Famous celebrities who now work normal jobs

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The lure of Hollywood’s limelight might seem irresistible to most of us. After all, there’s the fame, the fortune and everything that goes with being a celebrity. However, many performers decided to leave Tinseltown to go back to a normal, everyday life.

These celebrities said goodbye to Hollywood and hello to a normal job.

Peter Ostrum

What he’s known for: “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”

His job after fame: Veterinarian

He was the boy who found the last golden ticket in the classic 1971 movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” with Gene Wilder. The then-12-year-old Ostrum played Charlie Bucket in the beloved musical movie, which was his first — and last — film! He decided to leave his acting career behind became a large-animal veterinarian.

Paramount Pictures | Wikipedia/Fourthourds

Jeff Cohen

What he’s known for: “The Goonies”

His job after fame: Lawyer

Remember Chunk from the 1985 classic “The Goonies?” Well, he left the acting business to take on another job in the entertainment industry: a lawyer! Cohen is a founding partner of the law firm Cohen Gardner LLP.

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Sarah Michelle Geller

What she’s known for: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Her job after fame: Entrepreneur

Geller was one of the hottest stars on TV during her stint as Buffy. After playing many roles across TV and film, she changed course and co-founded FoodStirs, a cooking– and baking-kit company that deals in organic and non-GMO ingredients.


Angus T. Jones

What he’s known for: “Two and a Half Men”

His job after fame: Event Planning

Jones starred alongside Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer in the CBS series “Two and a Half Men” as Jake Harper.  Although he’s not acting anymore, he still has his hand in the entertainment business. He recently teamed up with Justin Combs (son of Sean “Diddy” Combs) to create Tonite, a “multimedia and event company.”

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Gene Hackman

What he’s known for: Oscar-Winning Acting Career

His job after fame: Writer

Hackman’s illustrious acting career spanned decades, with starring roles in “Unforgiven” (for which he won an Oscar), “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Superman,” just to name a few. The now 88-year-old former actor devotes his time to writing historical novels at his home in New Mexico.


Mara Wilson

What she’s known for: “Mrs. Doubtfire”

Her job after fame: Writer

Mara Wilson was featured in ’90s films such as “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Matilda” during her time as a child star. As the years passed, she decided to pursue different interests. Today, she focuses on her new profession as a writer.

20th Century Fox | Getty

Phoebe Cates

What she’s known for: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

Her job after fame: Shopkeeper

Cates was one of the biggest teen stars in the 1980s with roles in hit movies including “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Gremlins.” Since those days, she’s devoted her life to raising her children with her husband, actor Kevin Kline, as well as operating her own boutique store in New York City.


Danielle Fishel

What she’s known for: “Boy Meets World”

Her job after fame: Journalist

Best known for her role as Topanga in the ABC series “Boy Meets World” and the Disney Channel reboot “Girl Meets World,” Fishel also works as a reporter for the website PopSugar and its YouTube channel.


Ali McGraw

What she’s known for: “Love Story”

Her job after fame: Yoga Instructor

The actress, best known for her Academy Award-nominated role in 1970’s “Love Story,” ultimately decided that the celebrity lifestyle was just not for her. She took on causes such as animal rights and eventually became a yoga instructor, releasing a number of exercise DVDs.


Karyn Parsons

What she’s known for: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

Her job after fame: Philanthropist

She may have played the snotty and spoiled Hilary Banks on NBC’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” but today Parsons’ mission is to help promote the work of unsung black heroes to children through her nonprofit, Sweet Blackberry.


Kevin Jonas

What he’s known for: The Jonas Brothers

His job after fame: Contractor

There was a time that Kevin Jonas couldn’t go anywhere because crowds of screaming girls couldn’t get enough of him and his brothers, who made up the Jonas Brothers band in the mid 2000s. However, after the band stopped recording in 2013, Jonas became a home builder and contractor. He made an appearance on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” in his new role in 2014.


Mike Vitar

What he’s known for: “The Sandlot”

His job after fame: Firefighter

Vitar played the legendary Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in the beloved 1993 film “The Sandlot.” After a few guest spots on television and film, he left acting and became a firefighter in Los Angeles.

20th Century Fox

Vanilla Ice

What he’s known for: “Ice Ice Baby”

His job after fame: House Flipper

Vanilla Ice was best known for his ’90s hit “Ice Ice Baby,” which got a lot of play on the radio, along with a lawsuit for the song’s use of Queen’s “Under Pressure.” After his music career, Vanilla Ice built turned to a new source of income: flipping houses.


Nikki Blonsky

What she’s known for: “Hairspray”

Her job after fame: Hair Stylist

Nikki Blonsky sang her heart out as Tracy Turnblad on the 2007 movie version of “Hairspray.” But, after her starring performance, Blonsky seemed to have a hard time finding other roles. So, she kept busy working in a high-end New York City shoe store and in a beauty salon.


Josh Saviano

What he’s known for: “The Wonder Years”

His job after fame: Entrepreneur

Saviano played Paul Pfieffer, the brainy best friend of Kevin Arnold in the beloved TV series “The Wonder Years.” After acting, he graduated from Yale University, practiced law and is now an entrepreneur who helps artists with business ventures.


Dylan Sprouse

What he’s known for: “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”

His job after fame: Brewer

Dylan Sprouse played Cody in Disney Channel’s popular teen show alongside his real-life twin brother, Cole Sprouse. Since his stint with Disney ended, he’s been spotted serving coffee and craft beers in New York’s East Village. He now owns and operates All-Wise Meadery, a brewery in New York.


Jennie Garth

What she’s known for: “Beverly Hills 90210”

Her job after fame: Online entrepreneur

Garth was one of the biggest celebrities of the 1990s when she played Kelly Taylor in the smash TV series “Beverly Hills 90210.” Her run on the show lasted all 10 seasons the show aired. After appearing in a few other roles, Garth decided to turn her interests elsewhere. Today, she is the owner of TheGiftBox.com, an online-based gift subscription service.

Photo by Dougtone

Jack Gleeson

What he’s known for: “Game of Thrones”

His job after fame: Student

As the vile King Joffrey in HBO’s juggernaut series “Game of Thrones,” Gleeson’s star was on the rise. However, the actor simply did not enjoy the Hollywood life. So, at 21 years old, he announced his retirement from acting in 2013 and decided to attend Trinity College.


Charlie Korsmo

What he’s known for: “Hook”

His job after fame: Professor

Korsmo played the adorable Jack in the 1991 movie “Hook.” He had a few other big roles as a child before leaving Hollywood. Korsmo has since built a thriving career, first as a lawyer and then as a law professor. He currently sits on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law.

TriStar Pictures | Wikipedia/Farmerjoe01

MC Hammer

What he’s known for: Music career

His job after fame: Minister

MC Hammer danced and sang his way to super stardom with a series of smash hits, including “U Can’t Touch This” in 1990. He rode the wave of success for a while, but hit on hard times, including bankruptcy. The former music star turned to ministry in recent years.



What she’s known for: Music career

Her job after fame: Shopkeeper

The perky redhead who made a name for herself in the 1980s by doing mall concerts and singing “I Think We’re Alone Now” faded away from fame rather quickly. In 2015, she opened her own store, Tiffany’s Boutique, in Nashville. It specialized in designer and vintage clothing and accessories. The shop closed a short time later, according to the former pop star’s Twitter account.


Taran Noah Smith

What he’s known for: “Home Improvement”

His job after fame: Carpenter

Another “Home Improvement” alum has made his way into real-life construction. Smith, who played little Mark Taylor in the ’90s show, hasn’t been in show business for years is actually using his skills in fixing homes (go figure!), helping those affected by 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. He headed down to Texas to work with Burners Without Borders to assist in the rebuilding phase of storm recovery.


Danny Lloyd

What he’s known for: “The Shining”

His job after fame: Professor

Lloyd had a short, but illustrious movie career. He played Danny Torrance in the 1980 Stanley Kubrick movie “The Shining.” That was his only film role and he eventually went onto to other jobs, including being a farmer and, most recently, a community college professor.

Warner Bros

Jon Gosselin

What he’s known for: “Jon & Kate Plus 8”

His job after fame: DJ / Stripper

Jon Gosselin was one half of the reality-TV couple Jon and Kate of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” before his marriage, and the show, spun out of control. After a very public divorce, Gosselin took up jobs like a line cook at TGI Fridays and as a disc jockey and sometime stripper.


Lark Voorhies

What she’s known for: “Saved by the Bell”

His job after fame: Writer

Voorhies played Lisa on the NBC teen comedy classic “Saved by the Bell,” from 1989 to 1993. She had other acting parts over the years, including in a “Saved” reboot. After leaving acting, she became an author of three books.

NBCUniversal Television Distribution / Wikimedia/Joejohnson2

Michael Maronna

What he’s known for: “The Adventures of Pete & Pete”

His job after fame: Electrician

He played big Pete on the classic Nickelodeon series “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” and also played Kevin McCallister’s older brother in “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” Today, he still works in Hollywood, but as an electrician for TV and film production.

CBS Television Distribution / Getty Images

Jonathan Taylor Thomas

What he’s known for: “Home Improvement”

His job after fame: Writer

Thomas, who left the ABC show “Home Improvement” in 1999, told People magazine the time was right for his departure, despite the series’ popularity.

“I’d been going nonstop since I was 8 years old,” Thomas said. “I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break.” He made a few guest appearances on Tim Allen’s most recent series “Last Man Standing,” but spends most of his time writing and directing now.


George Foreman

What he’s known for: Boxing career

His job after fame: Entrepreneur

Foreman went from being one of the most elite boxers in the world to pitching an iconic product in infomercials. His George Foreman Grills have gone on to earn him hundreds of millions of dollars. It definitely beats getting pummeled in the ring!


Kirk Cameron

What he’s known for: “Growing Pains”

His job after fame: Minister

This former teen star’s character of Mike Seaver in “Growing Pains” might have had a talent for mischief. But, today, Kirk Cameron’s primary mission is Christian ministry.


Shirley Temple

What she’s known for: Child star of the 1930s

Her job after fame: Public servant

Temple was the iconic child actress of the early 20th century. With films such as “The Little Princess” and “Heidi,” her charming curls, adorable voice and dynamite dancing made her a superstar. However, her early success didn’t follow her as she got older. Eventually, she left acting at age 22 and got involved with politics. She became a US ambassador to Ghana and the former Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s. Temple died in 2014 at the age of 85.

Rick Moranis

What he’s known for: “Ghostbusters,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”

His job after fame: Stay-at-home dad

Moranis got his big break in the 1984 hit film “Ghostbusters.” From there, he went on to more success in “Spaceballs,” the “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” series of movies, “Parenthood” and more. However, his wife tragically died of cancer in 1997, and so the newly single father decided to step away from the big screen to focus on raising his two children.

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Freddie Prinze, Jr.

What he’s known for: “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Scooby Doo”

His job after fame: Chef, cookbook author

Freddie Prinze Jr. had his acting heyday in the late 1990s and early 200s with featured roles in “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” She’s All That” and in the “Scooby Doo” movie series. He shifted gears to work in television (including voice-over work for “Star Wars Rebels”). Today, Prinze Jr. is showing off his culinary artistic side. In the summer of 2017, he released a cookbook called “Back to the Kitchen” and teamed up with Dunkin’ Donuts for a cold brew coffee product line.

Geena Davis

What she’s known for: “Thelma and Louise,” “A League of Their Own”

Her job after fame: Social activist

Davis earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1988 for her work in “The Accidental Tourist.” She’s had starring roles in “Thelma and Louise,” “Beetlejuice” and “A League of Their Own,” just to name a few of the countless roles she’s tackled. More recently, though, she focuses on social activism. She founded SeeJane.org, a foundation with the goal of raising awareness of and improving gender equality in entertainment, sports and more.


Amanda Bynes

What she’s known for: “All That,” “The Amanda Show,” “What a Girl Wants,”

Her job after fame: Fashion student

Bynes was a child star in the 1990s on kids’ TV network Nickelodeon. She started out on the comedy sketch show, “All That” and then graduated to her own series ‘The Amanda Show.” She went on to roles the movies such as  “What a Girl Wants,” “Hairspray” and “Easy A.”

Unfortunately, Bynes struggled with drug addiction and after inpatient treatment, decided to take a break from acting to enroll in college to study fashion design. But, Bynes ran into some legal troubles and has had a difficult time getting her new career started.

Cameron Diaz

What she’s known for: “There’s Something About Mary,” “The Mask,” “Gangs of New York”

Her job after fame: Author

Diaz made her mark with the lead role in the 1998 movie “There’s Something About Mary.” She won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for her performance. She also starred in films such as “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Gangs of New York,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Shrek” and many more.

Diaz also had a passion for health issues and has written two books: “The Body Book: Feed, Move, Understand and Love Your Amazing Body,” (a “New York Times” Bestseller) and “The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time.”

Steven Seagal

What he’s known for: “Hard to Kill,” “Marked for Death” “Steven Seagal: Lawman”

His job after fame: Unofficial law enforcement, international government envoy

Actor and martial artist Steven Seagal had a good run with action-adventure and martial arts movies in the 1980s and 1990s, including “Hard to Kill,” “Out for Justice” and “Under Siege.”

Seagal attempted to take his action hero role into the real world. He starred in a reality TV series called “Steven Seagal: Lawman” which showed him as a deputy sheriff in Louisiana. This didn’t last long, though. His show was canceled after Seagal began facing a long list of legal troubles, including accusations of sex trafficking, sexual assault and weapons charges. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin just named Seagal a special US-Russian envoy. 

Blake McIver Ewing

What he’s known for: “The Little Rascals,” “Full House”

His job after fame: Musician

He may not be a household name, but when people see this former child star, they often recognize him as Derek from the original “Full House” series or Waldo from the feature film “The Little Rascals.” Today, McIver (he dropped the Ewing from his professional name) is working hard to achieve success as a singer. His characters often featured him singing and dancing, so it seems like a natural progression. He released an album in 2014 called “The Time Manipulator.”


Doris Day

What she’s known for: Acting

Her job after fame: Animal rights activist

As one of the top Hollywood stars for nearly three decades (the 1940s-1960s), Day was known for her girl-next-door looks, her vivacious energy and her wonderful singing voice. Her biggest box office successes were a series of romantic comedy films in the 1960s including “Send Me No Flowers” and “That Touch of Mink.” She earned an Academy Award nomination for her work in “Pillow Talk.”

Day had another passion, though: animals. She eventually founded the Doris Day Animal Foundation, which advocates for quality of life initiative for animals big (horses) and small (puppies and kittens).

Hank Aaron

What he’s known for: Baseball career

His job after fame: Entrepreneur

Hank Aaron was the all-time home run king of Major League Baseball when he broke Babe Ruth’s career record of 714 homers in 1974. After his retirement, Aaron franchised more than a dozen Arby’s restaurants in Milwaukee and has since opened car dealerships and fast food restaurants in the Atlanta area.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron attends the 2017 Hank Aaron Award press conference prior to game two of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

Andrew Shue

What he’s known for: “Melrose Place”

His job after fame: Online Publisher

Shue traded in his starring role in TV’s “Melrose Place,” eventually becaming the co-founder of CafeMom, a website focusing on parenting content and women’s interest articles.



Celebrities, Curiosity, Entertainment

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About the Author
Marie Rossiter
Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World. Visit Scripps News to see more of Marie's work.

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