These Former Actors Left Hollywood to Follow Entirely New Career Paths

After achieving global recognition and often accumulating vast fortunes, certain celebrities opt to relinquish their influence and depart from the public eye in order to pursue other business ventures. Whether this departure from the entertainment industry is temporary or permanent, these once-famous individuals now engage in more conventional occupations within the private sector.

Although this transition may lack the glamour associated with their previous lifestyles, one significant advantage of working regular jobs is bidding farewell to the intense stress and time-consuming demands of Hollywood. Without any further delay, let us introduce the former celebrities who now hold day jobs that are remarkably similar to those of ordinary individuals like ourselves!

1. Erik Estrada

Formerly From: CHiPs
Currently: Reserve police deputy 
Net Worth: $4 million*

Erik Estrada hails from East Harlem, New York City, where his mother, Carmen, worked as a seamstress. From a young age, Estrada harbored aspirations of becoming an actor, and it was not until his appearance in the 1970 film The Cross and the Switchblade that he finally found his breakthrough opportunity.

Erik Estrada @JulieatSyracuse | CHiPs @GroovyHistory /

The popular series served as a cornerstone program for NBC, which is owned by Comcast. The actor, who was once an activist, now serves as a police reserve deputy in Idaho. Estrada gained recognition primarily for his portrayal of Officer Frank Poncherello (also known as “Ponch”) in the police procedural drama CHiPs.

2. Tiffany

Formerly From: “I Think We’re Alone Now” – 80s Popstar Fame
Currently: Clothing store owner  
Net Worth: $4 million*

Tiffany rose to fame in the 1980s as a teenage singing sensation, most notably for her hit song “I Think We’re Alone Now.” In addition, she recorded a cover of the Beatles’ song “I Saw Her Standing There,” with modified lyrics, titled “I Saw Him Standing There.”

Tiffany “I Think We’re Alone Now” Singer (1987) @espofootball /

Tiffany’s song achieved the highest rank on the Billboard charts and gained recognition for being featured in a vintage Apple advertisement. Despite her ongoing singing career, Tiffany’s main dedication nowadays lies in managing her own small enterprise, specifically a clothing boutique. Additionally, she frequently performs at intimate locations such as coffee shops and festivals, leveraging her fame from the 80s to support the promotion of her clothing business.

3. Freddie Prinze Jr.

Formerly From: She’s All That
Currently: Chef 
Net Worth: $19 million*

Freddie Prinze Jr. gained fame through his notable roles in movies such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, where he had the opportunity to meet his future wife, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. However, Prinze Jr. has chosen to remain in the entertainment industry, but this time he has shifted his focus to working behind the camera as a producer for WWE.

Freddie Prinze @DEADLINE | Jr. She’s All That @wahleci /

He initially served at the WWE between 2008 and 2009, where he contributed by blogging about match insights and producing content for the organization’s media platforms. Following his tenure there, Freddie ventured into a completely different field by co-founding the culinary venture Foodstirs alongside his wife.

4. Charlie Korsmo

Formerly From: What About Bob?
Currently: Law professor 
Net Worth: $500,000*

Charlie Korsmo, a renowned child actor, gained fame for his role in the Disney comedy What About Bob? However, he made a conscious decision to pursue a more scholarly path thereafter. Despite this, he has made sporadic appearances in films, with his most recent being in the 1998 movie Can’t Hardly Wait, where he portrayed the character William Lichter.

Charlie Korsmo @cineporloscodos | What About Bob? @Rebecca Shah /

Korsmo made the decision to pursue a legal education, leaving his previous experiences at Disney behind. In the year 2000, he successfully obtained his bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT. Six years later, he earned his J.D. from Yale Law School. Throughout his career, he has gained valuable experience working for the EPA and in the field of politics. Presently, he serves as a law professor at Case Western Reserve, specializing in teaching corporations and corporate finance law.

5. Geena Davis

Formerly From: Thelma & Louise
Currently: Documentarian 
Net Worth: $30 million*

Geena Davis, a former actress and model, embarked on her professional journey with the movie Tootsie in 1982. However, it was her remarkable performance in the thrilling film The Fly that truly propelled her to stardom. Achieving international fame through her role in Beetlejuice, Davis continued to pursue acting, although her career experienced a slowdown during the 1990s. Notably, fans may remember her brief stint as the host of The Geena Davis Show, a talk show produced by Disney.

Geena Davis @Tribeca | Thelma & Louise @OscarRunnerUp /

After leaving Disney, Davis shifted her focus to directing and entrepreneurship. She established The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, aiming to enhance the representation of women in the media industry, both in front of and behind the camera. Additionally, Davis utilized her business connections to fund a documentary titled This Changes Everything in 2018.

6. Angus T. Jones

Formerly From: Two and a Half Men
Currently: Management at a media company  
Net Worth: $15 million*

Angus T. Jones gained widespread recognition for his notable portrayal in the television series Two and a Half Men. Commencing his acting career at the tender age of five, he made his debut as a child actor in the 1999 film Simpatico. Additionally, the 26-year-old artist has also showcased his talent in movies such as The Rookie, George of the Jungle 2, Bringing Down the House, See Spot Run, and The Christmas Blessing.

Angus T. Jones @WATNCelebrity | Two and a Half Men @CinemaBlend /

Jones, after making his retirement public, made the choice to transition into the private industry. Despite this, his notable contributions to shows like Two and a Half Men and his other works continue to be available for streaming on platforms such as Amazon and Hulu. Presently, he is employed by Tonite, a multimedia company that specializes in funding and producing a diverse range of communication services.

7. Macaulay Culkin

Formerly From: Home Alone
Currently: Publisher of the website Bunny Ears 
Net Worth: $15 million*

Macaulay Culkin gained fame through his role in the Home Alone series during his childhood. Additionally, he appeared in the 1991 coming-of-age film My Girl. In 1993, he starred in The Good Son and followed it up with Getting Even with Dad a year later. At the peak of his career, Culkin was regarded as one of the most accomplished child actors in history.

Nowadays, Culkin is the owner and operator of the satirical Bunny Ears website, creating content and cross-promotions (which have included several notable collaborations with RedLetterMedia). He is widely appreciated by fans for his clever tweets on Twitter.

8. Josh Saviano

Formerly From: The Wonder Years
Currently: Lawyer 
Net Worth: $500,000*

Another actor turned lawyer is Josh Saviano. The New York native played Paul in The Wonder Years, a sitcom that ran from 1988 until 1993. He stopped acting once the show was over, though he did return to TV to play a lawyer in a few episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

The Wonder Years @historydailypix / | @80sThen80sNow /

Saviano attended Yale after his time on NBC, and there he majored in political science. There, he was the president of the Sigma Nu frat. After graduation, he worked as a paralegal before he got a J.D. from Cardozo School of Law. He joined a law firm in 2000 and founded his own firm fifteen years later.

9. Taran Noah Smith

Formerly From: Home Improvement
Currently: Vegan food company owner, tech manager for Community Submersibles 
Net Worth: $300,000*

Taran Noah Smith portrayed the role of Mark in Home ImprovementHome Improvement was a nineties sitcom that was one of the most successful of the decade, with Tim Allen making over $1 million an episode while on the show. After that finished, Smith retired from acting. He stated in an interview that he just “didn’t want” to act.

Taran Noah Smith @hotcountry1035 / | Home Improvement @StarCrushCeleb /

Smith established Playfood, his very own company specializing in non-dairy cheese production. Despite his efforts, Playfood has yet to gain traction and is not stocked in popular stores such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. In addition to this venture, Smith, who follows a vegan lifestyle, launched a vegan restaurant under the same name. Alongside his entrepreneurial pursuits, he holds the position of a tech manager at Community Submersibles, an organization dedicated to submarine piloting and education.

10. Geoffrey Owens

Formerly From: The Cosby Show
Currently: Director of the Brooklyn Shakespeare Company 
Net Worth: $300,000*

Geoffrey Owens was on The Cosby Show in the nineties. He also had guest appearances on It’s Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaThat’s So Raven, Lucifer, and more. He made headlines in 2018 after the Daily Mail posted photos of him working as a cashier at Trader Joe’s.

Geoffrey Owens @ajplus / | The Cosby Show @Paulette /

People rallied to Owens’ defense, noting that show business was fickle and Owens shouldn’t be job-shamed for working at the Whole Foods competitor. Owens was able to book roles from that publicity, including one on a ten-episode Tyler Perry project. Currently, in addition to minor acting roles, he is the artistic director of the Brooklyn Shakespeare Company, which he also founded.

11. Gene Hackman

Formerly From: Unforgiven
Currently: Novelist 
Net Worth: $80 million*

Gene Hackman retired from acting after a long career, though he is still a novelist, having not announced his retirement from that. The ninety-year-old has won two Oscars, a SAG Award, two BAFTAs, and four Golden Globes over his six-decade career that started in 1956. He took a break in 2004 before returning in 2016.

Gene Hackman @CescFrancB | Unforgiven @magnanisima /

He officially retired in 2017. Now, Hackman is a novelist. He has written three historical fiction books, a Western, and a police thriller. His thriller, Pursuit, was released in 2013 and is his most recent book. It has a 4/5-star rating on Amazon. His first novel, Wake of the Perdido Star, was released in 1999.

12. George Foreman

Formerly From: Two-Time World Heavyweight Champion Fame
Currently: Ringside boxing analyst for HBO 
Net Worth: $340 million*

Former boxer George Foreman was one of the most successful fighters in the sixties and seventies. He retired in 1977 after a loss to boxer Jimmy Young. After what he later described as a “religious epiphany,” Foreman was ordained as a Christian minister. In 1994, he made a boxing comeback.

At age forty-five, he knocked out Michael Moorer, who was half his age, to regain his title. That made him the oldest heavyweight boxing champ in history before he re-retired. Foreman also is the owner of the patent to the Foreman grill. He is a ringside analyst for HBO now.

13. Mara Wilson

Formerly From: Matilda
Currently: Writer/podcaster 
Net Worth: $500,000*

Mara Wilson was born in 1987 in Burbank, California. She became famous as a child actor for her role as Natalie in Mrs. Doubtfire when she was six. She also appeared in Miracle on 34th StreetMatilda, and Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Her last film appearance was in 2000. She announced her retirement that year.

Now, Wilson is a writer and podcaster, as well as a fan favorite on Twitter. She wrote a play for the NY International Fringe Festival, called Sheeple, though she is more of a novelist now. Her book, Where Am I Now?, which discussed her childhood fame, was published in 2016.

14. Sarah Michelle Gellar

Formerly From: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Currently: Cookbook writer/business owner 
Net Worth: $20 million*

Sarah Michelle Gellar made her debut when she was four years old, appearing in the eighties movie Invasion of Privacy. She had her breakthrough a few years later when she starred as Kendall in All My Children, followed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Gellar continues to act, but also runs her own lifestyle brand, with an emphasis on cooking. In 2015, she formally formed her business entity and released her first cookbook, which went on to be a best-seller. You can find her brand, Foodstirs, at stores like Whole Foods and Giant Eagle .

15. Phoebe Cates

Formerly From: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Currently: Clothing store owner 
Net Worth: $35 million*

Phoebe Cates was the star of several eighties’ movies, including Gremlins and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. She stated later in an interview that she didn’t truly love acting, nor did she like the industry. She said she only was acting “for the money.”

True to these words, today Cates works as a clothing store owner. She owns her own store and small business, called Blue Tree, which is located on Madison Avenue in New York City.  Unlike major conglomerates like Levi Strauss, her company is privately held. 

16. Jeff Cohen

Formerly From: The Goonies
Currently: Lawyer 
Net Worth: $4 million*

Jeff Cohen was born in LA, and he was an actor in the eighties and nineties before he retired in 1991. He was a child actor who was best-known for his role as Chunk in The Goonies, a Steven Spielberg movie. Cohen retired to focus on his education. He got his JD from the UCLA School of Law in 2000.

He became an entertainment attorney in LA, using his preexisting show business connections to help him land jobs. He founded his own firm, Cohen & Gardner, in 2002. He was profiled in Variety and Hollywood Reporter in 2008 as a “Top Executive” in Hollywood. Cohen has also published a book, The Dealmaker’s Ten Commandments, which is sold on Amazon.

17. Peter Ostrum

Formerly From: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Currently: Large animal veterinarian 
Net Worth: $500,000*

Peter Ostrum had just one big role. He played Charlie in the movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, which came out in 1971. He was picked for the movie by talent agents when he was twelve. He chose not to sign a three-movie contract after the film ended, and he shied away from even speaking about the role.

Ostrum instead chose to focus on another passion in his life: animals. He was always interested in horses as a child, and he attended veterinary school. He got his degree from Cornell, and he is a practicing large animal vet in Lowville, NY. Ostrum has only made one more appearance on camera: in the documentary Role Model: Gene Wilder, which you can stream on YouTube.

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Written by Lifehack

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