Eight Actors Who Walked Away From Hollywood And Never Looked Back

Over the years, after all the hard work and fame, dozens of actors have left the world of entertainment and never looked back.

Celebrities who initially found success in their craft — like Gene Hackman, Rick Moranis, and Delores Hart — eventually decided a quiet life with their family and children was all they wanted. Some have even found their second career after quitting acting was what they were always meant to do.

Mary-Kate And Ashley Olsen

Childhood superstar’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen became household names at the young age of nine-months old when the twin sister’s were cast sharing the role of Michelle Tanner on the hit sitcom “Full House” in 1987. The sisters would work in Hollywood for several decades. Mary-Kate had an independent career in acting until 2012. Ashley worked in TV and appeared on the big screen until 2007 when she and her sister took on the role of producers.

“I don’t like to be the center of attention anymore,” Ashley told Elle UK in 2012. Since that time, the sisters have been focused on fashion and founded several luxury brands like The Row and Elizabeth and James.

Peter Ostrum

Once child-star, Peter Ostrum, appeared in one film as an actor in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” in 1971 across from Gene Wilder when he was just 12.

When Ostrum was done filming the fantasy film, he returned home where his parents had bought a horse. He enjoyed seeing the veterinarians work on the animal and said “it made a huge impression” on him. Eventually, Peter got his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 and has been a practicing vet in New York where he lives.

The 65-year-old former star previously shared in a speech in 2016 at the University of Missouri, that after dipping his toe into the entertainment world, the “film industry just wasn’t for me,” Yahoo reported.

Demond Wilson

“Sanford and Son” star Demond Wilson started at a young age on Broadway, but he wouldn’t make it into TV and movies for decades.  In the early 70’s, Wilson finally landed the role of Lamont Sanford across from Redd Foxx who played his father on the hit show. In 1977, the sitcom was canceled and by the early 80s Demond had decided to leave Hollywood to become an ordained minister. He also founded the Restoration House in 1995 that helped rehabilitate former prison inmates.

The 76-year-old former actor previously shared that his climb to the big and small screen took so long he once contemplated becoming a priest before he made that leap years later when he walked away from acting. Now retired, Wilson enjoys his life with former model Cicely Johnston with whom he shares six children.

Terrence Howard

Terrence Howard recently announced his second retirement from acting, saying this time is really “the end” for him, Entertainment Tonight reported.

“This is the end for me. This is the end for me,” the 53-year-old actor explained. “I retired two years ago, for the most part. I was done. … I asked Sidney Poitier 10 years ago does he want to do any more work, and he said, ‘Why would I spend my last 10 years doing an impersonation of myself?’ And that’s what I’ve gotten to.”

Howard was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 2006 for his role in “Hustle & Flow.” He also appeared on the big screen in such movies as “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “Dead Presidents,” “Who’s the Man,” and “Iron Man.”

Rick Moranis

Rick Moranis was a staple of so many of those great movies from the 80s and it would be impossible not to remember the 69-year-old actor from some of his great roles on the big screen in films such as “Little Shop Of Horrors,” Ghostbusters, “Spaceballs” and “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids,” just to name a few. Moranis would appear in several other movies before walking away from Hollywood to mainly care for his two children after his wife, Anne, died from liver cancer in 1991.

“For the first couple of years I was able to make it work – doing one and a half pictures a year for three months with no problem,” Moranis shared with the Independent in 2006.

“But I started to really miss them,” he added. “It got to the point where I was doing a lot of pictures with kids – really nice kids, but not my kids. So, I was like, ‘You know what? I’m tired of talking to my kids from a hotel room. I’m going home.’ So I turned down the next pictures that came along and the break just got longer and longer. I didn’t miss the work, I didn’t miss the travel, I didn’t miss the people. I didn’t miss any of it.”

The comedic actor hasn’t appeared in any movie since 1997.

Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman was a staple of the big screen throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s with such huge hits as “The French Connection,” “Unforgiven” and “The Poseidon Adventure.” The 92-year-old star has a long line of accolades from his 40 year career in Hollywood winning 33 different industry awards. Hackman received five different Academy Award nominations, and won two: his first was Best Actor for “The French Connection” and he won his second Best Actor award for “Unforgiven.”

In 2004, his film “Welcome to Mooseport” wasn’t a big hit and he would later announce his retirement from acting, due to his health.

In a 2009 interview for Empire, Hackman said that it “was actually a stress test that I took in New York” that was the final straw. “The doctor advised me that my heart wasn’t in the kind of shape that I should be putting it under any stress,” the actor shared.

Since that time, Hackman turned his focus to books with a second career as a novelist. The “Bonnie And Clyde” star has co-written three books with Daniel Lenihan and two on his own.

Delores Hart

Delores Hart was an up-and-coming actress in Hollywood and appeared on the big screen across from Elvis in such movies as “Loving You” in 1957. She was considered the next Grace Kelly and starred in 10 movies throughout the 1950s and the 1960s, Newsbreak noted.

Hart started acting at the age of 19, and by 24 she walked away from it all to become a cloistered nun. The 84-year-old former star, an American Roman Catholic Benedictine nun, goes by the name of Mother Dolores Hart these days and has been at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT for more than 50 years.

During an interview in 2021, Hart told Fox News that “it was a dramatic change” and that she’d never planned on leaving Hollywood.

“I thought I would go through my time in Hollywood,” the former actress shared. “However, this vocation showed me my life’s purpose. Then I started to ask myself, ‘What am I doing in Hollywood? Where is this going to take me?’ The realization became clear and really, it’s a gift. I was so lucky. God called me.”

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