It’s easy to forget that even the world’s biggest movie stars had to start somewhere. Even A-listers like Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro began at zero, and had to work hard for years before scoring that breakout role and becoming the major celebrities they are today.
In most cases, folks start acting in high school or college, do a little bit of theater, score a couple TV roles before being cast in small film roles, and finally get that one big role in a film that’s successful enough to make them a major celebrity. It’s a tall, very difficult mountain to climb, and the vast, vast majority of struggling actors won’t make it to the summit. For some, it takes decades; these movie stars didn’t hit their stride until after they turned 40.
Some actors, like Ralph Macchio (Daniel in “The Karate Kid”) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars”), star in a massive breakout hit, but are never able to recreate that success in future films. Becoming a bankable movie star is like capturing lightning in a bottle, and that’s part of the reason why top-tier film stars like Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise are something of a dying breed. (These are the movie roles that launched some of today’s biggest Hollywood stars.)
To find out what did actors do after their most famous movie role, 24/7 Tempo reviewed information from IMDb,an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon. While many of these actors had starred in films previously, we used editorial discretion to determine which role truly made the actor a star.
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