It occurred to us one sweaty, bleary-eyed 5 AM, that the actor Joe Pesci had gone missing. Further research (a cursory glance at imdb followed by eight consecutive evidence-gathering viewings of the courtroom scene in My Cousin Vinny) revealed that Mr. Pesci hadn't made a movie in almost two decades. Or a TV show. Or a cell phone commercial. His disappearance is not an isolated incident. There are actors who, for reasons unrelated to waning talent, receded from the limelight, without fanfare or scandal, leaving us bewildered, fretful, and hoping wherever they are, they're all right. Consider the following our submissions to Hollywood's milk carton
The nineties were good to Joe Pesci. The decade kicked off by handing him a well-deserved Oscar for Goodfellas. He got to have movie sex with Marisa Tomei. He had his own SNL parody. Things were terrific. Then, with the suddenness of a swinging booby trap paint can to the head, he announced his retirement from acting in '98.
There are actresses born to play any role and there are actresses who are solely capable of playing themselves in different scenarios. Sometimes that's enough. Like for Goldie Hawn. Or Kate Hudson. But Hollywood hasn't been as accommodating to Ms. Duvall, perennial ethereal kook. Even though truth-arbiter Pauline Kael once called her the "female Buster Keaton," she turned her back on all that and absconded to the fittingly-named Blanco, Texas in 1994.
Gene Hackman says he retired from acting in 2004 to focus on his burgeoning novel-writing career. This is nothing more than a publicist's lie. The only logical explanation for what's going on here is this: Gene Hackman is in voluntary lockdown after watching Welcome to Mooseport. Buck up, Mr. Hackman, sir. It's like America retiring from kicking ass after Vietnam. Or Brad retiring from women after Jen. There's hope for you, yet. Royal Tennenbaum wouldn't quit like this.
We can't reasonably call Adventure at the Center of the Earth a comeback.
Ear science explains this one. The generation that grew up to Nanny Fran's squawking simply cannot hear within her audible pitch range anymore. Zing! Comdedy drum roll!
Once a genre-redeeming staple of romantic dramedies, Helen Hunt's disappearance is as befuddling as it is unfortunate for anyone with a girlfriend and twenty bucks to spare.
Before she left acting to focus on being a mother (to Kevin Kline's children, incidentally), the lovely Ms. Cates pulled off the most stunning act of American imperial dominance since Washington's ice-boat-scapade down the Chesapeake. Prior to Cates's performance in the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Europe laid claim to the world's best actress in a bathing suit emerging from a body of water. It was Ursula Andress in Dr. No and she deserves a lot of credit for trying. In what can only be described as an assertion of a new world order, when Phoebe Cates climbed out of a fictional Ridgemont swimming pool to the Cars's "Moving in Stereo," Democracy won. That scene should be referenced in the Pledge of Allegiance. Instead of the inappropriate religious part they inserted in the '50s.
It's not when is he. It's where is he. Oy. Sorry.
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