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6 Actors Who Could Have Been Stars, Then Disappeared

Some stars seem like they have all the right stuff to launch a lasting career, but things can unravel in Hollywood very quickly. These six one-time celebrities could have been big, but they've since disappeared from the spotlight.
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There’s endless talent to be found in Hollywood, and that’s what makes the competition there so tough. Incredibly gifted actors and actresses can have all the right roles on their resume, the perfect headshots, and maybe even an award or two under their belts…and they’ll still get passed up for a job by someone who had just a bit more to offer.

Some stars seem like they have all the right pieces in place to launch a lasting and fruitful career. They might land a big role when they’re still very young, one that garners them enough attention to make them a household name.

However, things can unravel in Hollywood very quickly. A star can have all the ingredients to become the next big thing and end up being nothing more than a memory.

These are six actors and actresses who seemed like they were going to be big… but have since disappeared.

Taylor Lautner

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Taylor Lautner is only 29 years old; you would think this would be the perfect time for him to start landing major lead roles in Marvel films or a popular TV show. At least, that’s what we thought back when we saw this guy in the Twilight film series back in the early 2010s.

This dude played such a good werewolf in that franchise, he would have been the perfect fit for so many shows and movies coming out today. But for some reason, his acting career seems to have fizzled.

Dakota Fanning

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Back in the early 2000s, Dakota Fanning was the go-to star for pretty much every movie that needed a child actress. Her acting abilities were so good at such a young age, she came off like the Meryl Streep of her generation.

If you’d asked someone at the time who the biggest young adult movie stars would be in 2021, they’d probably have guessed Dakota Fanning would be one of them. For some reason, though, her star power has significantly faded. She still gets roles–-she recently played Squeaky Fromme in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood–-but they’re not the kind of lead roles we expected her to be getting at this age.

Lee Pace

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Lee Pace’s fans know him well. Remember how amazing he was as Ned in Pushing Daisies? The guy received an Emmy nomination for his work on that show, which was unfortunately canceled far too soon.

Sure, Pace has recently had roles in Guardians of the Galaxy and Halt and Catch Fire. But considering a lot of people still don’t really know who he is, we can’t say he’s reached the level of stardom that he once had the potential to.  

AnnaSophia Robb

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AnnaSophia Robb was like Dakota Fanning all over again. She was incredible in Because of Winn-Dixie (2005), Bridge to Terabithia (2007), and Soul Surfer (2011).  However, Robb took a pause from acting to attend school at New York University in 2014.

She had a recent role as Carrie Bradshaw for The Carrie Diaries (2013-2014), but that’s the last relatively big role she had. Time will tell if she’s able to come back strong, but her chances of becoming Hollywood’s go-to actress have dwindled since the early 2010s.

Sam Worthington

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Sam Worthington: He played Jake Sully in Avatar, Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation, and Perseus in Wrath of the Titans. Unfortunately, he’s generally noted as being rather forgettable, despite gitting the mold of a big Hollywood action hero.

It seems Worthington is just too focused on family these days to worry about whether or not he’s landing roles over Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth. However, he definitely had the potential to go that way if he wanted to.

Shailene Woodley

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Considering how famous Shailene Woodley was for her acting just a few years back, it’s kind of surprising that her greatest claim to fame now is that she’s engaged to Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers.

Shailene Woodley was quite prolific from 2008-2015, and though she still picked up solid roles in the last few years, they haven’t been as big as they used to be for her. The 29-year-old may have just burned out on the acting early; she’s now quite focused on political activism.