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View Full Version : Hot '80s actresses with fading careers


a35362
10-18-2002, 05:37 PM
From the IMDb poll of 10/18/02:

"Of the following actresses who were at one time incredibly in demand in the '80s, whose lack of long-term (acting career) success surprises you the most?" (http://poll.imdb.com/Poll/)

As I write this, the top three are Daryl Hannah, Molly Ringwald, and Kelly McGillis. I voted for Annabeth Gish. I saw her in Mystic Pizza and she had Rising Star written all over her (I completely missed Julia Roberts, by the way).

Skip
10-18-2002, 05:52 PM
Don't forget Sean Young. She was on her way up in the 80's. Blade Runner, The Boost etc etc. And then it just all fell apart for her after she got a (undeserving) rep as being a psycho bitch.

andymurph64
10-18-2002, 05:56 PM
Ok, she might not have been in incredible demand during the eighties but the actress that was the hotest of the hot, the one fantasies are made of, the one who should have been in many movies just because:

...


Jennifer Connelly

photopat
10-18-2002, 06:22 PM
Molly turned out goooood.

Hodge
10-18-2002, 07:20 PM
Originally posted by andymurph64
Jennifer Connelly I beg to differ. She may have been popular in the 80's but that was solely due to her :ahem: assets. I predict that her career will experience a strong resurgence due, in no small part, to her oscar-winning performance in the otherwise forgettable A Beautiful Mind.

My own nomination is Wynona Ryder. Her 90's career has been one long slow slide from leading performer to co-star to walk-on bit parts.

Bryan Ekers
10-18-2002, 08:03 PM
Kay Lenz got a lot of supporitng television work in the eighties, but never quite made it to stardom.

poohpah chalupa
10-18-2002, 08:54 PM
Hey, if Ellen Barkin isn't too busy right now, she can have my baby...

Ukulele Ike
10-18-2002, 09:03 PM
The chick in Flashdance.

I think the term "Sophomore Slump" was coined to explain The Bride.

Stoid
10-18-2002, 09:12 PM
I figured Mare Winningham for a huge star when she kicked our asses ("our" being the Hollywood High Shakespeare competitors. I played the nurse in R&J) in the Shakespeare Festival. She acted in or directed 3 or 4 of the winning scenes, and they were so well done, so imaginatively and brilliantly conceived, she was burned on my consciousness. When she emerged as a working actress in the 80's I was not even slightly surprised.

That she did not become huge I attribute both to her personal decisions and to her appearance, which is more character than leading.

RickJay
10-18-2002, 09:20 PM
You never see Jami Gertz around, but she was beautiful.

Phoebe Cates was beautiful AND a good actress, but I think she got out of film voluntarily. She's married to Kevin Kline.

Horatio Hellpop
10-18-2002, 09:42 PM
I'm surprised that Mia Sara didn't have a bigger career--she just shpouldn't have gone from FERRIS BUELLER to TIMECOP--but she does have a great recurring role on BIRDS OF PREY. Jami Gertz, likewise, got some prime screen time on ALLY McBEAL.

Ally Sheedy should've been a major headliner in film. I think her Broadway (Off-Broadway?) run on HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH was pretty well-received.

Sam Stone
10-18-2002, 11:18 PM
How about Ione Sky? She was great in 'Say Anything', but didn't really do much else.

NDP
10-19-2002, 02:10 AM
My pick is Virginia Madsen. (Whom I liked her a lot better than a couple of her peers who came up around the same time: Demi Moore and Sharon Stone.) Sometime around 1990, she seemed to have real promise. Then she did "Highlander 2" and, well, her career never recovered from that body blow.

JThunder
10-19-2002, 03:32 AM
Melinda Culea. In my book at least. She wasn't in tremendous demand, but she had her share of roles.

Oh, and of course... Jan Smithers. (Bailey Quarters fans, you may commence drooling.)

MovieMogul
10-19-2002, 05:52 AM
How did we get this far without mentioning Geena Davis?

Anahita
10-19-2002, 06:27 AM
Valerie Bertanelli, what? What?

Mr. Blue Sky
10-19-2002, 10:12 AM
Diane Franklin
Megan Follows

Laughing Lagomorph
10-19-2002, 09:19 PM
Originally posted by JThunder
[B

Oh, and of course... Jan Smithers. (Bailey Quarters fans, you may commence drooling.) [/B]

DROOL! DROOL!

Guinastasia
10-19-2002, 09:21 PM
I saw Jami Gertz on "ER" once.


(Luka and Carter are HOT).

KidCharlemagne
10-19-2002, 09:45 PM
Jami Gertz is now on the new sitcom "Standing Still."

I too am sad that Mia Sarah never went anywhere.

Wendell Wagner
10-19-2002, 11:36 PM
ArchiveGuy writes:

> How did we get this far without mentioning Geena Davis?

Say what? Geena Davis has had a good career. The astonishing thing is how late she came to everything and yet still did well at what she tried. Take a look at her IMDb entry:

http://us.imdb.com/Name?Davis,+Geena

She didn't become a model till she was 23, when is when most female models figure that they're over the hill. She came close to qualifying for the Olympics in archery at 43, although she didn't even take up the sport until she was in her late 30's. I gather that most top archers are in their 20's and 30's. She had her first child at 46. She's still a real babe at 46, and I'm certain that after taking a little time off to take care of the kid, she'll be back working again. She accomplished all that while having a turbulent personal life. (She's on her fourth marriage.) The only sense in which she's missed anything is that, unlike most actresses who were once considered the "hot new starlet," she didn't spend several years playing roles in which she was basically the bimbo who becomes the male lead's girlfriend.

Glory
10-20-2002, 02:03 AM
I really liked Diane Franklin, Last American Virgin was a great movie and not nearly as derivative as its title would indicate. She was also wonderful in Better off Dead.

Wendell Wagner
10-20-2002, 04:16 PM
". . . till she was 23, when is when most . . ." should have been "till she was 23, which is when most . . ."

King Friday
10-21-2002, 01:07 AM
Phoebe Cates?

Heloise
10-21-2002, 02:41 AM
Someone mentioned Phoebe already. I just saw her in a film with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cummings. Kevin Kline and their kids were in the movie, too, as... her husband and kids! But mostly, yes, she gave up the biz and let's her husband handle it now.

thermalribbon
10-21-2002, 09:37 AM
Immediately, I thought of

A. Debra Winger
B. Elizabeth McGovern
C. Kelly McGillis

NDP
10-21-2002, 09:03 PM
thermalribbon, I beg to differ with you about Debra Winger. She had a pretty good run until the mid-1990's when she cut back--due to either by her own choice or the choice of others--on making movies. On the other hand, Elizabeth McGovern is a good example of someone who didn't live up to her early potential. As for Kelly McGillis, she's somebody who was there and suddenly dropped out of sight.

It must be noted, however, that the careers of these and the other actresses mentioned in this thread prove how much more difficult it is for a talented actress to maintain a successful career in Hollywood than it is for an actor. If you want proof, just compare the number of actors and the number of actresses who've emerged to have successful long-term careers in movies over the last 20 to 25 years.

MovieMogul
10-21-2002, 09:37 PM
Wendell Wagner says:
[/quote]Say what? Geena Davis has had a good career....{etc.}[/url]

The OP Title reads Hot '80s actresses with fading careers. Up to early 1992, Davis was Hot in the industry. Your link only cemented her career's status as Fading (although Faded may be more accurate): 5 Box Office disasters (some as infamous as the industry has known in the last decade), and then 2 films where she's upstaged by a computerized mouse. Oh, and a miserably unsuccessful sitcom and a terrible pre-Oscar show interviewer. She may still be a "babe" (though one who still doesn't know how to dress well, from assorted award show appearances), but Hot? Uh-uh.

Wendell Wagner
10-21-2002, 10:22 PM
I consider her lukewarm at least. She still gets significant film roles, which is a lot more than you can say about most 46-year-old actresses. Granted, she's made some bad choices of roles (though some of those bad choices can be blamed on her ex-husband Renny Harlin). The fact is that in an actress's late thirties, either she becomes one of the three or four bankable actresses at any time who get the top roles, or else she takes whatever roles she can get just to stay working in the hope that she'll last long enough in the film industry to get good roles again, or else she simply fades into obscurity. Actresses like Diane Franklin, Molly Ringwald, Phoebe Cates, Kay Lenz, Ellen Barkin, and Mia Sara have simply faded away. I think of Geena Davis as being more like Jennifer Connelly, who is relatively hot again based on one good role. All it takes is one good role and Geena Davis will be hot again.

Koxinga
10-22-2002, 01:06 AM
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
The chick in Flashdance.

I think the term "Sophomore Slump" was coined to explain The Bride.

Jennifer Beals (http://us.imdb.com/Name?Beals,%20Jennifer). She was the first one to occur to me.

hazel-rah
10-22-2002, 02:44 AM
Granted, she (Geena Davis) made some bad choices of roles

Now I know you aren't talking about "Transylvania 6-5000."

Boo Boo Foo
10-22-2002, 07:26 AM
Kathleen Turner?

Ethilrist
10-22-2002, 10:01 AM
Madonna...

Jonathan Chance
10-22-2002, 10:25 AM
I just want to point out that Kelly McGillis went to the stage and has had a great career with the Shakespeare Theater here in Washington, DC. I've seen her in a few things there.

thermalribbon
10-22-2002, 10:58 AM
Jonathan Chance

I just want to point out that Kelly McGillis went to the stage and has had a great career with the Shakespeare Theater here in Washington, DC. I've seen her in a few things there.

But she isn't starring opposite Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise in these theaters is she?

Wendell Wagner
10-22-2002, 09:47 PM
thermalribbon writes:

> But she isn't starring opposite Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise in
> these theaters is she?

No, and neither is any other actress of Kelly McGillis's age. Cruise is mostly cast with actresses who are ten years younger than him. Ford is mostly cast with actresses who are twenty years younger than him. And they are both dating women of about that age too. That's why so many hot '80's actresses are no longer hot, because they can't get the good roles since they are now (according to many Hollywood producers) too old to be cast against actors of their own age.

Stoid
10-23-2002, 04:12 AM
Kelly moved to Key West and opened a restaurant and had two kids. She's been working fairly steadily...in stuff you've never heard of, unfortunately.

Wendell Wagner
10-23-2002, 09:40 AM
Here is Kelly McGillis's page on the IMDb:

http://us.imdb.com/Name?McGillis,+Kelly

Her career isn't actually that bad for a 45-year-old actress. As I said, in their late thirties, it becomes clear for most actresses what their career is going to be like. They can either become one of the three or four bankable actresses who continue to get good roles well into their forties, or one of the couple dozen of mid-range actresses who take whatever decent roles they can get in hopes that eventually they will get a good role and become hot again, or they can simply fade away into obscurity. McGillis has lived in Washington, D.C. and Key West, Florida for the past decade, acting in roles in the Shakespeare Theater and running a restaurant in Key West. Meanwhile, she continues to take whatever TV and movie roles she is offered.

Ukulele Ike
10-23-2002, 09:51 AM
...so is the restaurant any good?

Thanks for the reminder and the link, Doghouse...my GOODNESS, Beals has been working a lot, in movies and teevee shows I've never heard of!

RickJay
10-23-2002, 10:07 AM
Wendell writes:
The fact is that in an actress's late thirties, either she becomes one of the three or four bankable actresses at any time who get the top roles, or else she takes whatever roles she can get just to stay working in the hope that she'll last long enough in the film industry to get good roles again, or else she simply fades into obscurity. Actresses like Diane Franklin, Molly Ringwald, Phoebe Cates, Kay Lenz, Ellen Barkin..
Actually, Ellen Barkin was in her heyday when she was IN her 30s. Her first really big role, in "The Big Easy," was when she was 33.

To be honest, I wonder how true it is that actresses are dumped in their 30s. Sure, most of them disappear - but a lot of actors disappear, too. Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise are exceptions, not the rule, and I can think of actresses who have kept working in big films well past their prime years:

Rene Russo got her first movie role when she was 35 and was doing hot sex scenes well into her 40s.

Sharon Stone did't get major roles until she was 27 and wasn't a star until she was 32; "Total Recall" was her big notice-that-girl role at 32. Her first major starring vehicle, "Basic Instinct," when when was was 34 and she's still a sex symbol.

Jessica Lange has worked pretty much nonstop right through her 40s.

Catherine Zeta-Jones is, I suspect, a lot older than she admits.

Sigourney Weaver still opens movies at 50. She became a star at 30 (Alien) got her first Oscar nomination at 37 (Aliens) and had a long string of big time roles right through her 40s.

Julia Roberts turns 35 next week and she's the hottest actress in the world.

Nicole Kidman turned 35 a few months ago, and she's the second-hottest actress in the world.

Other new candidates who didn't make it really big until their 30s, or who look like very good candidates to work for many years to come; Naomi Watts is all the rage now at 31, Cate Blanchett's first starring turn was at 29, Carrie-Ann Moss is a cult phenomenon at 35, Lisa Kudrow didn't make it big until her 30s, Jennifer Aniston is starting to make waves at 33, and I like Cameron Diaz's chances - she just got her first really serious role at 30. Helen Hunt didn't make it until she was in her 30s.

There's a strong bias against older actresses to be sure, but the really good ones seem to last. They don't seem to get sex symbol roles when they're really old and gross like Harrison Ford, but... ewww, I don't wanna think about Harrison Ford and his stupid earring and his hideous, skeletal girlfriend right now. I wonder if the problem isn't that we're just in a dead zone right now of good leading ladies. Mrs. RickJay complains all the time that there seems to be a lack of really glamourous, A-level talent actresses right now aside from Nicole Kidman (she hates Julia Roberts) and maybe she's right. These things happen in waves.

WavyDavy
10-23-2002, 10:17 AM
Diane Lane.......I can still feel the heat from that woman.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
10-23-2002, 10:23 AM
Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) is also living a laidback life, acting when she gets a good part but mostly enjoying her life.

singular1
10-23-2002, 10:30 AM
Sam StoneHow about Ione Sky? She was great in 'Say Anything', but didn't really do

I forced myself to watch this this weekend, since it was on a lot of Best 10 lists. Mr. Singular and I were so distracted by her buck teeth and speech impedement that we could barely hear her dialog.

KidCharlemagne
Jami Gertz is now on the new sitcom "Standing Still."
actually, it's "Still Standing".

dantheman
10-23-2002, 10:42 AM
Jamie Gertz's last big movie, AFIAK, was Twister, in which she played the ex of Bill Paxton's character.

Mia Sara was never a good actress. Good looking, yes. Good actress, no way. She really didn't do much after Ferris Bueller - Timecop and Queenie spring to mind.

I remember when Ally Sheedy had a comeback of sorts in Betsy's Wedding, and I thought then that seemed like a good launching pad for a good second career - but it never really happened.

Ione Skye did appear in Gas Food Lodging back in '92, but I haven't seen much of her lately, either.

Wasn't Megan Follows Anne of Green Gables? She did an update of it a few years back, something like "Return to Avonlea."

Definitely agree about Diane Lane. She hot.

Wendell Wagner
10-23-2002, 10:52 AM
Renee Russo is the one exception on RickJay's list to my rule of when an actress has to break through. Russo didn't even start getting good movie roles till her late thirties, and yet it looks like she'll be getting decent roles all through her forties, despite the fact that she's not bankable. Note though that those roles are as the hero's girlfriend. It doesn't look like she is going to be known as a leading role actress.

Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman are two of the three or four bankable actresses in the world today. (Meg Ryan is probably bankable now, and Cameron Diaz is close to becoming bankable.) "Bankable" means that the actress always gets at least $15 million for every role and is so popular that they can get a movie made purely because of their signing on for the film. As I said, there are always something like three or four actresses like this whose careers can continue successfully into their forties. Sometimes an actress loses her bankability, either from stupid film choices or because they get tired of the hassle. Jody Foster and Demi Moore have dropped out of bankability.

Jessica Lange is a mid-range actress. She doesn't get lead roles in top movies anymore. She's another example of an actress in her forties who takes any decent TV and movie role she can get in hopes that eventually she'll get a good one and become hot again.

Sharon Stone may still be a sex symbol (although that's largely on the basis of people's memories of her, not on her current roles), but the fact is that she's not getting roles in films anymore.

I think that I would class Catherine Zeta-Jones as a mid-range actress. It would be interesting to see if she continues to get good roles after having her second baby. It would also be interesting to know her true age.

Ellen Barkin's time as a lead actress was very short. She appears to be out of acting now. She's done what's probably the best thing for a once-hot actress who's fallen out of the limelight: She's married a billionaire and gotten out of the business.

Sigourney Weaver is an odd case. Yes, she's still a star in the _Alien_ films, but nowhere else. If she wants to do another film in that series, she can get it made and probably get $15 million for it, but outside that series, she's a mid-range actress. In her other roles she's just taking whatever she's offered.

Hail Ants
10-23-2002, 08:17 PM
My vote goes to Blair Brown. (http://us.imdb.com/Name?Brown,+Blair) Not generally thought of as 'hot', she was still gorgeous. Great actress too.

Mr. Blue Sky
10-23-2002, 10:34 PM
Ione Skye did appear in Gas Food Lodging back in '92, but I haven't seen much of her lately, either.

Wasn't Megan Follows Anne of Green Gables? She did an update of it a few years back, something like "Return to Avonlea."


Ione Skye recently appeared in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Megan Follows appeared in Anne of Green Gables: The Contiuning Story.

IIRC, she once said she wouldn't do any more Anne stories after Colleen Dewhurst died. They last appeared together in the dismal Termini Station. In that, Dewhurst (in one of her last roles) played a delusional alcoholic. Follows was a down-on-her-luck part-time prostitute with a big-ass chip on her shoulder. Yep, happy times for all. :rolleyes: