Who didn't make it and why?

I’ve been watching movies for a good long time now, and it always interests me who “makes it” and who doesn’t. By makes it I mean is generally a big star, good name recognition, ect. I don’t think any less of someone who shows up in “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball-Bowl-o-Rama” :smiley: , mind you, I just think that sometimes it’s prettty arbitary who becomes the next big thing. Anyway, I’m curious who you think deserved a shot at the big time and just didn’t get it for whatever reason.

My first pick: Mira Sorvino. After Ferris Bueller she SHOULD have been a big star, but I turn on the TV and see her post-surgery topless romp with Van Damme and I feel kinda bad for her:(

Mira Sorvino? Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Topless romp with Van Damme? Maybe you are thinking of Mia Sara?

Thank you, ShibbOleth, I was very confused about that, too.

Well, I’m an idiot. Thank you for clearing up a mistake I knew I made, yet didn’t recognize. I had it nibbling at the back of my mind…

Carrie Snodgress. Diary of a Mad Housewife should have made her a star, but she essentially vanished after that.

Candy Clark made a big splash in American Grafitti (including a best supporting actress nomination), but never seemed able to follow it up.

The same for Jo Ann Pflug on MASH*. Lots of recognition at the time, but nothing came of it. Especially odd since other, less heralded, actors in the movie became solid stars.

Miyoshi Umeki won a best supporting Oscar in Sayonara, yet only made one decent film after that (Flower Drum Song – she was delightful) before vanishing. I suspect it had to do with her being a Japanese actress in a time when ethnicity inevitably lead to typecasting.

Tatum O’Neal also won a best supporting, but she grew up and her career stalled. Linda Blair has the same thing happen to her (though she didn’t win an Oscar).

Russ Tamlyn, Richard Beymer, and George Chikiris (Oscar) seemed poised for stardom after West Side Story, but their careers fizzled. Tamlyn became too identified with the character in his next film, tom thumb to be taken seriously as an actor, while Beymer just disappeared for years (8 films in 1959-63, one in 1969, one in 1974, and his next credit in 83). Chikiris got hit with the ethnic sterotyping burden and hardly made anything notable afterwards.

Mia Sara … drooooooooooool


Sorry that my post is completely devoid of anything adding intellectual value to this conversation, but Mia Sara is a hottie!

Hope the name is right- Sam Jones- the guy who played Flash Gordon in the Queen music equipped, always on cable, fantasy/sci-fi movie- Flash Gordon. What the heck happened to him? If dopey to talent Van Damme and Dolf Lungren et al can ride the action flick train for a while why did he disappear.

Great fun that movie.


There are some actors who simply don’t want to be a part of the Hollywood Star Machine™. Michelle Meyrink and Susan Ursitti, for example.

As for Sam Jones, it would appear he became a character actor.

That’s Sam “J” Jones…

Yeah, he never quite went over the top. He was in some dorky TV series in like 1981 or something (I think he was a helicopter pilot of an EMT service). But other than that he went no where.

Me? I always thought Carrie Fisher never quite made it. Seems these days she’s famous for being Carrie Fisher and not for her acting.

I thought of Michelle Meyrink when I was reading the OP. Her portrayal of Jordan in “Real Genius” was absolutely brilliant. I think I’ve seen every other movie she’s been in, and they all seem to fall short (her acting and the movies).

Do you have a cite where she willingly bowed out of the HSM[sup]TM[/sup]? I always assumed things just dried up for her. Damn shame, whatever the reason. She could have easily become a major “quirky” actress on the level of Meg Ryan or Winona Ryder.

In the same vein I’d mention Joyce Hyser, but apparently she’s getting back into it, and in a fairly major film.

I have no cite for this, but I was always under the impression that this was her choice. She makes lots of fun little cameos – Austin Powers and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back come to mind – but I thought that she just wasn’t into the acting thing anymore. Plus, she was struggling with alcoholism for a long time (her IMDb biography says something about this), so that probably has a lot to do with it.

I’m thinking, but I can’t come up with anyone. Not by name, anyway. I’ll be back when my brain starts working.

Adam Roarke. Just thinking of him the other day, after seeing a special screening of THE STUNT MAN at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood.

Roarke was in one of my favorite cult movies PSYCH-OUT (directed by Richard Rush, who later used him again in the aforementioned STUNT MAN). PSYCH-OUT was a low-budget '60s movie set in Haight Ashbury that starred then-newcomers Susan Strasberg, Jack Nicholson, Dean Stockwell, and Bruce Dern – all of whom went on to greater or lesser degrees of stardom in the following decades.

Looking at the film today, it’s fun to see all these young actors who would later make names for themselves. The strange thing is that Roarke was as good as any of his co-stars, and he had the leading man looks that could have made him a star. So you would have expected him to hit the big time too, yet it never happened for him. He showed up here and there over the years, then pretty much faded away after STUNT MAN (he played the star of the movie within the movie), and died a few years ago.

Don’t know why this haunts me so much – maybe because all those future stars were in PSYCH-OUT. You can’t help wondering: they made it; why not him, too?


Carrie Fisher is a fairly sucessful writer.

Omar Epps. He’s been in a few things, but his talent has never really seemed to take off and that’s a shame.

Several of the old 1956-59 Mouseketeers come to mind… Cheryl Holdridge, Doreen Tracey and company.

Mark Hammil. :smiley: Of course, one could argue that he never deserved to be a star, but still. Going from the star of three of the biggest movies ever made to the lead role in a Wing Commander video game has got to hurt…

Eric Bogosian? From Talk Radio down to Under Siege 2.

Funny, Mia Sarah always stuck out in my mind in that role too. She was a great straight-(wo-man)

I was just going to say “I wonder why Patrick Dempsey sorta dropped off the scene” but just went to look him up on IMDB and he’s in two movies this year and a handful of TV series (most of which I’ve never heard of!) I’m going to guess those are just bit parts though, he never caught on in a big way like some of the young actors of that era (Christian Slater, etc – although, whatever happened to that guy, aside from everyone got sick of him?)

I just read his first novel Mall and found it to be pretty enjoyable.