Vanishing starlets

What I’m looking for here are actresses who played somewhat memorable roles in somewhat successful films, but those single roles were pretty much the extent of their career.

As an example of what I’m thinking about, I offer you Nicolette Scorsese.

The family watched Nat’l Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation the other day. In one scene Chevy Chase is interacting with an attractive lingerie salewoman whom he later fantasizes about in a pool. I thought she looked familiar (I think I was thinking of Paulina Porizkova.) So I looked her up on IMDB. Apparently her entire career consisted of bit parts in a total of 10 movies and 7 TV eps over the course of 12 years. Nor does she seem to have had much of a modelling career.

Now sure, that is 10 movies and 7 TV eps more than most of us will ever appear in. But it sorta surprised me that such a “flash-in-the-pan” would be cast in that part. Especially when her fantasy counterpart in the preceding Vacation movie was Christie Brinkley. I was a tad surprised that the film-makers would not have cast someone either more famous or more likely to be so, and that she was not able to parlay her role in that film into more work.

So can you top Nicolette Scorsese in terms of actresses who played somewhat memorable roles, but soon vanished from view?

This one goes back quite a ways, but Maria Falconetti’s star turn in The Passion of Joan of Arc is sometimes ranked among the greatest film performances of all time. It was also her last.

(Some sources claim it was her *only *film role, although IMDb credits her with two previous supporting roles.)

ETA: Link.

Kristin Holby played Dan Aykroyd’s fiancée in Trading Places, had one more role (in Manhunter), and that’s it. A bit of googling discovers that she was also a model; don’t know if she intentionally left acting for that, though.

Sarah Holcomb had only four roles, including memorable parts in Animal House and Caddyshack. According to IMDb, she left the biz because of alcohol and drug addiction.

Speaking of Caddyshack, Cindy Morgan seemed to fall off the radar in about 1995.

Then there’s someone like Nancy Everhard, lots of one-shot TV roles, kinda familiar, but never a household name. There’s room in the public consciousness for only so many babes, and there’s a lot of competition.

Carrie Snodgress. She got an Oscar nomination and won two Golden Globes for Diary of a Mad Housewife, but dropped out of acting for seven years soon after (to live with Neil Young). By the time she returned, she was no longer a starlet and was stuck in character roles. She had a decent number of appearances, but not what you would have expected from someone with her credentials.

Luise Rainer won consecutive Oscars in the 1936 and 1937, but her career was pretty much over by 1939.

Joey Lauren Adams was breaking out from the Kevin Smith stable and then… nothing. (ETA: IMDB visit later)…or close to nothing.

Mia Sara in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off–she was very attractive and I thought quite good as Ferris’s girlfriend, Sloane, but she didn’t do much after.

Jennifer Grey didn’t do a whole lot after that or Dirty Dancing either but I guess we can blame that on the nose job?

And how about It Girl Gretchen Mol? Wasn’t she supposed to be a huge break out star, but didn’t go anywhere?

How about either Thora Birch or Mena Suaveri from “American Beauty”? Well, Suaveri at least appeared in “American Pie” - making a total of two films. But Thora didn’t do anything else AFAIK.

Meg Tilly had a brief flashy run (The Big Chill, Agnes of God), and then pretty much dropped into obscurity…TRM

Thora stared in Ghost World. She has a pretty long credits list as a child actress, too, but nothing much lately. I’ve posted about her before and someone told me that she apparently got really into her role as Enid in Ghost World, so much so that she had to take some time off to get back into a normal headspace or something. It’s been 9 years since Ghost World, though…

ETA: IMDb does list credits for her but nothing huge.

Exactly who I thought of when I saw the Thread Title.

She certainly didn’t vanish, she’s been working steadily including supporting roles in relatively widely seen works, but she’ll always be a great example of “Vanishing Starlet” because of the disconnect between the career that actually happened and the career that was predicted on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1998 when Rounders was released: “Gretchen Mol: Hollywood’s Next ‘It’ Girl?”

Phoebe Cates and Molly Ringwald. They had a really busy decade each, and then POOF!

I also wanted to mention Penelope Ann Miller, but she’s apparently been busier on TV than I’d noticed.

Yeah. I mean, I know she did The Notorious Bettie Page a few years back, which I saw. But I don’t know that that was all that huge of a movie…not as big as she was meant to be anyway.

In 2008, Claudia Wells got her first credit in 22 years, according to IMDb.

Okay, apparently Molly Ringwald has been busy on TV as well, just not in anything I’d watch.

I always wondered why Talia Shire didn’t have a bigger career. She did a fantastic job in the first Rocky. Then her roles in the sequels got smaller and smaller. She was in the Godfather movies too.

I disagree about Gretchen Mol. I’ve been seeking out her movies lately, and she’s been quite successful as an indie darling. Though she seems to gravitate toward roles where adolescent boys are obsessed with spying on her having sex. Kind of a weird vibe.

Anyway, in addition to headlining independent films, she also had a major role in the super-hyped series Life On Mars. I imagine doing a weekly hourlong drama makes it tough to star in films on the side. And as I recall, didn’t she only have like two scenes in Rounders? Her career now is far bigger than it was in the late 90s, IMO. Then again, having just turned 37 she’s rapidly approaching the wall.

Not a starlet, but Colin Farrell might be the male equivalent of the vanishing star. I only bring this up because I remember him wondering aloud what it meant to be called the next “it” guy on an episode of Dinner For Five. In Bruges was great, but I never heard of it until I stumbled across it on cable. By my count he’s had one high-profile gig (Miami Vice) in the last five years.

She’s also Francis Ford Coppola’s sister…you’d think those connections plus the great ability would be enough to get her some bigger roles.

I’ve still got somewhere a movie magazine with the chick from Emmerich’s Godzilla, Maria Pitillo, where it says “Hollywood’s next big thing” or something like that.

Maybe it’s the incredibly annoying character she played in the flick, but she was never heard of again.

I had a major crush on E.G. Daily in the mid 80’s. Better known as Dottie in Pee Wees Big Adventure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHnaV8dk5pU&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Elizabeth Daily has a lot of credits, but they are all small, obscure roles.

Hey now! Tommy Pickles is NOT obscure!

Okay, okay, it’s hardly a Big Movie Role, but every time I see her name, I think of Rugrats and watching the credits as a kid.