18 Stars Who Gave Us One Masterpiece and Left Us Wanting More

In Hollywood, actors usually strive hard to get their big break. Many actors need to pursue lengthy careers for one major role. Some others find a role early and let it define themselves forever.

Let us look at 18 such actors who played only one major role and switched to other careers.

Carrie Henn in “Aliens”

Image Credit: IMDB

Carrie Henn won the hearts of sci-fi fans worldwide. She portrayed Rebecca “Newt” Jorden in James Cameron’s 1986 blockbuster “Aliens.” Despite the acclaim, Henn chose not to pursue acting further. Instead, she focused on her education and has since become a teacher.

Peter Ostrum in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”

Image Credit: IMDB © 1971 – Turner Entertainment Co. All rights reserved. Courtesy Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc.

Peter Ostrum portrayed Charlie Bucket in the “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” It remains a highlight of his life. However, Ostrum decided that acting was not his calling. Today, he works as a veterinarian after leaving Hollywood behind.

Gwen Stefani in “The Aviator”

Image Credit: IMDB © 2004 Miramax Films.

Gwen Stefani briefly dabbled in acting with her role as Jean Harlow in “The Aviator.” While the audience loved her performance, Stephani decided to quit acting. She chose to focus on her music career instead. Today, she is well-known for her singing.

Tami Stronach in “The NeverEnding Story”

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Tami Stronach played the role of the Childlike Empress in “The NeverEnding Story.” It left an indelible mark on the fantasy genre. However, this role also marked the end of her acting career. Instead, she chose to pursue a career in dance and has started her own dance company.

Emanuel Schotte’s Singular Role

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Emanuel Schotte came into the spotlight with a role in a critically acclaimed film. He starred as Pharaon de Winter in the French movie L’humanité. He even won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. However, he decided to stop pursuing his acting career.

Dennis Wilson in “Two-Lane Blacktop”

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Dennis Wilson was the drummer for the Beach Boys. He was already a star when he took on a major role in a movie. He played a role in the 1971 cult classic “Two-Lane Blacktop.” Despite a compelling performance, Wilson did not continue acting and focused on music.

Dorothy McGowan in “Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?”

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Dorothy McGowan was a model turned actress. She starred in the 1966 French satirical art film “Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?” Playing the lead role of Polly, McGowan captivated audiences with her performance. She unexpectedly exited the acting scene afterward, shrouded in mystery.

Maria Callas in “Medea”

Image Credit: IMDB © AFP ImageForum

Opera legend Maria Callas ventured into film with a powerful performance. SHe starred in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Medea” (1969). While her acting debut got a lot of critical acclaim, Callas remained true to her roots in opera. This makes her role a unique chapter in her illustrious career.

Robert Tsai in “School of Rock”

Image Credit: IMDB Photo by Andrew Schwartz – © 2003 Paramount Pictures.

Robert Tsai is famous for his role in the 2003 hit “School of Rock.” He played the quiet and talented pianist Lawrence in the movie. Despite his memorable performance, Tsai opted to pursue academics over acting. He focused on his education and a career outside of Hollywood.

Sarah Pickering in “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

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Sarah Pickering appeared in the 2008 documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” She presented a thought-provoking view on intelligent design and evolution. Her participation in this controversial film remains her sole venture in acting. She later decided to pursue interests beyond the silver screen.

Eleonora Duse in “Cenere”

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Eleonora Duse is a renowned Italian stage actress. She made a rare film appearance that is a significant part of her legacy. She appeared in Cenere in the role of Rosalia Derios.  She dedicated the remainder of her career to live performances.

Nadine Nortier in “Mouchette”

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French actress Nadine Nortier delivered a haunting performance in his film appearance. She starred in the lead role in Robert Bresson’s “Mouchette” (1967). Her portrayal of the troubled titular character received critical acclaim. However, Nortier chose not to continue acting, leaving “Mouchette” as her sole.

Amber Scott in “Hook”

Image Credit: IMDB Photo by Dave Cross

Amber Scott captured the hearts of audiences through her movie appearance. She starred as Maggie Banning, the daughter of Peter Pan in Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” (1991). Despite the film’s success, Scott stepped away from acting. This made her role in “Hook” a beloved memory for fans of the film.

Stephan Guttler in “Heart of Glass”

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Stephan Guttler left a mark with his powerful performance in the acting world. He starred as Huttenbesitzer in the film Heart of Glass. However, Guttler’s interests led him away from the acting profession. He chose to explore other avenues where he could express his creativity and passion.

Sonja Skiba in “Heart of Glass”

Image Credit: IMDB

Sonja Skiba is another actress whose sole character was in the movie Heart of Glass. She played the character of Ludmilla and captivated the audiences with her talent. Despite the promise shown, Skiba decided that her future lay outside of acting. She pursued other passions and interests that have since defined her career.

Paul Hogan in “Crocodile Dundee”

Image Credit: IMDB © 1988 Paramount HE

Australian comedian Paul Hogan became an international sensation with his movie role. He starred as Mick “Crocodile” Dundee in the 1986 film “Crocodile Dundee.” While Hogan continued to act, none of his subsequent roles reached this iconic status.

Henry Thomas in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”

Image Credit: IMDB Photo by RICARDO HUBBS/NETFLIX – © 2023 Netflix, Inc

Henry Thomas did a remarkable performance as Elliott in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” This made him a household name. Though Thomas has continued to act, his role in “E.T.” remains his most celebrated work. This is forever linking him to the classic tale of friendship between a boy and an alien.

Mark Hamill in “Star Wars”

Image Credit: IMDB Photo by /EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX – © 2023 Netflix, Inc.

Mark Hamill‘s role of Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” made him a household name. This franchise catapulted him to fame. Hamill has also enjoyed a successful career in voice acting. However, his role as Skywalker is undeniably the one he is most associated with.

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