7. been kingsley


  8. Hugh Grant is a perfect candidate for WTTH. Honestly I’m a bit surprised he hasn’t been written up already. He had a fairly interesting career and was arguably A-list for a number of years (you could say he was the King of romantic comedies for many years), and certainly his scandals and escapades will make the article extra-spicey! Actually, if memory serves me correct, after Jay Leno took over The Tonight Show in ’92 he had been behind Letterman in the ratings for his first three years of hosting The Tonight Show, but then in 1995 Hugh Grant was famously arrested for prostitution and appeared on The Tonight Show to offer his most sincere public apology for poking said prostitute (what a cad!), and that episode was watched by – and talked about by – everybody and for the first time Leno beat Letterman in the ratings, and from that point on Leno regularly beat Letterman in the ratings for the many years to follow. Hugh Grant singlehandedly changed Jay Leno’s fortunes around in the ratings, I think that goes to show just how famous Hugh Grant was at that point in time, and would definately be a high point of the article should you ever write him up.


    • Make no mistake. Grant’s on my shortest of short lists. The clock is ticking for him and Elizabeth Hurley.

      I will speculate that eventually, Jay would have overtaken Dave even without Hugh. America is a Jay Leno country. Only the cool people preferred Letterman.


      • That is an interesting speculation, Lebeau. One you may very well be right about, I can’t really argue it. Jay went 3 years behind Letterman in the ratings, it may have taken years more to happen without Grant, who can say for sure. Either way, Hugh Grant literally changed Jay Leno’s fortunes overnight with one highly publicized tv appearance. It was the water-cooler talk of the moment, as I recall. I say this tongue in cheek of course, but I bet Jay Leno secretly praised the heavens for Hugh Grant’s overactive libido in the years during his late night reign.


        • Absolutely. Grant’s appearance turned the tides. What would have happened, no one will ever know. But Jay owes a lot to that turn of events.


      • Derailed Film Stars — Retracing Elizabeth Hurley:

        As one of Great Britain’s hottest exports, Elizabeth Hurley is more famous for being Elizabeth Hurley than any role she has ever played. The model-turned-actress-turned-mogul oozes old Hollywood charm despite being a tabloid fixture for most of her life. Before J.Lo turned a red-carpet dress into a cultural phenomenon, Miss Hurley captured the paparazzi and America’s attention as Hugh Grant’s date to a film premiere in 1994 with a Versace dress held together by safety pins. Since then, she’s been the face of Estee Lauder for over a decade, a film producer, a philanthropist and starred in a lot of mediocre movies and a handful of great ones. After motherhood put her career on hiatus, she returned to acting, tapping her regal potential to play a queen in the upcoming E! series, Royals, about a fictional British monarchy. Before we welcome her back to the world of entertainment, here’s a look back at her bushy-browed beginnings.

        Age Defying Spokesperson

        Hurley’s early acting career was hindered by a poor choice of movies including roles in the forgettable Passenger 57 and Beyond Bedlam, but after her impressionable appearance at the Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere, Hurley was given her first modeling gig and was snatched up by Estee Lauder as their spokesperson at the age of 29. With her English rose complexion and timeless look, she has been the face of the brand for almost two decades, albeit with a few bumps along the way. In 2000, she was publicly criticized and fined by the Screen Actors Guild for shooting a Lauder commercial during a strike. Protestors even showed up at one of her film premieres to publicly shame her. Liz chalked it up to a misunderstanding with the Lauder people and sent SAG a fat check and an apology.

        Taking Dave’s Hot Seat

        Shortly after signing with Estee Lauder and before Hugh Grant’s prostitution scandal, Hurley was riding high and appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman as a fresh faced actress with her “It Girl” leather pants. With her posh accent and quick wit, Hurley captivated audiences with her self-deprecating tales of mustache bleach and on-set mortifications. She charmed the pants off Dave and the rest of America as well.

        Austin Powers’ Bond Girl

        Say what you will about Hurley’s questionable filmography, but she was brilliant in the first of the Austin Powers movie trilogy. Her role as the liberated feminist, British secret agent Vanessa Kensington, was the perfect foil to Mike Myers’ outdated seduction techniques and she proved herself to be a talented comedienne and a killer Bond girl. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was only a modest success at the box office but the film became a bigger hit when it was released on video, and remains a comedy classic.

        My Favorite Smoking Martian

        Following up her success with Austin Powers, Hurley appeared in a forgettable role in Disney’s reboot of the ’60s sitcom, My Favorite Martian. The film stars Jeff Daniels as a TV producer who befriends a lost martian, played by Christopher Lloyd — of Back to the Future fame — with lively looniness. Hurley plays Daniels’ love interest and a vapid news reporter named Brace, whose sole appeal in the film seems to be centered on her cleavage. Having proved she’s leading lady material, it was a shame to see Hurley backtrack on her career in this silly, slapstick sci-fi flick.

        Bedazzled by Brendan

        Given her devilish smile and sinful figure, Hurley seemed like the perfect fit to play Satan in this Harold Ramis-directed film. Brendan Fraser stars as a nerdy office worker who’s granted seven wishes for his soul while Hurley devises different ways to torment him. Fraser is always game in every comedy and can deliver zaniness without being over the top, but Hurley wasn’t madcap enough to play the Princess of Darkness and never quite went beyond anything but smoldering. The majority of the film seemed like an excuse to see Hurley trot around in various Frederick’s of Hollywood getups.


      • Hey Lebeau, while reading these older comments I noticed that after I suggested Hugh Grant back in August, you said he’s on your shortest of short lists. But looking over your Poll options for future candidates Hugh Grant isn’t even a poll option. Was he left off the Poll as an oversight, or because he’s guaranteed to be one of the next write-ups no matter what?


        • He should probably be on the poll. Unfortunately, my short list has a way of expanding. 2015. Hugh Grant. Done. My New Years Resolution (one of them any way) will be to write up WTHH to Hugh Grant AND WTHH to Elizabeth Hurley next year.


        • You had me at Elizabeth Hurley. Be still my beating heart. Aye aye aye……

          Though I’m looking forward to the Hugh Grant write-up too. He has lost his crown as the king of romantic comedies in recent years, but honestly I can’t say that anyone has replaced him so far. Which probably proves that it’s not as easy as it looks.


        • There’s great stuff for Hugh. Obviously Divine Brown. But then there’s the weird story where he investigated a wire tapping scheme with the English tabloids. It’s an article I’ve been thinking about for a loooong time.


        • Investigating a wire tapping scheme? It looks like I will be learning something new about Mr. Hugh Grant when you write him up! Needless to say at this point, but count me in! And yeah, I think there would be riots in the streets if you somehow left out Divine Brown in his article. Somehow, against all odds, Grant’s heat-of-the-moment decision to pick up a prostitute on Hollywood and Vine was actually the best possible thing that could have happened to his career at that moment in 1995. Weird, right? Hollywood is weird. A couple years earlier Pee Wee Herman permanently damaged his career when he was arrested for masturbating himself in a porno theater. Hugh Grant gets arrested for picking up a prostitute and with a just-right humbling apology on Jay Leno his career skyrockets to new heights. Funny, huh?


        • Hey Lebeau, I was just reading over the earlier comments on this page and I had totally forgotten about my request for Hugh Grant from summer of last year, and your response. And I quote, your exact words: “2015. Hugh Grant. Done.” You gloriously fulfilled your promise on Elizabeth Hurley (sigh) earlier this year, now how about Hugh Grant? Remember Lebeau, a promise is a promise! 😉

          i’m prodding you with a wink and a smile, of course, just in case it doesn’t read on the page. 😉


        • You won’t believe me, but this promise has been on my mind as 2015 winds down. I believe in the article on Hurley I said something like “If I don’t get to Hugh Grant this year, something has gone wrong.” I don’t know that something has gone wrong, but I’ve definitely changed my plans. Partially, I was waiting to see if The Man From Uncle was a big hit. But mostly I have just shifted my approach to the site a lot since the year started.

          I don’t want to bore you with details, but this year has been a very odd one for me in terms of the site. Every year since I started the blog, traffic has practically doubled. I knew that couldn’t go on forever and I fully expected it to level off in 2015. 2014 was an explosive year for the site in terms of traffic so I knew there was no way that growth rate would continue.

          Instead, traffic started dipping. It went into decline as soon as the new year started. At first, I thought it was just part of the regular cycle of internet traffic, but by Spring I realized the trend wasn’t reversing itself. I knew that it wasn’t related to content. While a couple of readers have left, more new readers have come along. But my Google traffic was way down from 2014. So I started looking into what was going on.

          Again, I won’t bore you with the specifics. But what I came to discover is that while the WTHH articles generate a ton of traffic, most of the people who come to the site through Google don’t actually read the article. They click off in a matter of seconds. I talked about this last week in the October 1st article. But basically, I decided to diversify the content. I wanted to give the regular readers reason to come here and participate in the discussion on a daily basis. Or at least more frequently than a bi-weekly or monthly WTHH article allows.

          Of course I’m not going to abandon WTHH. I want to post the 100th article this year. Next year, I think I’m going to take a new approach to the series. I’ll probably also work on updating the first 100 entries. So Mr. Grant will likely get a reprieve until at least 2016. But his day is coming. Promise amended? 😉


        • I completely understand. But I’m REALLY going to hold you to 2016, Lebeau! Hee hee


        • I will do my best. I’ve got like 15 months? That sounds doable!


        • Can we make a deal right now? How about this: 2016 for Hugh Grant, and 2017 for the guy I’ve been stumping for the most these past few years, Burt Reynolds. That gives you…. 27 months to work on the Burt write-up! What do you say, pal? Want to shake hands on that? ha ha. 2017 would even tie in with the Boogie Nights 20th anniversary, so I don’t see how you could resist. 😉


        • That is a tempting offer. Done. Of course given my track record, I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in my own predictions. But, you know, I mean well…

          I will say that I have been thinking up a series on career comebacks (title suggestions?) and Reynolds would be a natural fit there. I’m thinking that Reynolds will get more coverage in shorter articles in the future. Pretty sure he’s got some Razzie nods if nothing else.


        • I have to say I really like the idea of comebacks being a topic unto itself. It would fit right in around here. Reynolds had a legitimate comeback with the Oscar-nominated Boogie Nights, and he got a lot of mainstream work in studio films again as a result, but it wasn’t of the same impact as let’s say a Travolta who actually shot straight back into the A-list because of one film. I think for the rest of my days Travolta’s comeback will probably remain the Gold Standard of movie star comebacks. But I really do like the idea as this as a basis for an ongoing series.


        • Travolta and Connery are the two that come to mind as massive returns to the A-list. Arguably bigger than they were before. Eddie Murphy and Burt Reynolds are some other ones. I also want to cover comebacks that didn’t go anywhere like Mickey Rourke.


  9. were not sure if that true maybe leno would eventually beat it grants appearance helped but its lenos shows skill and humor but that kept the shows rating ahead but if it was only cause of that reason the ratings would not stay that away and letterman would have overtake jay. but grants career briefly survived it. but last ten years is flops he was amazing in about boy best performance i also loved him cloud atlas him and hanks only part of bad movie those roles proved he should do drama stary away from romantic comedies for a bit people r sick of them


  10. I don’t view Late Shows consistently, but if I was a celebrity (hold on…no, I looked it up: being a legend in one’s own mind doesn’t count) I would’ve rather be interviewed by Jay Leno. My reasoning is that he was a softer touch, while Letterman could be very biting at times. However, I think that has to do with Letterman being more of a pure comedian, while Leno was a “hey, how are you doing”/ handshakes for the room kinda guy.


    • Keep in mind that a lot of the more biting or awkward encounters on Letterman were staged. They rehearse those interviews. Rarely is a celeb on a talk show couch ever actually surprised by anything that is said by a host.

      Leno, to me, is the opposite of funny. If you put Leno in a room with funny, he will suck all the funny into a humorless black hole of suckitude. Like you, I stopped watching late night shows years ago. But how anyone watched The Tonight Show with Jay Leno boggles my mind.

      Too harsh?


  11. do u think he can pull off drama


  12. letterman and leno are both leno more but i prefer conon hes funnier . back to hugh grant you think he can pull off drama


  13. This should more accurately be titled “Some actors who disappeared off the radar, and quite a few other actors who we don’t hear about in Hollywood and/or America any more and therefore don’t exist.”


    • That’s a bit of a mouthful, don’t you think? 😉

      Part of the reason I wrote the “About…” entry is to explain the scope of the series which has really expanded past the implications of the title. One thing I have figured out writing WTHH over the last 4 years is that no one really ever disappears. All of these actors and actresses are still around. Most of them are still working. The ones that aren’t have chosen not to. Once you reach a certain level of fame, you will always be able to find a job in entertainment somewhere. It just might not be very glamorous.

      At the end of the day, the articles are career retrospectives with a couple jokes thrown in. I try to include any interesting stories I might find and what the movies’ critical and commercial prospects were. I don’t so much worry about the title. But “What the hell happened” has proven to be catchy enough.


  14. Lebeau, I’ve got to make a bid for a long-shot, but well deserved candidate: Burt Reynolds. He was huge in the 70’s, from what I’ve read he was the #1 box office draw of that decade. He even started off the 80’s strong with a couple big hits. Smokey and the Bandit 2 was the 8th biggest hit of 1980. Cannonball Run was the 6th biggest hit of 1981. The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas was the 9th biggest hit of 1982. But by 1984, or 1985, Reynolds was regarded as a has-been and irrelevant. His sudden slide from biggest-star-in-the-world to has-been happened so shockingly quick. What the hell happened there? That’s a question I’d love an answer to in your series. One could argue that he’s locked in the 70’s and early 80’s, except that he had a rather strong comeback with Boogie Nights in 1997, finally earning his first (and only) Oscar nomination. He kept getting roles in mainstream/high profile films for the next several years after Boogie Nights, but he didn’t move back to the A list like Travolta had done a couple years earlier. Again, this would all be fascinating stuff for a WTTH write-up.

    Since his career goes further back than most topics his write up would entail more homework than usual, but I still think he would be an ideal candidate for your series. I know I requested him once before about a year ago. I’ve decided that I’m going to renew my request for Burt Reynolds every so often until it happens. Not too often, I don’t want to annoy you, but I think I’ll bring him up once every year until he gets his write-up. Does doing a Burt Reynolds article appeal at all to you, Lebeau?


  15. lebeau u said richard gere cant be on here cause at certain age u dont expect an actor to be a list burt is older then gere yet u think he be a good candidate keaton is only 2 years younger then yet u expect him to be a list robin before he died u expected him to be a list.yet hes only 2 years older aronold is only 1 year younger then gere stallone is 3 years older yet u expect him to be a list


  16. Jennifer Grey – the nosejob, may I say more?
    Lou Diamond Phillips
    Kelly Lynch


    • I added Grey and Phillips to the poll. The poll is the longest its ever been. Should be enough to keep me busy for a while to come.


      • Are you working on the Liv Tyler one? You’ve had this poll up for a really long time and she’s been in first place every time I check but you keep coming out with other celebs that didn’t rank as high. Of course I love all the writeups, but Liv was my top choice when I first saw the poll. It has perplexed me because she was doing so well then dropped off the face of the earth, and she was too young for it to be Hollywood’s disdain of aging actresses.


        • I have done some preliminary research on Tyler. But I haven’t put pen to paper. I came really close to starting her article earlier this year and then I realized she was in the HBO show, The Leftovers. So I put her on hold to see what that did for her profile.

          Sometimes, I follow the poll results exactly. Sometimes, I don’t follow them at all. If I get excited about a subject, I just go ahead and write it. But since I updated the poll with the mega-long listing yesterday, I’m going to at least try to follow it for the next few articles. We’ll see where that takes us.

          I appreciate your patience with regards to Tyler. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to have a Tyler article posted this year. I’m sure she will come before a lot of the names currently included on the poll.


  17. Since I see Kate Hudson’s name on the poll for future WTHHT subjects:

    Saw these photos and got to thinking…what happened with Kate Hudson’s career? She went from Promising Young Movie Star to Bad RomCom Girl to Small Part on TV/Fashion Girl. Current IMDB roster looks weak. Parallels with Katherine Heigl inevitably pop up in my head, and yet KH doesn’t have any personal reputation issues. So…where should she go next? And where does she WANT to go?


    Let’s call this prospectus How to Lose a Career in 10 Days. It’s not quite that bad, of course—Kate Hudson is still working, after all—but there is no denying that she has never lived up to the promise of Almost Famous. Personally, I think that movie is overrated and I am in no way surprised Hudson’s career has dwindled so much. Hudson is a likeable screen presence and she benefitted from Cameron Crowe’s director’s crush making her look as good as possible. But no other director has ever managed to make her as convincing as Crowe did, nor has Hudson particularly applied herself over the years.

    The number one culprit of what went wrong with Kate Hudson is romantic comedies. Following Almost Famous, she made seven rom-coms plus two other movies that prominently featured romantic plots but leaned a little more heavily on the comedy part of the equation (Raising Helen and You, Me and Dupree). That’s nine romantic movies in as many years, and none of them were good. A few, however, did make money, led by How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, which made over $100 million domestically—Hudson’s biggest hit to date is ten years old. So here are the two principal problems for Hudson: 1) She does not make good movies, and 2) she can’t be counted on to deliver box office.

    Obviously she wised up to the first fact, because in 2009 and 2010 she attempted to make serious, award-baity movies with Nine and The Killer Inside Me. Both movies were flops and neither was particularly well received—though to be fair, Nine did net Penelope Cruz an Oscar nomination, which seems counter-intuitive because overall the reviews were pretty terrible—so they didn’t do anything to distinguish Hudson or revive her reputation as a serious actress. How did she follow up back to back losses? More romantic comedies. A Little Bit of Heaven and Something Borrowed are two of Hudson’s lowest-rated movies; Heaven was damn near direct to DVD. So the dramas didn’t work out and she’s completely depleted public goodwill with too many sh*tty rom-coms—what’s left?

    Television! Hudson has a recurring role on Glee, but where that was headline news for Gwyneth Paltrow, I was not aware of Hudson’s involvement until I started researching for this prospectus. Maybe TV isn’t working out so well, or maybe it’s just Glee. Maybe another show—perhaps a starring vehicle?—would do more for her profile and reputation. But she isn’t pursuing a TV gig. No, Hudson is working back-to-back on movies, focusing on indies. It’s not a bad call—she has to remind people that one time thirteen years ago they thought she was a good actress—but none of the films are particularly notable. Wish I Was Here ought to be good for some press coverage because it’s Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded project, but the movie itself isn’t lighting my fire. It sounds like Garden State with Kids.

    Hudson’s partner in romantic comedy crime, Matthew McConaughey, has undergone a career revival over the last couple years, so it is doable. But McConaughey is actually a really good actor who was just lazy for a while and then woke up one day and decided he wanted to be a real actor again. I’m not sold on Hudson possessing that kind of talent. She has so many connections, got a great start in the industry, and has had opportunity after opportunity, but she has not shown any real ability to do anything other than be adorable.

    Clearly she’s strategizing, choosing indie fare that could boost her credibility, but will it matter when she hasn’t made a proper good movie in over a decade? And that’s if you’re being generous and counting Almost Famous as a good movie. (I don’t, but I accept I’m in the minority on that.) Nepotism comes up a lot in Hollywood, and while it can totally give you a leg up starting out, eventually you have to be able to deliver.


    • Derailed Film Stars: Kate Hudson’s Career in Chaos:

      Kate Hudson burst onto the scene at the turn of the century with some stellar bloodlines as the daughter of Goldie Hawn. For a time, it appeared that the actress might be able to outshine her famous parent, especially when she notched an Academy Award nomination when she was just 22-years-old. A lot of poor role choices followed, however, and these days she’s far more visible with her lifestyle brand, Fabletics, than with her acting. Where did things go off the rails for Hudson? Pretty much as soon as she stopped playing characters named after Beatles songs.

      Almost Penny Lane

      Hudson lived up to her mother’s legacy with her turn in Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical film. In one of her first high-profile roles, Hudson plays soulful groupie Penny Lane, who casts a spell on both a budding journalist (Patrick Fugit) and the rock star (Billy Crudup) he’s following for a story. Hudson keeps Penny from ever feeling pathetic and makes it perfectly plausible that the sexy hanger-on would be the wisest of the bunch. The role earned the actress an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

      Something Borrowed Dance Moves

      Hudson does vapid just fine as Darcy in the film version of Emily Giffin’s novel. As the self-centered BFF of Ginnifer Goodwin’s single lawyer, Hudson is charmingly flighty, even as she steps all over her friend. The audience might be initially happy that Goodwin steals back Darcy’s fiance, the guy that she’s always secretly loved. Hudson’s hurt reaction to the betrayal, though, is real enough to make you rethink how to feel about the whole thing. Of course, the film’s real selling point is the sweet dance moves that Hudson and Goodwin show off to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It.”

      Career Day with Dupree

      Hudson’s career was already curving the wrong way before she signed on to co-star with Owen Wilson and Matt Dillon in the Russo Brothers’ attempt at Farrelly Brothers hijinks. Hudson has the thankless role as Dillon’s new wife, who makes the mistake of letting his best friend, Dupree, move in with them. With another high-profile movie star, Michael Douglas, playing her father, literally dozens of actresses could have stepped in for Hudson and it wouldn’t have mattered. The actress also ended up in an affair with Wilson that ended her marriage to The Black Crowes lead singer Chris Robinson.

      How to Lose an ‘Alright’ Guy

      Prior to the “McConaissance,” being in a Matthew McConaughey film wasn’t always great for an actor’s career. Hudson found that out in this rom-com that saw her magazine writer try to lose Mr. Alright as research for an article, while he tries to woe her to win a bet. The set-up is meant to be Rock Hudson-Doris Day-style charming, but neither Hudson nor McConaughey had enough built-in goodwill with the audience to make that work. Instead, it became just another of the cookie cutter romances that nearly killed the genre.

      Raising Helen Not Hope

      Actually, at one point Hudson and Katherine Heigl seemed to have some sort of bet going on about who could be in more middling romantic comedies. In Garry Marshall’s Raising Helen, Hudson’s party girl finds herself suddenly thrust into the role of mother to her orphaned nieces and nephew, played by Hayden Panettiere and Abigail and Spencer Breslin. Of course, Hudson both finds her way and finds love with a hunky pastor (John Corbett). As is usually the case in Marshall’s films, the talent level of the cast — which in this case includes Helen Mirren, Joan Cusack and Felicity Huffman — far outstrips the originality of the script.


      • Kate Hudson in “Almost Famous

        I enjoyed the movie and thought Hudson was very appealing in it. She really glowed in that movie.


        reply 27 Yesterday at 9:50 AM

        I thought she would have been better casting for Roxie in the Chicago musical than Rene Zellweger. Zellweger is a better actress but she didn’t convey the ravenous hunger for fame – Hudson still loves a spotlight. She walks the red carpets even when there’s nothing to promote.


        reply 28 Yesterday at 10:55 AM

        A star making performance in a great film. I would not have been disappointed at all if she had won the Oscar.

        Kate’s problem is that she’s been too willing to appear in badly written films. She’s actually a good actor who can also sing and dance. She needs a good musical role. Remember her in Glee? Delicious.


        reply 30 Yesterday at 11:16 AM

        It was an entertaining and likable film, and Hudson was good in it, but I do think it presented a sanitized/idealized view of the 70s rock scene. Hoffman’s Lester Bangs is almost a cuddly teddy bear. Even though he was on the edges of it as a young journalist, Crowe has never been one for warts-and-all realism.


        reply 31 Yesterday at 11:36 AM

        I remember going to see this and coming home to tell my sister that I’d just witnessed a star being born, that’s how glorious her performance is in the film. Aside from the cheezily entertaining Skeleton Key (I’ve not seen The Killer Inside Me), she hasn’t done anything of note since. Her career has been very disappointing.


        reply 33 Yesterday at 11:55 AM

        [R30] – I agree Hudson deserves more musical roles. She is a true triple threat and was one of the strongest guest stars ever on Glee. Also the only watchable part of NINE.


        reply 34 Yesterday at 11:59 AM

        Put me in the camp who thinks she should do more musicals. Not that they do them that often these days, but she definitely needs to put herself in the running. She’s a good singer and dancer. That Mama Rose idea stated earlier could be potentially brilliant. She’s about the right age to believably pull it off on screen.


        reply 36 21 hours ago

        I was just talking about this same subject with a friend of mine. I loved Almost Famous and Kate Hudson is one the actors that come to mind when I think of the movie. She really was amazing in that role, and no, sadly, I haven’t seen her shine in a role since. It reminds me of Miro Sorvino and how she really shined in her initial roles and seemed to just fade away.


        reply 37 21 hours ago

        I don’t think it’s for anyone but Hudson to say if her career has been disappointing. Not all actors act to pursue interesting roles and challenges; some act solely for the paycheck and the fame. She certainly got the latter, so, if those were her goals, she has had a very successful career.


        reply 39 8 hours ago

        I don’t like almost everything she’s been in but I love her. I wish she had better instincts in what she chose to do. I’ve read a list of a few things she turned down and it was depressing. That being said I love her in Le Divorce. I love the whole movie.


        reply 43 6 hours ago

        She was in a movie called Four Feathers with Heath Ledger and was really good. Not as amazing as she is in Almost Famous but it’s a period drama and she was more subdued. A really fine performance though completely surprised me.


        reply 44 6 hours ago

        I think it had something to do with the sort of movie trends that were going on at the time. Meg and Julia were getting a bit old and I’m sure Kate’s management tried to put her up for America’s sweetheart with all those stupid “ditsy and lovable roles” that eventually stalled her career to the point that it never took off again.


        reply 45 6 hours ago

        Hudson typifies everything wrong with the way Hollywood brings up young actors.

        Instead of seeking out real talents or young actors with solid training, Hollywood takes some kid who has family connections to the industry and shoves her in front of the camera with no training, and when she does what the director tells her they call her “natural” and “gifted”. Then it turns out that without any training she can’t do anything other than the one role she was good in, and she can’t even do that a second time because she’s no longer a blank slate who does whatever the director says because now she’s a “star”.

        It’s a system that has yet to produce an interesting adult actor, and sends Hollywood crying for well-trained Brits and Aussies when they need a real actor. And leaves American talents who don’t have nepotism behind them out in the cold, or worse, the theater.


        reply 48 4 hours ago

        I think Almost Famous is the last of many things – Cameron Crowe’s last good movie, Patrick Fugit’s peak, Billy Crudup’s peak (so far).

        Kate is very good in it and, indeed, she looked to have a promising career. Her rom-coms initially did well, and I agree with others about Skeleton Key. Very entertaining horror film, with Gena Rowland’s giving it prestige. But Kate carried the film and proved she could headline a film. But she did more sh***y rom-coms with AnnE and Chris Pratt when he was still fat. I can’t recall her last strong dramatic role.

        Another actress who I thought would have a successful career was Fairuza Balk. Sure she was a successful child and teen actress but she was delightful in Almost Famous. Then her career sputtered as well. She still works but mostly B-films.


        reply 52 7 minutes ago


  18. dennis quaid paltrow spacey gere hugh grant


  19. I have been reading your blog all day. It’s addictive! Love the writing style and the links. I now know where Billy Zane went. Hope he comes back!

    Thanks for putting this out.


    • Thanks, Finoa! That is my favorite thing to hear from readers. The site is designed to be a time-killer. I’m glad you are enjoying it. As always, there’s more to come!


  20. grant who career is dying spacey post oscar films bomb exception of horrible bosses and 21 tobey maguire too i guess cusack hasnt done anything good in forver qauid keeps making crap jackie chan


  21. Lebeau, I have a great idea for an article for you in the next few weeks. How about….. Best Comebacks of 2014. I’ve been following your blog for a couple years now, but this is the first time I can think of where we actually had career comebacks for some of your WTTH members. And there’s been a few.

    Jim Carrey: A one-time box office champion, Dumb and Dumber Too has made $84M domestically so far, giving him his first legitimate hit as a lead actor in several years. No not quite a blockbuster, but on the other hand you can’t sneeze at a $84 million (and counting) box office take for a modestly budgeted film. Also, It proves that there still is an audience out there for Jim Carrey, in the right vehicle. I’ll call that a win.

    Kevin Costner: His comeback isn’t as impressive as Carrey’s this year, but yet he did come back from career hell with a couple of lead roles in theatrical films like 3 Days To Kill, Draft Day, and a supporting role in the franchise film Jack Ryan. The fact that all three films underperformed shouldn’t take away that Costner did have a respectable comeback for a guy that just a couple years ago was forgotten. Thank you, Hatfields and McCoys, I’m sure Costner is saying this year.

    Keanu Reeves: John Wick was a respectable, middle-of-the-road box office hit, but most surprisingly the film received quite a number of solid reviews by professional movie critics. And these guys see countless movies each year, you would think their natural cynicism would just destroy a film that on paper sounds like a run-of-the mill revenge flick. “You killed my dog, now I’m going to kill you” doesn’t sound like an amazing premise for a film, but the film critics responded positively. It holds a 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. You know what? When this hits home video, I will actually have to check this one out. Well done, Keanu, a.k.a. “Cool breeze over mountains”.

    Reese Witherspoon: Though the last several years have been spotty for Reese, she appears to be on a big upswing with her current starring film, Wild. Left and right, critics are praising her performance, with major buzz surrounding her for a probable Oscar nod for her performance. Place your bets now kids, you will probably come out ahead if you’re betting on her. Since the film has just released and her Oscar buzz is just now starting, it limits her claim for the desired “1st Annual Lebeau Comeback of the Year Award”, however.

    Edward Norton: I’m leading up to the big one here, but Edward Norton has a considerable supporting role in Birdman. Even though most of us haven’t seen this one yet, Birdman is virtually guaranteed a place among the Best Picture nominees at this years’ Academy Awards. Every major outlet says so. Entertainment Weekly says the two films you can bet your bottom dollar get the Best Picture nomination are Boyhood and Birdman. And Edward Norton has a supporting role in this. The one downside, really, is that despite the critical acclaim for Birdman, I haven’t heard his name thrown around as much. Which leads us to:

    Michael Keaton. This guy is sort of a big deal. Just ask Entertainment Weekly. They proclaimed him with their coveted “Best Comeback Of The Year” title for starring in Birdman. Many critics predict that Keaton is the front-runner for an Academy Award for Best Actor. I would bet my bottom dollar he at least gets a nomination for Best Actor, no matter what. So far Birdman has been a critical darling; perhaps a few official Oscar nominations are what the film needs to really break through commercially. Once the Oscar noms come out in January, expect a bigger theatrical push (and bigger box office) for this film.

    What do you say, Lebeau? Do you like the idea of a Best Comebacks of 2014 article? If nothing else, Michael Keaton could get the desired Lebeau Bump which could possibly be enough to get him to that desired Oscar nomination. Do you like the idea?


    • I have been thinking along the same lines. Yesterday, I went back and updated a lot of articles for actors who had movies in 2014. There were an awful lot of them even though I had made some updates over the course of the year. Kathleen Turner returned to the big screen in Dumb and Dumber To. I was surprised by how much screen time she actually got. Rene Russo had a pretty substantial comeback in Nightcrawler. Reese Witherspoon may have had the biggest comeback of all producing Gone Girl and Wild. She’s reinvented herself as a mogul. That’s on top of all the ones you listed and some actors whose comeback attempts fell short (anyone in The Expendables 3 for example). Heck, Heather Graham had a pretty decent mini-resurgence with a bunch of independent movies and two TV movies on Lifetime plus a recurring role on Californication.

      I’m thinking there will be some kind of WTHH Year in Review. Probably in early Jan. I have a WTHH article about 80% done and I want to get that out before year end.

      And hey, thanks for reading all these years! Looking forward to 2015!


      • That does sound like a good article concept (the review for 2014).
        I’m now feeling vaguely guilty because the promised December article on Jason Bateman has clearly not materialized.. fortunately, no one is missing it. I still think it’s a good premise for “A List” given his career trajectory from sitcoms to movies and now as a director. “Bad Words” while irritating in places, demonstrates his considerable talent.


        • I would actually prefer a 2014 Year In Review article in January of next year or so, this way the year is truly over, numbers can be tallied and the dust has mostly settled, except for maybe Oscar season. To be honest it kind of annoys me when websites and magazines have their final say or publish sales charts for the year in December. Entertainment Weekly had a chart in their mid-December issue showing the Top 10 highest grossing films of the year, and the Top 10 best selling albums. I’m shaking my head going “the year isn’t over yet!” So a final look back in January or so sounds great to me. Depending on when the Oscar noms are announced, that might fit in nicely with your Year In Review since Michael Keaton and Reese WItherspoon are likely to receive major award nominations, a capper on great years for them.


        • I know what you mean. Sometimes you see Best of Lists starting in November before a lot of the prestige pictures have even hit theaters!


        • You thought of Mischa Barton for your list?? She went from supporting parts in Notting Hill & The Sixth Sense to a featured role on TV’s The OC & seemed poised for a breakthrough in some key indies,but let boozing & partying drive her into straight to DVD hell of late!!! Should check her out sometime!!!


        • She’s a candidate. But she was more of a TV star than a movie star. For a short time, everyone expected her to cross over into movies. But that never really happened.


        • Blake Lively : The next Mischa Barton?

          Teen hit show but the movies are nowhere to be found. What a shame, she only has a few years before her looks run dry.


        • Future of Movie Stars: Who Will Shine? Who Will Fade Away?

          There have been rumors that Ryan Reynolds doesn’t like his partner’s career to overshadow his, which is what led to the breakup of he and Scarlett Johannson’s marriage. So as soon as Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively got married and all of a sudden she didn’t have any roles anymore, it gave a little credence to the rumor.


        • Is Blake Lively’s Marriage Hurting Her Career?

          In all the ways that an untouchably beautiful fairy can be a whole generation’s spirit animal, Blake Lively is ours. But ever since she got married to the man of her/our dreams, we’ve been a little bit concerned. We’re not saying if we were in Blake Lively’s Louboutins we wouldn’t have gotten all up in Martha Stewart’s magazine head and put together a dream wedding to Ryan Reynolds, or whatever. But lookie here, girlfriend needs to straighten up and fly right, and here’s why:

          Gossip Girl ended over a month ago, and hasn’t filmed since October, but what has Blake been doing? Oh, just hanging with her BFFs (all the designers in the world) and being pretty and making rare appearances and occasionally flying off to Paris with her hot husband. But what hasn’t she been doing? Movies. TV. Anything related to acting, so far as we know.

          In fact, Blake has NOTHING going on in the world of make believe these days, and we’re having a little bit of a nervy b about it. Although GG wasn’t the greatest show ever on TV (yeah, we said it), now is the time for Blake to capitalize on her fame, and not just the celebrity that is related to being married to one, or being gorgeous. Being the face of Gucci’s perfume is hardly a full-time job.

          We know what you’re thinking: maybe she’s pregnant. No, she’s not. At least, not unless she’s one of those girls whose pregnancy is in, like, their small intestine or she has exclusive claims on the kind of Spanx that hold in a fetus: Spabies, they’re called. So, what’s Ryan Reynolds up to? Hanging out at home, getting to know his hot wife in more than the biblical sense?

          Not so much. According to his IMDb profile, Ryguy currently has one movie completed, one in post-production, one filming, two in pre-production, and two more announced. Which is… a lot. Could he be the reason behind her slow work schedule? Ex-wife Scarlett Johannson only made three movies total in the three years she was with him, whereas before and after she made several each year.

          So, what’s the deal with Blake? What — or who — is keeping her from making movies? And is her marriage to blame for her career’s apparent halt? Weigh in with all your feelings below.


        • Is Ryan Reynolds ‘controlling’ Blake Lively’s career, wardrobe & workouts?

          When Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds split up, I was not surprised. Even though I think ScarJo was partially to blame – she was too young to settle down, she wasn’t honest with Ryan about who she was and is – I always thought that Ryan must be a piece of work in private. He just seems… I don’t know… like he wants a very “traditional” marriage with 1950s gender roles. He wants to find a girl with big boobs who will make him dinner every night and cater to his every whim. That kind of “traditional”. And some people thought he found that with Blake Lively.

          Since getting with Ryan, Blake has barely worked – she basically just finished out her Gossip Girl contract and that’s it. She’s been following him around as he films his projects, and she’s been decorating their homes and God knows, she’s probably going to get pregnant at some point. And all of that is fine, unless she’s just changing who she is to make Ryan happy, to cater to his every whim. Which is what Star Magazine claims:

          Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are starting to feel the consequences of their quickie wedding – because, according to sources, Ryan’s major control issues are starting to show!

          After secretly tying the knot last September, Ryan has halted Blake’s work schedule, has taken control of her wardrobe and constantly forces her to work out with him.

          “Ryan was very loving and sweet to Blake before they married,” says the pal. But not long after they said their vows, his demeanor started to change.”

          Ryan’s behavior is even reminding his bride of the toxic relationship between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

          “She’s concerned,” continues the pal. “She can’t keep living like this.”


        • Wonder should Ryan needs to be on this list,perhaps????


        • He’s definitely in a slump. But he’s not a lost cause yet. Deadpool could help revitalize his career.


  22. Recall the hype on Camilla Belle??? She was poised to be another IT girl given her striking
    looks,but Push & 10,000 BC never lived up to the buzz & is currently stuck in low-budget hell!
    Wonder what went wrong with that girl????


  23. I think her looks got her in pictures, or that she has bad taste in scripts (a remake of “When a Stranger Calls”? Personally, I didn’t think the original starring Carol Kane and Charles Durning was very good. I think it had a decent beginning and finale, but nothing in between). The only film that I viewed her in that I liked was “The Ballad of Jack and Rose”.


  24. Two of Tom Cruise’s love interests on-screen and off:

    His Top Gun leading lady, Kelly McGillis
    His first ex-wife, Mimi Rogers


    • I could pass on Mimi Rogers. But I really do like the idea of a Kelly McGillis write-up, Leo, good call. Witness in 1985 (the 8th biggest box office hit of the year), Top Gun in 1986 (the #1 box office hit of the year) and The Accused (a solid box office and critical hit). For a couple years McGillis really was on a roll, wasn’t she? She seemed for a moment on the verge of possibly hitting the A list. Then she practically disappeared from the mainstream. That’s what WTHH is all about, isn’t it? I would love a McGillis write up some day, LeBeau.


      • Be prepared to be depressed. You can expect to see McGillis relatively soon. During 2015, I’m going to try to focus on actors from the years 1985 and 1995. That won’t always be the case. But I like to hit big anniversaries when possible. If I don’t get to McGillis for some reason this year, I’ll HAVE to get her for the anniversary of Top Gun next year.


        • Within the next year or so for McGillis works for me. I’m totally cool with waiting a bit for her. Now, running with that idea of doing anniversary write-ups, if you’ll indulge me then I can extrapolate from that we might finally see a big Burt Reynolds write up in 2017, for the 20th anniversary of his comeback with Boogie Nights? Yes, I’m still burning a candle for the Burt Reynolds WTHH treatment…. one day I keep telling myself, one day…..


        • A Burt Reynolds article would be epic for sure.


  25. With the failure of Mortdecai(his 4th dud in as many flicks of late!),is Johnny Depp fast
    becoming bait for this list,perhaps?????


    • Here’s the thing: Did anyone think Mordecai wouldn’t bomb? It had bomb written all over it. It’s one of those movies you wonder how the hell it even got made. And the fact that it was being dumped in the elephant graveyard of Nov tells you everything you need to know.

      Depp fits the criteria for the series in the sense that his once great career is flagging. Both commercially and creatively, he is in a slump. But it will be a while before I write him up. All it takes is one hit and he’s back on top. And he’s going to have plenty of at-bats. He’s still A-list. You can have a string of bombs that lasts a decade (John Travolta basically did) and still be A-list. He’s still in demand. I can’t write him off yet or he’ll pull a Matthew McConaughey.


      • 5 Reasons Johnny Depp’s Career Is Not Even Close To Over:

        by John Nolte

        24 Jan 2015

        The box office belly-flop of “Mortdecai” has launched a number of “Is Johnny Depp’s Career Over?” think-pieces. The thinking is that after the combined failures of “The Lone Ranger,” “Transcendence,” and “Dark Shadows,” Depp’s career is now on the bubble, at a crossroads, in a dive…

        Here are 5 reasons that is just not true:.

        1. Talent

        Johnny Depp has more talent in his right ear than 90% of today’s so-called stars have combined. Depp’s flops have nothing to do with anything other than Johnny Depp being Johnny Depp. He’s an eccentric; an actor always looking to stretch and do something different.

        Basically, he’s a brilliant character actor who’s movie star handsome and unwilling to do anything routine. He’s always trying, always striving.

        Except for “Transcendence,” each of these flops has been about hunting down another “Pirates” franchise that will allow him to remain a star and character actor.

        Depp’s choices have been bad, no question. But he’s still the charismatic, likable, sympathetic Johnny Depp we’ve loved for three decades.

        You can overcome bad choice by making better ones.

        1. Depp is Only 51 Years-Old

        And he looks 35. The man has a quarter-century of comebacks ahead of him.

        1. Captain Jack Sparrow

        Everyone writes about the fading box office for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. What they don’t tell you is that the last entry grossed more than a billion — with a “B” — worldwide.

        “Pirates 4″ is the 14th largest worldwide box office grosser of all time. For perspective, that puts this “fading franchise” almost $200 million ahead of “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” $100 million ahead of the second “Hobbit” movie, and behind only one “Harry Potter” film.

        “Pirates 5″ hits theatres in 2017.

        1. The Mad Hatter

        Depp doesn’t headline just one money-printing franchise, he headlines two.

        In 2010, “Alice In Wonderland” grossed $1.025 billion — again with a “B” — worldwide (it ranks 17th) and $334 million domestic. This franchise is just getting started. Moreover, it is a Disney product and as of late, Disney’s publicity machine can do no wrong.

        “Alice 2″ arrives next summer.

        1. Whitey Bulger

        In “Black Mass” Depp stars as infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. His supporting team is made up of no less than Benedict Cumberbatch, Sienna Miller, Dakota Johnson, Joel Edgerton, and Kevin Bacon. The director is Scott Cooper, the man whose helming debut “Crazy Heart” won Jeff Bridges a long overdue Best Actor Oscar.

        “Black Mass” arrives in September, and we all know how much Oscar loves a comeback narrative.

        If there’s an actor out there who wouldn’t sell his soul for this kind of career trouble, he’s a liar.

        Johnny Depp is going to be around for as long as he wants to be around.

        Again, Depp’s made some awful choices lately, but at least he’s trying different things. He deserves credit for that, and there’s also no question his genius will eventually return lightning to that bottle.


      • I can’t write him off yet or he’ll pull a Matthew McConaughey.

        To be fair, McConaughey never had a commercial drought like Depp has had. Even in his down period mediocre films like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Failure to Launch continued to make money and Fool’s Gold broke even.

        Depp meanwhile has starred in five straight flops (or four flops and an underperformer if you are being really kind to Dark Shadows) including 2 (Transcendence and Lone Ranger) that likely resulted in 9 figure write-offs.

        I should add that it was probably a bad sign for Depp that Disney pushed back the release date of Pirates 5 by 2 years.

        Maybe an A-List article perhaps?


  26. ryan reyonds should be on the list


  27. Oscar winner Dianne Wiest on hard times of late……..


    • Cursed Oscar Winners Struggle for Roles:

      The Academy Awards is a time where the brightest and best in Hollywood gather to reward their own. While many fans consider it just a place where Hollywood royalty can pat each other on the backs, it is also an event where actors and actresses can get noticed and break out, using their awards to catapult their careers. However, there are also cases where an Oscar winner will find his career on a downward spiral, falling to the notorious Oscar curse. These actors and actresses start to find it hard to get good work after their nominations, whether it’s because they become hard to work with after their newfound prestige or just plain bad luck.

      Here is a look at actors and actresses who have struggled finding respectable work since heading to the Oscars, either as a winner or as a nominee.

      The 87th Annual Academy Awards hosted by Neil Patrick Harris airs Sunday Feb 22 on ABC at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT

      Mo’Nique (2010) Best Supporting Actress – Precious

      Mo’Nique sat down for a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter and broke the news that the Hollywood community has “blackballed” her since her 2010 Oscar win and won’t work with her anymore. It was a bit of a surprise because she was fantastic in the Lee Daniels’ movie Precious – her performance winning her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. But it was actually Daniels who broke the news to Mo’Nique that she’d been “blackballed.” The actress claims she’s being shunned because she won’t play the Hollywood game of promoting herself, and also mentioned she is a blue collar girl who won’t let anyone take advantage of her. Daniels himself gave a statement saying, “Mo’nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community.”

      Cuba Gooding Jr. (1997) Best Supporting Actor – Jerry Maguire

      It was a slight shock when Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1996 for his performance in Jerry Maguire. His character was a loud-mouthed football star who wanted a big contract and kept yelling out “show me the money!” Unlike many of the names on this list, Gooding was not blacklisted because he was hard to work with; he just was just a one-hit wonder when it came to the Oscar win. Since that win, most of his Hollywood output has consisted of straight-to-DVD action movies and comedies.

      Dianne Wiest (1987) – Best Supporting Actress – Hannah and Her Sisters

      Dianne Wiest has won two Oscars in her acting career, the first for Hannah and Her Sisters and the second for Bullets Over Broadway. Last month, Wiest did an interview where she said that she was going to have to move out of her apartment because she can no longer afford to pay rent. What happened? According to Wiest, she has only been offered movie roles as a “nice mom” and that is all, except for stage performances. For an actress with fan favorite roles in Edward Scissorhands and The Lost Boys in her past, as well as a two-year run on Law & Order, it is puzzling indeed.

      Russell Crowe (2001) – Best Actor – Gladiator

      At one time, Russell Crowe was set up to be the next big thing. He was an Oscar nominee for three straight years, picking up a nomination for The Insider, winning the Oscar for Gladiator and then picking up a nomination for A Beautiful Mind. He has not earned a nomination since 2002 and many of his more recent movies are average at best. Many believe his demotion in the Hollywood hierarchy came due to his difficulty when it comes to dealing with other people. He has earned a reputation as a Prima Donna on film sets, even calleing George Clooney a “sellout” at one point, and possessing a sharp temper that he’s not afraid to show.

      Edward Norton (1997) – Best Supporting Actor (nomination) – Primal Fear

      There are actors who, despite their difficulty to work with, continue to get work thanks to their immense talent. Edward Norton is one of those actors. He achieved success very early in his career with an Oscar nomination for Primal Fear. He followed that up two years later with a nomination for American History X, but that proved to be his final nomination until 2015, when he picked one up for Birdman. American History X is the movie where the problems began. He actually succeeded in getting director Tony Kaye kicked out of the editing room and edited the movie together the way he wanted it to look. Kaye quit directing for years because of his experience with Norton. Later, Norton was part of the new Marvel movie world as The Hulk, but he pulled the same control freak attitude and was fired and replaced by Mark Ruffalo when Hulk returned for The Avengers.

      Gwyneth Paltrow (1999) – Best Actress – Shakespeare in Love

      It is a good thing that Gwyneth Paltrow has her Avengers role as Pepper Potts in her back pocket, because she hasn’t really found a lot of success since winning an Oscar in 1999 for Shakespeare in Love. While she is a great actress, and has turned in some great roles since that performance, she hasn’t really seen the success one might expect from an Oscar winner. Much of that might be because of her attitude, which is seen as cold and impersonal. The word on the Marvel sets is that she refused to speak to Scarlett Johansson, who she saw as competition, and always worked to avoid her throughout the shoot.

      Sharon Stone (1996) – Best Actress (nomination) – Casino

      In 1992, the world fell in love with Sharon Stone thanks to her role in the thriller Basic Instinct. It seemed she had the world in her hands and picked up her first Oscar nomination in 1996 for her supporting role in Casino for Martin Scorsese. That was not only her only Oscar nomination but one of her final major Hollywood movie roles. Even after two decades of small to average roles, Stone still remains a Diva onset, as evident by complaints from director Pupi Avati, who directed her in Golden Boy last year.

      Alec Baldwin (2004) – Best Supporting Actor (nomination) – The Cooler

      In 2008, the Hollywood memoir What Just Happened was adapted for the big screen with Robert De Niro starring as a Hollywood producer who struggled through getting his new movie made despite all the mounting problems. One of the problems was an actor who turned into a raging, angry Prima Donna, threatening to disrupt the entire film. That role was played by Bruce Willis, which is ironic considering he has been accused of being difficult over the years as well. However, the fictional role he played was based on the real-life experiences of the movie The Edge and Alec Baldwin was the culprit in that production. With only one Oscar nomination, despite numerous amazing performances, Baldwin still struggles to find Hollywood work thanks to his difficult demands.

      Kim Basinger (1998) – Best Supporting Actress – LA Confidential

      Kim Basinger won an Oscar for her performance in the fantastic Noir film LA Confidential, but what happened afterwards that is puzzling. She didn’t star in another movie for three years, and unlike her husband at the time, Alec Baldwin, it wasn’t because of a poor attitude or a difficulty to work with. For Basinger, it might be the curse of growing older as a female in Hollywood. Outside of a solid turn as Eminem’s mother in 8 Mile, nothing since LA Confidential has set the world on fire and the former sex symbol has been relegated to small supporting roles.

      Marlon Brando (1955) – Best Actor – On the Waterfront

      If there is one actor that proved being extremely talented meant little if they were difficult to work with, it was Marlon Brando. He picked up an amazing eight Oscar nominations, winning twice, but proved to be so difficult to work with that directors often had to fight and plead with producers just to be allowed to cast him. He won his second Oscar for The Godfather, but the studio didn’t want him to star in the movie, believing that he was more trouble than he was worth. He refused to memorize his lines and demanded that cue cards be held up so he could just read them during the scenes. By the end of his career, almost no one wanted to work with him.


  28. Speaking of Burt Reynolds: Lebeau, I really liked your “Smokey and the Bender” joke.


    • Basically once one proves they aren’t the next Meryl Streep or Dustin Hoffman, their stock goes down or so it seems. Cuba Gooding Jr is a good example. He goes from an Oscar to starring in direct to video BS. In some ways I suspect that after you have that Oscar you’re expected to repeat that success in each subsequent movie and that’s impossible. Gene Hackman was a great actor. But he didn’t give an Oscar worthy performance in every movie he made, even if all of his performances were at least good. Same with Denzel Washington. Hackman and Washington haven’t fallen into that trap while the likes of Gooding did.

      Even if this hadn’t happened I suspect that Mo’Nique’s time on the A-list would have been brief. She definitely deserved the Oscar she did receive. But as an actress, her range might be limited. Even if it isn’t, she’s still more a character actress than a leading woman. I was annoyed that Streeo beat Viola Davis for the best actress Oscar in The Help (hers and Octiavia Spencer’s performances were the best things about that overpraised movie). But in hindsight I wonder if that might have meant greater career longevity for Davis.


      • Mo’Nique: Lee Daniels Told Me I’ve Been ‘Blackballed’:,14988050

        Wasn’t she demanding money for appearances and promotion during Oscar campaign season. That and some of the things she said during her acceptance speech pissed off a lot of Hollywood power players. It’s one thing to be an a** to a nobody on set, they don’t care about that, but when you start stepping on execs toes, it’s a wrap. I think she also pissed off Oprah too after she swore never to appear on her show again after Oprah interviewed her brother who molested her as a child. Hollywood is fake as hell, but you do have to play the game in order to make it. Even A-listers don’t carry on the way she did. You’re only as good as your last hit in that world, and most stars stay promoting and grinding. She didn’t even want to appear the next year to present the award without getting paid. Wtf?!

        And it wasn’t just the blow up from the Oscars that messed her career up Mo’Nique also had a late night talk show on BET as well as a radio show in syndication. Well she kept falling out with the producers and execs and those opportunities dried up too – those shows were abruptly canceled around this time too.

        So who’s the common denominator in all this? While I do think her loser of a husband is pulling her strings, she should have had more sense to promote her career than to listen to his bum ass. It’s obvious she hasn’t learned her lesson, since she’s somewhat throwing Lee Daniels under the bus. He and Oprah both seem petty (remember when Iyanla Vanzant fell out with Oprah back in the early 2000s? Yikes!) and I could totally see them blackballing her. And they have the studios on their side, and those execs probably still remember Mo’Nique’s antics from that Oscar season.

        She’s from Baltimore, and most people there have that hustler/keeping it real mentality that doesn’t really work in Hollywood’s rarefied atmosphere. She treated that Oscar campaign like her days in stand up comedy when she was hustling and having to constantly fight for money. She still tours, but she’s lost a ton of weight, so her “F*** you skinny bitches!” schtick no longer rings authentic.

        Mo’Nique fall from grace is a prime, real-life example of “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong”
        by: Anonymous reply 11 02/19/2015 @ 02:06AM


        • It was extraordinarily bad form for her to talk about how she was chosen as an Oscar winner and to praise the result (her own win) during her acceptance speech.

          I honestly was confused by how little chatter there was on the topic.

          Does she deserve to lose her livelihood over it? No, but you can bet that if it left a bad taste in my mouth as a viewer that the folks in Hollywood who would naturally take it more personally might hold a small grudge.


  29. With half of the Brat Pack already been done (Demi, Molly, Emilio, Judd) and two of them not yet been reached (Ally, Anthony), let’s pray that Andrew McCarthy gets the story he really treasures!


  30. I’d like to see Ally Sheedy; she probably my favorite of that group (Judd Nelson is right there as well), and I really think her career could have been more (I thought she was good in 1983’s “Bad Boys”), but got lumped into the whole “Brat Pack” deal.


  31. After posting this article to the comments section for Eddie Murphy’s WTHTT page, would his “48HRs” co-star, Nick Nolte make a good WTHHT subject? I hope because Nolte is over 70 now (Chevy Chase is I believe the oldest WTHHT subject thus far) if I’m not mistaken, that makes him ineligible because his career is “too long” (hence why Burt Reynolds hasn’t gotten one just yet):

    I wonder if part of the issue here is that this is the moment Nolte’s career began to falter, and he was in this sequel with a known scene-stealer, and he probably wanted people to notice his performance more than or at least as much as Murphy’s in the second film. So the portrayal of his character was diluted and dulled, in an attempted move toward likability.

    I mean, Nolte was so good and his career so hot for so long, including award-worthy performances in things like ‘North Dallas Forty’ and ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’, and off-beat choices like ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Cannery Row’, along with blockbusters like ‘The Deep’. And after A48H he still did ‘Cape Fear’, for example. But the easy part of the ride was over, and he may have seen A48H as a springboard to bigger, better roles. But in the process, he sort of lost what was appealing about him. His voice went into the shi**er, his movie star looks, well, he just stopped even trying, didn’t he? And even today he’ll pop up in unusual places and roles, but it just feels like A48H was a turning point and he knew it.


    • I wouldn’t say Nolte or Reynolds is ineligible per se. They are just a lot more work. Never say never. It would make for a fascinating article I’m sure.


  32. Why Rachel McAdams Never Became A Big Movie Star:

    The would-be big trailer drop last Friday morning was for Southpaw, the Antoine Fuqua-directed boxing drama. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a down-on-his-luck boxer who must dig deep to get his career back on track and reclaim custody of his young daughter. Late-July release date aside, the Weinstein Company release feels like a would-be Oscar bait biopic almost to the point of self-parody. If you saw the trailer, you probably noticed Rachel McAdams as the “girl” in the picture. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate, as she gets killed in the first third of the trailer, which in turn sends Gyllenhaal into a downward spiral. There was a moment ten years ago when she seemed primed to be the next big female movie star. But now she gets “fridged” in male-centric melodramas and gets to be ”the girl cop” in True Detective season 2, which is quickly becoming something of a career rehab home for former movie stars and would-be movie stars who never quite made the sell. I have written so very much about the lack of female-led multiplex releases over the last decade or so, and I have long believed would-be “It Girl” McAdams to be among its primary victims. You can’t be the next great movie star when Hollywood isn’t making movies for you to star in.

    The situation isn’t all that different from Jason Statham, who became a B-movie action god in an era when there were few A-level action movies to aspire to. Rachel McAdams had the bad luck to spring to stardom just as the so-called female-centric studio release was becoming something of an endangered species. She of course came to fame in 2004 and 2005 with a flurry of high profile vehicles. She was, in 2004, a defining villain in Mean Girls and the co-lead in the generational romantic drama classic The Notebook. She had three major roles in 2005, including the heroic lead in Wes Craven’s Red Eye, a supporting role in the Sarah Jessica Parker-led ensemble The Family Stone, and the “prize to be won” romantic interest in New Line Cinema/Time Warner Inc.’s Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn comedy smash The Wedding Crashers. Take one guess which role would come to define the next decade of would-be stardom. She took a break from acting for a couple years and returned in two low-budget independent films. Married Life was a martial fidelity drama starring Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, and McAdams as the would-be temptress. The Lucky Ones (Lions Gate Entertainment) was an underrated and little-seen drama co-starring Tim Robbins and Michael Pena about three Iraq war vets adjusting to life after service.

    She returned to so-called mainstream movies in 2009 and it is at this point the pattern began to emerge. By 2008/2009 we were seeing a real lack of not just female-centric films but movies that required more than one role for a woman matching McAdams’s respective gender and/or age. She is a young blogger journalist in the (terrific) Russell Crowe/Ben Affleck/Helen Mirren/Robin Wright thriller State of Play (Universal) who exists mostly to be schooled on the purity of old-school journalism and she was “the girl” in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes for Warner Bros. She reprised that role in a glorified cameo for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, because the film didn’t have room for two major female roles and Noomi Rapace taking that slot this time. She was the co-lead in The Time Traveler’s Wife in 2009 (even though for all intents-and-purposes it is Eric Bana’s story) and she co-starred as a memory-impaired young spouse alongside Channing Tatum in The Vow. She did have a genuine lead vehicle in 2010, starring as an ambitious morning show producer trying to work with Harrison Ford’s cantankerous news vet in Morning Glory.

    And aside from Brian DePalma’s blink-and-you-miss it 2013 erotic indie drama with Noomi Rapace entitled Passion, that’s it for lead roles or even arguably co-starring roles for Ms. McAdams. She played the girl-to-be-discarded in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris and one of Ben Affleck’s handful of would-be love interests Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, played “the girl” in the father/son time-travel drama About Time, and was basically the only woman in an otherwise male-centric ensemble in A Most Wanted Man, which was notable for being Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final starring role. Her output for 2015 involves being the one woman in a sea of dudes (Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, and Billy Crudup) in the “Boston Globe investigates Catholic Church sex scandals” drama Spotlight, being the married former lover of star Bradley Cooper as he also “bonds” with Emma Stone in Cameron Crowe’s Aloha for Sony, and the aforementioned “gets accidentally shot so Jake Gyllenhaal can have a sad” role in Southpaw. Oh, and she’s also in the cast of True Detective season 2 as the lone female cop in a cast that includes Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, and Taylor Kitsch.

    The vast majority of McAdams’s mainstream roles in her post-stardom career have been “the girl” in an otherwise male-dominated cast. That is arguably because that was becoming even more of the so-called status-quo right as she was becoming a would-be movie star. Her relative lack of mainstream starring vehicles is mostly due to the fact that so few female-centric star vehicles get made in Hollywood anymore. There are few female-centric films that get made in Hollywood, especially the kind of somewhat melodramatic dramas or thrillers that used to give someone like Ashley Judd a career. The kind of mainstream films, be they romantic comedies, family melodramas, and everything in-between, that once starred Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock are all-but-extinct in modern Hollywood. The Hollywood of the 1990′s had room for Meg Ryan vehicles, Sandra Bullock vehicles, and Julia Roberts vehicles with room to spare. They were romantic comedies like French Kiss, family melodramas like Something to Talk About, or even supernatural comedies like Practical Magic. Those films don’t get made anymore, to the point where now even something like a female-driven romantic comedy like Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck is considered a “big deal.” One you age out of the young-adult literary adaptations and/or the newest live-action adaptation of a Walt Disney animated feature, you’re basically stuck playing “the girl.” And just as importantly, the male-centric films that do get made usually have room for just one or two major female roles in the cast.

    Not to pick on Spotlight, but six talented male actors all get meaty roles in that upcoming production, but there was only room for one actress. Hollywood movies like The Fighter have room for both Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale but room for only one Amy Adams. The Judge has room for Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio, and but no roles for women save “love interest” (Vera Farmiga) and “love interest’s hot daughter” (Leighton Meester). The Imitation Game has fourteen male roles listed on the IMDB front page but room enough in its narrative for only one actress (Keira Knightley) in anything resembling a major role. Rachel McAdams may-well have had a varied and busy mainstream Hollywood career if she had come of age in a time when films like Working Girl or Postcards from the Edge weren’t considered a statistical impossibility.

    I have no idea if Rachel McAdams cares about the choices she has been offered and the choices she has accepted, and her best work may yet still be in front of her (I’m certainly hopeful for Cameron Crowe’s Aloha). Frankly I am using her career as a springboard for a broader discussion with no desire to cast her unwillingly as a victim of systematic inequity. But I cannot help but wonder how she feels about getting her start ten years ago playing the girlfriend to second-banana Bradley Cooper only to be, ten years later, still playing his (potential) love interest while he is one of the biggest movie stars around and she has no real mainstream star vehicles to choose from. One cannot help but think of Kristen Scott Thomas, who played the age-appropriate love interest to Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient in 1996 but in 2013 played the mother of Ralph Fiennes’s love interest in The Invisible Woman. The would-be tragedy of Rachel McAdams, once the most promising actress of her generation doomed mostly to playing girlfriends and token females in male-centric ensembles, is indicative of how our gender equity in mainstream Hollywood has gotten worse rather than better.


  33. David Akiva Klionsky

    I nominate Elizabeth McGovern for the WTHHT treatment…she is barely remembered today, yet she did many high-profile movies in the 80’s (RAGTIME, SHE’S HAVING A BABY, RACING WITH THE MOON). She currently stars on the popular DOWNTON ABBEY.


    • That’s an excellent suggestion. I have considered McGovern before. I wasn’t aware she was on Downton Abbey. I’m sure we’ll get around to her sooner or later.



  34. I really liked her in “The Bedroom Window” (hey, I really like “The Bedroom Window”; it has a great view); she played a real spitfire type of character. I think was good in “Once Upon a Time in America” as well. I was aware of her role in “Downtown Abbey” (I heard that it is in its final season), and also feel that this was an excellent suggestion (I’m still waiting on Diane Lane though:-).


    • Diane Lane is always right there on the periphery. She’ll make the series, I just don’t know when.

      Oakleya77 has an article in the hopper. It should be posted later this week. I’m not sure if I will have a new WTHH article myself this month what with my vacation plans and all. I am currently reworking one or more older articles. At least one of them will probably be reposted as they are getting pretty extensive additions. So, that’s what’s happening in What the Hell Happened. 😉


  35. David Akiva Klionsky

    WTHHT Joan Cusack? She was never a big star like her little brother, but she always improved ANY film she was in!


    • No question.

      I put Joan Cusack in the category of character actor which means I’m unlikely to ever feature her in WTHH. The problem with character actors is that they are in far more projects due to the nature of the work. So doing a comprehensive look at the career of a character actor is a daunting task. I have considered at some point doing another series looking back at the careers of character actors because they can be really fascinating. But I’m not sure they fit the WTHH concept. Usually character actors just keep chugging along delivering interesting performances in movies that may or may not be worth of them.


  36. forrestbracket

    iam surprised dennis quaid is not in here


  37. forrestbracket

    charlie sheen should be o n there


  38. I’m sure this has been asked before, but what about Shia LeBouf? I know there is still some speculation that his bizarre behavior is some sort of performance art piece, but it has gone on so long that at this point even if he admitted he was pulling a Joaquin Phoenix it seems unlikely he could get back to where he was. I remember after Eagle Eye hit there were people who were seriously talking about him being the next Will Smith.


    • I was prepared to write up LaBeouf around this time last year. But there have been signs that he could be returning to relevance. Certainly not headlining something like Transformers. At least not yet. As young as he is, I won’t rule it out at some point in the future. Unlikely? Yes. But possible. In the meanwhile, LaBeouf is on my radar. But he’s not currently one of my top candidates.


      • Shia LaBeouf’s “day” so to speak (he has basically become the male variant Lindsay Lohan, a one time Disney star turned promising young adult actor, turned nutcase), is coming regarding a WTHHT retrospective if you ask me. It’s just that just like the case of somebody like Charlie Sheen, LaBeouf is kind of a “it’s too obvious” choice.


        • I get the comparison, but I would argue that Shia was much more of a box office draw than Lindsay Lohan ever was. Back in 2007, with no movie stars attached to draw people in, Disturbia still earned $80M domestically, a strong showing for a $20M budgeted film with no stars. Spielberg saw star potential, and cast him in that summer’s Transformers, which overperformed with $319M, good enough for 3rd biggest hit of 2007. Spielberg casts Shia in Indy 4 as Indy’s son in 2008’s Crystal Skull, good enough for 3rd biggest film of the year also. Shia’s already making a name for himself in huge hits. Later that year, Shia gets the chance to prove his box office potential as the lead in Eagle Eye, which earns $100M domestically. It proves Shia can be a box office draw all on his own, even if the movie itself is very bland. Isn’t that the truest mark of a box office draw, that they can make even a mediocre film like Eagle Eye a hit among audiences? When a film is naturally great, a large audience will follow, When a film is mediocre but has a star that draws people in to make it a hit otherwise, I would say that’s star power. For a brief moment, Shia had that. The downside is, fame is fleeting and that doesn’t build anything.

          A couple more Transformers movies break the bank of course, but Shia fades further into the background afterwards, because of personal public issues and those sequels are popular crap. Shia can’t build upon that, and becomes a has-been. Pretty sad. Still, I would easily argue that’s more of a career trajectory than Lindsay Lohan ever had.


  39. The Guardian recently did a thing on Cathy Moriaty,the bombshell of Raging Bull……maybe this one U should think in the future!!!!


  40. I know eddie murphy comeback was nutty professor burts was boggie nights. What exactly was conncery. Was it Untouchable i think he was slump before that.


  41. Sean Connery did have an impressive comeback, which can be tied to The Untouchables. He had a supporting role in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but it was a well-received entry in the Indiana Jones series and it became the 2nd biggest box office hit of 1989 only behind Batman, so it definately helped his career. Then Hunt For Red October was big hit for him in 1990, and his comeback was solidified. Connery is a very worthy entry in the Comeback list.


  42. lets not forget hits in 90s like the rock entrapment . Him and jack Nicholson few actors that where a list past 60. No disrespect to connery good actor but not great actor. I find hes ranked a little higher then he deserves. Just a tad overrated. SOme magizines rank him higher then his buddy michael caine who is one of my favorites and i find more talented then sean. He has more range then sean. If you want to talk about impressive comeback michael caine was in huge slump before cider house rules then his 2nd oscar win gave him 2nd career as successful character actor. He should be mentioned more then connery hes better actor.


  43. Hes not the worst actor of his generation he was great in untouchable but hes not the best either. Compare him to actors like jack nicholson ,gene hackman ,dustin hoffman robert duvall and micahel caine he fails in comparison.


  44. Lebeau on your calender for upcoming events I think you’re missing an important one: October 21, 2015…… the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown visited the faraway future in Back To The Future II. Yes, I find it strange to say that the far off future is now only a bit more than a week away. It might be a fun date to add to the calender though…. and I’ll keep an extra eye out for Marty and the Doc that day, because you never know.


  45. Lebeau, I’m curious about something. When it comes to the main WTTH articles, I’ve heard you mention that you will normally will spend two or three weeks at minimum involved in research for the article before it’s posted. Do you go through rough drafts on the way, and if so how many drafts do you typically do before you’re satisfied with the end result? I’m just curious about the creative process behind the end result.


    • I wouldn’t say I have a rough draft, although gee I probably should. This will probably come as no surprise to my critics, but I don’t put a ton of effort into the writing. A WTHH article is 90% research, 10% writing. The process such as it is has changed over time. When I first started, I was just jotting down a few paragraphs off the top of my head. I didn’t even fact check the first few articles. Now, I fact check everything.

      The skeleton the articles are built on is obviously the filmography of the subject. So I usually start with both the subject’s Wikipedia and IMDB pages. Wikipedia is incomplete or inaccurate more than people think, but the citations are usually helpful. From there, I will branch out. When I see a claim that is unsupported, I go out and look for a comment from someone who was involved one way or another. If I can’t find an independent source, my assumption is that it is an internet rumor and I will treat it accordingly.

      Usually, I will write up a brief intro and then just start plugging away at the filmography looking things up as I go. Sometimes, I will discover something that will cause me to backtrack and fill in an earlier section. But mostly, I start at the beginning and work my way through. There’s not a lot of rewriting involved. What you see is very close to my first thoughts on any given subject.


  46. Is “What the hell happened to” an active file topic anymore.?

    It doesn’t seem like you have had any new additions for a long time


    • That’s a fair question. It’s been dormant. I have been tinkering with some existing articles as well as kicking around some ideas for the future. I think I want to reinvent tge series when it comes back. I keep thinking that is right around the corner, but unfortunately it keeps getting pushed back. There will be new articles, I just don’t know when. I like to think when WTHH returns, it will be better than it has ever been.


    • In the meantime, you can check out my “Whatever Happened To” articles, which are sort of mini-WTHH’s.


    • I too have been wondering if or when we’ll ever get any more What the hell happened to… articles. It has been literally almost a year since the last one (on Kelly McGillis) was posted. I’m not someone who wants to pester Lebeau to write a new one because I figure that he has other things in his life that he has to do that are presumably “more important”. But the WTHHT series pretty much gives this particular blog most of its “flavor”.


      • Much appreciated. It’s true that real life has a tendency to get in the way of my most ambitious blogging plans. When you have kids, you only have so much time for hobbies. And of course my blogging springs out of my interests in other things. Sometimes, I get so busy it’s difficult for me to find time to keep up with my articles, manage the site’s schedule, edit other articles and drop in with comments. I would like to be more active in the comments than I have been over the last month or so.

        With that said, I do consider WTHH to be an important part of this site. There’s a reason it is name dropped on the banner. My thinking is that sometime this summer, I am going to relaunch the series in a format that will be closer to the old articles. They will be shorter and more frequent. There has always been a push and pull regarding how much to include in each article. The early entries were very short and people kept pointing out things they felt should have been included. Now I get feedback that the articles are detailed to the point of being tedious. I’m going to be looking for a happy median.


    • When the time finally comes for the WTHHT series to return, then Cameron Diaz would be a good starting point. She hasn’t been in a movie since 2014. Here is a recent article about Cameron and why she hasn’t been in anything lately.


      • Julia Ormond is another possible future WTHHT candidate. To give you some proper perspective:

        Julia Ormond was the first person I thought of when I read the title of this thread.

        Seriously, she came out of nowhere to star in four major studio movies (Legends of the Fall, First Knight, Sabrina, Smilla’s Sense of Snow) with big-name costars in three years, and then — poof! — you hear nothing from her after that. Not one film most people have ever heard of. I mean, she sank to the point of playing LiLo’s mother in the Razzie-winning classic I Know Who Killed Me!

        I wonder what happened. Did she finally have enough of going down on Harvey Weinstein?


        reply 266 14 hours ago

        [R266] – Julia Ormond vanished for a while and then came back as a quite talented character actress in movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (as Cate Blanchett’s daughter) and One Week with Marilyn (as Vivienne Leigh). She also had a Lifetime series called Witches of East End with Channing Tatum’s wife. She’s in the upcoming remake of Howard’s End with Hayley Atwell next. Most of those It Girls and It Boys that Vanity Fair pushes on their cover tend to fall off the face of the earth. Julia was definitely one of those before she clawed her way back (and became a much better actress along the way).


        reply 269 11 hours ago



          [–] howtragic 4 years ago

          I agree with the OP a little. Maybe Julia Ormond consciously decided to do less “Hollywood” roles, but her career has been a little strange, considering. In 1994-1996 she was The Next Big Thing in Hollywood. She had a kind of fame that was extremely rare. Think of it this way: would any of you find it strange if Jennifer Lawrence was getting only small roles in 7 years? Julia Ormond was the J. Law of her day. She was getting starring roles in big movies across with the biggest leading men of their day. She was basically chosen by Hollywood to be one of those actresses making $10 million a movie. Now maybe she personally rejected that, but there was a streak there in the mid 90s where she made three big Hollywood movies back to back with the biggest male stars of the day. She looked poised to take over Julia Roberts’ spot as the top actress in the world.

          Her career trajectory is a bit mystifying to say the least.


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