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The celeb life is very tempting. All the fame and wealth have attracted millions of dream-seekers to Hollywood, but these 23 once famous figures chose to step away from the spotlight and enjoy a quiet life. Scroll down for their stories.
You probably remember Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kendall in All My Children or Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the TV show of the same name, but she has not been seen on TV since 2015. Sarah co-founded a food crafting brand named Foodstirs, selling baking kits. She also published a cookbook named Stirring Up Fun with Food in 2017.
Along with his twin brother Cole Sprouse, Dylan Sprouse received national recognition in the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. After that, he appeared in a number of smaller productions. Although he has not officially retired from acting, he seems to be focusing more on his New York meadery called All-Wise Meadery, which opened in 2018.
Phoebe Cates was a big name in the 80s and early 90s. Her performances in films like Gremlins and Fast Times at Ridgemont High were iconic. However, Phoebe chose to retire from acting in 1994, maybe partly because she didn't really love acting. She once revealed that she was only acting "for the money". Now the former actress is living a quiet life in New York City, running a clothing shop named Blue Tree.
Jeff Cohen was a child star who was best-known for his role as Chunk in The Goonies, a Steven Spielberg movie. Later, he retired to focus on his education. After getting his J.D. from the UCLA School of Law in 2000, he became an entertainment attorney. In 2008, Variety and Hollywood Reporter profiled Jeff as a "Top Executive" in Hollywood.
Remember "Charlie" from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory? Well, if you do, you probably wonder where actor Peter Ostrum has been all these years. The truth is he didn’t choose an acting career, instead, he went on to attend a veterinary school and got a degree from Cornell. Now he is living a quiet life as a large animal vet in Lowville, NY.
Julia Stiles was a very active actress, with hits like 10 Things I Hate About You, in which she co-starred with the late Heath Ledger. However, in recent years, she spends most of her time doing charity work, especially after the birth of her child. "I feel like being a new mum is a challenge in and of itself, and it might be hard for me to navigate and just take care of my kid." She told TV WEEK.
Fondly loved by millions of fans around the world, actress Cameron Diaz was a first tier Hollywood star with countless accolades. However, in 2014, after starring in the film adaptation of Annie, she formally announced that she was retiring from acting. In her retirement life, she wrote a book named The Longevity Book, and invested in numerous health and biotech startups, including Seed Health and Modern Acupuncture.
David Caruso was best known for his role as Detective John Kelly on the ABC crime drama NYPD Blue. He also appeared in the CBS series CSI: Miami. After the show ended, he decided to retire from acting to become involved in the art business. He founded DavidCaruso Television and LexiconDigital. He also owns a clothing store in South Miami called "Steam on Sunset."
Macaulay Culkin's Home Alone series is always a Christmas favorite. Besides being Kevin McCallister, Macaulay also starred in many other productions like My Girl, The Good Son and Getting Even with Dad. Now he is living a quiet offscreen life, as the publisher and CEO of a satirical pop culture website and podcast called Bunny Ears.
Remember Officer Frank Poncherello (AKA "Ponch") from police procedural drama CHiPs? The actor Erik Estrada is not acting anymore; instead, he became a deputy sheriff in Virginia in 2009. He moved to Idaho with his wife and became a reserve police officer there in 2016.
Back in the 80s, Tiffany was a teen singing icon, famous for singles like "I Think We’re Alone Now". She once released a single named "I Saw Him Standing There", which was a cover of the Beatles' song "I Saw Her Standing There," just with the lyrics changed. The song won her a top position on the Billboard charts, but that seemed to be the peak of her singing career. After an unsuccessful second album, she decided to make a shift and opened a clothing store, though she still tours small venues (coffee shops and festivals) to this day.
Freddie Prinze Jr. was an actor famous for movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer and She's All That. But in 2008, he decided to go behind the camera and join the WWE as a producer. Now he is living a quiet life with wife actress Sarah Michelle Gellar in LA.
Charlie Korsmo was a child actor famous for What About Bob?. However, he switched into an academic career growing up, even though he still appeared in several movies and shows. Charlie earned a degree in physics from MIT in 2000, and in 2006, he received a doctor degree from Yale Law School. Now the former child actor is a professor of corporate law & corporate finance at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland.
Geena Davis was a big star in the 80s, appearing in famous films like The Fly and Beetlejuice, but as her acting career began to slow down in the 90s, she decided to take a step away from the spotlight and work for gender equality in the film industry. She founded Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2004, which aims to increase the presence of women in the media industry. In 2019, Davis received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Angus T. Jones was a child actor who started acting when he was just five years old. His most famous role was in Two and a Half Men, which made him the highest-paid child actor on TV when he was seventeen. In 2016, he retired from acting and joined Tonite, a multimedia and event production company started by Justin Combs and Kene Orjioke.
Josh Saviano is also a child actor who played Kevin Arnold's best friend, Paul Pfeiffer, in the ABC television show The Wonder Years. After the show was over, he pursued an academic career and attended Yale, majoring in political science. Later he received a J.D. from Cardozo School of Law and joined the law firm Morrison Cohen LLP in 2000. Fifteen years later, he opened his own law firm JDS Legal.
During an acting career that spanned more than six decades, Gene Hackman has received numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, one Screen Actors Guild Award, and two BAFTAs. On July 7, 2004, during an interview with Larry King, he declared his retirement and had since focused on writing. He has co-written three historical fiction novels with undersea archaeologist Daniel Lenihan, and released two solos Payback at Morning Peak and Pursuit.
As a professional boxer, George Foreman is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. After a loss to boxer Jimmy Young, which he would later describe as a "religious epiphany", he retired in 1977. However, he made an incredible comeback in 1994, defeating Michael Moorer who was only half his age and became the oldest heavyweight boxing champ the world had ever seen before he re-retired. Now he works as a ringside analyst for HBO.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas was famous for his acting and voicing work. He played the role of Randy on Home Improvement and voiced young Simba in Disney's 1994 film The Lion King. In 2006, he decided to retire and pursue his education. He went to a prep school and enrolled at Harvard upon graduation. Now Jonathan works as a director.
Rick Moranis had a promising career in the 80s and 90s. He had his breakthrough in Second City Television, a sketch comedy series. After that, he appeared in a number of movies like Ghostbusters I and II, Little Shop of Horrors, and Parenthood. But after the tragic death of his wife, Rick decided to take a step back and focus on his children.
Remember the creepy twins from The Shining? Well, actress Lisa and Louise Burns said that they were "shunned" from Hollywood. Neither of the sisters is acting today. Instead Lisa works as a lawyer, while Louise is a research scientist. They also opened a Twitter account and still attend horror conventions now and again.
The famous soap opera, Melrose Place, made Andrew Shue into a household name, but he retired from acting later, and co-founded Do Something, a nonprofit dedicated to getting young people active in their community. In 2006, he founded a social networking website CafeMom, which is an online community for moms to connect and share advice and ideas.
Stanley Kirk Burrell, or better known as MC Hammer, is considered one of the forefathers of the pop-rap genre, though he lost all his fortune in the nineties. His famous rap records include "U Can't Touch This" and "2 Legit 2 Quit". Now Hammer still occasionally releases music, but has focused more on a preaching career.
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