Just because we might love a particular actor doesn’t automatically mean that acting is what they’ll do for the rest of their lives. Some beloved actors, from child stars to grownup celebs, gave up acting and picked entirely different paths in their lives.

While some became writers and reporters (in my biased opinion, the very best career paths ever), others were more adventurous with their aspirations, going for PhDs, working as nurses and soldiers, and even going into law.

Bored Panda has dug deep to find out what former actors went on to do with their lives, so scroll on down, upvote the career path changes that you think are the coolest, and let us know which of these actors’ roles you enjoyed in films the most.

Hollywood’s Ultimate Insider, Mike Sington, explained to Bored Panda that some fans believe that acting is a lifelong career because they only hear about them when they’re acting. “When they take a regular job, they fall out of the media’s attention and fans forget about them,” the celebrity and entertainment industry expert said. Read on for our full interview with Mike!

#1

Rick Moranis, The Star Of 'Honey, I Shrunk The Kids' Became A Stay-At-Home Dad To Care Of His 2 Children After His Wife Passed Away In 1991

Rick Moranis, The Star Of 'Honey, I Shrunk The Kids' Became A Stay-At-Home Dad To Care Of His 2 Children After His Wife Passed Away In 1991

Columbia Pictures Report

James016
Community Member
1 month ago

He did that as his wife passed away.

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#2

Karyn Parsons, Former Star Of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. After Playing The Role Of Hilary Banks For Six Years, She Moved On To Nonprofit Work. She Founded Sweet Blackberry, A Non-Profit Focused On Teaching Children About Black History

Karyn Parsons, Former Star Of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. After Playing The Role Of Hilary Banks For Six Years, She Moved On To Nonprofit Work. She Founded Sweet Blackberry, A Non-Profit Focused On Teaching Children About Black History

NBC Report

Hans
Community Member
1 month ago

Apparently she also published two books for children.

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#3

Peter Ostrum, Who Played Charlie In Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Is Now A Dairy Veterinarian

Peter Ostrum, Who Played Charlie In Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Is Now A Dairy Veterinarian

Paramount Pictures Report

Kookamunga
Community Member
1 month ago

Violet, you're turning violet, Violet!

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It’s far harder to switch careers for well-known individuals like actors than it is for regular folks because there’s an ungodly amount of attention directed at the stage… and celebrities are right in the center of the spotlight.

“It’s difficult to switch careers for an actor because doing so brings with it a feeling of failure, which it shouldn’t. And switching careers is done under public scrutiny for actors, which makes it even more difficult,” celeb expert Mike said.

#4

Jeff Cohen, Who Played Chunk In The Goonies, Is Now A Lawyer

Jeff Cohen, Who Played Chunk In The Goonies, Is Now A Lawyer

Warner Bros. Pictures Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

I FREAKING LOVE THE GOONIES!!!!!

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#5

Danny Lloyd, Who Played Danny Torrance In The Shining, Is Now A Biology Professor At Elizabethtown Community And Technical College In Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Danny Lloyd, Who Played Danny Torrance In The Shining, Is Now A Biology Professor At Elizabethtown Community And Technical College In Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Warner Bros Report

Toko Danganronpa
Community Member
1 month ago

Good for him

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#6

Kal Penn From Harold & Kumar Nabbed A Serious Position As The Associate Director In The White House Office Of Public Engagement

Kal Penn From Harold & Kumar Nabbed A Serious Position As The Associate Director In The White House Office Of Public Engagement

Warner Bros Report

Sara Rodrigues
Community Member
1 month ago

But but but.. he played a similar role in the TV series Designated Survivor! The odds of that... Wow!

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He pointed out that establishing a career as a successful actor is a huge accomplishment and it doesn’t happen as often as we might think. Giving up such an accomplishment in exchange for something else is “a major risk.” Though the expert added that “at times, you have to do what you have to do.” Difficult, life-changing decisions shouldn’t be made lightly, but they shouldn’t be a prison that stops you from your other dreams, either.

#7

Mara Wilson, Who Played The Titular Character In Matilda, Is Now A Writer

Mara Wilson, Who Played The Titular Character In Matilda, Is Now A Writer

Sony Pictures Releasing Report

Serial pacifist
Community Member
1 month ago

Not a downgrade at all. She was great in the movie also.

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#8

Mike Vitar From “The Sandlot” Is Now A Firefighter

Mike Vitar From “The Sandlot” Is Now A Firefighter

20th Century Fox Report

*me*
Community Member
1 month ago

Oh that’s so cool

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#9

Lucas Babin, Who Played Spider In School Of Rock, Became The District Attorney For Tyler County, Texas

Lucas Babin, Who Played Spider In School Of Rock, Became The District Attorney For Tyler County, Texas

Paramount Pictures Report

Monica Rolfe
Community Member
1 month ago

Omg i love this

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Hollywood’s Ultimate Insider, Mike, gave Bored Panda a further sneak-peek into the acting industry. He detailed that actors tend to have a lot of downtime on sets so they can pursue various other activities. That is unless you’re the star of the show and you’re carrying the entire project on your back.

#10

Jennifer Stone, Who Played Harper On Wizards Of Waverly Place, Is Now A Registered Nurse

Jennifer Stone, Who Played Harper On Wizards Of Waverly Place, Is Now A Registered Nurse

Disney Report

Clearly sunny
Community Member
1 month ago

Thank god for our nurses.

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#11

Erik Estrada, Who Played Officer Francis Llewellyn "Ponch" Poncherello On Chips, Became A Real-Life Police Officer In St. Anthony, Idaho

Erik Estrada, Who Played Officer Francis Llewellyn "Ponch" Poncherello On Chips, Became A Real-Life Police Officer In St. Anthony, Idaho

MGM Television Report

Sabse
Community Member
1 month ago

Imagine the look on my face when he steps next to my car door.

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#12

Ariana Richards Most Known For Her Role In Jurassic Park Became A Full-Time Painter

Ariana Richards Most Known For Her Role In Jurassic Park Became A Full-Time Painter

Universal Pictures Report

Konpat
Community Member
1 month ago

Her art is amazing!

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“For some, it can be an all-consuming profession, but for the vast majority of actors, it’s not uncommon to go weeks or months between acting jobs. It’s one of the most unstable and non-consistent professions one can choose. I have huge respect for anyone who’s successful at it,” Mike shared his admiration for actors and their ability to weather the uncertainty inherent to their chosen profession.

#13

Frankie Muniz Of "Malcolm In The Middle" Has Become A Legitimate Professional Racer, Even Earning An Award For Sportsmanship From His Peers. Muniz Also Manages An Olive Oil Shop In Arizona

Frankie Muniz Of "Malcolm In The Middle" Has Become A Legitimate Professional Racer, Even Earning An Award For Sportsmanship From His Peers. Muniz Also Manages An Olive Oil Shop In Arizona

Wikimedia Commons Report

Demi Zwaan
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah, and he doesn't remember much of his acting days, due to cerebral haemorrhages.

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#14

Josh Saviano Who Played Paul From The Wonder Years Now Works As A Lawyer In His Native New York

Josh Saviano Who Played Paul From The Wonder Years Now Works As A Lawyer In His Native New York

20th Television Report

Clearly sunny
Community Member
1 month ago

Loved this show.

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#15

Charlie Korsmo, Who Played Jackie In Hook, Is A Law Professor At The Case Western Reserve University School Of Law

Charlie Korsmo, Who Played Jackie In Hook, Is A Law Professor At The Case Western Reserve University School Of Law

TriStar Pictures Report

Serial pacifist
Community Member
1 month ago

He looks the same! Some genuine Peter Pan effect there.

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Switching careers can be stressful because we’re uncertain about a lot of things that might happen in the future: from how our daily routines will change to how this will change our long-term financial and other prospects.

#16

Freddie Prinze, Jr. Known For “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Scooby Doo” Is Now A Chef And A Cookbook Author

Freddie Prinze, Jr. Known For “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Scooby Doo” Is Now A Chef And A Cookbook Author

Warner Bros. Pictures Report

Mumchkin
Community Member
1 month ago

With his wife Sarah Michelle Gellar, they could've put them in the same slot.

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#17

In The ’50s, Tommy Rettig Was The Adorable Boy Whose Sidekick Was The Ubiquitous Lassie. After Lassie He Found Work As A Computer Software Engineer.

In The ’50s, Tommy Rettig Was The Adorable Boy Whose Sidekick Was The Ubiquitous Lassie. After Lassie He Found Work As A Computer Software Engineer.

cbs Report

*me*
Community Member
1 month ago

RIP Lassie

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#18

Ali Mcgraw From "Love Story" Followed Her True Passions And Started Rallying For Animal Rights And Also Became A Yoga Instructor

Ali Mcgraw From "Love Story" Followed Her True Passions And Started Rallying For Animal Rights And Also Became A Yoga Instructor

Paramount Pictures Report

Anna McHugh
Community Member
1 month ago

So good to see a beautiful woman who aged naturally.

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But it’s not only that. Large career changes mean massively changing your life, too. You’re changing your goals, your purpose, your aspirations and going on a journey of self-discovery. As anyone who’s ever had to go through a small identity crisis about who they are and what they value most in life will know, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine when you feel like you’re drifting without any direction.

#19

Michael Schoeffling Known For "Sixteen Candles" And "Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken" Now Works As A Carpenter And Runs A Woodworking Shop

Michael Schoeffling Known For "Sixteen Candles" And "Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken" Now Works As A Carpenter And Runs A Woodworking Shop

Sixteen Candles Channel Productions Report

Priscilla Reshell
Community Member
1 month ago

Love John Hughs movies

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#20

Jerry Mathers, Who Played Beaver Cleaver On Leave It To Beaver, Became A Sergeant In The Air Force Reserve

Jerry Mathers, Who Played Beaver Cleaver On Leave It To Beaver, Became A Sergeant In The Air Force Reserve

CBS Report

Oskar vanZandt
Community Member
1 month ago

I always enjoyed watching "Leave it to Beaver"- wholesome fun. :D

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#21

Bridgit Mendler, Who Played Teddy Duncan On Good Luck Charlie, Is Pursuing A Degree At Harvard Law School

Bridgit Mendler, Who Played Teddy Duncan On Good Luck Charlie, Is Pursuing A Degree At Harvard Law School

Disney Report

S
Community Member
1 month ago

Gosh she's pretty

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For one thing, you’ll have to deal with a lot of extra stress. And even though there are ways to manage it with exercise, meditation, social support, etc., it can, at times, become overwhelming. So your health, both physical and mental, can suffer if you don’t see a clear path forward.

#22

Former Two And A Half Men Star Angus T. Jones, Who Ditched Acting At Age 21. These Days, Jones Is Working On The Management Side Of Tonite, A Production Company Co-Run By Diddy's Son, Justin Combs

Former Two And A Half Men Star Angus T. Jones, Who Ditched Acting At Age 21. These Days, Jones Is Working On The Management Side Of Tonite, A Production Company Co-Run By Diddy's Son, Justin Combs

CBS Report

GaeFrog
Community Member
1 month ago

On the left he looks like he could be 10 years old or 40

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#23

Taran Noah Smith Who Played Mark Taylor "Home Improvement" Is Now A Carpenter

Taran Noah Smith Who Played Mark Taylor "Home Improvement" Is Now A Carpenter

ABC Report

Mumchkin
Community Member
1 month ago

I wonder if he was inspired by Tim Allen or the show in anyway.

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#24

Maia Brewton Starred In The 1987 Box Office Hit Adventures In Babysitting And Spent Three Seasons On The Fox Sitcom Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. The Actress Currently Works As A Lawyer

Maia Brewton Starred In The 1987 Box Office Hit Adventures In Babysitting And Spent Three Seasons On The Fox Sitcom Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. The Actress Currently Works As A Lawyer

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution Report

Autumn
Community Member
1 month ago

I love Adventures in Babysitting!!!!

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We sometimes tend to forget that actors are human beings just like us and don’t have everything figured out perfectly. So going from acting to trying something else entirely can make celebrities behave just like us.

#25

Danielle Fishel Who Played Topanga In "Boy Meets World" Is Now A Journalist

Danielle Fishel Who Played Topanga In "Boy Meets World" Is Now A Journalist

ABC Report

LottieH
Community Member
1 month ago

Her husband is also the man who claims to have found shrimp tails in his cereal...... Seems fishy to me.

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#26

Jonathan Taylor Thomas Who Played Randy Taylor In "Home Improvement" Is Now A Writer

Jonathan Taylor Thomas Who Played Randy Taylor In "Home Improvement" Is Now A Writer

ABC Report

Pepper Pots
Community Member
1 month ago

I had the biggest crush on him back in the day

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#27

Nikki Blonsky, Who Played Tracy Turnblad In Hairspray, Was A Makeup Artist At Superstar Salon In New York

Nikki Blonsky, Who Played Tracy Turnblad In Hairspray, Was A Makeup Artist At Superstar Salon In New York

New Line Cinema Report

Andy Acceber
Community Member
1 month ago

If she loves it, great! I felt for that kid though. She was incredibly talented, but there's a lot of fatphobia in Hollywood. I imagine it was hard for her to find acting work after Hairspray.

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What’s important in these moments of career transition is keeping a positive mindset on the one hand and having a clear-cut action plan on the other. Being optimistic and grateful for what you have will sustain you in moments of difficulty while having even a rough idea of what you need to do will move you forward and give you a sense of accomplishment. So, despite all the media attention and the uncertainty, sometimes you’ve got to aim for your dreams—even if that means leaving something that you love, like acting, behind.

#28

Lark Voorhies Who Played Lisa Turtle In "Saved By The Bell" Is Now A Writer

Lark Voorhies Who Played Lisa Turtle In "Saved By The Bell" Is Now A Writer

NBC Report

Kookamunga
Community Member
1 month ago

I loved when she won the dance contest wearing a cast and they called the dance "the Sprain"

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#29

Brittany Ashton Holmes Enjoyed A Successful But Short-Lived Career As An Actress. She Is Perhaps Best Known For Her Portrayal Of The Cheeky Darla In The 1994 Film Version Of The Little Rascals. She Now Works As A Barista And Seems To Enjoy Her Current Pace Of Life.

Brittany Ashton Holmes Enjoyed A Successful But Short-Lived Career As An Actress. She Is Perhaps Best Known For Her Portrayal Of The Cheeky Darla In The 1994 Film Version Of The Little Rascals. She Now Works As A Barista And Seems To Enjoy Her Current Pace Of Life.

Universal Pictures Report

Clearly sunny
Community Member
1 month ago

Coffee is life so, thank you.

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#30

Andrew Shue Known For “Melrose Place” Is Now A Online Publisher, Co-Founder Of Cafemom, A Website Focusing On Parenting Content And Women’s Interest

Andrew Shue Known For “Melrose Place” Is Now A Online Publisher, Co-Founder Of Cafemom, A Website Focusing On Parenting Content And Women’s Interest

CBS Report

Suzanne McHenry
Community Member
1 month ago

He is the younger brother of Actress Elisabeth Shue ( Adventures in Babysitting, Back to the Future 2 and 3).

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Note: this post originally had 40 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.