10 Greatest Celebrity Comebacks1
By Joy Williams
10 Greatest Celebrity Comebacks
Celebrities. We love them. We hate them. We can’t stop watching them. And while everyone loves a rags-to-riches success story, it’s even better the second time around. Just look at Will Ryan, protagonist of In the Rough. Will followed the straight and narrow path, always doing the right thing. But after being cheated on by his girlfriend — by his best friend, no less — Will says goodbye to the safe route and takes off to follow his dream of playing professional golf. It’s a tough road for a nice fellow, as he now faces the ruthless ways of pro sports. Can Will reach the top in round two of his life? Here are ten celebrities who did.
In The Rough – Green Fees
1. Kanye West: As if making a fool of himself on Twitter wasn’t enough, West — who set eyes rolling when he mouthed off during a benefit for victims of Hurricane Katrina — made Taylor Swift an even bigger star after stealing her moment, and the microphone, during her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Awards. West became a write-off to many, not because of his music, but because he was such a jerk. Then came 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and the musical rebirth of Kayne West.
2. Robert Downey Jr.: Downey Jr. earned respect for his 1987 portrayal of a teenage drug addict in Less Than Zero. Typecasting? The actor continued landing prime movie roles but spent the latter part of the 1990s being arrested, incarcerated and in rehab. Fast-forward to 2008 and a healthy Downey Jr. in Iron Man. Round two.
3. Drew Barrymore: Depending on your point of view, Drew Barrymore was either precociously adorable or childishly annoying as the little sister in E.T. Either way, it was all over by the time she hit her teens, the bottle, the blow and rehab. From rising starlet to tabloid target, Barrymore was on the frontlines of being written off. By 2000, she had straightened up and began producing, directing and starring in hit movies like Charlie’s Angels and He’s Just Not That Into You. She’s also one of the faces of Cover Girl cosmetics.
4. Britney Spears: Spears launched her career innocently on the Mickey Mouse Club, but a few years later, she was “not so innocent” in her schoolgirl outfit and sexy dance moves that made her both a teen idol and a dirty old man’s fantasy. Spears reached the pinnacle of success as a pop star, but her life spiraled out of control. Written off by most as a has-been, just look at her now: on the charts, onstage and looking better than ever.
5. Paul Reubens Reubens became a star as Pee-Wee Herman, launching the spin-off television series and several films. Success ended in 1991, when he was arrested for indecent exposure in an adult theater. (Note: Yes, before the Internet, people used to go to theaters to see these films.) Reubens spent a few years out of the spotlight, but by the late 1990s he began accepting movie roles. He was a recent hit on Broadway with the highly successful play The Pee-Wee Herman Show.
6. Martha Stewart: The diva of all things home, garden, craft and kitchen became one of the most loved/hated television celebrities. It’s no wonder that some were venomously overjoyed to see her doing time for insider trading. So what? Stewart emerged even stronger, with a television show, home accessories brand and several successful magazine titles.
7. Patrick Dempsey: Dempsey made his mark as a geek in the 1987 film Can’t Buy Me Love and was certainly an unlikely future heartthrob. He landed other movie roles but never quite made it to the Hollywood A-list. Then came 2005, Grey’s Anatomy, and the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd. While women may swoon over Dempsey, the most endearing part of his comeback is what a genuinely nice guy he seems to be. It’s impossible not to wish him continued success.
8. Teri Hatcher: From 1993 – 1997, Hatcher was network television’s darling as Lois Lane on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. She landed the coveted role as a Bond Girl in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies and was voted sexiest woman by FHM magazine. During the 1990s, Hatcher appeared in several other films, a series of Radio Shack television commercials, and then seemed to have withdrawn from the spotlight. In 2004, she was cast as Susan Mayer in Desperate Housewives, won a Golden Globe for Best Actress the following year and has been enjoying newfound success ever since.
9. Rob Lowe: It’s been over 20 years since Rob Lowe’s sex tape scandal and chances are that his new fans aren’t even aware of it. Besides, aren’t celebrity sex tapes de rigueur now? Lowe began his career as a Hollywood idol with movies like St. Elmo’s Fire. In 1988, his career took a hit because of the tapes and his days seemed numbered. Ten years later, he made his comeback with a regular network role on The West Wing, and most recently became a favorite on Brothers & Sisters and now Parks and Recreation.
10. KISS: For over 35 years, critics and naysayers have been writing off the biggest rock band to ever emerge from the U.S. Makeup on, makeup off, makeup on, original members in, out, in and out again — KISS toured but put a hold on recording for several years. Then came Sonic Boom, and once again, the group was selling out tours worldwide and performing two-hour shows in full makeup and costumes before multi-generational fans. Look for a new album and tour this year.
In The Rough – Promotional Consideration Provided By
Joy Williams is a freelance writer and interviewer who works in the entertainment industry. She holds a degree in English from an East Coast university.