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The Stars Who Quit: 5 Actors Who Left Hollywood, And What They Did Next

They walked away from Hollywood's bright lights.

All aspiring actors dream of one day making it big in Hollywood and winning Oscars (sorry, Leo). Yet there are some actors who achieve ridiculous levels of super stardom only to leave it all behind.

Let's look at five actors that walked away from Hollywood's bright lights, and what they did next.

Rick Moranis

Depending on your age, Rick Moranis may not mean much to you, but the guy was a big deal in the '80s and early '90s. This Canadian comedic actor starred in the likes of Spaceballs, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, The Little Shop of Horrors and of course the two Ghostbusters films.

Despite this success, Moranis left acting after 15 years with his final role coming in 1997's straight-to-video Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. He had two excellent reasons for leaving the industry though: His two children.

Following his wife's untimely death from cancer in 1991, Moranis had been a single parent, and struggled to juggle his family life with the demands of an acting career. In a 2005 interview with USA Today he confessed that he "took a little bit of a break. And the little bit of a break turned into a longer break. And I found that I didn't really miss that."

What's he doing now?

Moranis remains a full time father to his children, and has thus far eschewed any return to Hollywood fame. He has done voiceover work for a small handful of children's animated films for Disney. He has also released a couple of comedy albums, one of which - 2005's The Agoraphobic Cowboy - was nominated for a Grammy Award. He has no plans to return to acting, and has already stated he won't appear in the upcoming Ghostbusters film.

Molly Ringwald

A little like Rick Moranis, Morry Ringwald's best days were in the '80s. As a member of the so-called "Brat Pack" of teen actors during the decade (along with the likes of Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy, among others) she starred in a string of classic films including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink.

After Ringwald's 1980s heyday, the acting work slowed down, partly perhaps because Ringwald turned down the leads in both Pretty Woman and Ghost, parts that would have shot her into a brand new stratosphere of fame. Instead she moved to Paris. Since then she has appeared in a few low profile roles here and there, so she has never officially "retired," but unless you're a fan of Lifetime TV movies, you might be forgiven for thinking Ringwald rode off into the sunset sometime in the late '80s.

What's she doing now?

In addition to occasional small time acting roles, Ringwald has become something of a polymath since her days as a Hollywood leading lady. In 2013 she released a jazz album called Except Sometimes, having published a novel called When It Happens To You the previous year. It would seem as though she will continue her low-profile acting career in combination with music and writing endeavors. Don't expect to see her in a summer blockbuster any time soon.

Sean Connery

James Bond himself. The very embodiment of suave, sophisticated cool in his prime. In addition to his role as Bond, Connery is also known for roles in Highlander, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade and The Rock. Oh, and Zardoz...

(I don't know the plot of Zardoz. I don't think I want to)

You won't have seen Connery on screen since 2003, when he was in the infamous flop The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. It's believed the failure of this film, and Connery's disillusionment with it, led to his retirement.

Connery's acceptance of the role in the comic book adaptation was party due to his regret of turning down the role of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Scotsman declared that he did not understand the script, and passed on the chance to star in a beloved trilogy, win Oscars and earn boatloads of cash to Sir Ian McKellan. It's likely that Connery didn't understand The League of Extraordinary Gentleman either, but perhaps he thought that scripts he didn't understand equals surefire hits. He was wrong, and soon after, he was gone.

What's he doing now?

Sean Connery is 85, so I assume that right now he's either a.) Asleep, b.) At the Post Office or, c.) Grumbling about youths. The man is, quite rightly, enjoying his retirement and has no intention of returning to acting. Rumors of cameo roles in the fourth Indiana Jones film and Skyfall did not come to pass, so if you want to see a Connery film again you had better get out your Bond DVDs.

Gene Hackman

To quite a lot of people, Gene Hackman is Lex Luthor. He played Superman's arch enemy in Superman and Superman II (and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, but let's not talk about that) but even aside from that iconic role, his filmography is a list of critically acclaimed and beloved films: French Connection, The Poseidon Adventure, The Conversation, Young Frankenstein, The Firm, Unforgiven, Get Shorty, The Royal Tenenbaums... you get the idea.

These films made Hackman's name, a name that remains legendary even though he hasn't appeared on-screen since playing second billing to the acting powerhouse that is Ray Romano in the 2004 comedy Welcome to Mooseport. Hackman doesn't do much in the way of press, but gave an interview at the time to say that he had "no future projects lined up" and that, as far as Hollywood was concerned, was that.

What's he doing now?

Hackman didn't follow Connery's lead into a quiet retirement of doing no kind of work at all. Instead, he has turned his hand to writing. He has published six novels of historical fiction (four alongside archaeologist Daniel Lenihan, and two on his own) and now has a full-blown second career as an author. If you want to see Gene Hackman again, don't go to a cinema, get yourself down to a book signing.

Greta Garbo

Swedish actress Greta Garbo was a legend during Hollywood's "golden age" and silent era. Having initially had roles in European silent films, Garbo moved to America and made a mind boggling ten films between 1926 and 1929. Garbo made the leap from silent film to "talkies" and succeeded wildly; she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar twice in 1930, for two different films. She continued act prolifically in films adored by the public and critics until 1941 and her final role in romantic comedy Two-Faced Woman. The film was considered a flop, especially by Garbo's previously perfect standards. At the age of 36, having made an amazing 28 films in 16 years, Garbo decided that Two-Faced Woman (a film she referred to as "my grave") would be her last.

What did she do after?

I can't say "what's she doing now?", of course, because Garbo died 1990 aged 84. It's fair to say that what she did after retirement from acting can only be speculated at by the general public. Even during her days of stardom, Garbo was a quiet, reclusive figure who retired to a life of solitude. She was offered several roles throughout the rest of her life, all of which she rejected. She didn't give interviews, sign autographs or respond to fan mail. She lived by herself, and enjoyed socializing with close friends and taking walks, often alone. And that is about all we know.

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