The film industry is very demanding, and sometimes actors reach their breaking point. Between busy schedules, questionable business ethics, and the pressure of being in the public eye, many actors take breaks for the sake of their sanity. Others are leaving Hollywood altogether.
These seven actors retired from the industry entirely, perhaps reappearing for a spot or two as a special favor:
Daniel Day-Lewis, widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of our time, announced his retirement in 2017.
Cameron Diaz quit her lucrative acting career to become a mother. She said she didn’t always like the tiring, demanding Hollywood lifestyle.
Michael J. Fox retired in 2020 after seeing a scene in the film Once in Hollywood where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character struggles to remember his lines. Fox had a similar problem while taping Good Sunday and decided it was time to leave.
Karyn Parsons will live forever in our hearts as Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, even though she retired from acting in the early 2000s. An avid writer and history buff, she founded a non-profit organization called Sweet Blackberry to share untold stories of African American achievement.
The late Sean Connery announced his retirement after a painful experience on the set of his last live-action film, 2003’s. Distinguished Gentlemen’s Conversation.
Shelley Duvall, known for iconic roles in films like The Clarity and the 1980s Popeout of the Hollywood lifestyle in 2002. The decision was prompted by several factors, including a reduced selection of film offers and her brother’s spinal cord cancer diagnosis.
Joe Pesci’s legendary film (Goodfellas, My cousin Vinny, Casino) retired from acting in 1999. Since then he has made several exceptions, returning for films such as 2019’s The Irishman.
These 11 actors retired or took a break for various reasons:
In 2009, Harold & Kumar star Kal Penn went from the White Castle to the White House, working with the Obama administration for several years. His acting hiatus didn’t last long, and he has since returned to our TV screens in several projects.
Despite being a prominent figure in Hollywood at one time, a busy work schedule and an attack in 2003 forced Brendan Fraser to appeal. He slowly disappeared from the scene, only to return in one of the most acclaimed films of 2022.
Jane Fonda officially announced her retirement from acting in 1991 after marrying Ted Turner, media mogul/CNN co-founder. The divorce would bring her back to Hollywood 15 years later.
Ke Huy Quan had featured roles in two blockbuster films (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies) as a child. In the early 2000s, he chose to step away from acting when his options ran dry. The few roles available for Asian actors at the time were terrible and stereotypical.
Terrence Howard immediately retired in 2019 before being bitten by the acting bug again. But, on the red carpet for the series Peacock The Best: The Final Chaptershe asked him to resign soon—for good.
It’s hard to believe that the king of rom-com Hugh Grant experienced a rough patch in his career. The mid-00s were not kind to him, leading to a multi-year hiatus from Hollywood.
The legendary Audrey Hepburn was irresistible in the 50s and 60s. After the 1967s Wait Until Darkshe left the business for nearly ten years before resurfacing in 1976 Robin and Marian. She then appeared in a handful of films before her death in 1993.
In an interview for Essence, Daniel Kaluuya revealed to Jordan Peele that he almost quit acting. Feeling disillusioned with the industry, especially the well-documented racism, he took a break for a year and a half.
Dylan Sprouse pretty much ditched Hollywood after his Disney days. The child star disappeared to go to college (NYU) and open a meadery in Brooklyn.
Beloved ’80s/90s star Rick Moranis slowly faded from the film scene in 1991 after the death of his wife, Ann Belsky. He retired in 1997. After 2008, he virtually disappeared for the better part of a decade.
The last major celebrity to take an acting hiatus was Tom Holland. Although he won’t be retiring anytime soon, he took a year-long break after working as Danny Sullivan in The People’s Room it affected his mental health.