Actors Who Made the Most Surprising Comebacks

Robert Downey Jr.

Tony Stark, Iron Man 3, Robert Downey Jr
Downey Jr. quickly made a name for himself in the ‘80s for films such as Back to SchoolLess Than Zero, and The Pick-up Artist. However, his thriving career took a toll as he struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, him in jail several times. Those arrests cost him several movie and TV roles, including a spot in Fox’s Ally McBeal in 2001, per Business Insider. Soon, many in Hollywood had decided the talented actor was no longer worth hiring.
But he didn’t let it ruin his career. rehab in 2003 and came back determined to fight his way back to the top. “Smoking dope and smoking coke, you are rendered defenseless. The only way out of that hopeless state is intervention,” Downey Jr. told the Daily News.
He found his way out, and came back determined to make a name for himself. Downey Jr. went on to appear in lead roles in many blockbuster hits, including Tropic Thunder, Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, and The Avengers. In 2013, Forbes listed Downey Jr. as one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors, bringing in an estimated $75 million in earnings between June 2012 and June 2013.

Drew Barrymore

Barrymore started her career at a young age, starring in E.T. in 1982 and Irreconcilable Differences in 1984. She was also in and Cat’s Eye, quickly becoming Hollywood’s modern day Shirley Temple. But like many other child stars, Barrymore struggled with substance abuse. Barrymore had her first drink at ninebegan smoking marijuana at 10, and at 12 she took up cocaine. At 13, she had twice undergone extensive drug rehabilitation treatment, per People.
After several failed stints in rehab in her early teens, one of which was brought on by a suicide attempt, things weren’t looking good for Barrymore. But she eventually got back on trackBetty Confidential writes that she filed for legal emancipation and stayed with her friend and singer David Crosby and his wife, both survivors of their own struggles with alcohol and drug abuse, and she slowly but surely worked her way back to stardom by appearing in ‘90s romantic comedies, such as The Wedding Singer and Ever After.

Neil Patrick Harris

Harris started out at the top of his game with his four-season run as Dr. Doogie Howser. ABC canceled Doogie Howser, M.D. in 1993, and just like that Harris was gone, according to Backstage. Granted, he was in TV appearances here and there, but for the most part it seemed as though he was destined to just be another Hollywood one-hit wonder.
Fast-forward to 2004, and Harris began to get his career back on track with Harold and Kumar. His real claim to fame, however, was landing the role of Barney Stinson in CBS’ How I Met Your Mother. Take a look at Harris’ resume nowadays, and you’ll find he’s hosted the Tony Awards multiple times in addition to winning three Emmys.

Mickey Rourke

Rourke was an outstanding actor early on in his career, starring in hits such as BarflyDinerRumble Fish, andAngel Heart. In 1991, he left Hollywood to pursue his dream of becoming a professional boxer. Pursuing his boxing dream came with a hefty price. Not only did it take  from several big movie roles, but it also did permanent damage to his face, making him almost unrecognizable despite years of plastic surgery. He eventually found his Hollywood footing. He played a small role in 2005’s Sin City, but his big break came withThe Wrestler where he played Randy “The Ram” Robinson and earned a Golden Globe for his performance, according to Backstage.
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