Quit while you're ahead.

Who are among the biggest examples of “stars” who quit an incredibly successful gig in the hopes of bigger and better things, and quickly dropped off the face of the planet?
Yeah, The McLean Stevenson Show will make everyone forget MAS*H.
And David Kelley’s film career has really been soaring since he bailed from NYPD Blue.
And James Brown, you were in some decent flicks, but you could have run the ball a few more seasons IMO.

Kind of a flipside, how many TV stars had more than one really successful show (not including spinoffs)?
A few I can think of off the top of my head are:
Ron Howard
Bob Newhart
Mary Tyler Moore
Jack Klugman

Shelly Long: She left Cheers, did a couple movies and quickly faded into oblivion.

For your flipside of things –
James Garner: Maverick and the Rockford Files and a decent film career to boot.

David Caruso quit “NYPD Blue” to start a film “career.”

Dinsdale wrote:

Harry Morgan (Dragnet & MASH)
Fred Gwynne & Al Lewis (Car 54, Where Are You? & The Munsters)

Caruso! Right you are Zoff!

Thought of a few more two-timers on the way home. How bout we post the names, and see if others can name the shows?

Bill Cosby
Raymond Burr
Robert Young
Michael Landon (the only 3-timer I’ve thought of yet!)
Buddy Ebsen
Cybill Shephard
Meredith Baxter
Bill Bixby

Okay -
Bill Cosby - I,Spy & The Bill Cosby Show
Raymond Burr - Ironsides & Perry Mason
Robert Young - Father Knows Best & Marcus Welby
Michael Landon - Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie & Highway to Heaven
Buddy Ebsen - The Beverly Hillbillies & (that detective show that wasn’t Matlock (played by Andy Griffith, another two-timer))
Cybil Shepard - Moonlighting & The Cybil Shepard Show
Meredith Baxter - you got me on that one
Bill Bixby - The Courtship of Eddie’s Father & The Incredible Hulk.

Your turn (name the two successful shows they starred in):
Michael J Fox
Bea Arthur
William Shatner
Martin Landau
Lorne Greene

Meredith Baxter:

Bridget Loves Bernie
Family Ties

Michael J Fox - Family Ties & Spin City
william Shatner - Star Trek & ::shudder:: TJ Hooker.

lucie - I know one!

Bea Arthur:

Edith’s cousin on All in the Family. I always loved her visits – she was the only one (except Sammy Davis, Jr.) who could shut Archie up

Maude in, um, Maude, with that daughter, Adrienne Bimbeau

And whatever her name was in Golden Girls

What do I win?

You got me on Lorne Greene and Martin Landau.

I thought of Andy Griffith on the way in today.

A couple more.

Bob Denver
Susan Dey
Lee Majors
Dick Van Dyke

(I didn’t say they were particularly difficult!)

Lorne Greene: Bonanza, dog food commercial
Martin Landau: Space 1999, resurrected hollywood career (Ed Wood, Gods and Monsters(?)

Bob Denver:Gilligan, bitter has-been
Susan Dey: Partridge Family, LA Law (“it depends on where you hang your ornaments!”), that awful show with harry and Annie, brutally awful, ET (as an anorexia subject).
Lee Majors: 6 million dollar Farrah husband. Bitter has-been on ET.
Dick Van Dyke: always working. Always.
How about Dianne (sp) Carroll?

Martin Landau: Mission Impossible, Space 1999
Lorne Greene: Battlestar Galatica, Bonanza
Bob Denver: Gilligan’s Island, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
Lee Majors: The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy
Dick Van Dyke: The Dick Van Dyke Show, Diagnosis Murder
Andy Griffith: The Andy Griffith Show, Matlock

I don’t know if it was considered a hit or not, but the first two I thought of for Meredith Baxter was Family and Family Ties.

Ok, my list.

Ted Knight
Ted McGinley (3 shows)
Gavin McLeod
Rick Schroder (I can’t believe I’m putting his name on this list!)
Alfonso Ribeiro (ditto)
Ray Walston

Ted Knight - Mary Tyler Moore Show/Too Close for Comfort
Ted McGinley (3 shows) ??? - Important to point out, Mr. McGinley has his own category at this site
Gavin McLeod - Mary Tyler Moore Show/Love Boat
Rick Schroder (I can’t believe I’m putting his name on this list!) Silver Spoons/NYPD Blue
Alfonso Ribeiro (ditto) - Silver Spoons/Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Ray Walston - My Favorite Martian/???

That would be Barnaby Jones

You mean Rescue 911… TJ Hooker was never successful.

Ray Walston’s second would be Picket Fences

Any more?

I seem to recall a very much younger Lorne Greene in a black and white tv series called Robin Hood.

How could I have forgotten Larry Hagman?

It’s driving me crazy that I can’t come up with any more folk who have made totally boneheaded career choices!

The only one I could think of is Richard Mulligan - Soap/Empty Nest.

Now that I think of it, you got Kristy McNichol too - Family/Empty Nest.

Suzzane Somers
Wayne Rogers

Ooh, I got another one … Tony Danza - Taxi/Who’s the Boss?

And another … Ted Danson - Cheers/Becker.