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Top 8 ‘what happened to that guy?’


You remember that guy... from that film? Oh wait, you don't...

What happened...?

Hollywood really is a fickle industry, isn’t it? One moment you can be in demand, with a legion of fans screaming your name and a bulging pay-packet to match, but just one poor film selection, bad review, or box-office flop can send your career on an irrecoverable downward spiral. Over the years, we have lost some noticeable faces - greats such as Norman Wisdom, Peter Graves, Tony Curtis - through illness or old age, and their loss has been mourned by the community that adored them. However, what becomes of the unloved; the stars of yesteryear whose fall from grace was so severe that people begin to even question their existence? Here, counts down the eight biggest disappearances and looks at what happened, where they went, and what said star is up to these days...

8. Carrie Henn

Carrie Henn - then and now

Cast in what can only be described as one of the most bizarre child roles of all time, Henn took to acting like a duck takes to water (or a newt takes to a spawn-pool – whatever your fancy). Unless you had not guessed, Carrie Henn played Rebecca 'Newt' Jorden in James Cameron's Aliens, the sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 blockbuster. While her lines were limited and her acting consisted of little more than screaming, running, and screaming again, Henn delivered a captivating and emotional performance, combining her childish innocence with Sigourney Weaver’s fearsome persona to create an appealing chemistry between the two.

However, at just ten years of age, Henn was at a vulnerable age, balancing precariously between a life of normality and one of worldwide recognition. Many feared that Henn would be engulfed by an industry that showed little concern for its child-stars, one that has regularly milked said stars of their talent before regurgitating them back into society, usually as a broken and damaged adolescent. Fortunately, Carrie’s parents chose not to build on their daughter’s debut success, a decision that meant that she never acted again. Subsequently, Henn grew up to become a well-adjusted individual, earning a degree in liberal studies and child development from California State University in 2000 before deciding to pursue a career in teaching, a career that she continues to enjoy to this day. When asked about why she never went back to acting, Henn simply stated that “acting just wasn't me”. What a shame that Dakota Fanning did not make the same decision.

7. The "Dakota Fanning" I cared about

Dakota Fanning - then and now

While you may struggle to believe it, Dakota Fanning is still only 16 years of age, a fact that never ceases to amaze me. In what has to be the most blatant case of a parent living a missed opportunity through their child, Dakota has now racked up an impressive 43 cast appearances, although many of which are her playing the same role, just under different titles.

I remember the first time I saw Miss Fanning on the big screen - her innocent appearance and likable persona drawing you closer into the storyline of War of the Worlds­ – and thinking that Hollywood may have unearthed a real little gem in Dakota. In fact, her performance was so good that she stole the show on many occasions, this in spite of Tom Cruise’s best efforts to keep the focus on himself and his epic race from the aliens, aliens I’m sure he will tell us Scientology had been warning us about for years. However, just five years since this touching moment of innocence, I now see Dakota in the same light as I see an itch in the middle of my back - totally irritating but too far away to do anything about. Now where once there was pity, now there is loathing; where once there was intrigue, there is tediousness; where once I wondered, now I despair; I think you get the picture. Dakota earns her place because, as far as this article is concerned, the real Dakota Fanning has been missing since 2006, a year after War of the Worlds and a year before she decided to try to break the 30-film barrier before her 18th birthday.

6. Ernest Liu

Ernest Liu in From Dusk Till Dawn

According to, the classification for an actor is someone who “acts in a play, film or broadcast”. Seems simple enough. However, for the unfortunate amongst you who were made to endure Liu’s pitiful performance in From Dusk Till Dawn, the jury is still open as to whether he actually falls into this classification. In a casting pick that can only have been made by an extremely-inebriated casting director, Liu’s performance as Scott Fuller was so painful that the role subsequently became both his debut and his swansong, an occurrence that one can’t help but be grateful for. Anyhow, if any of you do care, Liu clung onto what celebrity was left with one-off performances and bit roles following From Dusk Till Dawn, including such "memorable" roles as Doug Hoo in The Wrestling Game (I've never heard of it either) and 'Boy #2' in an episode of Once and Again in 2000. His final role, according to IMDB, was in 2005 television series Unscripted as 'Guy in Studio', a role that was apparently uncredited. However, with the resurgence of crap on our screens these days, who is to say that we have seen the last of Mr. Liu? From Dusk Till Dawn 3D anyone?

5. Ke Huy Quan (aka Jonathan Ke Quan)

Short round then and now...

Quan burst onto our screens as Wan 'Short Round' Li, a mischievous - if not somewhat irksome - accomplice of “Doctor Jones” in the 1984 hit, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Despite his occasionally irritable presence, Quan played a significant role in the film’s success and soon found himself in much demand. However, despite one other key role as Richard 'Data' Wang in The Goonies, Quan became something of a distant figure, managing just two television stints and a singular appearance in Asian cinema in the five years since his Goonies role.

Following a rather unsuccessful appearance in the movie California Man in 1992, Quan turned his attention to other things and, in 2002, appeared in his final role to date, Sing Wong. Despite his lack of onscreen presence, Quan began to carve new opportunities for himself - such as a stunt man in X-Men (2000) and an assistant-choreographic director in Jet Li’s The One (2001) - before concentrating his time solely on his work as a martial artist and stunt coordinator. While Quan looks unlikely to be inducted into the Actor’s Hall of Fame any time soon, he has achieved much considering his humble beginnings. Quan can speak four languages fluently, is trained in two different martial arts, was 67th in VH1's "100 Greatest Kid Stars", and his performance as Short Round remains both memorable and enjoyable to this day. Not bad, considering it was his brother who initially auditioned for the role.

4. Brittany Ashton Holmes

Brittany Ashton Holmes - then and now

With her angelic features and adorable smile, Brittany Ashton Holmes was born to play the role of Darla in The Little Rascals. As the love-interest of Alfalfa (Bug Hall), Holmes' Darla threatened everything that the “boy’s only club” had worked for – from soap-box victory to male independence – and was soon the number one target of the young thespians. When the boys manage to convince her that Alfalfa is ashamed of her, Darla turns her attention to the new rich-kid, whose father is an oil tycoon. Along with her youthful co-stars, Brittany performed a fitting tribute to the show of the same namesake, despite being just 5 years of age.

Sadly, in spite of an impressive start and first-class reviews of her performance as Darla, Holmes never really built on what she had established, instead making a handful of television appearances before disappearing from our screens. Meanwhile, Darla’s former love interest Alfalfa (Bug Hall) went on to establish himself as a competent and adaptable actor, gaining much credibility and subsequent work off the back of his performance in The Little Rascals. As of 2010, Hall is believed to have two films in post-production and two in pre-production and looks set to be a common – if not slightly irregular – face on our screens for many years to come. Conversely, the same cannot be said for Holmes. With her last performance occurring in 1996 and no talk of a re-emergence, it would appear that little Darla has grown up and sought different pastures. Maybe it was a broken heart and the thought of acting without Alfalfa that made acting too painful; or maybe it was a change of heart, with Holmes realising that, despite the memories, her future did not lie within Hollywood. Whatever the case, Holmes’ performance as Darla remains an enjoyable watch and, should she decide to make a comeback in years to come, I’m sure she would be welcomed with open arms. Anyone hear the rumours about The Little Rascals: the Co-ed Years?

3. Charles Grodin

Charles Grodin - then and now

The great thing about writing lists such as this is all the new information that you discover during the research stage. Who knew that Carrie 'Newt' Henn never acted again after Aliens? Or that in just nine years, Ernest Liu went from Hollywood starlet to 'Guy in Studio' (uncredited)? Or that Indiana Jones’ annoying sidekick Short Round eventually found happiness as a martial arts teacher and stuntman? While all these are fascinating facts, none made me recoil and frantically research as much as this next one did, one that I am still struggling to believe.

In 1992, Hollywood gave us one of the greatest family-feel-good movies of all time in Beethoven, a film so well received that five sequels were made off the back of the original, with the latest being Beethoven's Big Break in 2008. Beethoven told the story of a slobbering St Bernard dog whose reckless yet loveable antics soon make him the centre of attention for the Newton family. Now, while the film's premise was fairly simple, it was wholeheartedly received by its audience, attracting fans across the globe and gaining international fame for many of its stars. While the Newton family appeared to be an ordinary, run-of-the-mill middle class family, its patriarch George Newton (Charles Grodin) was hiding (very well, I may add) quite a big secret. When chosen to play the role, Grodin was 57 years of age! Unlike Beethoven himself - whose blood-shot eyes and rather laboured movements told the story of an aging star - Grodin was the epitome of a youthful complexion and looked very authentic when next to co-star Bonnie Hunt, just 31 at the time of filming. However, while Grodin had managed to maintain his youthful looks, his career aged rapidly and, by 1994, Charles Grodin was just a distant memory. Conversely, very few people know whether this fade was one of choice or due to a fall in popularity. But what is known is that, following the recession of his career, Grodin turned his attention to writing and became a rather successful author.

In 2006, Grodin returned to our screens once more, this time in a more age-appropriate role as Zac Braff’s father-in-law in Fast Track and, according to IMDB, is currently in filming for The Muppets movie due for release in 2011. Well, you know what they say: you can’t keep a good dog down.

2. Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen - then and now

First Quan, now Cohen. If any more members of The Goonies cast show up on this list, it may just spark a full blown government inquiry. For those of you who can’t remember, Jeff Cohen played Lawrence 'Chunk' Cohen, the puppy-fatted individual whose truffle-shuffling antics gained him worldwide notoriety and his own personal cult following. Following the film’s release, Cohen and the rest of The Goonies cast became the latest of Hollywood’s stars and starlets and looked set to enjoy a very fruitful and prosperous relationship with the industry. However, much like Quan, Cohen was unable to build on his youthful success, settling instead for a number of rare bit roles on television before his career came to an abrupt end in Perfect Harmony in 1991, aged just 17.

From there, Cohen ventured between many of Hollywood’s less-glamorous nooks and crannies, trying his hand as both a producer and a production attorney before finally committing himself to a career as an entertainment lawyer. Interestingly, Cohen and Quan remain good friends to this day and rejoined the rest of the cast for an audio commentary for The Goonies re-release in 2001.

Now, while Jeff himself may have drifted into obscurity, his truffle-shuffle had other ideas, eventually going viral and becoming one of the most viewed and recycled clips on YouTube (this is probably my favourite). Although he may not realise it, his belly-shaking antics inspired many a fat child to embrace their larger stature, instead of constantly tormenting themselves for something that is frequently a genetic problem. So for that, Jeff, I thank you.

1. Danny Lloyd

Danny Lloyd - then and now

There have been films over the years that don’t just scare you - occasionally leaving you with a momentary feeling of uncertainty - but instead shake you to your very core. The Shining was one of these films. I will openly admit that, on first viewing, I had to pause the film a number of times to check the locks, monitor the EMF readings for spirits and ensure that there were no spare axes lying around the house. Now, if at 17 years of age I was still that scared, how did a six-year-old ever cope with being so actively involved in the film’s production before trying to return to the normal, infantile environment that is the world of a six-year-old? The answer is he didn’t.

When Danny Lloyd was cast as Danny Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s timeless horror, it was under the condition that he was closely guarded, something that Kubrick took upon himself to ensure. Even with the film's notoriety and success, Kubrick was a man of his word, protecting Danny to such an extent that he was unaware of the production's horror status until several years later. Despite his memorable performance and infamous and widely-quoted line of “Redrum! Redrum!”, Danny took just one other acting role as 'Young Liddy' in Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy in 1982, a full two years after his cinematic debut in The Shining. Like Carrie Henn, Danny went on to enjoy a life of the masses, pursuing his interest in science before accepting a teaching position in 1999. Skip forward eight years and Danny was rising up the corporate ladder of sorts, now Professor of Biology at a community college in Kentucky and all appears well. Sure it’s not the drug-laced, stripper-loving lifestyle that he may have had, but I guarantee he does not regret a single moment of it.

Finally, I would like to thank Jon Goddard, Matthew Davis and Russell Cook for all their help while writing this piece. It's never easy to compile these lists - especially one as difficult to put together as this - and I could not have done it without them, so thank you guys!

See also:

Ten reasons why a Goonies sequel will work

Lists at Shadowlocked



#1 Apparently... John 2011-01-02 16:29
It looks like Danny Lloyd and Jeff Cohen became the same person.
#2 Dakota's just fine! Mel M 2011-01-03 03:26

Dakota Fanning is not a character actor, she's not typecast, and she doesn't just repeat a trademark film persona. Lucy, Ray, Pita, Emily, Rachel, Lewellen, Cassie, Lilly, and Sherie are all quite distinct and most are, in at least some way, an advance in sophistication over previous roles. With Pita, she left no doubt about her talent. With "Houndog" (filmed summer 2006 at 12 1/2) she made a radical break--as Lewellen--from her child roles and became a very convincing dramatic actress. Her close-ups in War of the Worlds are priceless (including the suppression of fear with her mitten). As a challenging performance though, Lewellen (still my favorite performance) is a huge advance over Rachel. Her ability to construct and present needed personas--each hiding Dakota's real personality--is what I admire most. When she grows up, I'm hoping that Dakota will become a heavy-lift dramatic actress and rise to a performance as good as that of Jodie Foster's Sarah in "The Accused." IMO, it'll be at least another 5 years before she could be believable in a fully adult role. Could she derail? I suppose so, but she's intelligent and that'll be to her advantage. She'll do what's best for her, but, should Dakota leave acting, it'll be a personal loss for me: she's one of the most remarkable and charming people I have ever seen. Nobody can push nature, but I can hardly wait 'til she's out of the weird teen years. Dakota, so far as I know, will head for college in 2011.That will mature her, and, I hope, mature the depth she can bring to her acting. BTW, Dakota will be 17 in less than two months.
#3 Charles Grodin... Benjamin 2011-04-11 04:42
I absolutely cannot believe how old Charles Grodin is. I had no idea he was so old in both Clifford and Beethoven. I've been reeling here for the last 10 minutes or so while looking at pictures of him on Google images.
#4 Haha, brilliant... Eddy 2011-05-14 14:56
Stumbled onto your site after seeing it on IMDB this weekend, and I love it. This article though is brill - it's absolutely hilarious.

I can't believe Charles Grodin is so old - and I'm equally surprised about how 'in the dark' they kept Danny Lloyd - but Ernst Liu's lack of continuation was expected.

Either way, great stuff and love the site!
#5 Short Round Bill 2011-05-31 20:22
Why is Gedde Watanabe's photo next to the picture of Short Round?
#6 RE: Grodin does not belong on this list Mark 2013-12-11 18:57
Quoting Mark:
Sorry but Gordin does not belong here. He is not only a great actor (Midnight Run, anyone?) but he is still active. Just because the author of this piece does not know him it does not make him irrelevant.

Point taken. However, his inclusion had multiple features. Whether you choose to accept it or not, he had one HELL of a hiatus...I'd hardly call him 'active' either. Furthermore, it was also for the true revelation on his age that he featured...but I do heed your point, and maybe it was a weak point.

Either way, thanks for the comment!

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