Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka and Peter Ostrum
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Celebrities Who Ditched Hollywood for Another Career

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Kim Kardashian Beyond Meat
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Stars seem to have it all: money, fame, and popularity. To many people that’s a dream, but these celebrities achieved that dream and walked away. They’ve all decided to use their energy, talent, and time for purposes away from the spotlight of Hollywood. Kim Kardashian, for instance, probably isn’t ditching her glam lifestyle completely, but she has a couple of surprising new gigs nonetheless. Here’s what she and many others are up to after peak stardom.

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Kim Kardashian
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Kim Kardashian

Most Famous Work: “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”
Last Seen In: “Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project” (2020)

Current Career: While it’s unlikely that Kim Kardashian is becoming desk-bound anytime soon, the newly divorced reality star (who also recently passed the “baby” bar exam, a step toward becoming a lawyer) has become "chief taste consultant" for Beyond Meat. What does that mean? Kardashian will appear in ads for the brand, offer coupons, and promote recipes in an email newsletter. The celebrity took to Instagram to crow, "I believe so much in the mission of Beyond Meat that I’ve stepped in to help with my greatest asset. My taste.” 

Related: Celebrities With Brands That Cater to the Common Folk

Cameron Diaz
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Cameron Diaz

Most Famous Work: “There’s Something About Mary,” “Charlie’s Angels,” and “Shrek”

Last Seen In: “Annie” (2014)

Current Career: Following her 2014 retirement from Hollywood, Diaz married Benji Madden of Good Charlotte. Together they have a daughter, Raddix, and live a low-profile life in Los Angeles, where her current role is mom. 

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Gene Hackman
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Gene Hackman

Most Famous Work: “The French Connection,” “Superman,” and “Unforgiven”

Last Seen In: “Welcome to Mooseport” (2004)

Current Career: Since retiring in 2004, Hackman — who turned 91 this year — has enjoyed a successful writing career. He’s written two novels and co-written four more. He lives a quiet life out of the spotlight with his second wife, Betsy Arakawa. The couple has been married for three decades. 

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Bridget Fonda
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Bridget Fonda

Most Famous Work: “Singles” and “Single White Female”

Last Seen In: “Snow Queen” (2002)

Current Career: Following her last film, the TV movie “Snow Queen,” Fonda was in a car accident in 2003 that broke some vertebrae. Later that year, she married composer Danny Elfman. The couple has a son together, Oliver, and while Fonda has shied away from the Hollywood scene since, her husband is often accompanied by Oliver when occasionally walking the red carpet. 

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Phoebe Cates Kline
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Phoebe Cates Kline

Most Famous Work: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Gremlins”

Last Seen In: “The Anniversary Party” (2001)

Current Career: In 1989, in the midst of her acting career, Cates married fellow actor Kevin Kline. The famous duo has two children together, and while Cates never intended to end her acting career, she just found the role of mother to be more compelling than any part that came her way. These days she’s retired, still happily married to Kline, and enjoys being a mother to their brood.

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Danny Lloyd
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Danny Lloyd

Most Famous Work: “The Shining”

Last Seen In: “Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy” (1982) and “Doctor Sleep” (2019)

Current Career: Following the success of his breakout movie, “The Shining,” in which he plays Danny Torrance, the son of Jack, Lloyd made one more movie that ended up being a TV movie before leaving Hollywood to live a relatively normal life. He came back for a cameo in “Doctor Sleep,” the 2019 sequel to “The Shining,” but remains otherwise retired from acting. He found his calling in teaching, and is a biology teacher. He is married, and has four kids. 

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Peter Ostrum
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Peter Ostrum

Most Famous Work: “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory”

Last Seen In: “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” (1971)

Current Career: After starring in the hit film “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” as Charlie, Ostrum decided acting wasn’t for him. He turned down a three-film contract and finished school, then went on to college and is now a veterinarian for large farm animals in Glenfield, New York. He is married, with two children, and lives a life about as far removed from the Hollywood lights as you can get.

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Michael Schoeffling
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Michael Schoeffling

Most Famous Work: “Sixteen Candles”

Last Seen In: “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” (1991)

Current Career: Otherwise known as the teen heartthrob to anyone over 40, the “Sixteen Candles” star turns 61 this year. He retired officially from acting in 1991 and moved his family — model and actress Valerie C. Robinson and their two children — to Pennsylvania, where he opened a woodworking and furniture shop. To this day, he is married and running his shop. 

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Karyn Parsons
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Karyn Parsons

Most Famous Work: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

Last Seen In: “The Job” (2001-2002) 

Current Career: Far removed from her on-screen personality Hilary Banks of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Parsons now runs a nonprofit she started called Sweet Blackberry that aims to educate about untold figures in African-American history. She’s also a seasoned author, with two children's fiction books under her belt. She is married, with two kids.

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Jeff Cohen
Jeff Cohen by (CC BY-SA)

Jeff Cohen

Most Famous Work: “The Goonies”

Last Seen In: "The Goonies” (1985)

Current Career: Since starring as Chunk in “The Goonies” and originating the fat-shaming “truffle shuffle,” Cohen leads a relatively normal life. He attended U.C. Berkeley School of Law and, at the age of 27, founded the entertainment law firm Cohen Gardner, Law where he still works. He also wrote a book, “The Dealmaker’s Ten Commandments: Ten Essential Tools for Business Forged in the Trenches of Hollywood.”

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Josh Saviano
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Josh Saviano

Most Famous Work: “The Wonder Years”

Last Seen In: “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2014-2016)

Current Career: Although Saviano officially retired after his six-season stint on “The Wonder Years,” he returned for three episodes of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” in which he played a lawyer. In a case of life imitating art, he is a lawyer and businessman. He founded Act 3 Advisors and co-founded the Spotlight Advisory Group, where he remains today. He is married, with one daughter.

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Charlie Korsmo

Charlie Korsmo

Most Famous Work: “Dick Tracy” and “Hook”

Last Seen In: “Can’t Hardly Wait” (1998)

Current Career: Since walking away from Hollywood, Korsmo has had quite an academic career: He got a degree in physics from MIT, then a law degree from Yale. His resume boasts positions with the government in missile defense, a position at the Environmental Protection Agency, working for the GOP in the House of Representatives, and an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. Currently, he is back to academics and is an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University. (And he stepped back into filmmaking with the little-seen “Chained for Life” in 2018.)

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Mike Vitar

Mike Vitar

Most Famous Work: “The Sandlot” and “D2: The Mighty Ducks” and “D3: The Mighty Ducks”

Last Seen In: “Chicago Hope”” (1997)

Current Career: Despite his acting success in childhood, Vitar left the stage in 1997 after filming one episode of “Chicago Hope” in an insignificant role. Since then, his roles have been L.A. area firefighter, husband, and dad to three children — roles he seems to relish more than the spotlight.

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Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes

Most Famous Work: “She’s All That,” “Hairspray,” and “The Amanda Bynes Show”

Last Seen In: “Easy A” (2010)

Current Career: The Nickelodeon child star left the limelight in 2010 after filming the comedy “Easy A.” In the years that followed, Bynes reportedly suffered from substance abuse and mental health issues. These days, with those issues in check, she graduated recently from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles with the goal of starting her own online store.