Actors you were sure would make it big, and they didn't

A companion thread to this one about actors’ breakout roles.

Christopher Jones from Wild in the Streets, 1968. Good looks and extreme charisma – I was sure he’d be a mega-star. IMDB’s bio cites a rocky childhood and personal problems. He hasn’t had steady work for years. How is he even supporting himself?

Michael Parks from the TV series Then Came Bronson. Another good-looking, talented actor who should have been huge. He’s worked steady for many years but most folks probably don’t know his name.

Ever predict stardom for someone who didn’t quite make it?

I thought Robert Powell was destined for greatness after starring in Jesus of Nazareth. Even after all these years, it’s still my favorite interpretation of the gospels.

Henry Winkler

That guy in the first Star Wars movies.

I guess Mark Hamil didn’t make it big in the way people expected, but he is a huge voice actor and has had a great career.

Unless you mean someone else.

Fairuza Balk. She’s gotten steady work, but nearly all of it in things no one’s heard of.

Neil Dickson. Handsome, talented and brilliant in the film Biggles and in the cult TV series She-Wolf of London. Deserved to be a star.

Clancy Brown
Adrian Paul

Michael Biehn.

Jason Patric.

Haley Joel Osment. Apparently being Anakin Skywalker caused the universe to hate him.

Sean Young. Loved her in Blade Runner, and then she just went nuts.

The first prequel would have been much better with Haley Joel as Anakin, but instead it was Jake Lloyd.

Judge Reinhold…I thought he was great in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but, he didn’t really fly. Amusingly, Forrest Whitaker, who had little more than a mumbling big-gorilla jock role in the same movie, really got more of the attention.

Danielle Brisebois (sp?) from All in the Family…hot babe w/a primo rack when she grew up-same fate as Judge.

Victoria Pratt from Mutant X.

Dale Midkiff from Time Trax.

Jason Patric. Steady work but not what he deserves.

I thought both Ed Marinaro and Helen Thomas would hit it big after Hill Street Blues, but it never happened. Same for that matter with Captain Furillo and the woman who played his wife.

Helen Slater -I just thought she would be a big star. She’s still working steady though.

Mia Sara - kind of fizzled out.

He’s working steadily, but I really thought Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would be the go-to action movie guy by now - this generation’s Schwarzenegger/Stallone-type. He’s starred in films with middling success and had supporting roles in lots of stuff, but he hasn’t had that star-maker franchise role (Terminator/Rambo/Rocky) that puts him in the top.

Good choices. Both were very handsome (Patric circa Lost Boys was a dead ringer for Jim Morrison at his most gorgeous), both very good actors, both had that solid leading man charisma. I can only assume either they’re both difficult to work with, or possibly neither one was interested in romcom roles that kept the likes of Dermot Mulroney employed through the 90s.

My pick is Rufus Sewell. He was excellent in Dark City, or even in the thankless bad guy role in A Knight’s Tale. It seems he got typecast in typical villain roles, and went back to the stage for the most part.

Those enjoying this thread will likely enjoy the “What the hell happened?” section on this blog, which is about actors who seemed like they would be big but didn’t make it. Very informative and well written (albeit with lots of typos!).

Anna Chlumsky. She’s doing okay in Veep (an Emmy nomination), but she should’ve been bigger earlier.

Billy Boyd, from Lord of the Rings. The only main cast member that I haven’t seen in anything else at all since.

David Wenham. He’s always popular in Australia, but international success seems to have been haphazard and just out of his reach.

Paul Le Mat. Two lovely bits in American Graffiti (for which he won a Golden Globe) and *Melvin and Howard * (for which he was nominated) and then endless crap although he added a second Golden Globe for the TV movie The Burning Bed then back to oblivion. He was like Edward Norton in that he started in movies with major roles in every movie he was in. He just made a lot of terrible choices.

Remember when classically handsome Michael Pare, the actor nowadays billed third in the poster of Uwe Boll’s “Blobarella”, was going to be a superstar?

Speaking of Michael Paré, I always thought Ken Wahl was going to be huge. He was awesome in Wiseguy. Too bad.