’80s Stars Who Quit Showbusiness

80s Stars Who Completely Disappeared

From being typecast, screwed by managers and agents to not enjoying fame, we take a look at the stars who could still be on screen today but quit the limelight.

Ever since the rise of the hit Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things, ’80’s nostalgia has exploded. The hairstyles, music, and fashion of the era all made a significant comeback, and so did the films and TV shows that defined the era. As 1980’s nostalgia rises, so does curiosity about what became of the decade’s biggest stars.

Many stars of the 1980s went on to become the Hollywood icons we know today. Johnny Depp is a prime example, he started as the heartthrob in the TV show 21 Jump Street and became one of the most successful actors of his generation. But not every star who was big in the ’80s stayed in the spotlight. Fame is fickle and tiring, and these stars from the decade of Ronald Reagan, leg warmers, Alf, and scrunchies opted out after making it big.

10 Claudia Wells

We all remember the lovely Claudia Wells as Marty McFly’s supportive girlfriend Jennifer Parker in the ’80s classic Back to the Future. Unfortunately for Wells, that’s the only place we remember her. After the film’s astronomical success, she starred in the television adaptation of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, taking over the role made famous by Phoebe Cates. CBS canceled it after seven episodes.

Her career pretty much died out after that, but she he did lend her voice to Back to the Future: The Game and has appeared in a few television series here and there, including The Mentalist and The Comeback Kids. She now owns a men’s clothing store called Armani Wells in Studio City, Calif.

However, life is good on the convention circuit, where Wells meets Back to the Future fans around the globe. When they realize who she is, their reaction is always the same. “They blush, and then they’re like, ‘I always wanted to meet you — you were my dream girlfriend,'”. “I wish I’d known that in high school.”

9 Haviland Morris

One will most likely recognize Morris as Caroline Munford from Sixteen Candles. She was also in Gremlins 2, a few Madonna music videos, and other projects, but the iconic John Hughes film has always been her biggest claim to fame. After slowing down her career in the 1990s and 2000s, opting for roles in shows like Law and Order and films like Home Alone 3, Morris quit acting and is now a real estate agent.

8 Phoebe Cates

Cates became an icon thanks to her bikini scene in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, a scene that without a doubt got replayed to the point of wear and tear on many rented videos. Cates retired after marrying actor Kevin Kline in the 1990s. She then opened a high-end boutique named Blue Tree and has been its owner and operator ever since. She did return to the screen briefly in 2001 for a role in the indie comedy The Anniversary Party. Kline and she are still married and they have two children together.

7 Danny Lloyd

One might remember him better as Danny Torrance, the little boy from the classic horror film The Shining based on the classic Stephen King novel. The film is considered by many to be one of the best horror films ever made, although it is detested by King. Lloyd only did one other film before quitting acting, a TV movie about Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy. Lloyd is now a biology teacher in Kentucky. He did return to the screen very briefly for a cameo in the movie Doctor Sleep, the 2019 sequel to The Shining.

6 Tiffany Darwish

Tiffany Darwish, better known to her fans just as “Tiffany,” became a pop sensation and an apt idol for the era because she garnered her popularity by touring her music at shopping malls. It can’t get more ’80s than that. However, Darwish’s fame quickly faded, and eventually, she would step back to open a clothing shop in Nashville. During a show in 2021, Tiffany Darwish went viral briefly for cussing out a fan.

5 Jeff Cohen

No one is a 1980s fan unless they have seen The Goonies. The film features an array of notorious 1980s stars, and among them is Jeff Cohen, who played the loveable, truffle-shuffling Chunk in the adventure comedy. Cohen did not stay the chunky boy he was forever, he got in shape, quit acting, and is now an attorney. He is also a published author, he writes books about how his experience in Hollywood taught him how to make deals.

4 Michael Schoeffling

He might always be known as Jake Ryan, the crushed-on character from Sixteen Candles, but he is now a carpenter living with his family in Pennsylvania. Schoeffling did 8 more films after Sixteen Candles, none of which were nearly as iconic. But being 1/2 of one of the most iconic kisses in film history is enough of an achievement to retire on.

3 Kirk Cameron

Cameron entered the homes of many as Mike Seaver on the popular sitcom Growing Pains, which also launched the career of Leonardo DiCaprio. Cameron is now an evangelical pastor. He did return to film to spread his gospel in the 2000 film Left Behind, which is based on a popular series of Evangelical novels about life on Earth after the rapture.

2 Jami Gertz

Titles with Gertz include classics such as Crossroads, Less Than Zero, Sixteen Candles, and The Lost Boys. Through the 1990s and 2000s, Gertz made her way through a series of television shows including ER, Ally McBeal, and an episode of Seinfeld. She is now one of the owners of the Atlanta Hawks NBA team and represented her team during the 2015 player draft.

1 Rick Moranis

Moranis’s departure from Hollywood was bittersweet, although the actor claims he is willing to return if a role ever tickles his fancy. But Moranis left Hollywood after accumulating an impressive and iconic resume. He’s been in everything from Ghostbusters to Spaceballs, and his tenure with SCTV earned him some critical acclaim too. Moranis stopped acting to focus on raising his children after his wife died of cancer. The internet exploded in excitement when in 2021 he returned to acting (sort of) by appearing in a Mint Mobile ad with Ryan Reynolds (who now owns the growing cellphone service).

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Shaz Salimian
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