15 Major Movie Stars Who Left Hollywood And Never Looked Back

"Мудрый человек требует всего только от себя, ничтожный же человек требует всего от других." Лев Толстой ZM
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Take this (incredibly well-paid) job and shove it, I guess.

1.

Cameron Diaz


Elisabetta Villa / Getty Images

Who she was in Hollywood: For two decades following her debut in 1994’s hit The Mask, Cameron remained one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, equally adept at comedies (like There’s Something About Mary) and dramas (like Vanilla Sky). She was also one of Charlie’s Angels and the voice of Fiona in Shrek!

Why she left: Cameron last appeared onscreen in 2014’s Annie. In 2018 she announced she was retired, later saying, «I don’t miss performing,» and that she really enjoyed having time for herself. She also recently became a mother, welcoming a daughter, Raddix, in December.

2.

Rick Moranis


Disney

Who he was in Hollywood: Rick was a major comedy star in the ’80s, starting out on the Canadian comedy sketch show SCTV and then starring in movies (often alongside Steve Martin) like Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Parenthood, The Flintstones, and the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids franchise.

Why he left: Sadly, Rick’s wife, Ann, died of cancer in 1991 at the age of 35, leaving Rick a single parent to their two young children. So after filming 1997’s Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, Rick left Hollywood to focus on raising his kids full time. He hasn’t appeared on the big screen since (though he has done the occasional voice role). His 23-year-old hiatus may come to an end soon, though: There are plans for him to star in a new Honey, I Shrunk the Kids film called Shrunk, with Josh Gad playing his son.

3.

Phoebe Cates


Universal, Angela Weiss / Getty Images

Who she was in Hollywood: Phoebe was just about everyone’s crush in the ’80s, thanks to her iconic performance in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. She later starred in the Gremlins films, which were worldwide smashes.

Why she left: In 1989, Phoebe married actor Kevin Kline, and the couple went on to have two children, Greta (who records music under the name Frankie Cosmos) and Owen. Kline told Playboy magazine that the couple «agreed to alternate so that we’re never working at the same time … [but] whenever it’s been her slot to work, Phoebe has chosen to stay with the children.» Phoebe’s last starring role was in 1994’s Princess Caraboo, although she made a small appearance in 2001’s The Anniversary Party as a favor to Jennifer Jason Leigh, her friend and Fast Times costar. Phoebe also owns and operates the Blue Tree boutique in New York City.

4.

Michael Schoeffling


Universal / Orion

Who he was in Hollywood: In 1984 Michael made a big splash in his film debut, playing Jake Ryan opposite Molly Ringwald in John Hughes’ teen classic Sixteen Candles. He went on to star in nine more films, including Vision Quest and Mermaids (opposite Winona Ryder).

Why he left: In the early ’90s, Michael was still landing lead roles (in films like Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken) but made the decision to leave Hollywood and move his young family back to his native Pennsylvania, where he opened a woodworking shop. He has kept a low-profile ever since, but we do know his daughter has gone on to become a successful model.

5.

Dolores Hart


Paramount, Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Who she was in Hollywood: Dolores burst onto the movie scene as a teen in 1957 when she played Elvis Presley’s love interest in Loving You. From there she established herself as a glamorous leading lady, starring in nine more features, including the cult classic Where the Boys Are.



Why she left: In 1964 the then–24-year-old stunned Hollywood by announcing she was leaving acting to become a nun. She entered the Abbey of Regina Laudis monastery in Connecticut, where she still lives today.

6.

Al Franken


NBC, Public domain / Via en.wikipedia.org

Who he was in Hollywood: Al Franken wrote for and performed on Saturday Night Live across three decades, reaching the pinnacle of his fame in the ’90s with his self-help–guru character Stuart Smalley («You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it — people like you!»).

Why he left: In the early ’00s, Al launched a career as a political radio host, and he was a US senator, representing the state of Minnesota, from 2009 to 2018.

7.

Karyn Parsons


NBC

Who she was in Hollywood: Karyn starred as Hilary Banks alongside Will Smith on the classic ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She also starred in comedies like 1995’s Major Payne opposite Damon Wayans.

Why she left: After starring in the feature comedy The Ladies Man with Tim Meadows and Will Ferrell in 2000 and on the ABC sitcom The Job from 2001 to 2002, Karyn got married, had a child, and shifted her focus to writing. She created Sweet Blackberry, a nonprofit organization with the mission of bringing little-known stories of African American achievement to children everywhere, and wrote the children’s book How High the Moon.

8.

Grace Kelly


MGM, AFP / Getty Images

Who she was in Hollywood: In the early ’50s, Grace became a huge star thanks to a remarkable run appearing in critical and box office successes including High Noon, The Country Girl (for which she won Best Actress at the Academy Awards), and three Alfred Hitchcock classics: Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, and To Catch a Thief.

Why she left: In 1955, while at the Cannes Film Festival, Grace met Monaco’s Prince Rainier III. A year later, she retired as an actor at age 26, married the prince, and spent the rest of her life fulfilling her duties as the princess of Monaco.

9.

Gene Hackman


Paramount, Buena Vista

Who he was in Hollywood: First nominated for an Academy Award in 1967 for Bonnie and Clyde, Gene went on to win two Academy Awards (for 1971’s The French Connection and 1992’s Unforgiven) while remaining a much-sought-after star for the rest of the century.

Why he left: After acting in 70-plus films, Gene announced his retirement in 2004. Since then he has transitioned into a career as an author and written or cowritten five novels.

10.

Bridget Fonda


Warner Bros., Miramax

Who she was in Hollywood: A third-generation member of the famous Fonda acting family, Bridget was a talented and likable actor who made a name for herself in the ’80s and ’90s, starring in hits like Singles and Jackie Brown.

Why she left: Bridget last appeared in a feature in 2001, not long before she married composer Danny Elfman in 2003. The couple had a son, Oliver, in 2005, and Bridget has also helped raise Danny’s children from a previous marriage, so it appears that she has focused on family life.

11.

Daniel Day-Lewis


AFP / Getty Images

Who he was in Hollywood: The revered British method actor is the only man to have won three Best Actor Academy Awards (for My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, and Lincoln).

Why he left: In June 2017, not long after receiving an Academy Award nomination for Phantom Thread, Daniel issued a statement saying that he would no longer be working as an actor and that it was a «private decision.»

12.

Greta Garbo


MGM

Who she was in Hollywood: Greta, after getting her start in Swedish silent films, came to Hollywood in 1925 and quickly became a worldwide star thanks to Flesh and the Devil. When sound came to the movies, many silent film stars saw their careers end, but Greta became an even bigger star, earning three Academy Award nominations for classics like 1936’s Camille.

Why she left: In 1941 Greta was humiliated by the poor reviews she received for her appearance in Two-Faced Woman. Despite still being a huge star and only 36, she never made another film. She lived reclusively — focusing on art collecting — over her remaining 48 years of life.

13.

Meghan Markle


USA, WPA Pool / Getty Images

Who she was in Hollywood: Meghan appeared in films like Remember Me before starring as Rachel Zane in the hit legal drama Suits for seven seasons.

Why she left: In 2016 a mutual friend set up Meghan on a blind date with Prince Harry. They fell in love, and Meghan — shortly before marrying Harry — left Suits (which has carried on for two more seasons without her). Now the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan gave birth to baby Archie on May 6, 2019.

14.

Cary Grant


Central Press / Getty Images, RKO

Who he was in Hollywood: Cary was a suave, superstar leading man of the classic Hollywood era, best remembered for screwball comedies like Bringing Up Baby and his work with Alfred Hitchcock, including North by Northwest.

Why he left: After the birth of his only child, Jennifer (Mom was actor Dyan Cannon), Cary retired at the age of 62 to focus on raising her with a sense of stability. He lived another 20 years, turning down roles in films like Heaven Can Wait along the way.

15.

Shirley Temple


Universal, Public domain / Via en.wikipedia.org

Who she was in Hollywood: Shirley was probably the biggest child star of all time, and the biggest movie star in the world — of any age — in the 1930s. Later, her films as an adult weren’t as successful, but she was still a star, and costarred with John Wayne in John Ford’s acclaimed hit Fort Apache.

Why she left: Shirley, unhappy with being typecast and the lesser quality of her films, announced her retirement on Dec. 16, 1950, at the age of 22. She went on to have a long career in foreign service, most notably as a US ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She was also the first woman to hold the position of chief of protocol of the United States, under President Gerald Ford.

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