Actors and Actresses Who Quit Hollywood

Being an actor or an actress is not just about the glitz and the glamor, it also means having your privacy invaded, sleepless nights during shoots, memorizing scripts, auditions, and crazy schedules. Maybe that’s why these actors and actresses traded the fortune, fame and the spotlight for a simple life. Let’s take a look at some actors and actresses who decided to quit Hollywood and if they really stuck to their decision.

1. Robert Redford

For the past 60 years of being an actor, Robert Redford has won six Golden Globes, two Oscars, and a BAFTA. He starred in blockbuster films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Great Gatsby, Out of Africa, and The Sting. But Redford revealed to Entertainment Weekly that he would be retiring from acting and he’s considering working behind the camera.

2. Daniel Day-Lewis

During his career, Daniel Day-Lewis had earned a total of three Best Actor Oscars. But this movie and theater actor does not want to dwell on just one craft only. He said that he likes to pursue other things too. In fact, when he retired from being an actor, he started practicing woodworking and shoemaking.

3. Portia De Rossi

Even if she had a successful and long-running acting stints on the TV show Scandal and Arrested Development, Portia De Rossi still decided to quit her acting career just before she turned 45. She said she wanted to do something different and something she never tried before that’s why she quit acting and put up her own business.

4. Alec Baldwin

In 2009, there had been rumors circulating that Alec Baldwin will quit showbusiness after finishing the TV show 30 Rock because he said that he did not have any interest in acting anymore and he wanted to do something else. But it turns out all he had was plans because after finishing 30 Rock, Baldwin went on to do several movies like Still Alice, Boss Baby, and Blue Jasmine. He even impersonated Donald Trump on a Saturday Night Live episode.

5. Amanda Bynes

After having a successful live action TV show in Nickelodeon entitled The Amanda Show, Amanda Byneshad done several movies such as What I Like About You, Easy A, All That, and She’s the Man. But even if she’s great in what she does, Amanda Bynes decided to step out of the spotlight to pursue a career in fashion design.

6. Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn is one of the most iconic actresses of all time thanks to her films like Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, and of course Breakfast at Tifanny’s. But in the late 1960s she’s sort of gave up her career to focus more on charity work. She worked with UNICEF and traveled to countries such as Somalia, Vietnam, and Honduras to do some humanitarian work. And from time to time, Hepburn managed to a few more films before passing away in 1993.

7. Sean Connery

Sean Connery rose to fame because of his role as James Bond. But after reaching the age of 75, the veteran actor decided to retire from Hollywood in 2006. The last film he did was League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

8. Debra Winger

Although this three-time Oscar nominee did not totally retire from being an actress, she did take a long hiatus from showbiz, 1995 to 2001 to be exact.  She said it was just her way of cleansing her mind and regain her passion for acting.

9. Jack Gleeson

Jack Gleeson, the actor who played King Joffrey in the HBO hit show Game of Thrones, has had his acting career since he was just seven years old. After his role in Game of Thrones was finished, he decided to take a break and enjoy some time off to focus on his studies and bond with his friends and families. He said that he enjoyed being an actor but he did not regret sacrificing a big paycheck for his happiness.

10. Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple is known to be one of the most successful child stars of all time, but it seems like she could not capture the same attention and popularity when it comes to an older audience. That’s why she decided to quit acting at the age of twelve to go to school. She attempted to make a comeback during her early 20’s but she eventually retired too. She pursued other passions and she went on to have a career as a diplomat and as the Ambassador to Ghana and later, to Czechoslovakia.

11. Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman was a two-time Academy Award winner and four-time Golden Globes award winner that is popular for his movies such as The French Connection, The Conversation, and Superman: The Movie. But Gene Hackman decided to gave his career up to pursue his passion for writing. And today, he is now an author who writes historical fiction novels.

12. Danny Lloyd

Llyod was best known for his role as Danny Torrance in the successful 1980 film, The Shining. But Lloyd decided to pursue his passion for teaching. Today he is now a community college biology professor in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

13. Cameron Diaz

In case you haven’t noticed, Cameron Diaz has not been making movies since she finished Annie back in 2014. She explained in an interview that she wanted to find herself and regain her passion for acting that’s why she decided to take some time off. Since then, Cameron Diaz married Good Charlotte frontman Benji Madden and published two books.

14. Corey Haim

Corey Haim was a Canadian who became famous in Hollywood during the 1980s as a teen idol. He starred in several films such as Dream a Little Dream, Snowboard Academy, The Lost Boys, Silver Bullet, and License to Drive. But this actor lost it all when he went into a disastrous cycle of drug addiction when he was just sixteen years old.

15. Taylor Momsen

Taylor Momsen’s most notable role was Jenny Humphrey on the hit teen drama Gossip Girl. But after her role on the show ended in 2011, Taylor reportedly quit acting and Hollywood to form her own rock band called The Pretty Reckless.

16. Dave Chappelle

The people were shocked when they discovered that Dave Chapelle decided to leave his influential Chappelle’s Show in 2005. It seems like it did not matter to Chappelle if he leaves his show and the 50 million dollar payday that comes with it. Chappelle decided to leave it all behind and flew to another country which left everybody clueless and guessing “Where’s Dave?”. The question was answered after 12 years when he returned to television with two-stand up specials that were streamed on Netflix in 2017.

17. Grace Kelly

After starring in various films such as Mogambo, The Country Girl, Dial M for Murder, High Noon, and To Catch a Thief, Grace Kelly decided to quit Hollywood to marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Grace Kelly then became the Princess of Monaco and her fairytale-like story was covered by the media for months.

18. Brad Renfro

Brad Renfro was famous for his role in the films Ghost World, The Client, and Art Pupil. But his career came to an end when he turned into a drug addict in which Director Larry Clark referred to as one of the worst cases in Hollywood. Renfro died in 2008 at the age of 25 because of a heroin overdose.

19. Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo is considered to be one of the most enigmatic stars in the 1930s. But when she retired from acting she said to the press that she was tired of Hollywood and she wanted to live another life.

20. Doris Day

Doris Day is considered to be one of the biggest stars in the 1960s because she was not only an actress, she was a singer as well. Some of the films she starred in were Pillow Talk, Calamity Jane, and Move Over, darling. But Doris Day decided to retire from acting in 1975 because she wanted a simpler life.

21. Angus T. Jones

Alex T. Jones became popular when he was cast alongside Charlie Sheen in the American TV series Two and a Half Men. It took over Jones’ childhood when the show became an instant hit. When he grew up and finished high school he also started to adopt more adult storylines and he found it interfering with his ever-growing Christian faith because of the often lewd rumors of the show. He decided to let his fans know that he’s quitting the show in a Youtube video he made. He also urged fans to stop watching the show and he also admitted that he didn’t like to be on the show either.

22. Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Jonathan Taylor Thomas was one of the teenage heartthrobs in the 90s. He voiced young Simba in the Disney film The Lion King and starred in on-screen adventures like Tom and Huck. But his most popular role is when he played the middle child on the successful TV sitcom Home Improvement. He decided to leave the entertainment industry because he wanted time to focus on his academics. Since then, he spent his time studying at Harvard, St. Andrews University in Scotland, and Columbia University.

23. Rick Moranis

Rick Moranis is famous for his roles in several films such as Little Shop of Horror,  The Flinstones, Ghostbusters, and Honey I Shrunk the Kids. But he retired from showbusiness in the early 90s and instead of auditioning for on-screen roles he focused on voice acting instead while he was raising his children.

24. Bettie Page

Popularly known as the original pinup girl, Bettie Page became known as a sex symbol. She attracted a lot of men when she posed for series of photo shoots where she posed in lingerie, bikinis, and sometimes in the nude. Finally, she caught the attention of the most popular men’s magazine in America, Playboy. She was then given a centerfold feature in 1955 which skyrocketed her into a whole new level of exposure and stardom. But it Page slowly vanished from the public eye and it was later revealed that she became a born-again Christian and she’s battling with mental illness.