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Second Acts Onscreen


CaveGirl
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It would seem that often a star of the silver screen starts big, but then either their career dies off, or they are relegated to minor B-films, or perhaps they go back to Broadway or Europe from whence they came. What I enjoy is seeing these folks in the second phase perhaps of their careers.

 

One of the people I enjoy seeing after her major heyday in films is Alla Nazimova. Born in Russia and one of the original students of the Stanislavski Method, Alla cut a wide swath in silent films in the US in the early 1920's, with things like "Salome" and "Camille" with Valentino. Her films were not accorded their just praise in those days due to them being so highly artistic and experimental, but now have achieved cult status. After being off the screen during the first years of the talkies, she did come back in a few features in the mid-1940's and still exhibited her amazing thespian talents with moving portrayals in things like "In Our Time" with Paul Henreid and Ida Lupino and in "Since You Went Away". Luckily one could see that she was an incredibly fine actress in speaking parts also and not just silent melodramas, before her death soon after her final performances on film.
 

In a different type scenario, actor George O'Brien never really went away from films after his early successes in things like Murnau's "Sunrise" but just wasn't seen in many A-films, which made it all the more enjoyable to view him in Ford's "Cheyenne Autumn" in 1964. He was still striking and made a real impression on film.

Do you have any favorites who fell out of favor but then came back onscreen later in their careers and if so please share!

 
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I'm not sure  they're cases of "falling out of favor", but a few might be.....

 

Not seeing him in anything for a while, then seeing VINCENT PRICE show up in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS was a delight.

 

Same with what seemed a long absence of EDMOND O'BRIEN in movies then catching him in THE WILD BUNCH was nice.

 

Or ARTHUR O'CONNELL in THE PODEIDON  ADVENTURE.

 

There are probably others, but they escape me for now...

 

Sepiatone

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Since I've mentioned him about 1000 times in my 13 years as a member here, I'll just say it again--Dean Stockwell. Starting as a young child actor, to a few outstanding films as a young man, he was pretty much an actor to fill guest spots on tv shows throughout the 60's & 70's. Then in the late 80's & early 90's, he got an Oscar nomination and was the co-star on the cult tv classic Quantum Leap. He's worked on the big & little screen a lot since then.

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I'm not sure  they're cases of "falling out of favor", but a few might be.....

 

Not seeing him in anything for a while, then seeing VINCENT PRICE show up in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS was a delight.

 

Same with what seemed a long absence of EDMOND O'BRIEN in movies then catching him in THE WILD BUNCH was nice.

 

Or ARTHUR O'CONNELL in THE PODEIDON  ADVENTURE.

 

There are probably others, but they escape me for now...

 

Sepiatone

Oh, yes! It was so wonderful to see Price in ES.

 

I had forgotten about O'Brien and O'Connell so thanks for the great submissions, Sepia!

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Since I've mentioned him about 1000 times in my 13 years as a member here, I'll just say it again--Dean Stockwell. Starting as a young child actor, to a few outstanding films as a young man, he was pretty much an actor to fill guest spots on tv shows throughout the 60's & 70's. Then in the late 80's & early 90's, he got an Oscar nomination and was the co-star on the cult tv classic Quantum Leap. He's worked on the big & little screen a lot since then.

Well, I love Dean Stockwell too so your choice for his second wind as an actor is well deserved.

 

I thank David Lynch for reviving many older actors careers in his movies, like Stockwell.

 

Thanks, Helen!

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How about Don Ameche. He became a big.star at Twentieth Century Fox in the second half of 30s, where his mellifluous radio-trained voice and debonaire image made him second only to Tyrone Power until he left in the mid 40s. He continued in films.freelancing, but by the 50s, devoted more time to tv, with only the occasional movie. In the 1980s, a role in TRADING PLACES gave him a second wind in films, and with movies like COCOON, he was once again a boxoffice force. I believe he finally received.an Oscar.as well. Quite a comeback.

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How about Don Ameche. He became a big.star at Twentieth Century Fox in the second half of 30s, where his mellifluous radio-trained voice and debonaire image made him second only to Tyrone Power until he left in the mid 40s. He continued in films.freelancing, but by the 50s, devoted more time to tv, with only the occasional movie. In the 1980s, a role in TRADING PLACES gave him a second wind in films, and with movies like COCOON, he was once again a boxoffice force. I believe he finally received.an Oscar.as well. Quite a comeback.

Right on, Arturo!

 

Ameche is a great choice, thanks.

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Neilsen_original.jpg?112d666e

 

"Shirley..ahem..surely you know a particular 1980 comedy would transform my acting career from being

mostly known as a dramatic actor to one primarily then after known for comedic roles and perhaps even 

greater success and notoriety." 

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Neilsen_original.jpg?112d666e

 

"Shirley..ahem..surely you know a particular 1980 comedy would transform my acting career from being

mostly known as a dramatic actor to one primarily then after known for comedic roles and perhaps even 

greater success and notoriety." 

Uh, let's see is that Eduard Franz?

 

Or maybe John Lund or William Lundigan.

 

I'm stumped, Dargo. Wait, I know it's Charlie Rich, the Silver Fox right?

 

I had no idea that he starred in any movies though, so thanks!

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Uh, let's see is that Eduard Franz?

 

Or maybe John Lund or William Lundigan.

 

I'm stumped, Dargo. Wait, I know it's Charlie Rich, the Silver Fox right?

 

I had no idea that he starred in any movies though, so thanks!

 

;)

 

Seems you're a bit stumped here, eh CG?! And so, I'll give ya a little hint as to who this guy is.

 

His first name is "Leslie".

 

And no, the last name isn't either "Banks", "Howard" OR "Van Houten".

 

(...the last one ironically just making the news today about "a second act" she might get after spending the last 47 years in the California Prison System) 

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;)

 

Seems you're a bit stumped here, eh CG?! And so, I'll give ya a little hint as to who this guy is.

 

His first name is "Leslie".

 

And no, the last name isn't either "Banks", "Howard" OR "Van Houten".

 

(...the last one ironically just making the news today about "a second act" she might get after spending the last 47 years in the California Prison System) 

Uh, he didn't have the nickname of Squeakie, did he?

 

I know, Leslie Robert Hope?

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RUTH GORDON (1896-1985) didn't appear in a movie from 1943 until she re-appeared onscreen in 1965's INSIDE DAISY CLOVER.  Then she stayed busy in movies and television until she died at age 88.  

 

     WALLACE FORD (1898-1966) didn't appear in a movie for 5 years.  After TESS OF THE STORM COUNTRY in 1960 he wasn't seen again on the big screen until 1965's "A PATCH OF BLUE" where he played "Ole Pa".   

 

     ROBERT FORSTER and JACKIE EARLE HALEY had some serious career slumps before returning to being busy.  

 

      JAMES CAGNEY didn't appear in a movie from 1961 thru '81.  "RAGTIME" saw Cagney's return to film. 

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      JAMES CAGNEY didn't appear in a movie from 1961 thru '81.  "RAGTIME" saw Cagney's return to film.

 

But wasn't Cagney retired all that time? I think he could have done top notch productions if he wanted to. Although now that I think about it, maybe not. Even Henry Fonda & Jimmy Stewart both ended up doing tv shows, so I guess work wasn't that easy to come by. It's hard to get top notch roles the older you get I suppose.

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How about Don Ameche. He became a big.star at Twentieth Century Fox in the second half of 30s, where his mellifluous radio-trained voice and debonaire image made him second only to Tyrone Power until he left in the mid 40s. He continued in films.freelancing, but by the 50s, devoted more time to tv, with only the occasional movie. In the 1980s, a role in TRADING PLACES gave him a second wind in films, and with movies like COCOON, he was once again a boxoffice force. I believe he finally received.an Oscar.as well. Quite a comeback.

When I saw the title of the thread, Ameche's was the first name that came to mind.

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You're right, Helen, that Cagney was retired from acting prior to his decision to take part in RAGTIME.   

 

     I reckon William Powell could have had a 'second act' onscreen but he stayed retired after MISTER ROBERTS in 1955.  

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Of a more recent vintage, I would say Michael Keaton, who, after being one of the '80s biggest stars with NIGHT SHIFT, MR. MOM, BEETLEJUICE and BATMAN, virtually disappeared from anything beyond straight-to-DVD fare for a good 15 years. Look at his imdb resume post-JACKIE BROWN. Other than some nice voicework as Ken in TOY STORY 3, there's just not much there.

 

In the first half of 2014, I happened to catch him in a couple of movies. He was the villain in the ROBOCOP remake and had sort of a Greek chorus role as a pirate DJ who comments on the main action in scenes entirely separate from all the other actors in NEED FOR SPEED, a pretty terrible car race movie starring Aaron Paul from BREAKING BAD. These weren't memorable films, but I was just happy to see him on the big screen again.

 

Since then, he's had the distinction of playing major roles in back-to-back Best Picture winners, BIRDMAN and SPOTLIGHT. Within the next couple of years, he's going to play McDonald's founder Ray Kroc in a biopic, reprise the role of Beetlejuice and play the villain in the next Spider-Man movie. His fortunes have dramatically reversed.

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Of a more recent vintage, I would say Michael Keaton, who, after being one of the '80s biggest stars with NIGHT SHIFT, MR. MOM, BEETLEJUICE and BATMAN, virtually disappeared from anything beyond straight-to-DVD fare for a good 15 years. Look at his imdb resume post-JACKIE BROWN. Other than some nice voicework as Ken in TOY STORY 3, there's just not much there.

 

In the first half of 2014, I happened to catch him in a couple of movies. He was the villain in the ROBOCOP remake and had sort of a Greek chorus role as a pirate DJ who comments on the main action in scenes entirely separate from all the other actors in NEED FOR SPEED, a pretty terrible car race movie starring Aaron Paul from BREAKING BAD. These weren't memorable films, but I was just happy to see him on the big screen again.

 

Since then, he's had the distinction of playing major roles in back-to-back Best Picture winners, BIRDMAN and SPOTLIGHT. Within the next couple of years, he's going to play McDonald's founder Ray Kroc in a biopic, reprise the role of Beetlejuice and play the villain in the next Spider-Man movie. His fortunes have dramatically reversed.

I saw a profile of Keaton on CBS Sunday Morning last year when he was nominated for Birdman. I think for many years he spent a lot of time on his ranch in Montana and was semi retired. I don't know if it was because he wasn't getting good scripts or he just wanted to be left alone.

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