Greatest Hollywood comebacks

It’s not easy to succeed in the movie business, but it’s even harder to maintain your status and stay in the spotlight. Some stars, whose careers hit the back burner, know this very well. However, Hollywood loves comeback stories, especially those in which stars face certain problems, overcome them and return stronger than ever. Here are the most impressive Hollywood comebacks ever.

Neil Patrick Harris







Neil Patrick Harris started his career as a child actor, garnering acclaim as the title character in Doogie Howser, M.D. When the show ended in 1993, Harris acquired a few more credits, but nothing quite added up to his Doogie Howser fame. He spent the next decade appearing on Broadway and in nearly a dozen made-for-TV movies. But it wasn’t until 2004 that Neil made his return with a cameo in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. His portrayal of drug-abusing bad boy opened the door for Neil to play womanizer Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother.

Teri Hatcher







We all know her as Susan from Desperate Housewives, but Teri Hatcher hasn’t always been on top. After minor parts in a number of TV shows, Hatcher finally landed a starring role in 1997 on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. That same year she got the coveted Bond girl role in Tomorrow Never Dies, but then we didn’t see much of her until 2004, when she started playing Susan Mayer.

Vanessa Williams







Vanessa Williams first garnered public attention in the early ’80s when she won the title of Miss America 1984, becoming the first African-American woman to win the crown in the history of the pageant. However, after unauthorized nude photos of her appearing in an issue of Penthouse Magazine forced her to resign her title. She slipped off the radar for the next few years, but popped back up on the scene in 1988 to rebound as a singer. Next, she forayed into acting and found success there as well, playing opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1996’s Eraser, then in Hoodlum and Soul Food before landing iconic roles in popular shows Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives.

Alec Baldwin







In the 1980s and 1990s, Baldwin appeared in box office hits like Beetlejuice and The Hunt for Red October. His reputation was tainted in 2007 when a voicemail for his estranged daughter went public. In it, he called her a “rude, thoughtless little pig.” His career cooled as he took a step back from the spotlight. But that changed in 2006 when Alec joined the cast of 30 Rock and went on to become one of the most adored — and awarded — actors on television.

Betty White







Betty White has a long, successful career. Her original claims to fame were The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the ’70s and Golden Girls from 1985-1992. But after these iconic roles, she settled for guest spots in popular television shows through the ’90s and early 2000s. It wasn’t until 2009 that she experienced real career resurgence with a role in The Proposal. At 92, Betty’s career is still going strong, with role in Hot in Cleveland.

Patrick Dempsey







He won girls over with his 1989 performance as a not-so-typical college hunk in Loverboy and stayed on the same basic trajectory up until 2002’s Sweet Home Alabama. After disappearing for a couple of years, he landed the role as Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy in 2005 and made his way back into the hearts of fans again.

Britney Spears







Britney became an overnight star with her debut album “…Baby One More Time” in 1998. Several more successful albums followed, but her career took a hiatus following a much-publicized breakdown and hospitalization. It seemed like a return to her former glory would be impossible. But then Britney made it. By 2008, Britney went back to work to produce more albums and to serve as a judge on “The X Factor” in 2012. In December last year, Spears began her two-year residency tour in Las Vegas for a $30 million paycheck.

Drew Barrymore







Drew Barrymore achieved success early on in life with a role in 1982’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, and by the time she turned 13, like many who are exposed to Hollywood too young and too quickly, she was dealing with numerous substance abuse issues. She had been in rehab twice—once for drugs and alcohol, once for a suicide attempt—before she turned 15. Barrymore returned to acting in the mid-’90s, and even started her own production company, Flower Films. Her leading roles in Never Been Kissed, 50 First Dates, and Charlie’s Angels followed thereafter, ricocheting her back into the Hollywood spotlight.

John Travolta







After starring in a string of successful films in the late ’70’s and early ’80s, (such as Saturday Night Fever and Grease), John Travolta’s career slowed down. He took roles in several flops and it seemed like his career wasn’t anywhere close to recovery. Then, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction happened in 1994. Travolta received an Academy Award nomination for his iconic role as Vincent Vega in the film and an official pass to the A-Listers club again, where he’s since remained.

Robert Downey Jr.







Robert Downey Jr. gained fame in the ’80s for his roles on Back to School and The Pick-up Artist, but numerous drug-related arrests cost him several movie and TV roles, including one in Ally McBeal. He went to rehab repeatedly and, after a few years of struggling with his recovery, finally ventured back into films in 2003 with a role in The Singing Detective (Downey Jr. was considered a high-risk hire at that time, and only got the gig after his friend Mel Gibson paid for his insurance). What followed was a string of successful films, but it wasn’t until he was cast as Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man that his career really took off again. He’s now clean and considered one of Hollywood’s most high profile and respected actors.









Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.