Hollywood life can change at the drop of a dime. One minute a celebrity is selling out stadiums or packing out theaters with hundreds of thousands of people, the next thing they are struggling to find work or injured from an accident and resorting in selling headshots at conventions to make money and stay relevant.
While it is hard to predict when a celebrity’s line of work will take the plunge or end suddenly, some are smart and like to prepare for the inevitable. These stars know how quickly an accident can end one’s professional goals, or how hard it is to get gigs that will boost one’s name (or just make enough to last them till their next gig). They know that at a certain point they will have to resort in other means to pay their bills sooner or later.
No matter how famous a person is, it is always a good thing to have another skill set tucked away. Sometimes a regular 9am-5pm job is better than a job in Hollywood.
These 20 celebs started their Hollywood lives earlier on but decided to take normal jobs instead, either because they could not find work, the work was too hard, or they decided it just wasn’t the life they wanted to lead.
20 Dylan Sprouse (The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody)
Dylan Sprouse and his twin brother Cole Sprouse, best known for their roles on the Disney show The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, have been acting since they were just one-year-old babies. Their first acting gig was on the show Grace Under Fire, from 1993 to 1998.
According to bestlifeonline.com, while his twin brother Cole is still acting, Dylan decided to ditch it and switch to something else. He is now pursuing a life in the mead industry.
Hard to believe right?
It’s true though. The former actor has gone full-on hipster and has opened up his own mead brewery out in Brooklyn, New York.
19 Karyn Parsons (The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air)
Karyn Parson is best known for role as Hilary Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which she stared in from 1990 to 1996. She has done a few other works both on the big screen and on the television screen such as Major Paine, 13 Moons, and Melrose Place.
According to bestlifeonline.com though, it seems that the year 2002 was the year she decided to take a break from acting and instead lend her talents to philanthropic endeavors instead.
Nowadays, Karyn runs the Sweet Blackberry Foundations, which helps inform others of the stories of lesser-known African American heroes.
She is making a comeback to television soon though. It seems she is scheduled for the role of Denise Wyatt in a 2019 show called Fly, which is still in production.
18 Angus T. Jones (Two And A Half Men)
Angus T. Jones first role was at the young age of six during the film, Simpatico. It is the role of Jake Harper on the show Two and a Half Men that he is really known for. For 12 years, he stared along Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer. Many would agree that 12 years alongside Charlie Sheen would probably make anyone want to quit acting.
According to bestlifeonline.com, when Angus turned 21, he decided to ditch acting and try a different path. Nowadays, Angus is working as a manager for the production company Tonite, which is co-run by Diddy’s son, Justin Combs.
17 Kevin Jonas (The Jonas Brothers)
In 2007, the Jonas Brothers signed with Hollywood Records and released their second self-titled album that would soon help their professions take off. Before they knew it, they were appearing on different Disney Channel shows, they received their own television series, and they were every teen girl’s dream.
According to bestlifeonline.com, while one of the other brothers is married to Sophie Turner (aka Sansa Stark on the hit HBO show Game of Thrones), the other is also recently married Priyanka Chopra, and Kevin Jonas is living his life as a family man.
Kevin Jonas, the eldest of the Jonas brothers, was working a normal job as a contractor in New Jersey. He is married to a woman named Danielle and has two beautiful little girls. However, as of late, his "normalcy" came to a halt when the trio wanted to bring back the band. Time will tell how long Kevin lasts!
16 Amanda Bynes (The Amanda Show)
Amanda Bynes started her acting profession at the young age of seven. For a while there she jumped around from different plays and commercials before rising to fame becoming the toast of teen TV in the '90s.
According to bestlifeonline.com, The Amanda Show host took a turn for down the wrong path for a while after her last film in 2010, Easy A, and became mixed up with a few different legal issues.
Luckily though, she is now sober thanks to the help of her parents and is back on the straight and narrow. Education became her top priority, however, and in 2013 she enrolled herself in California’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, where she received her Associate's degree in 2018. She is now planning to go back for a bachelor’s degree.
15 Josh Saviano (The Wonder Years)
Josh Saviano is one of those actors who has gone back and forth with his love for acting.
According to bestlifeonline.com, Josh’s first actual TV role was in the show The Wonder Years, where from 1988 to 1993 he played the nerdy, but lovable, Paul. In 1993, Josh left acting to focus on his schooling. After graduating from Yale University, Josh went on to receive his JD from the Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law at Yeshiva University. He now works in his home state of New York where he is a lawyer.
He did return to acting though from 2014 to 2015 to play the role of a lawyer in the show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, though.
14 Taran Noah Smith (Home Improvement)
Many know Taran Noah Smith for his role as Mark Taylor on the '90s sitcom Home Improvement. He was seven at the time he was selected for the role and it was his first ever acting gig.
According to bestlifeonline.com, Taran has a passion for healthy living, a passion that he later turned into a business. Back in 2001, Taran was quoted saying: “I started Home Improvement when I was seven, and then show ended when I was 16. I never had a chance to decide what I wanted to do with my life. When I turned 16, I knew I didn’t want to act anymore.”
After his failed marriage to Heidi van Pelt, Taran launched Playfood, which is an Oregon-based line of vegan cashew cheese spreads.
13 Jeff Cohen (The Goonies)
Jeff Cohen started acting at the age of nine. His first role was in a movie called Littles Shots, which aired in 1983. He is best known for his role as Chunk though in the movie The Goonies, where he made the dance, “the truffle shuffle” famous.
According to bestlifeonline.com, after his last movie, Perfect Harmony, Jeff quit acting and decided to focus on his schooling. He attended Berkeley, the University of California, where he earned a B.S. in Business Administration. He later went on to become the founding partner of Cohen Gardner LLP, a law firm in Beverly Hills.
12 Mara Wilson (Matilda)
Mara Wilson was known as the most beloved child stars of the '90s. She first started acting at the young age of six. Her first film was alongside Robin Williams in the comedy Mrs. Doubtfire. It was her role in the loveable classic Matilda though that really pushed her acting passion and won her the Young Star Award for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film.
According to bestlifeonline.com, Mara has given up acting and is now focused on writing. She has written two books so far: Sheeple and Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.
In 2016, Mara made a comeback to television as a voice actress for shows such as Broad City, BoJack Horseman, and Big 6 Hero: The Series.
11 Jack Gleeson (Game Of Thrones)
When Jack Gleeson started acting, he was 10 years old. His first film, which was released in 2002, was called Reign of Fire and it was a film that only offered him a small part.
It wasn’t until his role as King Joffrey in the hit HBO show Game of Thrones that Jack really got noticed and his profession took off. With 26 episodes total on the show, Jack was nominated five times for different awards and even won the IGN People’s Choice Award for "Best Tv Villain."
According to bestlifeonline.com, acting was not his passion though and after three years on the show, Jack left acting to pursue an academic lifestyle at Trinity College in Dublin, where he studied philosophy and theology.
10 Mike Maronna (The Adventures Of Pete And Pete)
Mike Maronna was once known for working in front of the camera. He did a few things in the '90s, but he is best known for his role as Big Pete in Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete.
According to bestlifeonline.com though, Mike decided that he would rather work behind the cameras than in front of them and did a job change. He now is an electrician and works on different movies and TV sets. He has done a few music videos, and even had a stint in Shades of Blue, Sex in the City, and Be Kind Rewind.
9 Danny Tamberelli (The Adventures Of Pete And Pete)
Danny started acting at the young age of four years old. His first role was as Sean Novak on the ABC soap opera Ryan’s Hope. Around the year 1990, he was cast as Little Pete, alongside Mike Maronna who played Big Pete, in the 60-second short series The Adventures of Pete & Pete, which later progressed to half-hour segments in 1993.
According to bestlifeonline.com, acting was not for him though and he switched to music instead. He became a bassist and vocalist in a rock band called Jounce, which released their first album on July 18, 2006.
In 2013, Danny started a podcast with his former Pete & Pete partner, Mike Maronna.
8 Charlie Korsmo (Hook)
Charlie Korsmo was 10 years old when he started filming for his first movie, Men Don’t Leave. He later went on to do the film Hook, which he is best known for, and Can’t Hardly Wait, which was his last movie to act in.
According to bestlifeonline.com, after his last movie in 1998, Charlie decided to quit acting and take a different path. After passing the bar, Charlie took to New York City to become a lawyer, which he did for a few years before being hired as a law professor at Case Western Reserve University.
Twenty years after his last film was released, Charlie, who now goes by Charles, did return to the big screen to take part in the independent film, Chained For Life, which was released in 2018.
7 Danny Lloyd (The Shining)
Danny Lloyd was only six years old when he received the role of Danny Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining back in 1980, one out of three movies he ever did. At just six years old, Danny had an amazing talent to focus for long periods of time, which is what helped to land him the part. As a way not to scare him, the producers told him they were filming a drama movie about a family that lived in a hotel.
According to starstopix.com, at the age of 10, Danny retired from acting, even though he received such an amazing performance review in The Shining. Instead, he went on to become a teacher. As of 2007, he worked as a biology professor at the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
6 Phoebe Cates (Fast Times At Ridgemont High)
Phoebe Cates was not as young as some of the kids in this article when she started acting. Her debut movie film was the 1981 one movie, Paradise, which Phoebe was 17 at the time of filming. The movie had a plot that was almost similar to the plot of The Blue Lagoon and had a few scenes that Phoebe’s father did not like, especially since she was a minor.
In fact, looking back at it, Phoebe herself regrets ever doing the movie. She was even quoted saying, “What I learned was never to do a movie like that again.”
According to starstopix.com, Phoebe later retired in 1994 to raise her children (although she does dabble in some acting here and there) and now is working to raise money for different charities she is part of.
5 Peter Ostrum (Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory)
Peter Ostrum was only 12 years old when he was selected for the role of Charlie Bucket in his one and only movie: the 1971 version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
Peter enjoyed his time filming for the movie and was grateful for the experience he gained from it, but he knew afterward that acting was not his passion.
His passion was horses.
According to starstopix.com, Peter received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984. As of 2005, Peter has been living in Lowville, New York, where he owns a farm with his wife and two children, and works as a veterinarian.
4 Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains)
Kirk Cameron was nine years old when he first entered the entertainment industry. His first ever part was for a breakfast cereal advertisement, but he has done a few other different film and television appearances such as, Like Father Like Son, Listen to Me and Herbie: The Love Bug. The role he is most famous for though was the role of Mike Seaver on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains, which he starred in from 1985 to 1992.
Though Kirk hasn’t done anything major in the film or television industry, he has not officially retired and has done a few appearances in films since Growing Pains went off the air.
According to starstopix.com though, his main focus nowadays is as a fundamentalist Christian writer and speaking about the supposed ills and sins of society.
3 Carrie Henn (Aliens)
Caroline Marie “Carrie” Henn was 10 years old when she was cast as Newt in the 1986 film Aliens; a role that would be her first and her last.
According to starstopix.com, despite winning a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor for her role in the movie, Carrie never went on to do any other movies, television or even voice-over roles. She was at one point signed up to appear in the fan film sequel called Alien: Identity, but it was canceled before filming ever began.
Since walking away from a Hollywood acting life, Carrie is now working as a teacher.
2 Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years)
Danica McKellar was 10 years old when she received her first television part in the TV series The Twilight Zone. Afterward, she went on to do many different things, but it is her part as Winnie Cooper in the show Wonder Years, that she is really known for.
According to starstopix.com, in 1998, Danica received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of California in Los Angeles. Though she has not given up acting completely, having done a few television appearances and voice-over roles in a few TV series, she mainly works as a mathematician, having written a few papers and even a few novels.
1 Brittany Ashton Holmes (The Little Rascals)
Brittany Ashton Holmes was five years old when she started acting. Her first ever role, the role she is most famous for, was as Darla in the 1994 remake of The Little Rascals. After she went on to do a few more film, some including, Death Benefit and Humanoids From The Deep. According to IMDb, Brittany tried acting here and there but called it quits in 2014.
According to startopix.com, though she was adorable, Brittany felt acting was not for her. Currently, she is residing out in Los Angeles, California, where she is working at trying to get a degree in political science.
Sources: bestlifeonline.com, starstopix.com, en.wikipedia.org