9 Actors Whose Hot Careers Fizzled

Published on July 15, 2014. Updated April 4, 2017

As we’ve said a thousand times before, Hollywood is a really fickle place. Actors and actresses come and go really quickly, so we don’t advise that you become too attached to anyone because these men and women will disappear faster than you can blink an eye. Winning an Oscar – or any other accolade for that matter – isn’t even enough nowadays to secure a permanent place in Hollywood. Check out our list of 9 leading actors whose careers fizzled pretty soon after they made their mark. What happened to these 9 great actors? Keep reading to find out!

9. Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner was one of the biggest movie stars in the world during the ‘80s and ‘90s. He won two Academy Awards for directing and producing “Dances with Wolves” and he was in a number of other commercially successful and critically acclaimed films, including “The Untouchables” and “Field of Dreams.” The Oscar winning director seemed unstoppable; however, since the turn of the century, Costner’s career has been in decline and his movie star status has completely diminished.

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8. Keanu Reeves

In the ‘90s and early 2000s, Keanu Reeves established himself as one of Hollywood’s leading men thanks to his roles in big Hollywood blockbusters like “Speed,” “Point Break” and the “Matrix” trilogy. Since the final installment of the “Matrix” films, Reeves’ seems to have turned his back on superstardom. He hasn’t been in anything noteworthy except for “A Scanner Darkly,” which was a huge flop at the box office.

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7. Mel Gibson

There was a time when Mel Gibson was one of the undisputed kings of Hollywood. He had won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director for “Braveheart,” which he also starred in, and his films were almost always guaranteed to be a hit because of his legions of loyal fans. However, in 2006, his reputation took a bit of a beating when he was arrested for DUI and made a series of anti-Semitic and sexist comments. Gibson managed to weather that storm but, in 2010, when he was charged with domestic abuse, the public saw his darker side and he lost all support as a result.

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6. John Travolta

During the ‘70s, John Travolta’s career was red hot. He played some of the most iconic characters in film history like Tony Manero in “Saturday Night Fever” and Danny Zuko in “Grease.” During the ‘80s, he experienced a career lull; however, during the ‘90s, his career rebounded because of his role in “Pulp Fiction.” Since the late ‘90s, however, Travolta’s career has been in serious decline. These days, he only makes the news when he is accused of inappropriate sexual behavior.

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5. Cuba Gooding Jr.

Around the time that Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor his performance in “Jerry Maguire,” he was considered an A-list actor on the rise. He showed great comedic talent and had an electric screen presence that rivaled – or even surpassed – that of his co-star Tom Cruise; however, instead of building on this momentum, Gooding Jr. chose to work in a number of questionable films including “Boat Trip,” “Snow Dogs” and “Chill Factor,” which promptly ended his once promising career.

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4. Val Kilmer

During the ‘80s and the ‘90s, Val Kilmer was considered one of the most promising actors in Hollywood. He had roles in some of the biggest blockbusters including “Top Gun,” “Willow,” “Tombstone” and Joel Schumacher’s “Batman Forever.” Despite his success, somewhere along the way, Kilmer developed a reputation for being difficult to work, which pretty much landed him on Hollywood’s black list. We haven’t seen much of him since.

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3. Russell Crowe

At the turn of the century, Russell Crowe was considered one of the hottest properties in the filmmaking world. He was nominated for three Academy Awards for “The Insider,” “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind” – winning for “Gladiator” – however, in recent years, his box office standing has declined considerably. Many of his films – “Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World,” “A Good Year” and “Body of Lies” – underperformed at the box office or were outright flops. Have we seen the last of Crowe? We think so!

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2. Adrien Brody

Since winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in “The Pianist,” Adrien Brody’s career has taken some rather unexpected turns – none of them especially good. Instead of going on to work in credible, heavyweight films with celebrated directors, he has mostly been working on action films that offer little other than a hefty paycheck. People had high expectations for Brody. A decade ago, he was dubbed the new Al Pacino, but he has turned out to be anything but.

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1. Edward Norton

Edward Norton is an amazing actor. He has been nominated for two Academy Awards, one for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Primal Fear” and another for Best Actor for his performance in “American History X;” however, in spite of his obvious talent, since his last Oscar nomination, Norton’s career hasn’t reached the heights that we expected. This is reportedly because he is difficult to work with. He has clashed with directors, studio and/or production crews in a number of his films including “American History X,” “Red Dragon” and “The Incredible Hulk.”

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