TV Stars We Haven’t Seen Since Their Sitcoms Ended
For many actors, appearing or starring on a sitcom can be the thing that finally launches their career. Take the entire cast of “Friends,” for instance. Most of the actors started the series being relatively unknown, and by the time the show ended, they were bonafide Hollywood A-listers. But, unfortunately, a sitcom can also have the opposite effect on an actor’s career: being their last major gig.
Yes, there are quite a few TV stars who haven’t been spotted since their sitcoms ended. And while the reasons for that all vary for each and every actor, they all have one thing in common: They used to be pretty famous, and now they’re not. So, what happened? Why have they not found another successful show or project to continue their streak? The answer is different for everyone, but no matter what, it’s fascinating to look back and remember all the stars of your favorite sitcoms you probably forgot about.
You can listen to Jenna Fischer of The Office though you won't see much of her these days
Jenna Fischer’s role as Pam Beasley in “The Office” certainly turned her into an easily recognizable face in Hollywood, but it wasn’t always easy for her. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fischer explained that she had a hard time finding a stable role until she landed her gig with “The Office.” “I talk about the stressful moments where I had to decide between a low-paying acting job to further my career or a better-paying temp job to pay off my credit card debt or get new headshots that I really needed,” she described.
So, it makes sense that Fischer hasn’t really landed any big roles since “The Office” ended, other than a few small parts and guest roles. As she said, acting is competitive. Fischer almost found more success when she starred in the short-lived sitcom, “Splitting Up Together,” but the series was canceled after just two seasons. So, Fischer launched a podcast called “Office Ladies” alongside her best friend and co-star from “The Office,” Angela Kinsey. So while you can still listen to Fischer, to date, she hasn’t found acting success since “The Office.”
That's So Raven star Orlando Brown has stopped acting after a string of personal and legal issues
Anyone who grew up watching The Disney Channel will recognize Orlando Brown as the loveable Eddie in “That’s So Raven.” But after the sitcom ended, Brown’s career came to a halt. As The Chronicle reported, Brown was arrested in February 2016 for “domestic battery, obstructing an officer, possession of drug paraphernalia, bringing a controlled substance into a jail and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.” Brown entered a treatment facility in Texas to address his addiction problems.
Brown spoke to The Christian Post about his experience at Rise Discipleship, a faith-based rehab treatment facility. Though he declined to go into detail, he did say that it was a “great process” and that he made a lot of progress. “I can tell you that I’m [okay],” he said. “I’m alive. I was in an unsafe position and it has been shaky but at the end of the day all I can tell you is I’m [okay] and I’m graduating and I will be getting married.” So while Brown’s life took an unexpected turn after “That’s So Raven” ended, he was still able to turn his life around, though you won’t see him on your television screen anytime soon.
James Michael Tyler from Friends hasn't seen much success in recent years
Perhaps one of the most memorable characters from the hit sitcom “Friends” was one who barely had any lines: Gunther, who ran the coffee shop the friends frequented, played by James Michael Tyler, was beloved by viewers all over. But Tyler hasn’t done much else since the series ended.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Tyler explained that he was pretty pleased with the way “Friends” ended. “They tied up a really good series, which at this point has a good beginning, middle and end, and myself… I don’t see a reason to revisit it, that’s just my opinion,” he explained. Tyler also told The Daily Mail that he was originally cast as an extra, so he might not have had huge dreams of acting anyway.
All that aside, Tyler said that he wouldn’t mind stepping back into Central Perk if the right occasion called for it. “That being said, if anything ever came up in the future, I would definitely bleach my hair again and reprise Gunther, as I really did love that character,” he said. So, while Tyler hasn’t landed anything nearly as iconic as “Friends,” he clearly appreciates his time on the series.
Jim O'Heir from Parks and Recreation hasn't found his next big hit
Jim O’Heir has had a few roles since “Parks and Recreation” ended, but nothing that made as big of a splash as his time as Jerry/Larry/Gary Gergich. Seriously, O’Heir’s role on “Parks and Recreation” was iconic, and it’s hard to imagine him as anything other than the bumbling, forgetful, silly Jerry Gergich.
So, whether or not that had anything to do with his inability to land another iconic role, it’s still obvious that his time on the sitcom was impressive, and O’Heir, himself, actually said that his time on the series was a bit of a rocky road. “We were canceled, and then put back on the schedule within [a] six-hour flight,” he told Esquire in an interview. “Some people think NBC never really promoted us. But my answer to that is, ‘They kept us on the air.’ … Ultimately, I will be forever in debt to NBC.” Still, as much as he owes NBC, it seems O’Heir hasn’t given up acting, despite not finding his next big role just yet.
Portia de Rossi of Arrested Development and Scandal hasn't really needed to work
Most people will recognize Portia de Rossi from her roles in “Arrested Development” and “Scandal.” Still, as hilarious as de Rossi was as Lindsay Bluth Fünke in “Arrested Development,” she hasn’t had any roles since the series was revamped for one season by Netflix in 2019. And this was something she made a conscious decision about.
In an interview with her wife, Ellen DeGeneres, de Rossi explained her decision to leave acting behind, and it makes total sense. “I was approaching 45,” she joked about “aging out” of acting. “But I just kind of was wondering if there’s something that I could tackle now that I’ve never done before that would be really challenging and different. And I kind of knew what acting would look like for me for the next [10, 20] years … so I decided to quit and start a business,” she said, referencing her art company, General Public.
Additionally, de Rossi is married to DeGeneres, who has an estimated net worth of $370 million and leads a very lavish lifestyle, so it’s not as if money is an issue.
Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz faced some serious health issues after the sitcom ended
Most millennials will recognize Frankie Muniz as the face behind “Malcolm in the Middle” or such films as “Big Fat Liar” and “Agent Cody Banks.” But what is Muniz doing now? Well, it’s actually a lot. Though Muniz has continued to act since “Malcolm in the Middle” ended, landing some impressive roles in films, he hasn’t had a big, splashy role in a while. Instead, Muniz has faced some serious health issues and dabbled in other career choices. Over the years, as Muniz revealed to Entertainment Weekly, he has suffered at least 15 mini-strokes, impacting his memory and his life.
But Muniz remains positive despite all the issues he’s been dealt. “I’ve been fortunate to do, like, all my dream jobs I’ve ever wanted,” he told People in an interview. “Actor, race car driver, drummer. I got to do all these great things and it’s because I have drive.” Additionally, it seems that Muniz isn’t too concerned about making a name for himself in Hollywood anymore. “I just want to keep moving forward so I don’t really dwell too much on the past,” he said.
The Nanny star Nicholle Tom's career was never the same after the series came to a close
During the 1990s, there was really no sitcom as hilarious as “The Nanny” — the show starred Fran Drescher as “The Nanny” to three children, one of which included Maggie Sheffield, the oldest child, played by Nicholle Tom. But, as successful as “The Nanny” was, Tom was never able to emulate that success later on in her career. In fact, you probably haven’t seen her since the show ended.
In a 2006 interview, Tom explained that she really wanted to continue acting, setting some pretty intense goals. “I’d really like to do a sexy film, where I play a sexy character,” she said. “I’d like to do a suspense thriller.” Tom continued, “It’s exciting, and sad, it’s everything wrapped into one business. I wouldn’t want to do anything else with my life.” And while Tom has continued to act since “The Nanny” ended, she definitely hasn’t found the level of success she achieved on the stellar sitcom. After all, “The Nanny” was seriously impressive during its run, and it remains one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, even years later.
Malcolm in the Middle star Erik Per Sullivan hasn't done all that much since the series ended
Fans of the hilarious and endearing early-2000s sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle” will probably recognize Erik Per Sullivan as Dewey, the younger, gifted brother of Malcolm. But Sullivan seemingly disappeared after the series came to an end, and he’s difficult to track down these days.
After “Malcolm in the Middle” ended in 2006, Sullivan continued acting for a few more years. He appeared in a short film, “Once Not Far from Home,” voiced Mino in “Arthur and the Invisibles,” and, perhaps his most impressive role since “Malcolm in the Middle,” he starred in the movie “Twelve,” alongside Chace Crawford and Emma Roberts. But that was in 2010, and Sullivan hasn’t appeared in anything else since, as he’s seemingly left his acting days behind him. Additionally, Sullivan isn’t on social media, so it’s hard to know exactly what he’s been up to over the years. But, after having been a child star for so long on “Malcolm in the Middle,” it would make sense that he needed to take a break and enjoy his privacy.
Drake Bell from Drake & Josh made an interesting career pivot
Anyone who grew up watching Nickelodeon in the early 2000s probably recognizes Drake Bell from his hit sitcom, “Drake & Josh.” But as much as you might have loved the series back in the day, there’s no denying that Bell has been relatively quiet since his time on the show came to an end. Sure, Bell has continued to act, but he hasn’t exactly done anything huge. Instead, he turned to music, and, recently, Spanish music, in particular. In fact, he released an entire album in Spanish and announced that all his social media would be in Spanish for the foreseeable future, although it appears that that has changed. Additionally, Bell changed his last name to Campana, which is Spanish for Bell.
In an interview with Esquire, Bell — or Campana — explained that he always had an affinity for Spanish culture. “It is much easier to understand — the Spanish language — it is difficult for me to speak it, but I am learning very slowly,” he said.
Dylan Sprouse of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody didn't follow in his twin's footsteps
“The Suite Life on Deck,” the final iteration of Dylan Sprouse’s turn as Zack Martin, ended in 2011, and since then, Sprouse has seemingly taken a break from acting. While he’s landed some roles in video shorts, music videos, and even TV shows since then, Sprouse has intentionally stayed out of the spotlight. Unlike his twin brother, Cole Sprouse, Dylan has no desire to be the lead in a teen drama.
In an interview with New York Daily News, Sprouse revealed that he didn’t want to be a star just to be a star. “I think it’s just f–king boring,” Sprouse said. “Like if I wanted to just do big films that didn’t have substance or didn’t have anything to say about who I am and what I like to respond to, I don’t think it would be fair to the people who have also kind of responded to the stuff I’ve done. … I think it’s also too conceited, truly.” So while Sprouse won’t be on any kind of drama like “Riverdale” in the future, that doesn’t mean he’s not successful — he’s just chosen a different path for himself.
Amy Davidson starred in this beloved show before finding recent luck with smaller projects
There is certainly no shortage of family-friendly sitcoms that are both hilarious and wholesome: The early 2000s show “8 Simple Rules” was just that. Before the series came to an untimely end after the death of the show’s star, John Ritter, the other stars of the series, like Amy Davidson who played Kerry Hennessy, had promising careers. However, Davidson would never really find the same level of success as she did on that show.
After “8 Simple Rules” ended in 2005, Davidson continued to act, and in a 2013 interview, she was still pretty optimistic about her career. “At the moment I am creating a show that is a comedy,” she said. “I’m choosing to go back to my roots. … Either way, my goal is to always give the audience something to feel. Sometimes you need to laugh and other times you need that emotional release.” However, since the series finale of “8 Simple Rules,” Davidson hasn’t really found another role that has given her as much success. So, though she’s landed plenty of smaller roles and projects, you probably haven’t seen Davidson since “8 Simple Rules” ended.
Mia Talerico hasn't starred in anything since her beloved series ended
One of the most popular sitcoms to ever air on The Disney Channel was “Good Luck Charlie,” which aired from 2010 to 2014. The show followed the Duncan family as they adjusted to the newest member, Charlie, played by Mia Talerico. Talerico was literally just a baby when the show premiered and was a full-on walking, talking kid when it ended.
Talerico hasn’t had another role quite like Charlie Duncan, though she, herself, admitted that the role was a pretty simple one for her. “I probably had a really easy role ’cause I just got told most of my lines or didn’t have any,” Talerico said during the show’s 10-year reunion, according to Entertainment Tonight. “I think it was really easy because most of the time, it was what happened. We just rolled with it, like, in the crawling scene, I just stood up so we just went with it.” Talerico obviously has plenty of time to continue her acting career if she wants, but it will definitely be hard to top how adorable and entertaining she was on “Good Luck Charlie,” that’s for sure.
Jennette McCurdy of Nickelodeon's iCarly quit acting for a good reason
Not everyone who finds success in Hollywood actually wants that success: Take, for instance, Jennette McCurdy. On the ever-popular Nickelodeon sitcom, “iCarly,” McCurdy played Sam Puckett, the eccentric and bold best friend of Carly Shay. But after “iCarly” ended, McCurdy failed to land another role as popular as Sam Puckett, and that led to some serious questions regarding her future in acting.
On an episode of her podcast, “Empty Inside,” McCurdy explained that even though it was a tough decision, she knew that quitting acting was the right thing to do. “Walking away was really difficult, but it was something that I needed to do for my mental health and for my overall peace,” she said, via People. “And it was difficult. I didn’t know what to do with myself when I didn’t have things that always dictated my identity around anymore.” Though McCurdy certainly could have continued to act and find more success, she had to do what made her happy, and acting was no longer what made her happy.
After experiencing hard times, Scarlett Pomers of Reba decided to leave acting behind
Scarlett Pomers isn’t exactly a household name, and there’s a reason for that: Pomers starred as Kyra Hart on the sitcom “Reba,” which also starred country singer Reba McEntire. The series ran for six seasons, coming to an end in 2007, but even though Pomers was an important character on the show, she actually rarely appeared in the last seasons. Why? She was facing a personal battle that would end up signaling the end of her acting career entirely.
Fans of “Reba” probably noticed that Kyra was absent for most of the show’s fifth season, and this is because Pomers was receiving treatment for an eating disorder. “Anorexia is a mental illness,” she said in an interview. “It’s something that you carry the effects of with you for the rest of your life.” Pomers also clarified that though she was done acting, she still pursued creative outlets. “I’ve been doing some voiceover work here and there, but for the most part I’m focused on the music and photography,” she said, adding that it made her “happy.” So, as entertaining as Pomers was on “Reba,” it’s obvious that leaving acting behind was the right move for her.
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