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  #1  
Old 05-05-2004, 03:50 PM
wolf_meister wolf_meister is offline
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Bad Career Decisions - Shelley Long, Pernell Roberts ...

There have been cast members that have left successful TV shows and achieved less fame and money than they ever had with the original show. A few examples:

Shelley Long - "Cheers"
Pernell Roberts - "Bonanza"
David Caruso - "NYPD Blue"
Jeff Conaway - "Taxi"
MacLean Stevenson and Larry Linville - "MASH"
Henry Gibson and Arte Johnson - "Laugh-IN"

So, can you think of any others? It doesn't have to be a TV show either. How about rock groups, movie series, etc ?
Also, firings don't count. It must be a conscious decision made by the person who quit.
Cancellations don't count either. For example, many people who stayed with MASH's entire run had little success after the show ended.

Okay, so now it's time to play:
From Relative Obscurity To Total Oblivion"
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  #2  
Old 05-05-2004, 04:03 PM
BubbaDog BubbaDog is offline
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Marginal examples

David Lee Roth and Ven Halen

Peter Gabriel and Genesis (although a successful solo artist I think the Genesis cash flow was pretty strong after his departure and he might have done better financially had he stayed)

Ike - Ike and Tina (but did he quit or was he fired since it was HIS group)

Kenny - Southpark (I'm glad he's back. What a great actor)
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  #3  
Old 05-05-2004, 04:04 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Rob Lowe left The West Wing for the 5 episode (I think) flop "The Lyon's Den"
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Old 05-05-2004, 04:05 PM
jk1245 jk1245 is offline
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Pretty much every SNL alum who left (with a few notable exceptions).

Most of the ER cast except George Clooney.

Hmmm....it might be more difficult to name a TV star who went on to a bigger career in movies or whatever.
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Old 05-05-2004, 04:06 PM
ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness is offline
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For musicians, Mick Taylor, who quit the Rolling Stones in the mid 1970s to do... um....
Movies George Lazenby (if his version of the story, that it was his decision not to do any more 007 films, is true).
TV - Denise Crosby leaving Star Trek: The Next Generation.
What's-hername that played Kes leaving Voyager
David Duchovney didn't exactly set the box office on fire after leaving The X Files
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Old 05-05-2004, 04:47 PM
NDP NDP is offline
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With Ike & Tina Turner, it was Tina who left and went on to far greater success. Right now, I'd say Ike Turner ranks somewhere below O.J. Simpson on the Celebrity Pariah List.

Quote:
Hmmm....it might be more difficult to name a TV star who went on to a bigger career in movies or whatever.
True. Of course, if you really want to make it difficult, just try to name the actresses who made it big on TV and then went on to a successful movie career.
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  #7  
Old 05-05-2004, 04:48 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Valerie Harper - Left a series with her name on the title. The series went on for a couple more years.

Patrick Duffy - Left Dallas for a season. They begged him to come back, but he didn't exactly set the world on fire while he was gone.

Suzanne Sommers, Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson - a lot of turnover in those late '70s ABC shows.

Jean Hagen - Actually owned points in the Danny Thomas Show, but got tired of playing second-fiddle to the kid actors. She really fell off the map.

Jack Paar - Although he may have truly retired after the prime time version of his show ended.

James Drury - Anyone ever hear from him after he left The Virginian?

I could even make the argument that Mary Tyler Moore's career fizzled out after she made the decision to end her series.

And while jk1245 blanket-named almost everyone who left Saturday Night Live, let's give special recognition to. . . Chevy Chase.
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Old 05-05-2004, 05:03 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Conversely, you have to applaud the guys who stayed with their TV shows to the bitter end, even though they had loads of movie offers. Henry Winkler and Michael J. Fox come to mind. They were EXTREMELY popular, for a time, and both made several movies (in Fox's case, some hit movies)... but both were smart enough to see the benefits of a steady gig on a hit sitcom.
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Old 05-05-2004, 05:18 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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Pernell Roberts? After leaving Bonanza, he starred in his own extremely successful series, Trapper John, M.D., which ran for seven years on CBS. I don't have salary figures, but I can't imagine he didn't make a ton more money for a show in which he played the title character than he did being one of four main characters. And while obviously Bonanza is remembered because it's an iconic, long-running show, Pernell himself is at least equally famous for Trapper John. Hardly "total oblivion."

And David Caruso? Since when is starring in a T.V. series consistently in the top 20 oblivion? Admittedly, his movie career didn't go the way he expected, but he certainly has more money and more fame now than he did from his one season on NYPD Blue.

I'm not arguing with your premise, just that some of your choices don't seem to fit at all. There's nothing noble about sticking with a role until the bitter end if you want to move on. And just because you don't see certain actors on a regular basis doesn't mean they aren't raking in the money. One of the most lucrative areas of acting right now is T.V. movies. The top stars, people like Tori Spelling, and in the past Valerie Bertinelli and all of the former Charlie's Angels, can make as much money doing a few T.V. movies a year as they did appearing in a series.
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  #10  
Old 05-05-2004, 05:28 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDP
True. Of course, if you really want to make it difficult, just try to name the actresses who made it big on TV and then went on to a successful movie career.
Penny Marshall
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  #11  
Old 05-05-2004, 05:42 PM
AveDementia AveDementia is offline
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I've always had regret for the decision of Rob Morrow to leave Northern Exposure for movies. He killed both the show and his career.

No comfort, but I'm pretty sure he regrets it, too.
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  #12  
Old 05-05-2004, 06:14 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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More actresses who went from a successful T.V. career to big screen success: Goldie Hawn, Mia Farrow, Helen Hunt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sally Field...does Cher count?

Actors: Pierce Brosnan, Clint Eastwood ("move 'em up, head 'em out, Rawhide!"), Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Ryan O'Neal, Danny DeVito, Tom Hanks...

I know as soon as I post this I'll think of a bunch more.
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Old 05-05-2004, 06:31 PM
NDP NDP is offline
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More actors who successfully moved from TV to movies: John Travolta, Steve McQueen, and Eddie Murphy.

I wouldn't say Cher counts because she first shot to fame as a singer and then moved on to TV. I think this thread is mainly about those whose first made names for themselves on TV.

Anyway, if we're going to count "Laugh-In" cast members who went on some movie success why not include Lily Tomlin?
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Old 05-05-2004, 07:33 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDP
I think this thread is mainly about those whose first made names for themselves on TV.
No, this thread is about people who made bad career decisions, but why quibble?
Quote:
Anyway, if we're going to count "Laugh-In" cast members who went on some movie success why not include Lily Tomlin?
There and back again, since she's now a member of the cast of The West Wing.
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  #15  
Old 05-05-2004, 07:43 PM
Happy Lendervedder Happy Lendervedder is offline
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Another actor who left TV to make it big: Jim Carrey
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  #16  
Old 05-05-2004, 07:47 PM
Mr. Blue Sky Mr. Blue Sky is offline
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Peter Wolf's career tanked after leaving The J. Geils Band. His first solo album was fairly successful. Of course, the band crashed and burned afterwards as well.
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  #17  
Old 05-05-2004, 08:04 PM
wolf_meister wolf_meister is offline
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SpoilerVirgin
Pernell Roberts left Bonanza in 1965 and Trapper John started in 1979. That's quite a time gap.
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  #18  
Old 05-05-2004, 08:05 PM
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Rob Lowe didn't leave "West Wing", he was forced out. Sure, the producers can say "We offered him a twinkie and two cool looking rocks, but he turned it down. Not our fault." People in the know see it otherwise.

There's been a lot of force-outs on network TV lately. When a show is a success, the salaries rise, then the ratings start to sag and it's no longer profitable to air the show unless some cost cutting is done. In some cases, the producers are not willing to make the cost cutting and the show is canned, sometimes in not so obvious ways. "You're moving my show to when????"

For all practical purposes, "Frasier" is no longer profitable and "Friends" was getting close to it. So they're smoke. "We all thought it was a good time to wrap it up." Yeah, right.

As to successful actors who started in TV, that applies to almost all of them. I think Meg Ryan's post-"As The World Turns" career isn't too bad.
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  #19  
Old 05-05-2004, 08:13 PM
Morbo Morbo is offline
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Quote:
And while jk1245 blanket-named almost everyone who left Saturday Night Live, let's give special recognition to. . . Chevy Chase.
I dunno 'bout that. His career fizzled later, but he certainly had a string of hits right after he left SNL - Caddyshack, Fletch, Vacation, plus his cutesy hits with Goldie hawn - Foul Play, Seems Like Old Times - hell, even Spies Like Us and Three Amigos were hits.

Others who went on to better Movie careers after TV: Morgan Freeman, Robin Williams, Ron Howard, Bruce Willis anyone?

As to the OP: Law & Order has had mixed results:

No: Richard Brooks, Carey Lowell, Angie Harmon

Yes: Jill Hennessey, Benjamin Bratt, Chris Noth
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  #20  
Old 05-05-2004, 08:15 PM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
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[hijack]

Jeff Conway, of Taxi & the movie Grease, has always reminded me of him being Keith Richards love child.

That's all.


[/hijack]


Can I ask one question, Steve Gutenburg had the world by the balls for a couple of years with those dingy police academy movies and a host of other fun little forgettable films. Except for the Simpson references, he seems to have dropped off the map.
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  #21  
Old 05-05-2004, 08:25 PM
Nvme77 Nvme77 is offline
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I never watched the show but it seemed that once Lisa Bonet left A Different World the show got better and she got worse- except the part for being married to Lenny Kravitz.
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  #22  
Old 05-05-2004, 08:28 PM
Morbo Morbo is offline
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Can I ask one question, Steve Gutenburg had the world by the balls for a couple of years with those dingy police academy movies and a host of other fun little forgettable films. Except for the Simpson references, he seems to have dropped off the map.
He starred in a series of rather average Disney "meet cute" types of movies in the mid-90's, then his career kind of stalled. He then made his directorial debut last year with P.S. You Cat is Dead which was so critically panned and such a box office disaster that his career is now most definitely over.
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  #23  
Old 05-05-2004, 08:37 PM
Bambi Hassenpfeffer Bambi Hassenpfeffer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness
What's-hername that played Kes leaving Voyager
Jennifer Lien. And I thought of another Trek example: Terry Farrell, who played Jadzia Dax. She left DS9 to be on Becker, of all things.
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  #24  
Old 05-05-2004, 09:16 PM
wolf_meister wolf_meister is offline
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Just thought of another one:
Ken Wahl left "Wise Guy" and then made the movie - "The Taking Of Beverly Hills"
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Old 05-05-2004, 09:22 PM
Amok Amok is offline
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Originally Posted by Bambi Hassenpfeffer
And I thought of another Trek example: Terry Farrell, who played Jadzia Dax. She left DS9 to be on Becker, of all things.
Becker was a reasonably successful sitcom, as it lasted from 1998-2004, so 6 seasons I assume. According to the imdb Terry Farrell was only on the show for the first four years; I don't watch it so I don't know what the deal was there, if she left that show too, or if she was fired. Still, DS9 lasted what, one more season after she left? So leaving for Becker kept her employed for longer than staying with DS9 would have.
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  #26  
Old 05-05-2004, 09:28 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Keith Larsen left "The Aquanauts" in the middle of the season for a movie career. I bet you've never even heard of him.

Or "The Aquanauts" aka "Malibu Run," for that matter.
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  #27  
Old 05-05-2004, 09:36 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amok
Becker was a reasonably successful sitcom, as it lasted from 1998-2004, so 6 seasons I assume. According to the imdb Terry Farrell was only on the show for the first four years; I don't watch it so I don't know what the deal was there, if she left that show too, or if she was fired. Still, DS9 lasted what, one more season after she left? So leaving for Becker kept her employed for longer than staying with DS9 would have.
Terry Farrell was fired, for some unknown reason. She was much better than the girl who replaced her.
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Old 05-05-2004, 10:08 PM
Bambi Hassenpfeffer Bambi Hassenpfeffer is offline
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Originally Posted by Mahaloth
Terry Farrell was fired, for some unknown reason. She was much better than the girl who replaced her.
AFAIR, it was mutual, because according to unnamed sources, she was a total bitch. At least, that's the impression I got from my reading at the time.
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  #29  
Old 05-05-2004, 11:15 PM
wolf_meister wolf_meister is offline
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RealityChuck
Wow someone remembers the "Aquanauts" later renamed "Malibu Run" to give it a "hip" name. I sure as heck forgot all about Keith Larsen but I do remember Jeremy Slate being on that show. Maybe staying on that show helped him because it seems he has worked steadily (in minor supporting roles) on television and has had some success in movies "Born Losers" and "Lawnmower Man".
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:53 PM
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Jeff Conway had a good supporting role on Babylon 5, post Taxi. I never even saw the latter, I knew and liked him from B5.
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  #31  
Old 05-06-2004, 12:05 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Conversely, you have to applaud the guys who stayed with their TV shows to the bitter end, even though they had loads of movie offers. Henry Winkler and Michael J. Fox come to mind. They were EXTREMELY popular, for a time, and both made several movies (in Fox's case, some hit movies)... but both were smart enough to see the benefits of a steady gig on a hit sitcom.
I'm giving credit to Vanna White of all people for showing some intelligence. There was a time a few years back when she appeared to be on the verge of being a superstar. Movies, record deals, hit television series. Then it turned out she had no discernable talent. But she had made one smart decision; throughout her brush with fame, she never quit her day job on Wheel of Fortune.
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  #32  
Old 05-06-2004, 12:13 AM
wolf_meister wolf_meister is offline
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Jeff Conaway left "Taxi" in 1981. He joined the cast of "Babylon 5" in 1995. Hmmm another 14 year gap. (See Pernell Roberts) Maybe this is some unwritten rule of television ?
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  #33  
Old 05-06-2004, 12:15 AM
Odinoneeye Odinoneeye is offline
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I got an example of a bad career decision going the other way.

Anthony Michael Hall had a a pretty good movie career going (Sixteen Candles, Weird Science) then he joined SNL on one of the really bad years and his career fizzled out. (Although he did show up in Edward Scissorhands)
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  #34  
Old 05-06-2004, 12:37 AM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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In interviews during the run of Trapper John, Pernell Roberts definitely regarded his departure from Bonanza as a mistake. He left because he felt the script quality had gone downhill, plus he was extremely active in liberal politics in his private life and wanted some bizarre changes to the series (among other things he wanted Adam to marry a Native American character played by an African American actress- I wish I had a cite for that but I read it in a book on the series). Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon all counselled him about going away, Greene making a comment to the effect of "I wouldn't wipe my ass with most of these scripts, but for $45,000 per episode I'm not going anywhere".
It was a very long decade and a half of episodic guest appearances, dinner theater and occasional low budget movie roles before he hooked onto TJ, which he stayed with til the end. (His life has been hell in recent years due to the death of his only child and health problems, but he's still alive and at least doesn't have to add poverty to the rest.)

Regarding Jeff Conaway- does anybody have a clue what he (or Eddie Mekka for that matter) was doing in the 'Child Stars' video at the end of Dickie Roberts? (Dickie Roberts movie: D- Child Stars video- A-) He was far from a child when he played Kenicky and in his 30s on Taxi. (Also a major cokehead, at least during his Taxi days.)

My pics:

Amanda Blake from Gunsmoke- her decision to sit out the last season cost her a fortune in residuals and salary due to an odd contract. She contracted AIDS from her bisexual third husband and lost most of her money in a private zoo business that flopped. She wasn't indigent as in Ed Wood or Singing Nun, but when she died she was living in a middle class apartment and was saved from total financial ruin only by some well timed Gunsmoke reunion movies.

Esther Rolle from Good Times- she was a middle-aged not-particularly-attractive black woman of only okay comic timing, so when she got a starring role on a hit comedy series (a spin-off of Maude that was actually far more popular than its parent) it was almost the equivalent of winning the lottery twice by way of beating the odds. Nevertheless she left the show due to the departure of John Amos (she didn't want to reinforce the stereotype of fatherless black families) and the shiftiness of JJ's character (she felt he was a latter day Stepin Fetchit). The show flopped without her, her career went nowhere fast and her money ran fairly quickly as well. She returned to the show but by then it only had one more season of life left in it. She had a modestly successful career for the rest of her life, but nothing to compare with the mid 70s. (John Amos [who, like Sherman Hemsley, was 20 years younger than his TV wife] also had peaks and valleys in his solo career, but he's been in enough recurring roles on hit-series and had enough really great post GT roles (the middle-aged Kunta Kinte, Cleo McDowell in Coming to America, etc.) that he never really nosedived.

Bloodworth/Thomasson- I'm using the producers rather than the star. Their high-profile writing out of Delta Burke caused Jean Smart to leave the show as well, which meant the two most talented and comedically gifted cast members from a show that owed most of its best moments to either Suzanne or Charlene became really mediocre really fast. The way underemployed Jan Hooks was decent, but Julia Duffy never helped any show she was on and Judith Ivey was too little too late to save a show that quickly devolved into "let's see how many liberal screeds the once sassy but increasingly unlikeable Julia can go into while Anthony does nothing in particular and Alice Ghostley does what she can by singing 'Black Man! Black Man! " schlock. When they later made peace with Delta Burke and brought Suzanne back in her own series it was one of the worst spinoffs this side of Checkin' In, with Suzanne suddenly having an adopted daughter, a seat in Congress, and a retarded brother never-before mentioned- they all should have known it wouldn't work.

Burt Reynolds has had some "interesting" career decisions: he turned down the lead in Die Hard in favor of Rent-a-Cop (though in all fairness Die Hard probably would have flopped also if hed' starred in it), turned down the role of Rosemary's husband in Rosemary's Baby for the long forgotten Sam Whiskey, and tried his best to get out of his contractual obligation for Boogie Nights which turned out to be his only critically applauded role in well over a decade.

Mickey Rooney turned down the role of Archie Bunker (at least according to Mickey Rooney). Robert DeNiro auditioned for Mike Stivic but was never cast, though Rob Reiner's real-life first wife Penny Marshall was strongly considered for Gloria.

Jerry Van Dyke turned down the lead in Gilligan's Island to do the series My Mother the Car, though whether that was a mistake is debatable since certainly the castaways never did much else.

Ed Asner turned down the role of Coach on Cheers (though for good reasons- he had just finished playing Lou Grant in two series after 12 years and wanted a break, plus they didn't want to pay anywhere near his salary demands [which after two long-running series were understandably high]). He's had very few memorable projects in the past 20 years for somebody who works as much as he has.

Rod Steiger turned down lots of great roles in the 70s including Patton and Popeye Doyle.

George Segal turned down the lead in 10 after signing the contract, the same role making Dudley Moore an international star. When Moore's inability to memorize his lines on the set of Mirror Has Two Faces led Streisand to think he was drinking or doing drugs he was fired and replaced with George Segal.

While he didn't turn down the role, Bud Cort made a really bad career decision when he signed to do Harold & Maude. H&M was low budget with an unknown director- what budget he did have went to Ruth Gordon, who was very hot off of her Oscar win in Rosemary's Baby. Higgins really wanted Cort for the role but Brewster McLoud had made his salary go up, so he offered him a small salary (something like $25,000) and a percentage of the movie. Cort told him he couldn't work for less than (I want to say $100,000- I believe that's the figure I've read), so ultimately Higgins was able to get some extra money to secure Cort but retracted the points he'd offered him in the movie. Had Cort taken the $25K + % he would have earned million$ more over the past 30 years.
(Harold & Maude trivia: Ellen Geer [daughter of the bisexual folksinging Communist and horticulturalist Will "Grandpa Walton" Geer], who played Sunshine Dorč [Harold's last computer date- the actress] in the film, has played the role of Maude in a travelling stage production and at her father's outdoor theater [Theatricum Botanicum] in northern California.)
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  #35  
Old 05-06-2004, 04:53 AM
Evil Death Evil Death is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odinoneeye
I got an example of a bad career decision going the other way.

Anthony Michael Hall had a a pretty good movie career going (Sixteen Candles, Weird Science) then he joined SNL on one of the really bad years and his career fizzled out. (Although he did show up in Edward Scissorhands)
And is now the star of The Dead Zone, one of the few new genre shows to be renewed.

ftg - Rob Lowe quit The West Wing because he wanted the same pay as Martin Sheen and they wouldn't give it to him.
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  #36  
Old 05-06-2004, 05:17 AM
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I can't believe I'm the first to post this, at least not around here -- Claudia Christianson's (Ivanova) decision to leave Babylon 5. Has she done anything since? I caught her in an episode of Murder, She Wrote while visiting my parents once, but I've no idea when it was originally shown.

CJ
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  #37  
Old 05-06-2004, 08:18 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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George Clooney not only left ER, but also Facts of Life and Roseanne.. He must hold a record for leaving hit shows.
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  #38  
Old 05-06-2004, 08:47 AM
Brendan Donovan Brendan Donovan is offline
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Molly Ringwald turned down the role played by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.
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Old 05-06-2004, 09:53 AM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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While he was never exactly a household name, Michael Stoyanov left his role as the title character's recovering addict brother in Blossom to be a writer on Conan O'Brien's show for a much lower salary. He lost that job soon after and said he never should have left the show due to the financial independence it would have afforded. (On the other hand Joey Lawrence stayed with the show and isn't exactly the new Douglas Fairbanks.)

Harvey Korman left the Carol Burnett Show, which everyone remembers, to star in The Harvey Korman Show, which nobody remembers. He was good as part of an ensemble but couldn't carry a show to save his life.

Don Knotts left The Andy Griffith Show at the height of its success and was never really as big a star again (though he continued to work in minor films and most of his money actually came from Three's Company due to residuals and higher salary scales). Andy Griffith himself has expressed regret over leaving the show- he was offered an ungodly contract for another season but felt he'd done all he could with it (which he had) and he wanted to have a movie career (which never took off).

Of course there are too many soap opera actors who left only to fall fast and hard to list; I'll mention Tony Geary as one of the many who left with a flash and crawled back with a whimper.
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  #40  
Old 05-06-2004, 10:19 AM
Evil Death Evil Death is offline
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Originally Posted by Siege
I can't believe I'm the first to post this, at least not around here -- Claudia Christianson's (Ivanova) decision to leave Babylon 5. Has she done anything since? I caught her in an episode of Murder, She Wrote while visiting my parents once, but I've no idea when it was originally shown.

CJ
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0160004/

She's been busy in minor stuff. Her most significant work since leaving B5 was VO for Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

However, Claudia Christian doesn't deserve to be on this list as she left B5 for the possibility of a lead role in her own series. She was shortlisted for the "female immortal" spinoff from Highlander, and she had to confirm she was available by a set date to be in with a chance. Because of the switch from WB to TNT and the general dicking around at the end of S4, she didn't know if B5 was going to get a fifth year when she had to decide what she was going to do.
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  #41  
Old 05-06-2004, 10:43 AM
Nonsuch Nonsuch is offline
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Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas
George Clooney not only left ER, but also Facts of Life and Roseanne.. He must hold a record for leaving hit shows.
Dunno about Facts of Life, but Clooney was never a regular on Roseanne and was never going to be. You could just as easily say Senator Fred Thompson "left" Roseanne.

When I read the OP, I thought immediately of Michael Moriarty. He left Law & Order in a well-publicized fit of martyrdom about 10 years ago and not only torpedoed his career, but seemed to suffer some kind of minor mental breakdown in the process. Nary a peep from him since.

BTW, didn't Jeff Conaway leave Taxi because of substance abuse problems? Protecting your health is hardly a career mistake.
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  #42  
Old 05-06-2004, 11:36 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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BTW, didn't Jeff Conaway leave Taxi because of substance abuse problems? Protecting your health is hardly a career mistake.
Assuming protecting his health had anything to do with it, which is doubtful. More likely was that he decided to quit acting so he could pursue cocaine abuse full time. A poor decision both physically and professionally.
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  #43  
Old 05-06-2004, 11:52 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Ron Howard is another TV personality who, like Penny Marshall, was smart enough not to try acting in movies, but rather knew his real talent was behind the camera.
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  #44  
Old 05-06-2004, 11:57 AM
yellowval yellowval is offline
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Originally Posted by ftg
As to successful actors who started in TV, that applies to almost all of them. I think Meg Ryan's post-"As The World Turns" career isn't too bad.
Neither is Julianne Moore's (who played Frannie on ATWT).

As for others who left something successful:
Joe Perry leaving Aerosmith was a huge mistake for him. Of course, they didn't do too well without him, either. And, thank goodness, he came back.
Oh, and have we forgotten the entire cast of Seinfeld?
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  #45  
Old 05-06-2004, 12:27 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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Originally Posted by Nonsuch
When I read the OP, I thought immediately of Michael Moriarty. He left Law & Order in a well-publicized fit of martyrdom about 10 years ago and not only torpedoed his career, but seemed to suffer some kind of minor mental breakdown in the process. Nary a peep from him since.
Michael Moriarty moved to Canada, but he has worked steadily ever since, in a wide variety of films, T.V. movies and T.V. series. He won an Emmy in 2002 for his work in James Dean. It's to his credit that he has maintained his career while suffering from problems with alcohol and mental illness.

Of course, any time you try to judge career decisions, you are going by subjective measures. I consider anyone who can continue to earn a living as a working actor to be a success, and anyone who has a regular paying gig on more than one successful television series in a lifetime to have hit the jackpot. It's also hard to judge the "what if's." You can say that Shelley Long would have been better off staying on Cheers, but who knows? Maybe the Diane/Sam relationship would have grown too tiresome, and the show would have ended years earlier than it did. Maybe Shelley would never have been able to transition to movies at all.

And of course, while money's nice, it isn't everything. Staying in an environment that you hate and that doesn't allow you to be creative may be more painful than slashing a few zeroes off the end of your salary.
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  #46  
Old 05-06-2004, 02:04 PM
Eats_Crayons Eats_Crayons is offline
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Originally Posted by Mahaloth
Terry Farrell was fired, for some unknown reason. She was much better than the girl who replaced her.
Not an unknown reason... Ted Danson wanted fresh blood. That sounds nastier than I intended, lemme try again: Becker's ratting started to sag a little, so the producers decided to rejuvenate the cast a little (after contract squabbles that had Farrell and other supporting cast members not showing up to work for a bit).

Ted Danson supported a move to toss out Farrell, the idea being that she should be replaced with a woman with "different chemistry" -- one that would let them see-saw between "will they or won't they?" Originally the producers wanted to avoid a "Sam and Diane" scenario, but with sagging ratings they brought in "sweet" to be the polar opposite of Danson's "sour" for a similar type of "sexual tension."

Farrell's season ended with the cliffhanger of Farrell's character kissing Ted Danson. She was completely taken by surprise when she was dismissed.

I saw an interview with Danson in which he said "this is definitely better" and there was a really nasty undercurrent to the way he was talking that suggested he had more to do with turfing Farrell than what was made public. Seriously bad vibes from him.


Speaking of "gone and back again"... Sherry Stringfield left ER used to complain quite publicly that they "sabotaged her career" so she was suddenly unable to get film roles... now she's back on ER.
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  #47  
Old 05-06-2004, 02:15 PM
Eats_Crayons Eats_Crayons is offline
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Originally Posted by SpoilerVirgin
Michael Moriarty moved to Canada, but he has worked steadily ever since, in a wide variety of films, T.V. movies and T.V. series. He won an Emmy in 2002 for his work in James Dean. It's to his credit that he has maintained his career while suffering from problems with alcohol and mental illness.
Holy crap! IMDB says Moriarty is 6'4"??? Wow with that round babyface, I never would've thought...

Has the nature of his mental illness ever been publicly disclosed? I remember him insisting that he was fired from Law & Order because he was threatening to sue Janet Reno, and later I saw him in a very bizarre interview (in Canada) in which he was dishevelled (looked like he'd been sleeping in his clothes) and he was saying that God had told him he must takes his family and flee the United States.
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  #48  
Old 05-06-2004, 02:51 PM
NDP NDP is offline
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It's also hard to judge the "what if's." You can say that Shelley Long would have been better off staying on Cheers, but who knows? Maybe the Diane/Sam relationship would have grown too tiresome, and the show would have ended years earlier than it did. Maybe Shelley would never have been able to transition to movies at all.

And of course, while money's nice, it isn't everything. Staying in an environment that you hate and that doesn't allow you to be creative may be more painful than slashing a few zeroes off the end of your salary.
That's a fairly accurate analysis with regards to "Cheers" and Shelley Long. As I recall reading at the time, Long had alienated much of the cast and crew so much that her presence on the show was considered to be a ticking timebomb. Had she not left show when her contract expired in 1987, there was a good chance "Cheers" would have imploded like "Moonlighting" and "Designing Women" did and not lasted for another six years.

As for Long's attempt at a film career, hindsight is 20/20. When she left "Cheers" in 1987, she already enjoyed some success starring in Outrageous Fortune. (Of course, her co-star in the movie, Bette Midler, was also the #1 female box office draw at the time so that probably had a lot to do with it.) In fact, one could argue that her chances looked a lot better than Burce Willis who was also trying to make the transition to movies at the same time. Unfortunately, while she certainly could've found a niche in Hollywood doing romantic comedies, Long was in her late 30's and, as mentioned previously, had a reputation for being "difficult." Thus, roles in movies calling for a funny blonde America's Sweetheart-type went to people like Meg Ryan who (at the time) was younger, cheaper, and more agreeable.
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  #49  
Old 05-06-2004, 03:28 PM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Originally Posted by Nonsuch
Dunno about Facts of Life, but Clooney was never a regular on Roseanne and was never going to be. You could just as easily say Senator Fred Thompson "left" Roseanne.
Booker was Roseanne and Jackie's boss the first two seasons, and also had the hots for Jackie, who didn't feel that same way about him. He was on the show almost every week. I think that made him a regular.
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  #50  
Old 05-06-2004, 06:00 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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Originally Posted by Eats_Crayons
Has the nature of his mental illness ever been publicly disclosed? I remember him insisting that he was fired from Law & Order because he was threatening to sue Janet Reno, and later I saw him in a very bizarre interview (in Canada) in which he was dishevelled (looked like he'd been sleeping in his clothes) and he was saying that God had told him he must takes his family and flee the United States.
There has been no formal public announcement of exactly what is going on with Michael Moriarty. But it's pretty apparent from incidents such as the ones you mention (wacky interviews, his arrest after a bar fight, his often bizarre appearance -- there was clearly something not quite right when he accepted his Emmy) that he has problems. It also seems clear that some of those problems are alcohol related. These issues were a hot topic of discussion even while he was still appearing on Law & Order.

***

A little investigation reveals that on an apparently official website, which hasn't been updated since 2001, Michael was posting serialized chapters from his book The Third Person: The Memoir of a Recovering Alcoholic.

He is a truly talented actor and as I said before, I find it remarkable that he's had the career he's had while going through these personal struggles.
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