LIH Editorial: An Easter Primer for Career Rebirth

31 Mar

Commemorating the Easter holiday, absolutely no disrespect to Jesus Christ, but we’ve seen quite a few Hollywood celebrities make our heads spin with their own career resurrections.

Maybe not heavenly rebirth, renewal, or revival these creative celebs have done what was impossible for so many others.

Of course you need to have been a verifiable something to be a has been; so the way stellar careers can wane are rarely the same across different professionals.  Yet where possible I’ll underline what kind of retooling occurred to help a dramatic celebrity get on this terminal list. Because this feat is so rare here are but a few who have achieved success in this unique arena.

Ben Affleck:

If you ‘re a Cinefile you might remember how influential Ben Affleck’s ’90’s career was. The first time most of us became aware of him was his completely improbable screenplay Oscar win with fellow actor Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting.  Later Affleck settled into the kind young leading male roles and “hunkdom” that can be fairly monotonous especially if the film roles are fairly “paint by numbers” as well.  Now it all seems to blur together but “a sexiest man alive’ win for people magazine, a high profile romance with Jennifer Lopez, a likely political run for office that was floated to the press, a reality show that was sustained for a while, and more dud movie roles than many actors have in their entire careers.  In terms of his celebrity movie career, I think it’s fair to say the general public got their fill.

After all that, and after the screen appearances seemed to occur far less frequently.  Eventually he would start committing to being in the directing chair with far greater frequency.  First he got a nomination for “The Town.”  He actually won the Oscar this year for “Argo” an adaptation from a real life military victory in Iran.  I never mentioned how frequently Affleck was always active behind the camera, so it might be hard to pinpoint that diversification is for some, a great longevity aid.

Robert Downey Jr.

There’s a huge list of celebrities who have won Oscars yet never appeared on screen again. This was not the case with Downey yet his estrangement with his audience was equally odd visibility wise.  Somewhat like other 1980’s brat packers, Downey Jr. made the rounds and appeared with quite a few super stars of that era.  Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Halle Berry, Penélope Cruz, Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Sally Field, Kevin Kline,,… And despite the likely discouraged career diversity, these acts of courage resulted in his winning one of those pesky early Oscar awards for “Chaplin” in 1992.

In a current Hollywood mass entertainment media that seems to flourish due to scandalous stories that originate in a celebrity’s social life, Downey found him in the kind of conundrum that is usually fatal for careers.  The New York Daily News says it best…

“…Arrested on drug charges in 1996 and continued to go in and out of

jail and rehab centers.” [1]

Seemingly this almost made the actor unhireable due to the expense required insuring convicted drug addicts.  He faded out of the spotlight yet held on until recently receiving the kinds of roles that show cased his mercurial wit and equally impressive comic timing. Reoccurring roles in “Iron man,” “Sherlock Holmes” and talent, perseverance, and uncanny good fortune define why definite gifts that are difficult to restrain when the odds seem insurmountable.

Betty White:

In terms of the contemporary celebrity record, most public recording doesn’t tend to be as efficient before the color era in television.  Sure black and white shows like the  “I Love Lucy show,’ and “The Dick Van Dike Show,”  “Mister Ed” and “The Twilight Show,” still run late at night but they were classic TV super successes.  Most of the shows that are less prestigious or popular faded away long ago.  Situated way back in the ‘50’s, Betty White’s monumental career is just this young and just as vital.

Most start counting her role as “Sue Ann Nivens” on the “Mary Tyler Moore show” of the 70’s as her first major series breakout hit, but this overlooks so much of her previous work.  Many don’t know it yet she had her own show; for 1952’s “Life with Elizabeth.”  Many young people remember “Rose Nylund” from The Golden Girls yet not as many have recognized all the supporting roles she’s made on stage and the silver screen afterwards.  Her comic timing is just as swift as it was in many of our primes, Betty surpasses our career longevity by out muscling the competition by sheer force of will and an adaptive talent that should be bottled and sold in the malls.  2009’s “The Proposal,” would have slumped without the comic backbone Betty’s hilarious work provided. Today we’re as likely to see commercials supported by her mighty shoulders making us all gasp in awe while begging for more.  A living comic treasure in our midst, hopefully she’ll never allow us to leave her.

This Weeks Articles:

Monday:The Bronze Horseman Brought to Life By Littlebells & Open Book

Tuesday: Discussion on Monday’s Article

Wednesday: 5th article  in our Disney Series By Parisienne

Thursday: Discussion on Wednesday’s Article

Friday: Continued discussion on Wednesday’s article.

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Essential References:

[1] http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrity-comebacks-celebrities-resurrected-careers-gallery-1.89259#pmSlide=9

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