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30. Mara Wilson
Estimated net worth: $500,000
Though she appeared on several episodes of Melrose Place, you probably remember Mara Wilson better as the little girl from Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda. Though Wilson has done occasional voice work for shows like BoJack Horseman, she stepped back from acting to find a happier path.
She told People that she left acting as a young teen when scrutiny of her looks became unbearable. “I realized, ‘I don’t fit their idea of what a Hollywood actress looks like,’” she said of her choice to retire. Now, she lives in Queens and works as a comedy writer.
NEXT: This now-retired star was named one of Teen People’s “25 Hottest Stars Under 25” in 2006.
29. Amanda Bynes
Estimated net worth: $4 million
In the early 2000s, Amanda Bynes was a promising young actress with impressive comedy chops. However, after stealing scenes in 2007’s Hairspray and 2010’s Easy A, Amanda Bynes turned her back on Hollywood and retired as an actress at just 24 years old.
In an interview with Paper, Bynes admitted that her drug abuse and increasingly negative self-image contributed to her decision to quit Hollywood. She said, “I literally couldn’t stand my appearance in that movie and I didn’t like my performance. I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it.” Since her retirement, Bynes has gotten sober and started a new career in fashion.
NEXT: This actress gave up the screen for an even bigger role as a member of the royal family.
28. Meghan Markle
Estimated net worth: $5 million
Suits actress Meghan Markle stepped down from acting in 2018, just before her highly publicized marriage to Prince Harry. Before becoming the Duchess of Sussex, Markle was also known for her roles in Horrible Bosses, Suits, and Fringe.
Markle has publicly confirmed that entering the royal family means she will be retiring from the screen for good. She told People, “I don’t see it as giving anything up. I just see it as a change.” In 2019, Markle took on another big role, mom to a brand new royal baby, Archie.
NEXT: This Gremlins star’s acting career also took a backseat to parenthood.
27. Phoebe Cates
Estimated net worth: $5 million
Phoebe Cates was a promising young starlet, but she left the limelight behind to settle down and enjoy family life. You’ve seen her in Gremlins, Drop Dead Fred, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but these days Cates is spending her time off-screen.
She married her husband, actor Kevin Kline, in 1989, and the couple has two children together, Owen and Greta. Cates decided that she would rather spend time with her young children than continue pursuing a career in Hollywood. However, as their kids have gotten older, there are rumors that Cates is involved in filming a movie called The Homecoming: A Musical.
NEXT: This Game of Thrones actor left the biz on a high note.
26. Jack Gleeson
Estimated net worth: $8 million
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Jack Gleeson played the extremely punchable King Joffrey. With simpering, snide manners and a bratty kind of glee, he was one character we all loved to hate. However, despite being part of the biggest show on earth, Gleeson decided to leave acting behind when *SPOILER ALERT* his character was killed off in 2014.
So why did this young actor decide to quit? Gleeson told Entertainment Weekly, “The answer isn’t interesting or long-winded. I’ve been acting since age 8. I just stopped enjoying it as much as I used to.” We all change while we’re growing up, and we hope that the hateful Joffrey image doesn’t keep Gleeson out of work!
NEXT: This Spaceballs star retired from acting after a family tragedy.
25. Rick Moranis
Estimated net worth: $10 million
He’s known for his goofball comedies, but Rick Moranis is no stranger to real-life tragedy. He starred in Little Shop of Horrors and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, using his nerdy looks to get big laughs. However, Moranis chose to leave his acting days behind following a terrible personal loss.
In 1997, Moranis’ wife died from breast cancer and he retired from acting to be a stay-at-home dad. Moranis says his acting chops helped him be a better parent. “I applied all of my creativity to my home life, to my kids, to my family. I was the same person. I didn’t change. I just shifted my focus.”
NEXT: This Home Alone star grew up on-screen right before our eyes.
24. Macaulay Culkin
Estimated net worth: $15 million
In movies like My Girl and Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin cemented his place as one of the most famous child stars of all time. However, behind the scenes, Culkin was troubled and has since spoken out against his abusive father.
Culkin retired from acting in 1994 and didn’t make another movie until 2003’s Party Monster. He toured briefly with his comedy band The Pizza Underground, and these days he lives in Paris. Culkin told Marc Maron, “I thought people didn’t recognize me. But it was, ‘No, we recognize you — we just don’t care.’ I was like, ‘Where have you been my whole life?’”
NEXT: This former child star made a smart plan to get out of the business.
23. Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Estimated net worth: $16 million
In the ’90s, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (aka JTT) was a tween heartthrob with an intellectual side and a private lifestyle. Although he starred in the series Home Improvement and voiced Simba in Disney’s The Lion King, Thomas always preferred to keep a low profile and hated being on the covers of magazines.
After leaving Home Improvement, Thomas went on to study at Harvard and Columbia. Though he’s taken small TV roles here and there, the star remains mostly retired from acting. However, he seems to be very interested in directing as the next stage of his career.
NEXT: This hilarious Australian actress announced her retirement only to get pulled back in.
22. Portia de Rossi
Estimated net worth: $20 million
With scene-stealing roles in Scandal and Ally McBeal, Portia de Rossi made a name for herself as a comedic talent. However, her role as the clueless Lindsay Bluth in Arrested Development may be the defining part of her career. It’s also the part that drew her out of retirement.
Just before her 45th birthday, de Rossi appeared on her wife Ellen Degeneres’ show to discuss her retirement from acting, explaining that she wanted to explore starting a business. Then, she got a call from Arrested Development and returned to act in the show’s fifth and final season. Will she retire for good now that the show’s over? Only time will tell.
NEXT: This In the Heat of the Night actor changed the way Hollywood portrayed African-Americans forever.
21. Sidney Poitier
Estimated net worth: $25 million
As the first African-American man to win the Oscar for Best Actor, Sidney Poitier is no stranger to breaking down boundaries. The star of movies like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and To Sir, with Love, Poitier fought for better representation of black people in the movies.
He started an independent production company in 1969 and directed movies such as Richard Pryor’s Stir Crazy. Since leaving Hollywood, Poitier also became an author and worked as a diplomat for his native Bahamas. Today, Poitier is in his 90s and he has not been on-screen since 2011.
NEXT: This leading lady is spending her time off-screen working to change the kinds of roles that are offered to women in films.
20. Geena Davis
Estimated net worth: $30 million
Beloved for her starring turns in A League of Their Own and Thelma & Louise, Geena Davis is one talented actress who stands up for what she believes in. Her movies have often focused on women’s stories and empowering women to embrace their power. So, when she took a break from acting, it was only a matter of time before she found a new way to work for women’s equality.
While watching movies with her young children, Davis was struck by the powerless roles most actresses were forced to play. She started the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and lobbied for more nuanced and interesting roles for women. She recently came out of retirement from acting for a role on the Netflix series Glow.
NEXT: This CSI: Miami actor has moved on from the screen.
19. David Caruso
Estimated net worth: $35 million
After successful runs in crime dramas like NYPD Blue and CSI: Miami, David Caruso said goodbye to Hollywood in 2012. However, there are rumors going around that on the contrary, it may have been Hollywood that said goodbye to him.
According to NYPD Blue creator Steven Bochco, Caruso’s divalike antics did not endear him to the rest of the cast or crew. When Caruso demanded to be paid $100,000 per episode and that he be given a 38-foot trailer, he was dismissed from his role on that show. Whether he learned his lesson by the time he left CSI: Miami remains a mystery.
NEXT: This glamorous star left movies in the dust to work on a farm.
18. Elizabeth Hurley
Estimated net worth: $35 million
This model used to be known as Hugh Grant’s girlfriend, but starring roles in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and Bedazzled made Elizabeth Hurley a household name. These days, however, Hurley has left movies behind in favor of working on her farm and making the occasional TV appearance.
Hurley now runs a birthing farm where pigs, sheep, and cows have and nurse their babies, so she spends her days running around in the mud welcoming new piglets to the world. You might also catch her rocking the heck out of a bikini on her Instagram, where she’s not shy about pushing sixty and staying sexy.
NEXT: This former Ghostbuster can’t stop busting out of retirement.
17. Bill Murray
Estimated net worth: $140 million
Bill Murray is an enigmatic actor, known for his goofball comedies like Caddyshack and for offbeat indie dramas such as Lost in Translation alike. Murray has also developed a cult fame for antics like crashing bachelor parties or stealing fries from strangers.
Despite a fairly steady flow of acting roles, Bill Murray has announced his retirement from acting in the past. In 2016, Murray told Page Six, “I’ve retired a couple times. I just say, ‘I’m retired.’ It keeps a certain kind of person away from you — the kind of person that you really don’t want around. The people who are really interested in you will find you eventually.”
NEXT: Even though she’s retired, there’s still something about this blonde bombshell.
16. Cameron Diaz
Estimated net worth: $140 million
We fell for her in comedies like There’s Something About Mary and The Mask, and throughout the ’90s and into the 2000s, it seemed like Cameron Diaz was on top of the world. That’s why it’s so surprising to find out she chose to retire from acting in 2014.
“The way I look at it is that I’ve given more than half of my life to the public. I feel it’s OK for me to take time for myself now to reorganize and choose how I want to come (back) into the world. If I decide to,” Diaz told InStyle. “I don’t miss performing. Right now I’m looking at the landscape of wellness and all that.”
NEXT: This actor-director is taking things a little easier now.
15. Carl Reiner
Estimated net worth: $70 million
Though he’s recently appeared in the new Ocean’s Eleven movies as Saul Bloom, Carl Reiner was best known in the ’60s for his role in The Dick Van Dyke Show. He also directed the Steve Martin classic The Jerk and many other comedies.
These days, Reiner is in his 90s and his acting career is on hold in favor of another profession. He told NPR that he’s focused now on writing. His book, Approaching Ninety-Six: The Films I Love Viewing And Loved Doing (1951-2017), covers his love affair with cinema that began when his parents took him to see his first movie, a silent film.
NEXT: When this wholesome starlet went into retirement, she stuck to it.
14. Doris Day
Estimated net worth: $200 million
As the star of movies like Pillow Talk and That Touch of Mink, Doris Day became the poster girl for old-fashioned values. With her sweet singing voice and wholesome good looks, Day won over the hearts of Americans for decades.
However, in 1975, after a couple successful seasons of The Doris Day Show, the star decided to leave Hollywood behind. She told People that she felt that Hollywood was changing too much in ways that she didn’t like. In 1978, she founded The Doris Day Animal Foundation and worked to improve animal welfare conditions. Day passed away in 2019.
NEXT: This former child star actually can’t remember his biggest role.
13. Frankie Muniz
Estimated net worth: $40 million
As a kid, Frankie Muniz starred in the long-running sitcom Malcolm in the Middle alongside Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, but now he can’t remember a minute of it. Due to a condition that has caused Muniz to be hospitalized several times for small strokes, the actor has lost his memories of his time portraying Malcolm.
Now that he’s no longer in the biz, Muniz has dipped his toe in some interesting lines of work. For a while, he was working to become a race car driver. Most recently, Muniz opened a store called Outrageous Olive Oils and Vinegars that he runs with his girlfriend in Arizona.
NEXT: This comedian walked away from Hollywood at the height of his fame.
12. Dave Chappelle
Estimated net worth: $42 million
It was a mystery for years why a star like Dave Chappelle would vanish, leaving his smash-hit show and millions of fans behind. The comedian and star of Chappelle’s Show had also appeared in movies like You’ve Got Mail and Blue Streak. However, in 2005, Dave Chappelle walked away from fame to live a quieter life.
He told CBS News in 2017, “I’ve been all over the country, touring all my life. But I never saw anything. Now I’ve seen everything.” Though he likes living away from the pressures of fame, Chappelle has since released comedy specials on Netflix.
NEXT: She was America’s sweetheart, but this actress decided to leave the screen to find herself.
11. Meg Ryan
Estimated net worth: $45 million
For years, Meg Ryan reigned supreme as the queen of romantic comedies. Her leading lady roles in When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail cemented her reputation as a lovable and bubbly comedic actress. However, in 2018, Ryan announced that she was done with acting.
E! News reports that Ryan explained her decision by saying, “I didn’t really aim to be an actor. I was a journalism major at school, and a curious person, and I wanted to go back out into the world and figure out who I was — am — in relationship to other things and other people and other environments.”
NEXT: This There Will Be Blood star announced his retirement from Hollywood in 2017.
10. Daniel Day-Lewis
Estimated net worth: $50 million
Known for his incredible dramatic ability, Daniel Day-Lewis lives his life rather dramatically too. The star of Gangs of New York and The Last of the Mohicans announced his formal retirement from show business in 2017, calling it a private decision.
The actor has been known to take long breaks between films, and during one previous interlude, he studied as a shoemaker’s apprentice in Florence, Italy. An enticing offer from Martin Scorsese for Gangs of New York drew Day-Lewis back into the pictures, so we guess only time will tell if his current retirement could end.
NEXT: This Goodfella retired from acting in 2010.
9. Joe Pesci
Estimated net worth: $50 million
Italian-American actor Joe Pesci made a splash with his performances in movies like Raging Bull and Goodfellas, both of which have become essential classics. However, in 2010, Pesci decided to give up acting to pursue a more private life.
It looks like Pesci may be coming out of retirement for one last film, though, with director Martin Scorsese and co-stars Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel. Pesci first turned down the role in 2016, but eventually, he was persuaded to come back to Hollywood for one last movie. The Irishman will come out on Netflix in 2019.
NEXT: This actor left the screen to pursue a successful new career as a writer.
8. Gene Hackman
Estimated net worth: $80 million
After working in film and television for over 40 years, in 2004 Gene Hackman kissed Hollywood goodbye. He’s known for movies ranging from 1971’s The French Connection to 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums. His last movie was 2004’s Welcome to Mooseport.
These days, Gene Hackman has added best-selling author to his long list of achievements, right after Oscar-winning actor. Since retiring from acting, Hackman has taken to writing novels which range from westerns to thrillers. Perhaps his experience telling stories on film translated to the page, because his efforts have been very well received so far.
NEXT: This honest beauty quit the movie business to start her own company.
7. Jessica Alba
Estimated net worth: $200 million
In the early 2000s, Jessica Alba was one of the hottest stars on the screen. She starred in comic book flicks like Sin City and Fantastic Four, establishing herself as an action star and a pretty face. However, at a certain point, Alba decided that she’d rather focus on being a CEO than an actress.
Alba founded The Honest Company, selling natural and eco-friendly household goods and infant care supplies. Her company has been tremendously successful, and Alba told Good Housekeeping that these days she’s not interested in acting unless she has control over her role and story.
NEXT: This Old Hollywood star is over 100 years old and still kicking.
6. Kirk Douglas
Estimated net worth: $60 million
Known for his roles in Spartacus and Lust for Life, Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, is among the few surviving actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood. He’s also the father of another big star, actor Michael Douglas. However, since 2008, Kirk Douglas has not appeared on-screen.
Although he suffered a stroke in the 1990s, Douglas recovered and kept working. His last role was the 2008 TV movie Empire State Building Murders. Though Douglas is now over 100 years old, it’s still possible that the right role could bring him out of retirement again.
NEXT: These former tween moguls went on to be queens of the fashion scene.
5. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Estimated net worth: $100 million
When Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen first shared the role of youngest sibling Michelle Tanner on the sitcom Full House, nobody could have predicted the twins’ imminent incredible success. The two went on to star together in a series of direct-to-video movies and their own animated series.
In 2004, the twins quit acting and set their sights on their next venture, fashion. They founded the upscale fashion line The Row, as well as its more affordable sister label Elizabeth and James. Today, Mary-Kate Olsen is married to Olivier Sarkozy (half-brother of the former French prime minister). Ashley Olsen is still single and hard at work creating new designs.
NEXT: This Sundance Kid just announced his retirement after almost six decades in the biz.
4. Robert Redford
Estimated net worth: $170 million
These days, Robert Redford is nearly as well known for founding the Sundance Film Festival as he is for his film roles. Redford made waves with his parts in All the President’s Men and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but he has also been a huge advocate for independent film.
In 2018, Redford announced he plans to retire from Hollywood after nearly sixty years of acting and directing. He told Entertainment Weekly, “Never say never, but I pretty well concluded that this would be it for me in terms of acting, and (I’ll) move towards retirement after this ’cause I’ve been doing it since I was 21.”
NEXT: This Happy Days actor now does his work behind the scenes … for the most part.
3. Ron Howard
Estimated net worth: $160 million
Beloved former child star Ron Howard has made a name for himself as a director, helming projects like A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13, but he first rose to fame as a young redheaded actor. Howard played Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days.
However, since then, Howard has put his acting days behind him to focus on directing, with a few small exceptions here and there. Notably, he contributed voice work as the narrator on Arrested Development and even played himself in a few episodes of the series.
NEXT: This former James Bond has also played Indiana Jones’ dad.
2. Sean Connery
Estimated net worth: $350 million
This Scottish actor played Hollywood’s first James Bond, and decades later the franchise is still going strong. He went on to roles in The Hunt for Red October and The Untouchables. However, in 2007, Connery confirmed that he is retired from acting.
Though producers tried to lure Connery back into the saddle for a part in the fourth Indiana Jones movie, the actor turned down the part. He said, “It was not that generous a part, worth getting back into the harness and go for.” Could a true retirement-busting role come along for Connery? We’ll have to wait and see.
NEXT: This legendary actor may be in retirement, but we still think he’s as good as it gets.
1. Jack Nicholson
Estimated net worth: $400 million
Jack Nicholson is easily one of the most talented actors ever to appear on-screen. He’s had more iconic roles than we can count, starring in films like The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Chinatown. However, Nicholson hasn’t worked in film since 2010.
Though there are some rumors that Nicholson’s memory has declined as he’s aged, making it impossible for him to continue acting, the star says that this story is just not true. Instead, he maintains that he has chosen to retire so he can simply relax and enjoy his golden years.