The 10 Greatest Comebacks In Entertainment History

Sometimes the second act can be sweeter than the first. Here are 10 celebrities who’ve made amazing comebacks, sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Show, premiering Thursday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c on NBC.

1. Rob Lowe

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Lowe had big-time star power in the ’80s as a member of the “Brat Pack,” but he struggled to find work amidst sex scandals in the ’90s. He returned to fame in 1999 with his memorable roles in The West Wing, and later, Parks and Recreation.

2. Johnny Cash

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Johnny Cash’s fame as an outlaw country singer peaked in the ’60s and early ’70s. He struggled with addiction and health problems in the ’80s and was mostly off the radar until his songs made a popular resurgence in the ’90s. His recordings with hip-hop producer Rick Rubin, including 2002’s cover of the Nine Inch Nails song, “Hurt,” put him back on the pop charts.

3. Britney Spears

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Britney Spears managed to brush herself off following a difficult few years in the mid-2000s that featured multiple public meltdowns.

4. Martha Stewart

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Martha Stewart’s media empire was upended by an insider trading conviction that landed her in jail for five months in 2005. Her legion of fans were forgiving, however, and her magazines and television shows thrived following her release.

5. Mickey Rourke

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Mickey Rourke was a celebrated actor in the ’80s, but he left Hollywood to pursue a boxing career throughout the ’90s. After more than a decade on the fringes of Hollywood (and a little plastic surgery), Rourke made a huge comeback in Sin City and his Oscar-nominated role in The Wrestler.

6. Jason Bateman

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Bateman was an up-and-coming teen star in the ’80s, with high-profile roles on The Hogan Family and as the lead in Teen Wolf Too. His acting roles waned in the mid-’90s, before he returned in 2003 to great critical acclaim as Michael Bluth in Arrested Development.

7. John Travolta

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Following years of superstardom in the ’70s, Travolta was lost in the wilderness in the ’80s and early ’90s, occasionally landing leading roles in comedies like Look Who’s Talking. His return to big budget, serious roles happened when he was cast by Quentin Tarantino to play the role of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction.

8. Paula Abdul

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After a successful pop career in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Paula Abdul battled health and addiction issues in the ’90s before returning to fame as a judge on American Idol.

9. Robert Downey Jr.

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Teen star Robert Downey Jr. overcame years of drug addiction and relapses before becoming one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors in movies like Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes.

10. Neil Patrick Harris

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After Doogie Howser, M.D. ended in 1993, Neil Patrick Harris bounced around Hollywood in minor roles until his career got a shot in the arm with a cameo in 2004’s Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, which built momentum for his starring role in TV’s How I Met Your Mother.

Witness another long-awaited comeback on September 26 when Michael J. Fox makes his return to television.

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