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What Happened To The Actor Who Played Sawyer On Lost?

On September 22, 2004, ABC aired the pilot of Lost, a primetime drama that would go on to become a mainstream phenomenon – winning ten Emmys over its six-year run – and changed the lives of an ensemble cast that included little-known actor Josh Holloway. A former model and struggling actor, Holloway had spent years toiling away in Hollywood, trying to get his career off the ground. After contemplating quitting acting altogether a few different times, he got his big break when Lost hit the small screen, became an immediate primetime smash, and shot him to television stardom. 

Josh Holloway went from being anonymous to being on the cover of every magazine under the sun. Starring in a critical and commercial smash completely altered the course of his career trajectory, but what exactly happened to Holloway after the whirlwind success of Lost ended? What does an actor who struggled to book guest roles do after the gleam of his big break wears off? Here's what happened to Josh Holloway after he stopped playing Sawyer on Lost.

Josh Holloway's story begins

Born in San Jose, California, Josh Holloway grew up as the second of four brothers in a trailer in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains, enjoying a modest upbringing with his family. After graduating from high school, Holloway would eventually drop out of the University of Georgia after one semester due to financial issues. He traveled the globe in the early 1990s to try and kickstart a modeling career, beginning in New York but ending up across the pond. According to Finding Lost: The Unofficial Guide, Holloway seriously struggled while trying to break into the industry: "I was stealing food and jumping trains in Italy. I traveled all over Europe, but I ended up living in Bologna and speaking only Italian. It was very strange." Throughout his early modeling career Holloway would get some significant work, booking gigs for heavy hitters like Calvin Klein, Versace, and Armani. He even claims to have done the very first Dolce & Gabbana show

Early career struggles for Josh Holloway

In 1993, Josh Holloway had a huge break in the form of an Aerosmith music video for "Cryin'" starring opposite Alicia Silverstone. Playing a purse-snatching dreamboat dressed in an all-black outfit that screams early '90s, Holloway is eventually chased down and jump kicked to the curb by Silverstone's main character. It truly is a "blink and you'll miss it" appearance, but it gave Holloway a minute taste of the Hollywood lifestyle. After years of failing to break into the industry, he was lucky enough to eventually start grabbing roles in shows like Angel, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Walker, Texas Ranger

Before truly hitting the big time with Lost, the most significant project Holloway was a part of was the 2002 Sci-Fi original movie Sabretooth, where he starred in a lead role opposite David Keith and John Rhys-Davies. His struggles were so significant, he almost quit acting to become a realtor in 2004. Later that very year, Holloway's career would really take off into the stratosphere.

Josh Holloway gets Lost

In the streaming age of television, it's hard to convey just how big of a deal Lost was in its heyday. Shooting on location in Hawaii, the first season alone cost over $60 million to filmAveraging over 15 million viewers a week during the first season, Lost inspired the sort of obsessive fan culture that makes even Game of Thrones viewers blush. 

Living in the modern media era where nerd culture reigns supreme and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is king of the box office, it might be difficult to appreciate how dedicated the fanbase of Lost really was. After the first season finished airing, the outrageously dedicated viewers held their own convention in Burbank, California. Hardcore fans created a database of every single piece of information on the show you could possibly dream of — the Lostpedia — hosting over 7,300 articles of nothing but Lost-related content. Holloway was instantly shot into stardom in a way he probably never imagined possible.

Josh Holloway hits the big time

After a decade of small roles, Holloway was thrust into the public eye, going from bit part actor and model to full-blown television mainstay overnight. Being a star on of one of television's biggest shows led to a fame that must have been a culture shock. In a 2010 Vanity Fair interview, Holloway said, "I could completely do without the fame. It makes me self-conscious. It is a responsibility. I believe that if people look up to you in any way, especially kids, then you have a responsibility to inspire them, both in your work and in your life. So, for me, that is a weight." 

The late bloomer became a resident hunk on the cover of supermarket tabloids in the mid-2000s: From 2005 to 2007, People magazine named Holloway one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World," In Touch Weekly named Holloway the "hottest hunk" on television, and he made the top ten list of TV Guide's Sexiest Stars. All of this notoriety could have gone to Holloway's head; luckily, he had a strong partner to fall back on during this monumental change in his life.

Josh Holloway, family man

After completing his work on the shooting of the Lost pilot in Oahu, Hawaii, Josh Holloway proposed to his longtime girlfriend Yessica Kumala, with the couple tying the knot on October 1, 2004. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, the morning after their first date, they were building sandcastles on the beach and planning their future, proving the pair had an immediate, intense chemistry. Holloway believes that "If you've found a woman, you have a partner... concentrate on telling the rest of your story — the job, the house, the money." After settling down together, and enjoying the kind of financial stability that a starring role on Lost brings, the couple brought two children into the world: daughter Java Kumala (born 2009) and son Hunter Lee (born 2014). Holloway is a family man in the truest sense of the phrase — in 2017, he claimed that both of his children sleep in the same room as he and his wife

Josh Holloway's double edged sword

One might think becoming a household name overnight would do wonders for Holloway's acting career, but that certainly wasn't the case, at least not at first. From the time Lost began shooting in 2004 to when it ended in 2010, Holloway only starred in two other projects: 2007 low-budget horror film Whisper and the 2009 comedy Stay Cool. It isn't hard to see why this was the case, as Holloway and his family spent eight to nine months a year in Hawaii while he was shooting Lost. Being outside of the mainland United States for three-fourths of the year is not very conducive to finding other roles. It didn't help that both Whisper and Stay Cool were little-seen, poorly-regarded films that might have done more harm to Holloway's acting clout than good. Holloway would have to wait until Lost officially ended to start flexing his hard-won celebrity into more roles.

Josh Holloway's missed chances

Though Lost gave Holloway the big break he was looking for, it also became a deterrent to taking other roles. Having such grueling shooting schedule in Hawaii forced him to drop out of major opportunities like a role in a Brad Pitt western (presumably a part in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) and as leather jacket-clad X-Man Gambit, a character eventually played by Friday Night Light's Taylor Kitsch in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Even after Lost ended, it seemed as if bad luck would curse Holloway into becoming a has-been pretty quickly. At one point he was considered for Frank Grillo's role as Crossbones in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Holloway even turned down Person of Interest because, being the family man he is, he didn't want to move his family across the country. Holloway would eventually work his way into more acting opportunities, but it's hard to look past what could have been if a couple of these chances had broken in his favor.

Josh Holloway's life after Lost

After Lost ended in 2010, Holloway seemed poised to take more time-intensive roles as his schedule became much less crowded. Holloway would take roles in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, Paranoia, and Sabotage, the kinds of films starring big name actors that can build a career into something special. However, his parts in these films were supporting (at best); his only major starring role in a picture from 2010-2015 would be the lead in Battle of the Year: The Dream Team, which managed a whopping 6 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. (If you've never heard of it, here's the trailer... it really is worth a watch, if only to see Josh Holloway starring in a 3D dance film with Josh Peck and Chris Brown.) Finding appealing film opportunities increasingly hard to come by, Holloway would eventually pivot back to the small screen, returning to television in 2014. 

Josh Holloway gains Intelligence

After struggling to get a serious film career off the ground, Holloway returned to the small screen as the main character in the 2014 CBS show Intelligence, an American cyber-themed action-adventure television series that only aired 13 episodes before getting the axe. Holloway starred as Gabriel, dubbed "this generation's Manhattan Project," a tech-enhanced man designed to tackle major threats while working for U.S. Cyber Command. With Intelligence, CBS wasn't trying to reinvent the wheel — and there's something to be said for easy-to-digest thrillers where the good guys are Capital G Good and the bad guys are shady beyond belief. Brian Lowry of Variety said the show "felt like a throwback — and a comfortable, well-constructed one at that." Unfortunately, it never lived up to the network's expectations — and it was never given the chance to find a real audience. 

Josh Holloway joins Colony

Spending years trying to recapture the success Lost brought to his career, Holloway would finally find another winning project in Colony, a science fiction drama that ran on USA Network for three seasons. Though it never managed to capture a large audience, Colony was a cult hit that was generally successful with critics, even managing to garner three straight Saturn Awards nominations for "Best Science Fiction Television Series" in 2016, 2017 and 2018

Colony is set in a dystopian version of Los Angeles, where residents live under military occupation by the Transitional Authority, an organization serving an extraterrestrial group referred to as the "Hosts." Host policy is enforced by militarized police called Homeland Security and nicknamed the "Redhats." Holloway starred as Will Bowman, a former U.S. Army Ranger and FBI Special Agent who starts reluctantly working for the Redhats hunting down Resistance members in order to save his missing son.

Josh Holloway's trip to Yellowstone

Coming off the heels of a cult hit in Colony, Josh Holloway landed a role in the third season of Paramount Network's Yellowstone. This is a huge break for Holloway, as the show has been a major hit for the Paramount Network. Yellowstone stars Kevin Costner as Billionaire John Dutton, the patriarch of the Dutton family which controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. The Dutton family is under constant attack by those around them — whether it be land developers, the local Indian reservation, or America's first National Park — and show co-creator Taylor Sheridan (screenwriter of Hell or High Water and Sicario) intends the show to be a look at a violent world separated from typical media scrutiny. In talking about Yellowstone, Sheridan has said, "The show is both timely and timeless. As much as it explores themes painfully relevant to the world today, it explores the very essence of family, and how the actions of one member can alter the course of generations."  According to Deadline, Holloway signed on for a season-long arc as Roarke Carter, a hedge fund manager with ambitious plans in Montana. 

Could Josh Holloway get Lost again?

With his role in Yellowstone and his signing with industry heavy-hitter United Talent Agency in 2019, it's safe to say the future is looking bright for Josh Holloway. According to persistent rumors, ABC is apparently interested in bringing Lost back from the dead to satiate all those fans who were let down by the ending. According to Entertainment Tonight, network president Karey Burke expressed a desire to revisit the drama after a video compilation of past and present network shows played before a room of reporters at a Television Critics Association press tour. It's hard to fathom a show with a cast that large getting a full-fledged relaunch, but nothing is ever out of the realm of possibility in television. If Lost does come back, providing the legions of diehard fans with even more content to obsess over, the showrunners may have a hard time pulling Holloway away from whatever project he lines up next.