Who's made the biggest comeback?

Could be movies/music/books/etc. Just someone who was at the top, then in the gutter, and made it out again. Thoughts?

Movies - John Travolta

Music - Aerosmith

Bee Gees. Washed up until disco made them stars again. They’re reputation was so bad that the record company sent out copies of “Jive Talkin’” to DJs with the name of the group left off so they’d listen to it.

Gloria Swanson hadn’t worked in nine years when she was cast in the lead of “Sunset Boulevard,” though her career after that didn’t take off.

Harve Presnell started out big – lead role in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” – but his career went nowhere. He had few credits from 1969 until 1996, when he was cast in “Fargo” and seems to be making it as a character actor.

Ozzy- washed-up, down-n-out, drug-addicted has-been to household name!

Jimmy Carter-- political joke to Statesman (although i never bought the political joke part)

Frank Sinatra-- you all know the story…

i so pray that michael jackson never has any comeback :open_mouth:

Kenny Rogers made a huge comeback, beginning with “Lucille.” Prior to that, in the wake of the First Edition’s breakup (early 70s), he was a washed-up nobody.

Mickey Rooney had a comeback about once every fifteen years . . . I think he’s due for another.

The biggest was probably Nixon, in '68!

Cher (at least twice)
Jim Carrey (was completely invisible for a long while before “Ace Ventura” & Wayans’ show)

Don’t know if this counts but:
Robert Mitchum. Had the start of a good career going and then busted for MJ. Not good back then.

Some of the blacklisted folk, most notably:
Dalton Trumbo.

Oh, yeah from a nobody to a Senator (after he started a false smear campaign about Helen Gahagen) who was Joe McCarthy’s right-hand man to the invisibility of the Vice President job (although he briefly hit the spotlight following the problem with taking “extra” donations). Then back to somebody as a candidate for President. Then back to nobody when he couldn’t buy an elective job in and around California (“You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore!”). Then back to somebody as President. Then back to the dumps with Watergate and the resignation.

For a while there, I was dreadfully afraid he would live five more years and end up becoming emperor of the world.


Meat Loaf

Travolta was my first thought, but I’ll also throw out George Burns, who was pretty much done after his last T.V. series tanked in 1965, and then had a huge career in films starting at age 79.

Tina Turner has my vote.

Bruce Willis

Say what? Bruce went straight from Moonlighting to Die Hard, then had only about a 5 year gap before Pulp Fiction.

I agree somewhat with Travolta, but I think Sinatra wins overall because after his comeback he stayed, and became a cultural icon for generations.

Marlon Brando. Before The Godfather, he had so many consecutive flops that he had to (gasp) screen test like a common Sheen to get that role.

He’s past due for another one…

Hulk Hogan. From #1 icon all time in pro wrestling to hitting rock bottom in WCW to being back on top as current undisputed (NA) champion at age 51. Not bad.

ftg writes:

> Robert Mitchum. Had the start of a good career going and then
> busted for MJ. Not good back then.

Actually, no. Mitchum did a year in prison for possession of marijuana and immediately went back to starring in films. It apparently didn’t affect his film career at all.

In the “etc” category, how about Winston Churchill?

Some of these comebacks were impressive, but in the movie arena there’s a pair that really beats them all, I think – what I would consider a two-way tie for the biggest comeback:

Jack Palance and Martin Landau.

These two actors had not only faded into relative obscurity in the '80s. They were appearing in abysmal low-budget dreck of the sort that taints you in the eyes of casting directors – the kind of stuff that says, “The career is over for these guys as far as ever again appearing in anything decent.”

The low-point was when the two of them co-starred in some godawful sci-fi horror flick called (I think) THE BEING. Not only was the movie awful, but they were awful in it – way over the top and unrestrained, turning in the kind of performances that make it hard to remember that they ever had any talent.

Then what happens?

Through some sort of miracle, Palance ends up in CITY SLICKERS and wins an Oscar. Landau appears in CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, and is nominated for an Oscar (but loses). Then a few years later, Landau wins an Oscar for playing Lugosi in ED WOOD.

Obviously, neither one was ever a major box office star, nor are they now. But to go from the bottom of the barrel to winning Academy Awards – that’s really incredible.

how about Robert Blake? :smiley: