24 Actors Who Retired Or Took A Loooong Break From Hollywood To Pursue A New Career Path

    The child star to hotshot lawyer pipeline.

    Acting isn't all glitz and glam. Sometimes, actors — especially those who started in the business as children — decide to leave the limelight for more traditional career paths.

    Here are 24 former actors who went on to have "regular" jobs.

    1. Michael Schoeffling, who played Jake Ryan in 16 Candles, became a furniture maker.

    Jake sits down

    2. Kal Penn, who played Kumar Patel in the Harold & Kumar movies, briefly left Hollywood for Washington, DC when he served as the associate director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from 2009–2011.

    Kumar holds us some keys

    3. Donnie Dunagan, who voiced the titular character in Bambi at 6 years old, joined the military in his teens and kept his previous acting career a secret until 2005.

    a butterfly lands on Bambi's tail

    4. Carrie Henn, who played Newt in Aliens, never acted in another movie, and when she grew up, she became a teacher.

    Newt looks forlornly at the camera

    5. Jennifer Stone, who played Harper on Wizards of Waverly Place, is now a registered nurse.

    6. Erik Estrada, who played officer Francis Llewellyn "Ponch" Poncherello on CHiPs, became a real-life police officer in St. Anthony, Idaho.

    He was also an officer on the show

    7. Dylan Sprouse, who played Zack Martin on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, runs All-Wise Meadery, a mead brewery in Brooklyn.

    Unlike Zack, Dylan's no slacker

    8. Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, founded the nonprofit organization Sweet Blackberry, which creates content to teach children about Black history.

    Hilary tries on her wedding dress

    9. Kevin Jonas, who acted in Camp Rock and Jonas L.A. alongside his music career with his brothers, worked as a contractor before getting back into music.

    Jason really wanted Shane to make him a birdhouse at camp

    10. Reed Alexander, who played Nevel Papperman on iCarly, is a financial news reporter.

    Nevel was an enemy of the "iCarly" gang

    11. Phoebe Cates Kline, who played Linda Barrett in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, runs a boutique called Blue Tree in Manhattan.

    Lisa breaks up with Brad before he can dump her

    12. Rick Moranis, who played Louis Tully in Ghostbusters, became a stay-at-home dad.

    Louis was possessed before the Ghostbusters showed up to save the day

    13. Jeff Cohen, who played Chunk in The Goonies, is now a lawyer.

    Chunk was known for being clumsy

    14. Lucas Babin, who played Spider in School of Rock, became the district attorney for Tyler County, Texas.

    He played guitar in No Vacancy

    15. Mara Wilson, who played the titular character in Matilda, is now a writer.

    Matilda could move things with her mind

    16. Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, is now a dairy veterinarian.

    he was in the original version before the Johnny Depp movie

    17. Danny Lloyd, who played Danny Torrance in The Shining, is now a biology professor at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

    He was the little boy on a tricycle

    18. Bridgit Mendler, who played Teddy Duncan on Good Luck Charlie, is pursuing a degree at Harvard Law School.


    19. Jerry Mathers, who played Beaver Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver, became a sergeant in the Air Force Reserve.

    The character's real name was Theodore

    20. Charlie Korsmo, who played Jackie in Hook, is a law professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

    He was captured by Captain Hook

    21. Nikki Blonsky, who played Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, was a makeup artist at Superstar Salon in New York.

    Tracy was Nikki's breakout role

    22. Ross Bagley, who played Nicky Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Buckwheat in The Little Rascals, works as a Realtor in Los Angeles.

    Nicky poses against a wall

    23. Teddy Dunn, who played Duncan Kane on Veronica Mars, became a lawyer who now serves as an Assistant United States Attorney at the United States Attorney's Office District of Columbia.

    Teddy casts a wary glance

    24. And finally, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played the titular role in The Terminator, announced his bid for governor of California on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in August 2003 then served two full terms from 2003–2011.

    the Terminator wearing his signature sunglasses and leather jacket