Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Whose Career Should Have Been Bigger?

 When I saw Barbara Hershey in LAST SUMMER in 1967, she fairly lit up the screen. I expected her to go on to the stardom that her contemporaries, Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close, and Meryl Streep achieved. And although she still gets parts, she never quite hit her stride, consigned mostly to playing wives, TV guest roles, or demented mothers. She was great in HANNAH AND HER SISTERS and A WORLD APART, but there were so much mediocre TV and movie work. Perhaps her Barbara Seagull period derailed her. Now there are many more actors who failed on far greater scales but still.

Who else falls into this category?


George said...

James Caan had major talent but squandered it because of alcohol and drug problems. Caan could have been a Major Star but became a Hollywood outcast.

Anonymous said...

Slight correction: LAST SUMMER was 1969, not 1967. I agree the whole Barbara Seagull/David Carradine period put a roadblock up.

And I agree with George about Caan. There are plenty of other talented actors who started to hit it big but were derailed by personal issues, where drugs or their own personality disorders.

Maybe next you should do Actors Whose Success is Inexplicable Considering Their Small Talents.

Tommy can you hear me?

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

What I've never understood is when someone is in two or three movies at once and the Hollywood publicity machine revs up and decides they are "the next big thing" and suddenly their face is everywhere. Most of the time they fade into obscurity or resume a "normal" career without the supposed impending super stardom that was predicted. A few who come to mind:

Michael Pare
Gretchen Mol
Julia Ormond

Jeff M.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Mickey Rourke. Had a good start than derailed himself and ended up in mostly straight to video stuff. Got resurrected with The Wrestler but seems to be back in straight to video mode. Bad plastic surgery didn't help.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A good one. Almost made a comeback a few years ago with THE WRESTLER and seems to have disappeared again.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I can hardly remember the first two but Julia Ormond was a surprise.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Maxwell Caulfield, perhaps, the late Natasha Richardson, and Jennifer Grey.

John said...

Natasha Richardson had a very successful stage career apart from the movies and TV so I disagree about her being shortchanged or overlooked or whatever adjective it is that encapsulates this idea.

Jessica Harper (so amazing in Pennies from Heaven and My Favorite Year) was a unique talent and Hollywood didn't give a damn about her. She disappeared sometime in the mid 1990s.

Conversely, people like Michael Shannon and Ryan Gosling are equally unique and in the case of Shannon an immenese talent, but neither give a damn about Hollywood so they will never be the big stars they should be.

And from a long time ago I can think of three who always amaze me:

Evelyn Keyes
Gloria Grahame
Wendell Corey

All have depth and range but were saddled with supporting roles most of their careers and rarely given leads their deserved.

Anonymous said...

Maxwell Caulfield has also done a lot of stage work here and in England. An aside - he's been married to Juliet Mills (18 years his senior) since 1980.

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Michael Shannon. The man's intensity just burns through the screen. He was the same on stage.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I like both of them but I think they are having pretty good careers.
Completely forgotten Jessica Harper. Gloria Grahame was amazing. I think her private life may have contributed.
Not really familiar with Caulfield. have to look him up

Anonymous said...

Cathy Moriarty's career seems inexplicably low-key to me. She was astonishing in Raging Bull and then had supporting roles in a few movies throughout the 1990s. Now you hardly hear anything of her. Perhaps because she had a rather harsh brittleness about her; there's nothing gentle in her style.


Steve Oerkfitz said...

Malcolm McDowell is another one. Did a lot of good films early in his career(A Clockwork Orange, If, O Lucky Man) but has since turned into the new Donald Pleasance, appearing in a lot of low grade horror films and some TV work.

Dan_Luft said...

For awhile Tim Roth seemed to almost be something big and reliable then disappeared for years.

Yvette said...

Gloria Graham - definitely. She was so wonderful in most anything she did.

A few others that come to mind:

Barbara Rush.

Julian Sands.

John Russell. One of the handsomest actors I've ever seen. Maybe TOO handsome? Yeah he had a TV show, 'LAWMAN' once upon a time. But...

Modern day, I think Rufus Sewell should be much better known even though he does seem to work regularly.

Same for Paul Bettany and Patrick Wilson.

Also Jennifer Ehle who is MORE than just Pride and Prejudice. Though of course she was wonderful in that.

I'm sorry guys, but when I see Ryan Gosling my immediate reaction is: His eyes are too close together. I can't help it. It's all that art training.

Dana King said...

Barbara Hershey, absolutely. Doubling back to Mickey Rourke, I re-watched ANGEL HEART over the weekend. He was born to play roles like that. It's a shame about him.

James Woods comes to mind. He was becoming A List and dropped off the face of the earth. William Hurt looked like he would be The Man for a while, then the same thing happened to him.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sometimes it's drugs/alcohol. Sometimes their style or look goes out of fashion. Sometimes they screw up once too often. Sometimes they try to play leading men/women after their time has past. Bad cosmetic surgery has hurt more than one. Then with women, raising a family often derails them. I think of Phoebe Cates who married Kevin Kline and disappeared. Or they get too quirky.

Gerard said...

I imagine some of those bail out on Hollywood and grinding out big budget schlock.

Michael pare was the "it" guy for a time in the '80s. He appeared in LINCOLN LAWYER and I did not recognize him. He did well, too.

Don't forget Gary Busey. He broke out with an Oscar nomination for BUDDY HOLLY STORY and his craziness take over a few years later.

Anders E said...

Liza Weil - mostly known for being Paris Geller on GILMORE GIRLS. I've seen her elsewhere and she has acting chops to spare.

Then there are those from AMERICAN GRAFFITI who did not quite make it - Paul Le Mat and Candy Clark in particular.

And where did Christina Ricci go wrong?

pattinase (abbott) said...

All quirky actors, I think. Hollywood can only tolerate quirky in small doses. In other places, those sorts of actors are valued.

Kieran Shea said...

Hermione Norris, but there's still time.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't have much of a sense of who she is. Although I did watch some of the UK series she was on--but a long time ago now.

Todd Mason said...

Gretchen Mol is still doing steady, good work. She was the best performer in the US LIFE ON MARS, certainly, and as much as her part allows shines in BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

Liza Weil is an interesting choice, as she's my current boss's ex. Certainly talented.

The underappreciated are certainly legion. Carrie Snodgress...Zohra Lampert...hell, John Astin.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have got to watch BOARDWALK EMPIRE.
Oh, yes, Carrie Snodgrass. Is it the quirky curse again.

Chris said...

More and more for women it seems that their biggest career hurdle is that at some point they are going to age beyond 25.

Kelly Robinson said...

Honestly, I think the lip implants hurt Hershey's career. She went from looking like a beautiful, yet everyday woman, to a dime-a-dozen puffed up Hollywood type.