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February 3, 2009 | Comments ()


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The Case of the Disappearing Lead Actor

A Seriously Random List LIII / Dustin Rowles

Seriously Random Lists | February 3, 2009 | Comments ()


A few weeks ago, we ran a Seriously Random List on 10 Actresses who seemingly disappeared from the Hollywood map after a relative period of success. Some of the actresses disappeared for inexplicable reasons, while a few others obviously succumbed to Hollywood Age discrimination. That discrimination, however, doesn’t apply to men, which made compiling the same list for Male Actors far more difficult. Most male actors either progressively indignify themselves with lesser and lesser parts (as is the case with many of those listed below), while a lot of others (Mathew Modine, Joey Lawrence) manage to resurface, years later, in different forms, so to speak. It seems that few actually completely disappear — they just fade away, like many listed below, into the crevices of the straight-to-DVD shelf at your local Blockbuster.

skeet-ulrich-sternotomy-scar.jpg Skeet Ulrich: Signature Role: Billy Loomis in Scream; Last Seen: In the television series, “Jericho”; What’s He Doing Now? After a break-out role in Scream, and a decent supporting effort in As Good as It Gets, Skeet took a role in Chill Factor and basically decimated his career. He had a notable role in the ratings-starved “Jericho” until last year, but you’ll noticed a big huge gap of suck from 1999 - 2006. He does appear to have a small role in a film called Armor, along with Jean Reno, later this year.

diary_matthew_lillard1.jpg Matthew Lillard: Signature Role: Shaggy in the Scooby Doo movies and Stuart Macher in Scream; Last Seen: Without a Paddle; What’s He Doing Now? Straight to DVD fare, like Endless Bummer. Yeah. Endless Bummer, and he’s sixth in the credits, just ahead of Joan Jett.

0_61_121907_pesci.jpg Joe Pesci: Signature Role: Leo Getz in the later Lethal Weapon films and Vinny in My Cousin Vinnie (among many others). Last Seen: For most people, Lethal Weapon 4, though he also had a small role in the little seen The Good Shepard; What’s He Doing Now? What the hell happened? Did he retire? He’s largely been absent for over a decade, though he does appear to be starring in a Taylor Hackford (Ray) movie later this year, opposite Helen Mirren. He was obnoxious, but he was good at it.

presier.jpg Paul Reiser: Signature Role: Paul Buchman in “Mad About You”; Last Seen: One Night at McCools; What’s He Doing Now? Nada. Although he was briefly reported as dead late last year on Wikipedia. What happened to Reiser? Did he just decide to live off his television royalties? Or is he just waiting for the right part? Cause you know: I actually dug Reiser. He was absolutely not an embarrassing television actor, although his few stabs at a movie career were painful.

9300340_tml.jpg Loren Dean: Signature Role: The title character in Mumford; Joe, of “Joe Lies” fame in Say Anything; Last Seen: Mumford; What’s He Doing Now? Being seriously underused in guest roles on television procedurals, although he has a couple of roles in movies of no note in various stages of production. He and Eigeman (below) should get together and create a drama about seriously talented actors who fall through the cracks.

30henry%20thomas.jpg Henry Thomas: Signature Role: Eliot on E.T.; Last Seen: Gangs of New York; What’s He Doing Now? After huge early success, Thomas disappeared, but looked like he was going to resurface for good after roles in All the Pretty Horses and Gangs of New York. He’s been in a lot of unknown crap since then, like “Man of God” in The Last Sin Eater. Yikes. You’d think Spielberg would throw him a bone, at least.

Dougedoug.jpg Doug E. Doug: Signature Role: Sanka Coffie in Cool Runnings; Last Seen: A series regular on Bill Cosby’s “Cosby” (post “Cosby Show”) or Eight Legged Freaks for a few of you; What’s He Doing Now? He was never that famous, and probably doesn’t even belong on this list, but I inexplicably liked Doug E. Doug. Now, he’s doing a bunch of nothing — a few episodes of television dramas of little note.

lucas_black.jpg Lucas Black: Signature Role: Frank Wheatley in Sling Blade and Mike Winchell in Friday Night Lights; Last Seen: Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift; What’s He Doing Now?The great irony is that Lucas Black was the original Paul Walker, although it was Black who replaced Walker in the Fast and Furious franchise, only to be supplanted by Walker again. He’s not done a thing in two years, although he has a small part in a Dennis Quaid movie due out next year. Also, he’s got an awesome, authentic Southern accent.

Frey-ChrisEigeman1H.jpg Chris Eigeman: Signature Role: A Whit Stillman regular, including Frank Boynton in Barcelona ; Last Seen: A short stint on “Gilmore Girls”; What’s He Doing Now? He was in an episode of “Fringe,” but otherwise has faded into obscurity (at least until Stillman returns from his own obscurity), which is a damn shame. Eigeman was awesome in Walking and Talking and a great, short-lived sitcom, “It’s Like, You Know,” which starred an unrecognizable Jennifer Gray as herself. Eigeman clearly had the perfect face for a certain type of movie at a certain time, and those movies are apparently no longer made.

ralph-macchio-now.jpg Ralph Macchio: Signature Role: Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid (duh) Last Seen: My Cousin Vinny; What’s He Doing Now? A couple of episodes of “Ugly Betty,” and that’s about it, although he’s apparently got a role in a zombie flick awesomely called, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead. Unfortunately, from the looks of the trailer, the title is the only cool thing about it. Check it out:


jayedavidson.jpg Jaye Davidson: Signature Role: Dil in The Crying Game; Last Seen: Stargate; What’s He Doing Now? Wow. Dude went from an Oscar nomination to complete and absolute obscurity within two years. He’s got nothing on his filmography since 1994. Actually, it appears he went back into the fashion industry, from whence he came.

joseph%2Bfiennes.jpg Joseph Fiennes: Signature Role: Will Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love; Last Seen: Briefly in Running with Scissors; What’s He Doing Now? Lots. In fact, Fiennes has steady work. He’s just not in a damn thing anyone has probably heard of, although he recently played a transsexual in a television movie, Pretty/Handsome. Mostly, he spends his days living in the shadow of his brother, Ralph.

320x240.jpg Wil Wheaton: Signature Role: Gordie in Stand By Me and Wesley in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”; Last Seen: Star Trek: Nemesis: What’s He Doing Now? Wheaton, as most of you know, is the most popular person in the webosphere, but for a guy with one of the most popular websites in America, he doesn’t do much besides voice work and guest roles in television dramas. I also understand he writes books and plays poker semi-professionally. He’s also got a rabid fan base, so I’m just saying: His inclusion on this list has nothing to do with him personally — I used to read his blog myself. He’s a very cool guy. That doesn’t change the fact that he doesn’t work a lot anymore, at least notably.


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