The actors who gave up acting and said goodbye to all that

When Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo recently said she was seriously considering ‘giving up acting’ everyone flew into a tizzy. But there have been a fair few ‘stars’ that have turned their back on the fame and glamour of the film industry.

Sean Connery

What’s the you say? You just saw him in a film? Well if you did, you were either watching a rerun on TV or thinking about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which released way back in 2003.

For the last 11 years Sir Sean has barely felt the need to get back in front of the camera. In 2007, he told BBC that he had no interest in starring in another “Indiana Jones” movie, because “retirement was just too much damned fun”.

But if you think he spends most of his retirement drinking single malts and getting trollied on wine with his old pal and Knight in Crime Sir Alex Ferguson, think again. He lent his voice to the animated film Sir Billi, and also was the voice of James (pronounce it Jamesh for the full effect) Bond in the 2005 videogame From Russia With Love.

John Hughes

If you grow up in the 1980s, then it’s more than likely that The Breakfast Club was the film you looked to for inspiration. Hell! I even had the poster on my wall, along with…well…read on.

The Breakfast Club told a tale that millions of students across the world could relate to, and we loved it. The writer and director, John Hughes, suddenly became our storyteller; the chronicler of our woes – real or imagined. And then in 1986, Hughes wrote and directed, the legendary Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a film so in tune with the times it’s eerie. We were all Ferris Bueller for 90 minutes and we waited eagerly for Hughes’ next project.

But three projects later there was sense that Hughes had lost the passion. By 1991’s Curly Sue, his voice was muted and the hilarious angst that propelled his early work had all but disappeared.

And although Hughes continued writing (Home Alone) until 2008, he never directed again. Hughes died in 2009, and it’s hard not to feel that an achingly poignant talent left the spotlight far too soon.

Phoebe Cates

OK, so I had the Breakfast Club poster up, but I also had one of the gorgeous Phoebe Cates. Cates was very close to being the 80s generation’s Farah Fawcett or Bo Derek. And although she was certainly more girl-next-door than those two stars, it just added to her appeal.

She first came to our attention in Cameron Crowe’s outrageously fun Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and then captured out hearts in Gremlins and Bright Lights, Big City. By Princess Caraboo (yes it was as bad as it sounds) she was older but still stunning.

We last saw her in 2001, and she then vanished, ostensibly to spend time with her family and husband Kevin Kline. We’ll miss her, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

Shirley Temple

Before there were the Olsen twins…much, much before…there was Shirley Temple, a child star of such wattage that even back in 1933, people thought she’d be peerless for millennia. And they could have been right, but Temple had other plans.

In 1950, a 22-year-old Temple, already a veteran of 38 feature films decided that she had lost the appeal that made her such a popular child star and rather than be pulled kicking and screaming off the stage as it were, she’d just draw the curtains herself.

Temple would return to TV in the 60s, but she never graced the big screen again. Who knows what might have been had the precocious talent continued in films, but then again, sometimes things are better left unexplored.

Cary Grant

Cary Grant may have been 62 when he decided to call it a day, but the superstar had more than a few good years left in him.

Fans always believed that the star of An Affair to Remember and North by Northwest would act forever. But when he became a father, late in life, Grant decided to dedicate all his time to bringing up his daughter, on whom he would dote till his death in 1986.

But even though Grant retired from acting he would play an active role in the industry.

Rick Moranis

Watching Rick Moranis in Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Ghostbusters and Spaceballs was watching a comedian at the top of his game. His perfect timing and hilarious expressions made him one of the most-recognised actors of his generation.

But six years after his wife died from breast cancer, Moranis decided that his children were far more important than his acting career. He told USA Today: “I’m a single parent and I just found that it was too difficult to manage raising my kids and doing the traveling involved in making movies. So I took a little bit of a break. And the little bit of a break turned into a longer break, and then I found that I really didn’t miss it.”

Moranis has since lent his voice to the animated film, Brother Bear, but there’s little chance of him ever returning to the big screen any time soon. We’ll miss him, but we’ll always have My Blue Heaven.

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