'90s Movie Stars We Completely Forgot About

The '90s were perhaps the last golden age of movie stardom. With the internet offering so many ways to directly put movies and media in front of modern viewers today, it seems unlikely that the Hollywood promotion machine will ever be able to churn out major stars the way it did before the turn of the century. So whatever happened to those old '90s stars? Are they all washed up, or are they still making the big bucks today? Let's take a look at some of the decade's biggest stars that we forgot about—and find out what they're doing now.

Devon Sawa

Devon Sawa was one of the hottest child stars of the '90s, starring in Little Giants and as the human version of Casper opposite Christina Ricci. Teens everywhere swooned over his perfect hair and bright blue eyes, and photos of him dominated teen magazines like Tiger Beat and Bop. After aging out of child roles, Sawa made the transition to adult fare, appearing in Slackers and Final Destination as well as landing a regular role on the TV action drama series Nikita. More recently, Sawa appeared in the 2015 horror film The Exorcism of Molly Hartley and the movies Life on the Line and Punk's Dead.

Skeet Ulrich

In the mid-to-late-'90s, Skeet Ulrich (born Bryan Ray Trout) broke onto the scene with his bad boy roles in Boys, opposite Winona Ryder, and the teen witchcraft horror film The Craft with Neve Campbell and Fairuza Balk. After 2001, Ulrich transitioned to primarily television roles, most notably in the post-apocalyptic drama Jericho and as Detective Rex Winters on Law & Order: LA. In the last few years, Ulrich has made somewhat of a return to the big screen, with roles in 50 to 1, The Girl on the Roof, and Lost in Austin. In 2017, he's also slated to appear on the CW's production of Riverdale, as the father of Jughead Jones.

Shane West

Shane West made it big in Hollywood in the late '90s, guest starring on Buffy the Vampire Slayer before making a splash on the big screen in Whatever it Takes and Get Over It. He became a household name among younger viewers with his excellent performance opposite Mandy Moore in A Walk to Remember, which earned him a Teen Choice Award. After a stint as a doctor on ER and a stint on Nikita alongside Devon Sawa, West has most recently been seen playing John Alden on the supernatural horror television series Salem.

Mike Vitar

Mike Vitar came to prominence as a child actor with his appearance as Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez on the classic coming-of-age comedy The Sandlot. He continued the sports theme with roles in D2: The Mighty Ducks and its sequel, D3. Vitar retired from acting shortly thereafter, joining the Los Angeles Fire Department in 2002 and serving as a firefighter ever since. But it's not all heroics for this former child star; in 2015, Vitar was arrested for his involvement in a fight which left the other man gravely injured—charges to which Vitar pleaded "no contest" in early 2017.

Pauly Shore

Whatever happened to Pauly Shore? He was the slacker-stoner icon of the '90s with his roles in Encino Man, Bio-Dome, and Son-in-Law. With his laid back attitude, surfer bum accent, and crazy hair, Shore was one of the most recognizable movie stars of the decade. Disney fans will also remember him as the voice behind Max Goof's best friend, Bobby Zimmeruski, in A Goofy Movie and its sequel, An Extremely Goofy Movie. After 2000, Shore's movie career declined, self-producing a few mockumentaries starring himself along the way. These days, Shore primarily has changed his focus from the big screen to stand-up comedy, and you can still catch him on tour at comedy clubs and improvs around the country.

Jake Lloyd

He was the centerpiece of the first of the Star Wars prequels, and it turned him off of acting forever. When he was only eight years old, Jake Lloyd became world famous after starring as the young Anakin Skywalker in the much-maligned Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Up until that role, Lloyd had been building a respectable resumé as a child actor, with appearances on the television medical drama E.R. and in the holiday comedy Jingle All the Way.

After The Phantom Menace, Lloyd swore off acting as a result of the blowback from the film's critics. He told interviewers that children bullied him at school after the movie was released, and that he soon "learned to hate it when the cameras are pointed at me." Other than lending his voice to a handful of Star Wars video games, Lloyd has avoided show business since then. He's also dealt with his own internal struggles in recent years—in 2015 during a schizophrenic episode, Lloyd was arrested after leading police on a high-speed chase, and he was transferred to a psychiatric facility in April 2016 to serve out the remainder of his sentence from that incident.

Jason London

While never a superstar, Jason London built a respectable career for himself as an actor in the '90s, appearing opposite Reese Witherspoon in her first movie, The Man in the Moon. London is perhaps best known for his role as Randall "Pink" Floyd in Richard Linklater's classic cult coming-of-age film, Dazed and Confused. You also may have spotted him in the drag-queen comedy To Wong Foo. Unlike some of the other actors on our list, London has continued to actively work since the '90s, and can be found in a multitude of roles in smaller-budget movies and guest star stints on television shows like NCIS.

Kevin Sorbo

Kevin Sorbo first made a name for himself with his role as the title character in the '90s live-action syndicated series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Sorbo was also tapped to star in the 1997 fantasy action flick Kull the Conqueror. Since then, he's continued his acting career in the television series Andromeda and in a bevy of independent and low-budget films. Sorbo also dabbles in voice acting, and provided the voice of "Crusher" in all the Skylanders video games.

Doug E. Doug

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up—it's bobsled time! While you probably know him best from his role as the egg-kissing comedic relief "Sanka Coffie" in Cool Runnings, Doug E. Doug had quite a prolific career in the '90s, scoring major supporting roles in Hangin' with the Homeboys and Operation Dumbo Drop before going on to play Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad's foster son Griffin in the TV series Cosby. In recent years, Doug has continued to act, recently appearing in the Kickstarter-funded movie An Act of War and playing Lemont on the Netflix original series Brown Nation.

Christopher Castile

Who is Christopher Castile? You probably remember him best as the nerdy 11-year-old Ted Newton in the family films Beethoven and Beethoven's 2nd, and for his role as the similarly nerdy Mark Foster on the popular '90s sitcom Step by Step. Castile also lent his voice to the role of Eugene on the animated series Hey, Arnold! After Step by Step was cancelled in 1998, Castile retired from acting; these days, he can be found in his classroom at Downey High School, where he teaches United States History.

Daniel Stern

Daniel Stern's career started in 1979 with his role in the Oscar-nominated coming-of-age film Breaking Away. He rose to prominence with his acting chops throughout the '80s and '90s, and many probably remember him best today as Marv in the Home Alone movies, or from his roles in City Slickers, Rookie of the Year, and Very Bad Things. After 2000, Stern's acting career started to slow down, and his most recent appearance came during a 2014-2015 arc on the television drama Manhattan as Dr. Glen Babbit.

Jason James Richter

Jason James Richter was perhaps one of the most instantly recognizable child stars of the '90s. His role as Jesse in the Free Willy movies was unforgettable, and the movies themselves generated attention for the plight of captive killer whales, even spawning a "Free Keiko" movement to release the orca who starred alongside Richter in the movie, as well as all other captive orcas around the world. Between 1998 and 2009, Richter didn't do much acting, but his career has bounced back since then. A quick look at his IMDb page reveals Richter has appeared in many minor roles recently, with five projects scheduled for release in 2017.

Fairuza Balk

Fairuza Balk gained international attention with her role as crazy goth witch Nancy Downs in the 1996 horror film The Craft. She also appeared as a neo-Nazi in American History X with Edward Norton and as Vicki Vallencourt, Adam Sandler's bad-girl love interest in The Waterboy. Since the '90s, Balk has not lacked for work—she's lent her voice to video games like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and appeared in numerous television shows and small movie roles. Her most recent project was the Showtime crime drama series Ray Donovan, in which she plays troubled call girl Ginger.

Ariana Richards

"It's a UNIX system!" With just four words, Ariana Richards cemented her place in Jurassic Park memes for decades to come. Her role as Lex Murphy in the blockbuster should have been enough to propel her to superstardom, but except for a few minor roles and cameo appearances, Richards effectively retired from acting after 2001. She earned a bachelor's degree in Fine Art from Skidmore College and now works professionally as an acclaimed painter and artist.

Mara Wilson

After her charming performances in Miracle on 34th Street, Ms. Doubtfire and as the title character in Matilda, Mara Wilson was well on her way to becoming a '90s child star. Instead, she walked away from Hollywood, with the intention of never coming back. She wrote in a 2012 blog post, "Film can be exciting, but more often, it's tedious. The celebrity aspect is nothing short of ridiculous, and auditioning is brutal and dehumanizing. Every time I see a pretty young girl on the subway reading sides for an audition, my only thought is, 'Man, am I glad I'm not doing that anymore.' I never feel nostalgia, just relief." Thankfully, it appears that Wilson has changed her mind in recent years, and appeared in both Broad City and on BoJack Horseman in 2016. Her memoir, Where Am I Now?, was published the same year.

Mira Sorvino

She was once one of the hottest acts in Hollywood during the '90s, even earning an Academy Award for her performance in Mighty Aphrodite. Mira Sorvino continued her success with a string of acclaimed roles in films like Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Mimic, and Summer of Sam. After 2000, Sorvino continued to act, but has changed her primary focus to smaller independent films; she received a Golden Globe nomination for her work in 2006's Human Trafficking. Sorvino has also been doing some acting for the small screen, appearing as a recurring character on Psych and most recently in the Netflix original series Lady Dynamite.

Dana Carvey

Dana Carvey rose to prominence with his role as a cast member on Saturday Night Live in the late '80s and early '90s, which he managed to parlay into movie stardom with his portrayal of SNL character Garth Algar in Wayne's World. Sadly, his handful of starring vehicles failed to find much of an audience, or critical acclaim—remember Opportunity Knocks, Clean Slate, or The Master of Disguise? (If you do, you probably wish you didn't.) In recent years, Carvey has made something of a comeback, landing voice acting roles in Hotel Transylvania 2 and The Secret Life of Pets and airing a Netflix comedy special, Straight White Male, 60, in 2016.

Tia Carrere

Just like Dana Carvey, Tia Carrere rose to world stardom with her appearance in Wayne's World, in which she played the love interest to Mike Myers' character Wayne—although she was already familiar to daytime viewers through her mid-'80s stint on General Hospital. Carrere continued to make films throughout the '90s, appearing opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies and starring in the Michael Crichton thriller Rising Sun. If you're a Disney fan, you may also recognize her as the voice of big sister Nani in Lilo and Stitch. Beyond her still-active acting career, Tia is also an accomplished singer—she specializes in music inspired by her native Hawaii, and has won two Grammy Awards.

Matthew Lillard

While Matthew Lillard had his big-screen debut in 1991, it wasn't until 1995 that he really became a star—the year he co-starred in the techie crime drama Hackers alongside Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller. He also made waves with his roles in teen dramas like Scream, SLC Punk!, and She's All That. After the '90s, Lillard was cast in the movie that would come to be most closely associated with his career, taking the role of Shaggy in the live-action Scooby-Doo movie. Since then, Lillard has played or voiced Shaggy in dozens of other films, animated features, and television shows. In between his Scooby-Doo projects, Lillard also appears in other roles; his most recent project is the Showtime revival of the popular TV series Twin Peaks, which premieres in May 2017.

Rachael Leigh Cook

For many millennial women, Rachael Leigh Cook was the face of their generation. She appeared in films like The Baby-Sitter's Club and Tom and Huck in the mid-'90s, but an anti-drug PSA brought her national attention in 1997. In the "This is your brain on drugs" advertisement, Cook goes wild, smashing things with a frying pan as she compares her actions to heroin use. She gained even more fame with her role as the lead actress in the 1999 romantic comedy She's All That. After 2000, Cook turned her attention to independent films and television series, including her appearance in the Steven Spielberg series Into The West. Cook has also dabbled in voice acting, playing "Tifa Lockhart" in the Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy game franchises, as well as voicing Jaesa Willsaam in the Star Wars: The Old Republic games.

Neve Campbell

Neve Campbell got her first big break when she was cast as Julia Salinger in the teen drama Party of Five. This led to major film roles, such as her starring appearances in The Craft and the Scream franchise. After the superstardom started to fade, Campbell continued to act on both the big and small screen. She reprised her role as Sidney in 2011's Scream 4 and most recently appeared on season four of the Netflix original series House of Cards as political consultant and recurring character LeAnn Harvey.