Everyone loves a comeback, especially in Hollywood. There are some people who cannot help being fascinated by stars crashing and burning, but during those downward spirals, we hope the stars come out on top, making their return a few years later even better than before. We hope for it in movies and in real life.
Some stars have battled with legal issues and substance abuse problems only to come back hotter than ever. In less extreme cases, actors had really big career hits then seemed to fade into the background or make a conscious choice to take some “me” time. In 2018, these stars are the comeback kids for various reasons – though most of them are no longer “kids” at all. Here are 17 celebrities from the ’90s who are making comebacks in a big way.
17. Skeet Ulrich
Most of us know Skeet Ulrich as FP on the hit CW show Riverdale, but he’s actually been in show biz for a while – and his last peak was back in the ’90s. During that decade, Skeet had main roles in cult classic flick, The Craft, Scream, and Boys starring Winona Ryder. He worked consistently throughout the aughts, but it’s his current role as Cole Sprouse’s TV dad that sprung him into stardom once again.
16. Jeff Goldblum
Honestly, this guy doesn’t age. In all seriousness, though, who could forget Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park in 1993? Three years later, he starred in the hit Independence Day. We can all probably agree those were two of the biggest movies of the decade. He has acting credits to his name from then to the present, but his star is definitely shining brighter now thanks to some high profile roles in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs, Portlandia and Thor: Ragnarok. Oh yeah, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is coming out. Plus, he has become a popular subject of memes and the internet’s heart in general. We love a good meme.
15. Robert Downey Jr.
The ups and downs of Robert Downey Jr.’s career are well-documented. He has credits going back to the 1970s, but he is often thought of as a 1990s star thanks to his tenure on Ally McBeal. Trouble began in the last part of the decade when he was arrested and jailed multiple times on drug-related charges. In 2002, he got sober and has become one of the highest paid actors thanks to his role as Iron Man aka Tony Stark and all of the Avengers/Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
14. Mandy Moore
When Mandy Moore was a teenager, she was working on music. Her debut single “Candy” was released in August 1999 with the album dropping later in December 1999 – just in the nick of time to solidify her placement as a “’90s star.” She continued to have success in the early 2000s in acting and singing with the tearjerker A Walk To Remember becoming a classic romance film. How to Deal and her villainess role in The Princess Diaries also weren’t parts to scoff at, either. She released albums in 2003 and 2007 and has a number of credits to her name from 2000 to 2010, but we didn’t really hear much about her for a little while after that. Fast-forward to present times where audiences are gripped by her role in This Is Us and she has a number of films in the works. Could she pivot back to music soon?
13. Mayim Bialik
Blossom premiered in 1990, making Mayim Bialik a star. The show was on until 1995. After that, Mayim took the opportunity to study at college and take a little break from Hollywood. While she was out of the spotlight, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience, with minors in Hebrew and Jewish studies and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from 2007. Things came full circle when she was cast at neuroscientist Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory in 2010. The role has also given her acting career a major boost.
12. Kyle MacLachlan
Twin Peaks was a show that was gone way too soon but had a lasting impression on us, especially considering it made people sit up and take notice of Kyle MacLachlan. He started acting in the ’80s but the 1992 TV show was iconic – and we mean that. When the series ended, he continued working but his star faded a bit, despite roles as Trey MacDougal in Sex and the City and as Orson Hodge in Desperate Housewives. Thanks to revival fever, Twin Peaks was rebooted in 2017 and Dale Cooper/Kyle is back and better than ever.
11. Jodie Sweetin
Jodie Sweetin is another 1990s TV star who can thank a reboot for the resurgence in her career. She gained fame at a young age thanks to her role of Stephanie Tanner on Full House. Following the end of family show, she struggled with drugs and alcohol addiction before getting sober and eventually studying to become drug and alcohol counselor. In 2015, Fuller House brought her back into the shining spotlight. In 2017, she began work on Hollywood Darlings.
10. Antonio Banderas
Before all of the CGI superhero flicks movies of today, we had 1998’s The Mask of Zorro. It helped cement Antonio Banderas’s status following roles in Evita, Frida, Interview with the Vampire and The Mambo Kings. He has numerous credits to his name since then, including Puss in Boots from the Shrek franchise. The cat was adorable, but people thought of it more as a separate thing rather than Antonio. Now, the actor has plenty of buzz surrounding him thanks to his starring role in Genius: Picasso. He has earned some attention for shaving his eyebrows and head (which, admittedly, is slightly frightening), but it’s the acting that really steals the show.
9. Natasha Lyonne
Natasha Lyonne first caught our attention while starring in ’90s in teen movies. Her most notable role was Jessica in the American Pie franchise. In the 2000s, she struggled with health issues, arrest warrants, drug problems and even had to have open heart surgery. She recovered and she’s back appearing on screens, big and small, with roles on Orange Is the New Black, Show Dogs and A Futile and Stupid Gesture.
8. Debra Messing
Debra Messing got her break on Ned & Stacey from 1995 to 1997, before moving on to Will & Grace in 1998. She’d guest starred on Seinfeld, but it was her role as the titular Grace that made her a household name and awards show regular. When the comedy originally ended in 2006, she seemed to step away from the spotlight and would only occasionally appear on TV as herself. In 2012, she was on Smash, then in 2014 she secured the lead role in The Mysteries of Laura. Of course, it’s the revival of Will & Grace in 2017 that makes it seem like she never left.
7. Claire Danes
Claire Danes burst onto the scene with her role in the canceled-too-soon 1994 sitcom My So-Called Life. It might have only lasted a few episodes, but it created an impression and it led the actress to a starring role in 1996’s Romeo + Juliet. Her star power was rising, but she took time out of the limelight to attend Yale. As we all know, she eventually went back to acting, and her career is very hot at the moment thanks to Homeland and a few films in the works.
6. Candace Cameron Bure
Just like Jodie Sweetin, Candace Cameron Bure can thank Fuller House for making her career come back. Candice grew up while playing D.J. Tanner on Full House. When the classic sitcom ended in 1995, she took a break from Hollywood to have a family. She still racked up a few television credits to her name but nothing too talked-about. Now, her career is on the upswing with a spot on Dancing with the Stars‘s 18th season, roles in a few TV movies and the Fuller House reboot that started in 2016 and is still going strong.
5. Jerome Flynn
A lot of people might only be familiar with Jerome Flynn from his role as the hilarious and scheming Bronn on Game of Thrones, but the actor has been in the biz for a lot longer than you may realize. He has been working since the 1980s, and had a number of credits to his name in the ’90s including Soldier Solider, Between the Lines and Badger. It was Game of Thrones that undoubtedly catapulted his career this decade, plus a role on Ripper Street, which premiered in 2012.
4. Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin had some big roles in the 1980s and 1990s including Beetlejuice, The Juror and Working Girl. He still had a lot of credits to his name in the early 2000s, but the drama during his divorce from Kim Basinger took away from his acting. Fast forward a few years and a leaked telephone call later, he got a gig on 30 Rock. Now, he has a slew of movies in the works and he’s killing it with his Donald Trump impression on Saturday Night Live.
3. Roseanne Barr
Roseanne is one of the latest TV shows to get rebooted, and people have a lot of feelings about it. Thanks to its resurrection, Roseanne Barr is now regularly appearing on our TV screens and in the headlines with her pro-Trump rhetoric and straight-up bigotry, TBH. Roseanne kicked off in 1988 and was initially on until 1997. From 1998 to 2000, the lady hosted The Roseanne Show, but people’s interest in her started to fade – fast. She took on a few projects afterwards, but the most known thing about her was her bid as a Green Party candidate in the 2012 election. That brings us back to the revival of Roseanne and her suddenly being relevent again – mostly for the worst. The revival’s second season was canceled, so her relevance is (hopefully) fleeting.
2. Tim Allen
Tim Allen was everywhere in the 1990s with roles in The Santa Clause, Toy Story and Home Improvement. The Toy Story sequels and family movies helped keep him around after that, but this promises to be a big year for him. Last Man Standing is coming back for Fall 2018 after being briefly canceled. Oh, and he’s currently working on 2019’s Toy Story 4. Oh, and there’s talk of a Home Improvement reboot, too! Wow-wee!
1. Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder was our late 1980s and 1990s Tim Burton star thanks to iconic roles in Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice. Plus, she was in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Age of Innocence, Girl, Interrupted and Little Women. She was well on her way to becoming the next Meryl Streep – just slightly darker. Then there was her high profile relationship with Johnny Depp and that “Wino(na)” tattoo. Sadly, she became known as a punchline after the infamous Barney’s incident in 2011. It reportedly involved shoplifting, drugs, unethical doctors and clinical depression. Thanks to Strangers Things, her career is having a major revival at the moment. We’ve always been rooting for you, girl!