25 Celebrities Who Quit Being Famous

by  1,603,854 views 52 items tags f p @

Celebrities Who Quit Being Famous, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. It seems like everyone wants to be famous these days, but believe it or not, some very popular celebrities have decided to step out of the spotlight. Some famous people quit because they don't want to deal with the pressure of being a celebrity, while others quit so that they can raise a family.

Who is the most famous person who quit being famous? Elizabeth Hurley tops our list. In 2002, the Austin Powers actress stopped acting so that she could raise her son. "I just can't really make movies as well as be a mum and live in England," she told New York Magazine. "Something had to give, and I decided it wasn't going to be my relationship with my son. I decided I wanted to take him to school every day, which I do." Other famous actresses who quit being famous include Phoebe Cates, Meg Ryan, and Greta Garbo.

Dave Chappelle stunned fans and Hollywood insiders when he left the super successful "Chappelle's Show" at the height of its popularity in 2005. Chappelle took a trip to South Africa to regroup. He spoke about the decision, stating, "coming here I don't have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I'm interested in the kind of person I've got to become. I want to be well rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well balanced."

Why do you think these famous people decided to step out of the spotlight? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


Z
G Options B Comments & Embed
  1. In 2002, Austin Powers actress Elizabeth Hurley stopped acting so that she could raise her son.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 50
    • Birthplace: England, Basingstoke
    • Profession: Film Producer, Model, Actor
    • Credits: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Bedazzled, Passenger 57, My Favorite Martian, + more
  2. In 2003, Sean Connery retired from Hollywood after his box office flop The League of Extraordinary Gentleman was released.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 85
    • Birthplace: United Kingdom
    • Profession: Film Producer, Actor, Voice acting
    • Credits: Goldfinger, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Untouchables, The Rock, Dr. No, + more
  3. In 1965, Cary Grant retired from acting to focus on being a father.  He was 62 at the time.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 82 (1904-1986)
    • Birthplace: United Kingdom
    • Profession: Actor
    • Credits: North by Northwest, The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, Notorious, + more
  4. Dave Chappelle stunned fans and Hollywood insiders when he left the super successful "Chappelle's Show" at the height of its popularity in 2005. Chappelle took a trip to South Africa to regroup. He spoke about the decision, stating, "Coming here, I don't have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I'm interested in the kind of person I've got to become. I want to be well rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well balanced."

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 42
    • Birthplace: Washington, D.C., USA
    • Profession: Comedian, Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor, + more
    • Credits: Con Air, The Nutty Professor, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Half Baked, You've Got Mail, + more
  5. In 1967, 39-year-old Shirley Temple turned her back on Hollywood. She went on to become an ambassador to the United Nations.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 86 (1928-2014)
    • Birthplace: USA, California, Santa Monica
    • Profession: Politician, Diplomat, Actor, Singer, Dancer
    • Credits: Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel, Curly Top, Captain January, + more
  6. Fast Times at Ridgemont High actress Phoebe Cates retired from acting in 1994 to raise her children and to spend time with her husband, Kevin Kline.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 52
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Entrepreneur, Model, Actor
    • Credits: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Gremlins, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Drop Dead Fred, Private School, + more
  7. Actress Meg Ryan stepped out of the Hollywood spotlight after she divorced her husband, Dennis Quaid, in 2001.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 54
    • Birthplace: Fairfield, Connecticut, USA
    • Profession: Film Producer, Actor, Voice acting
    • Credits: Top Gun, When Harry Met Sally..., Sleepless in Seattle, Anastasia, The Doors, + more
  8. Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson withdrew from the spotlight from the late '70s until the 2000s due to drug addiction and mental illness.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 73
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, USA, California, Inglewood
    • Profession: Bassist, Arranger, Record producer, Pianist, Musician, + more
    • Credits: The Monkey's Uncle, Love & Mercy, Tales of the Rat Fink, Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey, The Union, + more
  9. "Home Improvement" star Jonathan Taylor Thomas left acting in 2005 to further his education at Harvard and Columbia.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 34
    • Birthplace: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States of America
    • Profession: Actor, Voice acting
    • Credits: The Lion King, Home Improvement, I'll Be Home for Christmas, Man of the House, Tom and Huck, + more
  10. In 1941, when she was just 36, Greta Garbo announced her retirement. The actress never felt comfortable in the spotlight.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 85 (1905-1990)
    • Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
    • Profession: Musician, Model, Actor
    • Credits: Cinema Paradiso, Annie, Grand Hotel, Ninotchka, Queen Christina, + more
  11. In 1994, John Hughes left Hollywood behind, opting for a "normal life" in a Chicago suburbs instead.  His film legacy includes The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 59 (1950-2009)
    • Birthplace: Michigan, USA, Lansing
    • Profession: Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor, Film Director
    • Credits: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Home Alone, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, + more
  12. After Guns and Roses broke-up in the late '90s, Axl Rose withdrew from the spotlight.  He has resurfaced in recent years after releasing the long rumored album Chinese Democracy in 2008.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 53
    • Birthplace: Lafayette, Fairfield Township, Indiana, United States of America
    • Profession: Record producer, Guitarist, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Film Producer, + more
    • Credits: The Dead Pool, Touch and Go
  13. In 2003, Freddie Prinze, Jr. announced that he would be taking a break from acting because "it's just too weird."

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 39
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, USA, California
    • Profession: Television producer, Screenwriter, Actor, Voice acting
    • Credits: 24, I Know What You Did Last Summer, She's All That, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Scooby-Doo, + more
  14. Director Terrence Malick has made masterful films, such as The Tree of Life, but he stays completely out of the spotlight.  Malick chooses to live in a small Texas town.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 72
    • Birthplace: Waco, Texas, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor, Film Director
    • Credits: The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life, Badlands, Days of Heaven, The New World, + more
  15. Filmmaker and billionaire Howard Hughes became a complete recluse in 1947.  Rumor has it that he spend almost four months alone in a dark screening room.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 71 (1905-1976)
    • Birthplace: Humble, Texas, United States of America
    • Profession: Pilot, Investor, Entrepreneur, Film Producer, Philanthropist, + more
    • Credits: Scarface, The Outlaw, The Conqueror, Hell's Angels, Jet Pilot, + more
  16. Ghostbusters and Spaceballs actor Rick Moranis retired from acting a few years after his wife died in 1991. Moranis wanted to focus his energies on being a full-time dad to his two children.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 62
    • Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
    • Profession: Comedian, Television producer, Musician, Screenwriter, Actor, + more
    • Credits: Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Ghostbusters II, Little Shop of Horrors, Honey, + more
  17. Two-time Oscar winner Gene Hackman retired from acting in 2004. Since his retirement, he has written three historical fiction novels

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 85
    • Birthplace: San Bernardino, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Novelist, Film Producer, Author, Actor, Voice acting
    • Credits: Superman, Young Frankenstein, The French Connection, Unforgiven, Superman II, + more
  18. To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee has declined interview requests since she became famous in 1960. She notably helped her friend Truman Capote (inspiration for Mockingbird character Dill) research for his bestselling nonfiction novel In Cold Blood (1966).

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 89
    • Birthplace: Monroeville, Alabama, United States of America
    • Profession: Novelist, Author, Writer
    • Credits: To Kill a Mockingbird
  19. Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger quit being famous just as he was gaining popularity in 1951. By 1959, Salinger stopped publishing stories, and he officially stopped being interviewed in 1980. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 91 (1919-2010)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Soldier, Novelist, Writer
    • Credits: Pari, Fragmento
  20. After releasing the hugely successful album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998, Lauryn Hill left the music business for close to 12 years. She has since released only a handful of singles.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 40
    • Birthplace: USA, East Orange, New Jersey
    • Profession: Record producer, Songwriter, Rapper, Singer-songwriter, Actor, + more
    • Credits: Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Hav Plenty, Restaurant, One Love: The Bob Marley All-Star Tribute, Lauryn Hill: MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, + more
53 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >