13 People That Left Behind The Role of a Lifetime

Now and then, an actor thinks they’re above the project they’re working on. They’ll move on thinking they can access bigger and better things. Unfortunately for them, their career will blow up in flames. Here is a list of actors who left a TV series or film franchise only to see their popularity fade.

1. BRIAN DUNKLEMAN

Brian Dunkleman
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Did you know that the first season of American Idol had two hosts? It did: Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman.  Seacrest has grown to be an incredibly successful player in Hollywood. There’s a good chance you forgot Dunkleman even existed.

2. GEORGE LAZENBY

George Lazenby
Photo Credit: United Artists.

Many people agree that Sean Connery is the best James Bond. When Lazenby was cast to succeed Connery for the foreseeable future, it felt like we had our next 007 ready.  Instead, Lazenby gets some terrible advice and leaves the role. While his career tanked, the James Bond franchise is still going strong.

3. CHUCK WOOLERY

Chuck Woolery
Photo Credit: Eric Lieber Productions.

Before Pat Sajak hosted Wheel of Fortune for over 40 years, Woolery hosted the popular game show. Chuck left the show after a contract dispute, and the rest is history.

4. MARCUS CHONG

Marcus Chong
Photo Credit:
Warner Bros.

Best known for his portrayal as Tank in The Matrix, Chong didn’t return for the sequels.  He reportedly asked for more money and a bigger part. Instead, his character was killed off-screen.

5. JA RULE

Ja Rule
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Before playing a part in the famous Fyre Festival, Ja Rule started in The Fast and the Furious movie.  The film franchise continues to earn hundreds of millions of dollars today. Ja Rule, however, wouldn’t make any additional appearances.

6. ED SKREIN

Ed Skrein
Photo Credit: HBO Entertianment.

The original Daario Naharis actor left Game of Thrones after the third season. He went on to star in the reboot of The Transporter.  Game of Thrones would quickly become a worldwide cultural phenomenon. The Transporter, however, did not.

7. STUART TOWNSEND

Stuart Townsend
Photo Credit: WGN America.

The original actor for Aragon in Lord of the Rings is best known for being the answer to a trivia question.  Townsend refused to practice riding horses and swordplay, so Peter Jackson removed him from the cast, and the rest is history.

8. LACEY CHABERT

Lacey Chabert
Photo Credit: Hallmark Channel.

While many recognize Chabert from Mean Girls, she is also the original voice of Meg Griffin in Family Guy.  However, after the first season, she left the show and has since been replaced by Mila Kunis.

9. KATHERINE HEIGL

Katherine Heigl
Photo Credit: IFC Films.

Heigl infamously left Grey’s Anatomy because she felt like the writing wasn’t good enough. Today, Grey’s is still on the air while Heigl, who found short-term success as a leading lady, is no longer in the Hollywood spotlight.

10. TERRENCE HOWARD

Terrence Howard
Photo Credit: Marvel.

Howard appeared in the first Iron Man as James Rhodes. However, he asked for more money in the sequel. Don Cheadle promptly replaced him, who continues to play Rhodes today.

11. KATIE HOLMES

Katie Holmes
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

After starring in Batman Begins, Holmes decided to leave the franchise, instead focusing on other things. She was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal in the sequel, The Dark Knight.

12. FARAH FAWCETT

Farah Fawcett
Photo Credit: CPT Holdings, Inc.

After leaving Charlie’s Angels for other proejcts, Fawcett’s career saw a downturn. While she still found plenty of work, she’d never reach the same heights as she did on Charlie’s Angels.

13. SHELLY LONG

Shelly Long
Photo Credit: Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions.

Leaving a mega-hit sitcom like Cheers seems like a bad career move. That’s precisely what Long learned after departing the popular series.

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The Fugutive
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

 

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Fletch
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

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