jonathan lipnicki

The Surprising Post-Fame Lives of Celebrities You’ve Long Forgotten About

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Apr. 26 2020, Updated 6:08 p.m. ET

Not all celebrities want to be famous forever. For some, they reach a level where they get sick of the business, while others simply stop finding work and give up. So what do actors do after fame? Apparently write books and become MMA fighters. It's a little surprising, but totally understandable. After all, with so many celebrities suffering from burnout, it's no wonder some of them say, "Screw it, I'm going to law school."

Below, a few actors who decided to pursue wildly different careers after fame.

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1. Nikki Blonsky

nikki blonsky hairspray
Source: New Line Cinema, Instagram

Nikki was working at Cold Stone when she was picked to appear in Hairspray after submitting an audition video. Although she got to dance next to Zac Efron and John Travolta, when job offers started to dry up, she took a job working at an upscale shoe boutique in her hometown of Great Neck, NY. However, when websites started reporting that the former star of Hairspray was now selling shoes for a living, Nikki quickly backtracked and said she was only working there to "try something new." Riiiight. Today, she works part-time as a hairstylist and makeup artist and often makes appearances at conventions.

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2. Mackenzie Rosman

mackenzie rosman
Source: Spelling Television, Instagram

You might remember her as the little girl from 7th Heaven. Back in 2013, she caused some controversy when she appeared in a spread in Maxim when she was 23, however, she's been keeping a low profile ever since. Although she still appears in small indie films, she spends the majority of her time racing horses competitively. 

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3. Mia Sara

mia sara writes
Source: Paramount Pictures, Instagram

Although she played the iconic roll of Ferris Bueller's girlfriend in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, she hasn't appeared in anything major since. Today, she's now a professional poet. "Mia Sara used to be an actress," her official biography states, "but she recovered her senses and now she writes." You can check out and read all her published works here.

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4. Lark Voorhies

lark voorhies
Source: NBC Productions, Instagram

After playing Lisa on Saved by the Bell, Lark was M.I.A. until 2012 when she made headlines for her strikingly different appearance. Although Lark's mother told People that her daughter suffers from bipolar disorder, Lark denied it. Today, she writes books. Here's an excerpt from her novel, True Light:

"THE IDEAL, ON, TRUE LIGHT. IMPRESSES UPON THE READER, THE, ALL, ATONED, IMPORTANCE, RESTING, UPON, THE, FORMATTED, NUANCE, APPLICABLE, OF, ORATIONS, IN, GENUINE."

...can't wait to read it.

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5. Jonathan Lipnicki

jonathan lipnicki
Source: Getty Images, Instagram

After playing Tom Cruise's kid in Jerry Maguire, Jonathan went on to have a pretty successful career as a child actor, voicing the lead in Stuart Little and appearing in A Little Vampire. However, these days, Jonathan has exchanged his adorable glasses for a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He's also an avid MMA enthusiast who's training to go pro.

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6. Jason Zimbler

jason zimbler ferguson
Source: Nickelodeon Productions, YouTube

He might be eternally "Ferg-face" from Clarissa Explains It All to us, but today he works as a software designer. In a 2014 interview, he also revealed that he and the rest of the Clarissa cast aren't paid royalties for reruns. However, he might not need it. In the same interview, he admitted that, just like his famous character, he wants to get involved in politics.

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7. Ariana Richards

ariana richards
Source: Universal Pictures, Instagram

Twenty-five years after Jurassic Park and Ariana still gets recognized. However, these days she's no longer running from dinosaurs. Instead, she now works full-time as a painter.

"People ask me, 'So did you step away from acting or decide to leave the business?' I let them know it’s not about making a choice," she said in 2011. "Acting is always going to be something that’s in my blood. It’s more that my interest has been really taken by visual art and doing the oil paintings for people. But at the same time, I still have an agent. If some really interesting role came along and found me, I’m sure I’d be thrilled to do it."

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8. Josh Saviano

josh saviano
Source: New World Television, Instagram

After playing Paul on The Wonder Years, Josh spent most of his career being confused with Marilyn Manson. But despite the bizarre rumor, Josh has been having a very success post-fame career as a lawyer and brand consultant. And no, he's not ashamed of his child star past and even reunited with the rest of the Wonder Years cast in 2014.

"It is who I am," he said. "There was a time when I wanted to sort of push it away and say, well, I want to be successful in this world on my own and not have to use that. But this is who I am. It was six or seven years of my absolute prime years of growing up."

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9. Healther Donahue

heather donahue
Source: Haxan Films, Facebook

When Heather appeared in The Blair Witch Project, people were confused if she was an actress or a real person. To convince people the movie was real, all the actors in the film were instructed to use their real names and write fake obituaries for their IMDb pages as a marketing gimmick. When the movie became a surprise hit, it turned into Heather's worst nightmare. 

"There are some people online who think that we are hired shills because those kids really did die and we've been hired to be them so that nobody will get arrested," she explained in 2016. The experience soured her love for acting, and today, she now makes a living growing medical marijuana. She even wrote a whole book about it called Growgirl.

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10. Charlie Korsmo

charles korsmo
Source: Touchstone Pictures, YouTube

Charlie, who now goes by Charles, was in everything as a child actor, from Dick Tracy to Hook. But after appearing in Can't Hardly Wait, he went to law school and became, well, a law professor. Today, he still receives four to five $160 checks every three months in royalties. 

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11. Steve Burns

blue clues steve burns
Source: Nickelodeon Productions, YouTube

Steve from Blue's Clues was pretty much loved by all '90s kids, but when he decided to leave the show, the Internet created a crazy rumor that he died from a heroin overdose. However, today, Steve is very much alive, and no, he's never done drugs. In fact, the reason he left the show was because he was balding. Today, he now makes music with his band Steve Burns and the Struggle.

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12. Michael Oliver

michael oliver problem child
Source: Universal Pictures, YouTube

After playing Junior in the popular Problem Child movies, Michael didn't appear in anything else. And although he currently works in the unglamorous world of tech support, he prefers this life to his old one. “After having been thrust into the spotlight as a child, I appreciate some peace and quiet," he told People. "I am grateful and always will be for the experiences,” he said. “I’m actually quite happy with my life the way it is today. I have a decent job. I work hard. I have a beautiful girlfriend. We have three cats and a hamster. It’s a nice, quiet existence. I like it.”

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