10 Leading Actors Whose Careers Never Took Off

Star Wars

There's an expectation in Hollywood that starring in a hugely successful movie - especially if it leads to a franchise - is naturally going to make its leading star one of the most famous working actors overnight. And why not? Surely their contributions are a large part of what made the film successful, fashioning a likeable, entertaining character - most often an every-man - to lead us through this often complicated, larger-than-life world. However, sometimes, for a multitude of reasons, the careers of these familiar faces just never managed to take off; in more than a few cases, you'll likely spot them in a film years later and vaguely recognise them before the penny drops. At which point, you likely ask yourself, "Yikes, what happened?", and wonder how their career trajectory never resulted in a litany of impressive starring roles. Here are 10 leading actors whose careers never took off, and why...

10. Zach Galligan

Gremlins Zach Galligan's debut role is the one for which he is remembered, as the wholesome, likable Billy Peltzer in Joe Dante's 1984 holiday classic Gremlins. Though starring in a few little-known movies thereafter, it is only really Gremlins and its 1990 sequel where the actor managed to make a mark, and soon thereafter fell off the Hollywood grid altogether, starring in an increasingly forgettable array of films such as Cyborg 3: The Recycler. It's difficult to see why Galligan never made it; he had boyish good looks, charm, and was fortunate enough to star in two extremely popular movies, yet either by virtue of a bad agent or bad luck, he was quickly relegated to D-list status. His most recent starring role was in the unlikely horror sequel Hatchet 3, and though he has received praise for his performance, one can't help but feel like the guy deserves a better fate than that.
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Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.