Sitcom Actor Careers That Bombed After The TV Series Was Over


Elizabeth Berkley

Elizabeth Berkley first became famous as Jessie Spano, the bleeding heart liberal activist in “Saved by the Bell.” However, her performance in Paul Verhoeven's erotic drama “Showgirls” was panned by critics, and she was dropped by her agent.

Jodie Sweetin

From the ages of 5 to 14, Jodie Sweetin played middle sister Stephanie Tanner on “Full House.” Unlike her on-screen sisters, Candace Cameron and the Olsen twins, Sweetin's career tanked after the show ended, due in large part to her addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Stephen Rannazzisi

Just a few weeks into the seventh and final season of “The League,” a huge lie star Stephen Rannazzisi told years earlier came back to haunt him. An oft-repeated part of Rannazzisi's comic origin story is that he survived 9/11, but The New York Times revealed that his story was a lie, and his career has never recovered.

Amanda Bynes

Few teen stars of the past quarter century reached the heights Amanda Bynes did. However, after moving towards network television and starring in serious film roles, her career fizzled out due to addiction and mental health issues.

Louis C.K.

It's hard to overstate Louis C.K.’s impact on comedy even before he started doing “Louie” on FX. However, when the New York Times published accusations of sexual misconduct against him, his sitcom career ended in the blink of an eye.

Brett Butler

Brett Butler was a rising comedy star in the late '80s who landed her own TV show in the early '90s with “Grace Under Fire.” After bouts with drug and alcohol addiction, ABC couldn't deal with her anymore, especially after ratings dipped, and they canceled the show part way through season five.

Michael Richards

Two years after “Seinfeld" ended, Michael Richards got his own sitcom that bombed after only two months. This alone might be enough to count as a career-low, but not for Richards: few people remember “The Michael Richards Show,” but almost everyone remembers the racist tirade at the Laugh Factory.

Dana Plato

Though "Diff'rent Strokes" remains a syndication classic, Dana Plato may be better remembered for her personal nosedive after departing the show. Her very public substance abuse problems made her personal life difficult, and she died of an overdose in 1999.

Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman is often listed as one of the most influential and impactful child actors of all time. Unfortunately, the "Diff'rent Strokes" star went through a professional downturn after the show ended, which involved years of legal wrangling, trouble finding roles, and bankruptcy, before his death in 2010.

Ken Osmond

Ken Osmond played Eddie Haskell, the infamous scheming sycophant on “Leave It to Beaver,” but after the show ended, Osmond found himself typecast. He eventually joined the LAPD, and after a quarter century, he reprised his role in “Still The Beaver” and “The New Leave It To Beaver.”

Frankie Shaw

Frankie Shaw had been acting onscreen for a decade, most notably in “Blue Mountain State,” before she created “SMILF” on Showtime. In between the first and second season, the Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Shaw was in the midst of a workplace misconduct investigation, which led to “SMILF’s” cancellation.

Alfonso Riberio

Alfonso Riberio will always be remembered as Carlton from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” However, after the hit show ended, he only got a few small parts and eventually ventured into directing TV shows like “Are We There Yet” and hosting the game show “Catch 21.”

Jennette McCurdy

Jennette McCurdy played Sam Puckett for all six seasons of "iCarly" before co-headlining the spinoff "Sam and Cat." However, "Sam and Cat" is perhaps best remembered for the behind-the-scenes conflict where McCurdy implied Ariana Grande was paid more than her, and McCurdy has retired from acting in the years since.

Dustin Diamond

Few people cashed more checks from the “Saved by the Bell” franchise than Dustin Diamond, who played Screech for over a decade. After struggling to find post-“Saved by the Bell” work, he landed in dire financial straits, released a sex tape in 2006, and was arrested in 2014, before his death in 2021.

McLean Stevenson

McLean Stevenson achieved great fame as Colonel Blake in “M*A*S*H,” but behind the scenes, he resented that Blake was never more than a supporting character. He eventually left the hit show and starred in four sitcoms, but he never came close to reaching the success he found on “M*A*S*H.”

Kirk Cameron

Kirk Cameron, as Mike Seaver on "Growing Pains," was a teen heartthrob through the 1980s. However, he converted to Christianity towards the end of the show and caused all kinds of issues on set, and he's really only known for appearing in Christian media these days.

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