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The Decade’s Ten Biggest Flameouts -- The Rae Dawn Chong Effect

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | December 7, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | December 7, 2009 |

One of my favorite things to do in Seriously Random Lists, inexplicably, is to look back at forgotten actors and actresses who, inexplicably, fell into the cracks of the Hollywood studio system and, essentially, disappeared — I call it the Rae Dawn Chong Effect (formerly the Shelley Long Effect). We’re dealing here with only a decade in time, so most of these names — I suspect — will still be familiar to most of you, and a few of them still exist on the fringes. But if you compare where they were during the first half of the decade with where they ended up, it’s clear that the Rae Dawn Chong Effect has taken hold, and soon they, too, will completely fall into the rabbit hole, never to be seen again, except in straight-to-DVD offerings and as patients in medical dramas.

2910100243_4bcb74e264.jpgJoey Lauren Adams:

Best Known For: Chasing Amy, being Kevin Smith’s girlfriend

Last Significant Role: Big Daddy (1999)

What Happened: The Adam Sandler Curse.

michael_vartan.JPG.jpgMichael Vartan

Best Known For: “Alias,” Monster-in-Law

Last Significant Role: “Alias”

What Happened: Jennifer Lopez happened (see also Ben Affleck)

tn-500_lonerganwm1284117.jpgKenneth Lonergan

Best Known For: Writer/Director:  You Can Count On Me (2000)

Last Significant Role: Screenwriter: Gangs of New York (2002)

What Happened: Not sure, but writing The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Analyze That sure as hell didn’t help.

chris_tucker.jpgChris Tucker

Best Known For: The Rush Hour trilogy.

Last Significant Role: Rush Hour 3 (2007)

What Happened: Rush Hour happened. Three times. It’s the only thing he’s done this decade, and he’s got nothing in development.

rupert-everett.jpgRupert Everett

Best Known For: My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), An Ideal Husband (1999)

Last Significant Role: The Importance of Being Earnest (2004)

What Happened: A series of terrible script choices, beginning with Inspector Gadget.

heather_graham.jpgHeather Graham

Best Known For: Boogie Nights (1997)

Last Significant Role: Minor part in The Hangover (2009)

What Happened: She can’t act; Hollywood figured It out.

neve_campbell.jpgNeve Campbell

Best Known For: The Scream franchise.

Last Significant Role: Scream 3 (2000)

What Happened: No clue, really. But for a few guest stints on television shows and an attempt at creating her own television series (“The Philanthropist”), she just kind of vanished.

1538.gifThora Birch

Best Known For: American Beauty (1999), Ghost World (2001)

Last Significant Role: Ghost World

What Happened: Scarlett Johansson?

American-Pie-movie-04.jpgThe Cast of American Pie (Alyson Hannigan and Sean William Scott excluded)

Best Known For: American Pie

Last Significant Role: An American Pie Wedding

What Happened: What did happen to Chris Klein, Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari, Shannon Elizabeth, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nichols, and Tara Reid?

nia-vardalos-closeup.jpgNia Vardalos

Best Known For: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Last Significant Role: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

What Happened: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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