30 Stars Who Gave Up Acting For Normal Jobs

Thousands of people work every day of their lives to have a taste of fame. But many celebs had enough and then decide to dedicate their lives to activities away from all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Today, we’ll be counting down 30 celebrities who now have regular jobs, and are much better off this way! You’ll be surprised by #12, #7 and #3!

#30. Shaquille O’Neal

The sports world changed when a young Shaquille O’Neal entered the basketball scene. At 7ft 1inch and just 19 years old, the basketball superstar joined the NBA and started playing for the Orlando Magic. Through his 19-year career, he played for a total of six teams, and he’s one of only three players to win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP and Finals MVP awards in the same year (2000)

Photo: Courtesy of Bankrate

But after his retirement, he stepped away from the spotlight to continue his studies, which he left when he became a famous athlete. He earned his MBA in 2005 and later began working on an educational doctorate at Barry University, which he finished in 2012. He also became a reserve officer with the Los Angeles and Miami Police and was also sworn in as a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia.

#29. Charlie Korsmo

Charlie Korsmo started out as a child actor in 1990,when he was 12 years old. He appeared in Dick Tracy, and also played Richard Dreyfuss‘ son in What about Bob? But his most memorable role was as the son of Peter Pan (played by Robin Williams) in the 1991 film Hook. His last appearance in the big screen was in Can’t Hardly Wait in 1998. After enjoying a few years in the spotlight, Korsmo decided to quit acting for good.

Photo: Courtesy of People

Unlike his father in the film, Korsmo grew up and excelled in his academic and professional life. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a degree in Physics in 2000. He later went to Yale, where he got a Law degree in 2006 and was also involved in politics. He worked for the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, and for the Environmental Protection Agency. At the moment, he is working as a professor at the Case Western Reserve University. Impressive!

#28. Jack Gleeson

Although he acted for several years, Jack Gleeson is mostly known as the evil King Joffrey from the super successful HBO series Game of Thrones. Unlike his character, riches and popularity were never important to him, and he announced that he would retire from acting once he finished working on GOT. In 2014, he officially did so to focus on his academic career.

Photo: Courtesy of Vanity Fair

After graduating from Trinity College in Dublin, he was elected a scholar. He also co-founded the Collapsing Horse Theatre Company, and he was part of the original cast in the company’s first theatre production Monster / Clock, a children’s theater show. The production was a success, which allowed him to develop Bears in Space, the second show made by his theater company.

#27. Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman started acting in 1956, when he was 26 years old. His first big role was in 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde, for which he received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Later in his career, he appeared on numerous films and received four more nominations. In 2008 he decided to quit acting for good, after having a career that spanned for nearly five decades.

Photo: Courtesy of Youtube

He dedicated his talents to the written word and released his first historical fiction novel, Wake of the Perdido Star, together with undersea archaeologist Daniel Lenihan in 1999. They also wrote two other novels together, and Hackman released his first solo novel, Payback at Morning Peak, in 2011. At the age of 89, he’s still writing and enjoying his retirement with his family.

#26. Al Green

Singer, songwriter, and record producer Al Green is best known for recording many soul hit singles during the 1970s. His biggest hits include Take Me to the River, Tired of Being Alone, and I’m Still in Love with You. Considered one of the most gifted soul artists, he won a total of 19 Grammy Awards. After tragedy hit his life, Green had a religious awakening and became a reverend.

Photo: Courtesy of Grammy

The famous musician became an ordained pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in 1976 but continued to record music at the same time. He has pursued both of his passions ever since then. His latest album, Lay It Down, was released in 2008. Although it has been eleven years since his last release, Green hasn’t retired from the music industry and might make a comeback someday.

#25. Angus T. Jones

Angus T. Jones is best known for his role as adorable Jake Harper on Two and a Half Men. He was only 10 years old when the show started in 2003, and he played the character for a total of nine seasons. By 2010, he was the highest paid child star in television, earning an estimated $3.9 million per season. In 2012, the young actor decided his time on the show had run its course, and decided to retire from acting.

Photo: Courtesy of ABC News

He attended the University of Colorado after leaving the show and focused most of his time to his religion. In 2016, the retired actor joined the management team of Tonite, a multimedia and event production company founded by P. Diddy‘s son Justin Combs, and has been working there since then. He did return to acting briefly, however. He made a cameo in the series finale, which aired in 2015.

#24. Kevin Jonas

Musician, singer, songwriter, and actor Kevin Jonas reached ultimate fame as 1/3 of the Jonas Brothers. He and his brothers played music since they were very young, and they got their first record deal in 2006. In 2007, they were signed by Disney, and the rest is history. The brothers announced their disbanding in 2013, and Kevin focused his time and energy on other things.

Photo: Courtesy of Bekia

On top of becoming a devoted husband and father of two, Kevin founded a real-estate development and construction company called JonasWerner and began working as a professional contractor. He also became the co-CEO of The Blu Market, a communications company, and created a food app called Yood. Although the band made a comeback earlier this year, he’s still working as a contractor on the side.

#23. Phoebe Cates

The gorgeous Phoebe Cates became a superstar in the 1980s, appearing in several successful films. Her most famous credits include Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins. She also worked as a model and graced the covers of teen magazines such as Seventeen, Tiger Beat, and Teen Beat. She also worked as a singer and appeared in a few musicals. In 1994, however, she decided to retire from acting.

Photo: Courtesy of Chatterbusy

She decided to become a full-time mom, and retired after working on her last film, Princess Caraboo. She did return to acting briefly in 2001 for one film, The Anniversary Party, which was directed by her best friend and former Fast Times at Ridgemont High co-star, Jennifer Jason Leigh. She also provided her voice playing her Gremlins character for the video game Lego Dimensions.

#22. Josh Saviano

Like many of the stars on our list, Josh Saviano became famous as a child star in the 1980s. His first television role was in a toothpaste commercial, but he’s best known for playing Kevin Arnold‘s best friend, Paul Joshua Pfeiffer, in the comedy-drama television show The Wonder Years. He also appeared in other shows and a couple of movies but stopped acting to go to college.

Photo: Courtesy of TKM

He earned his Law degree after studying at Yeshiva University, and later majored in Political Science at Yale. Saviano has been working as a lawyer in his native New York since then. He returned to television in 2014 to play a lawyer in three episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, perhaps because the role wasn’t too far from his current job. Hopefully, this wasn’t the last thing we’ll see of the talented actor.

#21. Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar became a teen superstar in the 1990s thanks to her starring role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The super successful show ran for six years, and Gellar moved on to the big screen and appeared in several movies. Her most notable film appearances were in I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions and Scream 2. But the talented actress decided to focus on other things in 2015.

Photo: Courtesy of Today

Gellar got tired of slaying vampires and decided to put on an apron instead when she co-founded baking kit company FoodStirs 2015. She also released a cookbook titled Stirring up Fun with Food in 2017. She’s still acting though, as it was announced in January that she will be appearing in the limited series Sometimes I Lie, which she is also producing. We can’t wait to see her back on the small screen!

#20. Taran Noah Smith

Taran Noah Smith is widely known for his role as Marcus “Mark” Jason Taylor on Home Improvement, one of the longest-running and most widely viewed sitcoms of the 1990s. He started on the show when he was just 7 years old, and the show ended when he was 16. He had a bright future ahead of him in the acting world, but when the show finished, he realized it wasn’t the right fit for him.

Photo: Courtesy of Heightline

A year later, he married Heidi van Pelt, and together the happy couple founded Playfood, a California-based non-dairy cheese manufacturer and restaurant specializing in vegan and organic foods. Although the couple got divorced in 2007, they are on good terms, and they both continue to work in the company. He has also dedicated time to charity work, and he volunteered to do disaster relief in the Philippines in 2014.

#19. Dylan Sprouse

Dylan and his twin brother, Cole Sprouse, started acting when they were just babies. Twins are usually cast for TV and movies because it is easier to film long hours with two babies instead of one, so these two got plenty of work. Their first role came when they were one year old, and they appeared in several shows and movies, most notably in Friends.

Photo: Courtesy of Youtube

They later got their own Disney Channel show, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, which also opened many doors for them to keep acting. Although Cole is still acting and is currently starring on the teen drama Riverdale, Dylan preferred to go to NYU and study video game design. In 2018, he also opened his own brewery in New York, called All-Wise Meadery.

#18. Chris Owen

Chris Owen is best known for his role as The Sherminator on the American Pie franchise. He played the famous role for a total of four movies, but he also did other stuff too. He had his first gig when he was only ten years old, and went on to appear on numerous films during the 1990s. He also worked on a couple of TV shows, like Monk and The Mentalist.

Photo: Courtesy ofT13

In 2014, however, he started working as a waiter in California. In an interview, he said that he took the job to finance himself between movies. Hollywood is tough, and sometimes things don’t go as planned. But now, luck seems to be in his favor, because he appeared in two films, and has a role on Criminal Minds. Hopefully, we’ll see more of him soon.

#17. Vanilla Ice

Vanilla Ice came to fame in 1990, with the release of his hit single Ice Ice Baby, which was an instant success. The song was number one on the Billboard charts for an incredible sixteen weeks. After that, he continued making music, and also appeared on a few movies, such as That’s My Boy, and reality shows, like Dancing with the Stars. But nowadays, he’s spending less time in the studio and more time remodeling houses.

Photo: Courtesy of Andina

The fifty-year-old rapper is currently working in the real estate business. He is actually a handyman and has experience with home improvement and house flipping since the early 1990s. He also turned his house-flipping business into a reality show, The Vanilla Ice Project, which has been running for eight seasons. In addition to the show, he’s still making music.

#16. Kurtis Blow

Kurtis Blow became known as a rapper in the 1980s, but his resumé is quite impressive. The American rapper, singer, songwriter, record/film producer, b-boy, and DJ, is the first rapper to have a certified gold record, thanks to his hit song The Breaks. During his career, he released a total of fifteen albums and garnered worldwide success. At the age of fifty-nine, however, Blow is doing something much different.

Photo: Courtesy of Complex

Kurtis became an ordained minister in 2009 and founded The Hip Hop Church in Harlem. At the church, he serves as rapper, DJ, worship leader and licensed minister. But by no means does that mean his music career is over. While he is very passionate about his faith, the legendary rapper intends to continue making music.

#15. Al Franken

Al Franken made millions laugh for a whopping twenty years on Saturday Night Live. The experienced comedian also appeared in a few movies, and also became an author. He published not one, not two, but four books, which became The New York Times Best Sellers. Despite his love for comedy, he decided to follow his other passion: politics. At first, he tried doing both but later chose to be a politician full-time.

Photo: Courtesy of The Nation

He got his own radio show, The Al Franken Show, in 2004, while he still did some acting. But in 2005, he decided to focus on politics full time. After much activism and campaigning, he was elected as senator in Minnesota, a position he has been holding ever since. He seems to be very happy with his current job because he has no plans to go back to the acting world.

#14. Jeff Cohen

We got to meet Jeff Cohen when he was an adorable ten-year-old in the super successful 1985 adventure film The Goonies. The movie grossed $61.5 million worldwide and has become a cult film over the years. Cohen made a couple of movies more, such as Scooby-Doo in 1988, and later started appearing on television shows like Family Ties and The Facts of Life.

Photo: Courtesy of Getafe

His career in the show business, however, ended in 1987, with his last-ever appearance on TV. At that time, Cohen was just 13 years old. The truth is that he didn’t want to act anymore, and wanted to have a normal childhood. After high school, he studied business and law, and in 2002, he co-founded the Cohen & Gardner firm in Beverly Hills. He’s a very successful lawyer now!

#13. Jon Gosselin

Jon Gosselin is mostly known for fathering sextuplets with then-wife Kate Gosselin, and starring in their own reality show, Jon and Kate + 8. The show revolved around the couple’s daily struggles when taking care of their eight children, and it was hugely successful. The married couple also wrote a book about their experience as parents, which became a Best Seller.

Photo: Courtesy of In Touch Weekly

Sadly, the couple got divorced in 2009. Kate continued doing reality television with the children, while Jon decided to go back to living a normal life in Pennsylvania. Gosselin has been working as a cook since then and doesn’t miss the spotlight at all. It was fun while it lasted, but the ex-reality star was more than happy to live a quiet, normal life again.

#12. Peter Ostrum

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was a huge hit in the 1970s. The musical fantasy film was an adaptation of the famous Roald Dahl novel titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it had Peter Ostrum playing the role of Charlie. Ostrum was only twelve years old when he starred in the film, and he realized that one film was enough for a lifetime.

Photo: Courtesy of Born realist

After the movie, he was offered a three-film contract, but he declined. While he enjoyed the experience, he had another passion: animals. After his family bought a horse, it became his dream to become a veterinarian, and when he grew up, his dream came true. He specializes in horses, his favorite animal. Although he was interested in acting again, being a vet was always his number one priority.

#11. MC Hammer

MC Hammer had immense commercial success and popularity in the late 1980s, thanks to his catchy records, U Can’t Touch This and 2 Legit 2 Quit,  which made him an instant star. He was also a trendsetter, as he popularized Hammer pants, which are baggy pants with a sagging rise made suitable for hip-hop dancing. But in the early 1990s, he decided to pursue other things.

Photo: Courtesy of The Verge

In 1991, the Hammer established Oaktown Stable, which would eventually have nineteen Thoroughbred racehorses. Ten years later, he signed a book deal, but unfortunately, he never released any books. He also did inspirational conferences and started a mixed martial arts management company to manage martial artists. To top it off, he also developed a deep search engine called WireDoo, which was set to replace Google, but it was never released.

#10. Michael Maronna

You might remember Michael Maronna as “Big Pete” Wrigley from The Adventures of Pete & Pete, which aired through the 1990s on Nickelodeon. The adorable red-headed kid also appeared in Home Alone, as one of the many brothers of the main character, Kevin. He also had minor roles in Law and Order. But the promising star didn’t want a future in the spotlight.

Photo: Courtesy of Life & Style

In fact, Michael wanted to work behind the scenes. He started working as an electrician for films and television since 1996 and on major films such as Sex and The City and Be Kind Rewind. He did do some more acting, such as appearing in music videos, but Maronna is the happiest when he’s behind the scenes, where all the real action happens. He is also doing a podcast, with one of his best friends…

#9. DannyTamberelli

Danny Tamberelli worked alongside Michael Maronna on The Aventures of Pete & Pete, portraying the role of Little Pete. But unlike his co-star, Tamberelli remained on the network and became one of the cast members on All That. He later became a panelist on the game show Figure It Out and his latest acting gig was playing Jimmy De Santa in the video game Grand Theft Auto V.

Photo: Courtesy of Journey of a frontman

In recent years, however, Danny pursued his other passion: music. He is the bassist and vocalist for the rock band Jounce, formed in Northern New Jersey. He also started a podcast in 2013 with Maronna, where they talk about different current topics, and he also guest starred in other podcasts. It’s nice to see that the two of them remained close after all these years! Maybe we’ll see a reboot of the show at some point?

#8. George Foreman

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who think that George Foreman is a famous boxer, and those who think that that name belongs to a type of grilling machine. The truth is: both are correct. Foreman worked as a professional boxer between 1969 and 1997, and became a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. But after he retired, he decided to make the best use of his name.

Photo: Courtesy of  Images My

But he is an ordained minister, author, and entrepreneur as well. The former boxer turned his passion for cooking into a multimillion-dollar brand when he created the George Foreman Grill, which was a huge success. He sold over 100 million grills and earned an estimated $240 million in its first 10 years in the market (and God knows how much more he’s made by now!)

#7. Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson was a superstar in the 1990s. The whole world fell in love with her in movies like Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, and let’s not forget Miracle on 34th Street. The adorable Wilson was only seven years old when she made her debut on the big screen. When she turned thirteen, however, she decided to take a break from acting, which lasted twelve years.

Photo: Courtesy of Vanity Fair

After spending many years away from the spotlight, she came out with a book, titled Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame in 2016. The book tells her struggles with being a child actor, as well as behind-the-scenes anecdotes from her most famous movies. The book was a success, and she’s planning on writing more. She also came back to acting recently.

#6. Karyn Parsons

Actress and comedian Karyn Parsons is best known for her role as Hilary Banks on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which aired from 1990 to 1996. She later became a producer, and co-wrote and co-starred in the TV show Lush Life, and also appeared in a few movies. But the beautiful star is busy with other types of projects nowadays, and she hasn’t done any acting since 2000.

Photo: Courtesy of Forbes

Parsons dedicates most of her time to philanthropic work. She founded the Sweet Blackberry Foundation, which aims to tell children the stories of lesser-known African American heroes. She is still acting though, but her family and her foundation are her top priority. And, she’s said she’d be happy doing a Fresh Prince reunion, so we have our fingers crossed.

#5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a retired professional basketball player, who played a total of 20 seasons in the NBA. Abdul-Jabbar was a record six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a record 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, and an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member. With such an impressive career under his arm, he retired after 20 years.

Photo: Courtesy of WSJ

After retiring, however, the seventy-two-year-old athlete became an author. He has written and co-authored more than 13 books, and also published several essays. Not only that, but he became a cultural ambassador for the United States, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom under President Barack Obama for his humanitarian work. Is there anything this guy can’t do?

#4. Nikki Blonsky

Nikki Blonsky is an actress, singer, and dancer, who is best known for her role as Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 film Hairspray She also played Maggie Baker in the 2008 film Queen Sized and starred in the television series Huge. The talented actress also released a music album in 2007 and won a Grammy Award for her vocal performance on Hairspray. But nowadays, she’s doing something much different.

Photo: Courtesy of Us Magazine

While she was still acting, she went to beauty school. In 2011, Blonsky earned a cosmetology license and began working part-time as a hairstylist and make-up artist in her hometown of Great Neck, New York. Although she loves performing, she also has a passion for cosmetology and enjoys living a quiet life with her family.

#3. Danny Lloyd

Danny Lloyd is best known for his role as Danny Torrance in the horror film The Shining. He was just seven years old when he filmed the cult classic, which went down as one of the best horror films in the history of cinema. They actually got him to act in the movie without him knowing it was a horror film so he wouldn’t be scared —how adorable is that?

Photo: Courtesy of Pics of Celebrities

But, the movie seemed to scare him off acting anyway, as he decided acting just wasn’t what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He had a normal childhood after that and went on to study Biology at University. In 2007, Lloyd became a biology professor at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

#2. Andrew Shue

Andrew Shue broke millions of hearts when he played the role of Billy Campbell on the television series Melrose Place from 1992 to 1999. He also worked as a soccer player in Zimbabwe, playing for the Bulawayo Highlanders. He juggled both his passions during the 1990s, but in the 2000s, he decided to step away from the spotlight to pursue other things.

Photo: Courtesy of NBC Connecticut

Along with his childhood best friend Michael Sanchez, Andrew co-founded the social networking website CafeMom in 2006, which served as a forum for parents, and provided an online community for moms to connect and share advice and ideas. Although the website shut down in 2018, he still has several other sites that he manages, algong with a webisode series called Mad Life.

#1. Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes was a prominent child star during the 1990s and early 2000s. She had various roles in Nickelodeon‘s All That, and later got her own show on the same network, The Amanda Show. Following her success on TV, she moved on to several starring roles in numerous films, such as What a Girl Wants and She’s the Man. In 2010, however, she decided to take a break from acting.

Photo: Courtesy of Complex

She went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, where she earned her undergraduate degree, and enjoyed a few years away from the spotlight while doing so. Although she had a great time in college, she’s planning on making a comeback soon, as she has said she’s ready to get back to acting. We can’t wait to see what she’s got for us!

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    Angeles

    24 - Argentina.

    She's a journalist and a website developer based in New York.

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