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17 Stars Who Left Hollywood At The Height Of Their Careers

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Fame isn't for everyone. We may dream of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but lots of big names seem happy to step out of the spotlight. These 17 stars all made the decision to leave show business for good:

1. Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Keen-eyed fans probably recognized the Home Improvement star when he returned to Tim Allen's new show Last Man Standing. But until recently Thomas was happy to stay away from Hollywood. The teen heartthrob studied history at Harvard and Columbia University. He's only made a handful of TV guest appearances since the early 2000s.

2. Meg Ryan

Huge roles in hit romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail made Ryan one of Hollywood's most popular actresses, but then she seemed to drop off the map.

In fact, Ryan's divorce from actor Dennis Quaid made her take a step back from acting to focus on her emotional well-being, and raising her 8-year-old son Jack. Today she's finally starting to ease back into show business.

3. Gene Hackman

The Unforgiven and two-time Oscar winner called it quits after appearing in 2004's Welcome to Mooseport, his 100th movie role. He said that he would only consider a return to acting "if I could do it in my own house, maybe, without them disturbing anything and just one or two people."

Instead, he's started a different career as a novelist. The 78-year-old now had five books under his belt, and of course they're mostly Westerns, just like his most famous roles.

4. Peter Osrum

This child actor starred in the all-time classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and his great performance earned him an offer to shoot another three films. But Osrum passed on the deal, and didn't pursue an acting career. Instead, he followed his passion for animals and became a veterinarian. To this day, the children's movie is his only role.

5. Daniel Day-Lewis

Day-Lewis is technically still working in Hollywood, but not for long. The award-winning method actor has made headlines for the deep dives he takes into each of his roles, including forcing Steven Spielberg to address him as "Mr. Lincoln" on the set of Lincoln.

But he announced that his role in next year's film Phantom Thread will be his last ever. Then again, in the '90s Lewis took a five year hiatus from acting to work as a shoemaker's apprentice in Italy, so maybe we haven't seen the last of him after all.

Why did the star of My Fair Lady leave Hollywood? For her dream job...

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