Career Suicide: 10 Actors Who Walked Away from Blockbuster Franchises and Never Found Success Again

In Hollywood, a single wrong choice in roles can turn an actor’s dream into dust. Some actors leave a movie installment only to have the second movie become a blockbuster hit the very next year. Maybe it’s bad luck or just a bad decision.

Here are the 10 actors who jumped on their career planes without a parachute.

1. Terrence Howard

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Popular for his role as War Machine in the first Iron Man, the gateway to the MCU, Terrence Howard is noticeably not in the second movie and was replaced by the legendary Don Cheadle. 

Many in the thread claimed that he went insane, where he genuinely believes that he invented new atoms for some African money. Someone said, “He’s Kanye-level crazy but without the extra money because he wasn’t smart enough to stay on the MCU train.” And the reason for this is that he also asked for a crazy amount of money just to be on Iron Man 2. 

2. Sean Connery

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You may have always associated the iconic Gandalf with Sir Ian McKellen, but did you know it could have been Sean Connery had he not turned the role down? Connery was offered the role for $30M plus 15% of the movie’s profits, which could have been $450M in total. He declined because he didn’t understand the script. 

One user said, “Not for nothing, but I’m glad he turned it down. Sir Ian McClellan was perfect in that role. I cannot see anyone else pulling it off the way he did.”

3. Stuart Townsend 

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Another “almost” cast of the Lord of The Ring franchise is Stuart Townsend. He was the original Aragorn for the movies, but Peter Jackson decided that he couldn’t work with him since he refused to practice action choreography, from swordplay to horse riding. Viggo Mortensen was brought on the first day of shooting. 

Someone in the thread commented, “Thank Viggo’s son Alex for pushing him to take the role. His son is a huge LOTR fan and thought it would be cool for his dad to play Aragorn. He pretty much did it for his son.” Thank you, Alex!

4. Lacey Chabert

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Leaving Family Guy is one of the worst decisions Lacey Chabert did for her career. Mila Kunis replaced her and made a fortune from this gig. 

A commenter voiced, “She sounds like someone who’s about to give up a huge opportunity.” Another said that even if she left the popular show, she “does Hallmark movies and series. She’s very popular on their channels and doing really well for herself.”

5. Ja Rule

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This American rapper was in the first Fast and Furious movie, but because he had to attend the Fyre Festival, he declined an appearance for the second. 

A user shared, “My favorite part about his involvement in Fyre Festival is that people can spend about 30 seconds watching him speak about it and then quickly realize that he is too stupid to have had any actual planning role in the scam.”

6. Brian Dunkelman

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If you’ve been watching American Idol since the first season, you’d know that Ryan Seacrest is not the show’s only host. Brian Dunkelman was his co-host during season 1 and then quit right after. 

One of the users in the thread shared that “over the years, it has toggled back and forth between whether or not he would have been fired anyway, but in at least one interview, he admitted to quitting and then almost becoming suicidal over it.” Another one even mentioned how he went on Howard Stern, and the host “bluntly asked him what he was thinking and told him he was an absolute idiot for leaving. Howard was right.”

7. David Caruso

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While not many can remember his role, David Caruso was actually from NYPD Blue before he became the star of CSI: Miami. Many users believe it was a stupid move by Caruso then, but it was the best thing that could have happened to the show. 

Someone in the thread noted, “Dennis Franz as an actually interesting and flawed main character as opposed to David Caruso playing a supercop made the show a lot better.”

8. Shelley Long

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After 5 successful seasons, Shelley Long left Cheers because of offers for big films in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Many found fault in her decision, wondering how she could leave the show when it was at its peak. 

Someone gave a different insight about her decision and said, “I have to say I don’t think her decision was necessarily stupid. In hindsight, whether tv shows become successful or not, their lead couple often do go downhill drastically. [And] when they actually do, [it’s] because all the story material is finished.” Even without her, though, it still worked out for the show. 

9. Chuck Woolery

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Chuck Woolery left as the host of Wheel of Fortune and was replaced by Pat Sajak, who hosted the show for more than 40 years. Many users believe that he made a terrible decision since it’s a dream job that only demands working for 4 days per month and earning $15 million per season. 

Someone even pointed out, “his workday probably looks nothing like ours. Personal dressing room filled with his preferred food and drink, the crew gets him ready and caters to him, and then he goes out and puts on a smile and banters with people for a few hours, and gets driven home to a mansion to sit in his spa with a glass of wine.” Now, that’s the dream.

10. Katie Holmes

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When she married Tom Cruise, one of the roles Katie Holmes took a pass on was The Dark Knight. She became unavailable for many roles, but one of the users shared, “All the rumors I heard were that Tom couldn’t have her be Christian Bale’s love interest. I’ve heard that Christian Bale used Tom Cruise to create his character in American Psycho. Tom Cruise probably wasn’t too happy about it.”

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Source: Reddit