Let's face it, except for extremely rare cases like Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicholson, very few stars remain at their peak level of popularity for decade after decade. There's nothing inherently depressing about falling back to earth a bit, and even a big fall means they reached great heights in the first place. Still, there are heights so great and falls so far that looking at them makes you a bit queasy, which brings us to the career of Burt Reynolds.
Burt Reynolds was riding high and driving fast during his late-70s/early-80s Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run peak. He won eight People's Choice Awards for Favorite Male Entertainer and Motion Picture Actor, and would have won another eight if there was one for Awesomest Mustache. For five straight years he was the top draw in Hollywood, tied with guys like Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks. You'll notice that neither of those guys ever ended up 13th-billed in a Uwe Boll film.
Bad career choices, expensive divorces and bankruptcy sent Reynolds spiraling in the 80s, though in the 90s he at least worked steadily on TV in Evening Shade, a decent hit despite being seen by absolutely nobody under 50 or above the Mason-Dixon Line. Then, out of nowhere, his 1997 appearance in Boogie Nights earned Reynolds his first Oscar nomination and was the comeback story of the year.
Mustache Mustache Mustache.
Or maybe not. "My being nominated this year is no comeback story because I simply refused to go away," Reynolds said. As it turns out, it was no comeback story because his career didn't come back even a tiny little bit. It didn't help that Reynolds and director Paul Thomas Anderson didn't get along, leading Reynolds to refuse to appear in Anderson's next picture, Magnolia. It would be the last time Reynolds was within shouting range of quality.
What a sneaky mustache!
IMDb shows an astounding 52 entries since Boogie Nights with only a handful you've heard of, including crappy remakes, one-shot sitcom appearances, the worst wide-release opening in movie history (that would be Delgo, which literally averaged two audience members per theater) and straight-to-video comedies with plots like: "A washed out former star in need of money has a get rich plan...start a volleyball team whose players consist of group of beautiful athletic strippers."
It's quite a comedown for a man with his own freaking museum.
Fuad Hageb, the Ishtar Guy
Most IMDb pages tell simple tales, like the world-famous superstar with humble beginnings or the scattered small roles in unknown movies that speak of a broken dream. Some IMDb pages are mysteries, however, and none more than those with a single, lonely entry. What happened after that one shot at stardom that turned out to be the entire battle?
Such is the case with Fuad Hageb. Much like Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, immortalized in Field of Dreams for his one career major league appearance, Fuad Hageb is immortalized on IMDb for his one career film role. That movie? Ishtar, the 1987 comedy still synonymous with "Box Office Bomb" (and still unreleased on DVD in America). It's as if he had one career at-bat and used it to club the batboy to death.
Hageb played Abdul, the young, pipe-smoking tour guide who repeatedly saves Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty from certain death (a role far less appreciated by the audience as the movie progressed). It was a decent-sized part in a big-budget, albeit infamous, film. And then...silence.
So what's the story behind this enigmatically awful resume? Was that one credit enough to get him laughed out of future auditions? Was the experience so horrifying he quit the industry? Did notorious perfectionist Beatty strangle him at the wrap party for blinking at the wrong time?
Well, to solve this burning mystery we did some actual, honest-to-goodness reporting and tracked him down through his later charity work (that'll show him!). He kindly informed us that he did in fact land a follow-up role in a Broadway musical, but was attacked on-stage by a bear.
OK, that's not true. He actually bailed out of the production for family reasons and wound up becoming the Vice President of a $30 billion dollar investment management company. The company was even sold two years ago, before the whole economy went Ishtar. The fact that he did all of this rather than wind up in a Uwe Boll film, tells us the dude is just a master of getting out at the right time.
For more depressing (read: hilarious) stories about Hollywood stars, check out The 10 Most Unlikely Celeb Porn Stars. Or find out about some action stars whose careers had a less than happy ending in 5 Movie Martial Artists That Lost a Deathmatch to Dignity.
And visit Cracked.com's Top Picks to see Fox News's depressing decline, as evidenced by us being the only people who pimp their links (just kidding, we wouldn't even stoop that low).