The following actresses used to be the hottest commodity during the 90s but they seem to have dropped off the radar for whatever reason. While some left Hollywood to lead more normal lives, others managed to find ways to stay active and relevant in the industry. Here are the women who were among some of the hottest and most popular actresses during the 1990s:
Heather Locklear attended the University of California in Los Angeles for a year after graduating from high school. She quit school to focus on his modeling career. She worked as a model and made television advertisements while beginning her acting career. Early television performances included tiny roles in Chips, Eight is Enough, and other shows. Her first movie was the science fiction horror thriller Firestarter (1984).
She shot to fame when she portrayed the scheming ad executive Amanda Woodward on Melrose Place, and Caitlin Moore on Spin City. Before that, she also landed roles on Dynasty and TJ Hooker in the 1980s. In recent years, Locklear has played a recurring role on Hot in Cleveland as well as a lead role in the TNT series Franklin & Bash. However, her reputation is even more magnified off screen for her relationships with rock stars, cases of DUI, and a couple of forays into rehab.
Locklear has since then kept a low profile following a well-publicized hard spell in which she developed a drug addiction problem that led to many run-ins with the law and a stay in a mental health institution in recent years. She now leads a quieter existence in Thousand Oaks. The former Melrose Place star, her fiancé Chris Heisser, and her daughter Ava Sambora live in her long-time 8,115 square foot residence, which has been her home for many years.
Vanessa Marcil made her acting debut in the 1996 action thriller movie “The Rock,” which also starred Sean Connery and Bruce Willis. The movie was a huge critical and financial success, going on to become one of the highest-grossing movies of the year.
Marcil became one of the hottest actresses during her heyday, appearing on many television series such as General Hospital and Beverly Hills 90210, as well as Las Vegas. Her cinematic career, however, did not turn out as expected. She was reportedly typecast as a result of her fame in the serial opera “General Hospital” because of her appearances in the minor films “976-Wish” and “Nice Guys Sleep Alone,” both of which she featured in in 1997.
Later in her career she made a return to General Hospital for a while (including a short visit for the show’s 50th anniversary in 2013). She made an appearance in 2012 on Hawaii Five-O. But other than those appearances, Marcil has mostly kept a low profile.
Her first name means “most beautiful” in Greek. Not only Calista was part of the student government in her high school, but she was also a cheerleader and played the flute in her high school band. She was a member of the Malaparte theatrical group in Manhattan, which also included performers as Josh Hamilton, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Frank Whaley, and Robert Sean Leonard.
First on-screen appearance was in a 1989 episode of the soap Guiding Light. Calista Flockhart gained worldwide fame in the 1990s when she starred on the popular legal comedy-drama series Ally McBeal. She also appeared in a few films such as A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Birdcage, and Telling Lies in America as well as another long-running TV series entitled Brothers and Sisters, which ended in 2011.
In 2003, Calista became the national spokesperson for the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (later renamed Peace Over Violence) and was honored with the organization’s Humanitarian Award in 2005.
These days, however, she is mostly known for being married to actor Harrison Ford whom she married in June 2010 in Sta. Fe New Mexico after seven years of dating. They have a 22-year age gap.
Bridget Fonda’s passion in theater began when she was a young girl and was chosen to perform in a school performance of the classic play Harvey.
Fonda clearly had acting in her lineage — dad is Peter Fonda, aunt is Jane Fonda, and grandfather is Henry Fonda. Little wonder she also made acting her calling. During the 1990s she starred in memorable films such as Single White Female, Singles, Doc Hollywood, The Godfather Part III and many other films during the decade.
She played two significant parts in 1992 that caused quite a stir in the movie world. She was chosen to play the title role in Cameron Crowe’s romantic comedy Singles after being cast as the protagonist in Barbet Schroeder’s psychological thriller Single White Female. Additionally, she has made appearances in a number of television programs, such as Friends and Grace and Frankie. Fonda had expertise in theatrical shows before taking on these roles, which aided in her getting the jobs.
She made her last screen appearance in Snow Queen in 2002, married notable film composer Danny Elfman a year later, started a family life, and has not been seen acting since that last appearance.
Fonda retired in 2002 to start a family with her now-husband, Danny Elfman. She remains adamant in choice to quit acting more than two decades ago saying she loves the civilian life too much now. The Golden Globe nominee has only been spotted on rare times since stepping back from the spotlight. In January 2022, Bridget was seen for the first time in 12 years on her 58th birthday while running errands in Los Angeles.
Keri Russell began her movie career with a bang, starring alongside Mel Gibson in the 2002 war drama “We Were Soldiers” and Joan Allen in the 2005 comedy-drama “The Upside of Anger”. The next year, in 2004, she made her Broadway debut in “Fat Pig” by Neil LaBute, starring with Andrew McCarthy and Jeremy Piven. This was the beginning of a fruitful career that saw her feature in a large number of movies and television programs and result in her winning a Golden Globe for her portrayal in the FX series “The Americans.”
Then, even before Felicity was first aired, actress Keri Russell was already hailed as the next “It Girl” on television. And the 22-year-old rookie became just that by making a coming-of-age drama a big hit on the small screen. Since then Russell made more appearances, this time on the big screen: Mission: Impossible III, Waitress, and Extraordinary Measures, among others. Although these days Russell isn’t as big now as she once was, she is still very active in her career, making her latest notable film appearance in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
2023 saw Russell starring in the TV series ‘The Diplomat,’ which shows her good side. The Diplomat is Russell’s first substantial TV role since the Soviet spy drama “The Americans” and now finds her role switching sides, starring as a savvy civil servant tasked with upholding America’s reputation abroad.
Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta “Leelee” Sobieski hails from New York in the United States. Born on June 10, 1983, to Jean Sobieski, a painter and former actor of Polish and Swiss ancestry, and Elizabeth Sobieski, an American film producer and screenwriter who also served as Sobieski’s manager.
Sobieski rose to fame during her mid-teens where she appeared in the box-office hit Deep Impact in 1998. Her performance in that particular film earned the praises of movie critics. She had since appeared in other notable films including Eyes Wide Shut and made-for-television movies Joan of Arc and Uprising, both of which Sobieski garnered Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Unfortunately, for the exception of Eyes Wide Shut, her following films were not as successful as Deep Impact.
In a January 2011 episode of The Good Wife, Sobieski had a cameo appearance as the girlfriend of one of Lockhart-Gardner-Bond’s most powerful clients, who is suspected of abusing prescription stimulants. She played a rookie New York City police officer in the CBS drama NYC 22 and was cast as Abby Gibbons in the 2012 film Branded.
In 2016, Sobieski confirmed she would be quitting the “movie stuff ” saying she will be focusing mainly on her kids. She said she didn’t want anymore to do acting roles which ninety percent of the time involves “sexual stuff”.
Now married to Adam Kimmel and going by Leelee Kimmel, she is a devoted mother and wife. They have a daughter together who was born in late 2009 and are very happy together. Professionally, she is now an artist doing abstract painting and sculptures.
Jenna Von Oy
Jenna von Oy was born on May 2, 1977 in Danbury, Connecticut. Her real name was Jennifer Jean von Oy; however, she asserts in an interview that when she was two years old, in a dream, her guardian angel instructed her that her name should be Jenna. She has insisted that everyone call her Jenna ever since.
The actress and country music singer is best remembered for her roles as Six LeMeure on the sitcom Blossom and Stevie van Lowe on another sitcom The Parkers. Her big break came in 1989, when she essayed the role of young Suzanne in the movie Born on the Fourth of July. The movie, with Tom Cruise in the main lead, was a huge success. In 1990, she got the role of Kelly Callahan in the sitcom Lenny. Though the show only ran for around half a year on CBS, Jenna von Oy was noticed.
While her television career was taking off, she also took up acting roles in movies. In 1996, she was seen in the television movies She Cried No (1996) and Dying to Belong (1997). In 1998, she took up the role of Theresa in 7th Heaven, a family television drama that revolved around the Camden family.
Since 2004, Von Oy has not appeared in many movies or television shows. She is now married to a computer data consultant and together they have two children, with their youngest one born in November 2014.
Terri Celeste Conn is the sole child of Cathy, a real estate broker, and John, a former Air Force officer. She was born on January 28, 1875, in Bloomington, Indiana. When she was nine years old, she moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico after residing in a number of other places such as Dayton, Ohio, Montgomery, Alabama, and Abilene, Texas.
The actress is best remembered for her roles on the soap operas As the World Turns (as Katie Snyder) and One Life to Live (as Christine “Aubrey Wentworth” Karr). In 2011, she married actor Austin Peck, who was also her former cast mate in As the World Turns.
Conn, together with Paul Leyden, were nominated for a special daytime Emmy Award as America’s Favorite Couple in 2001. She was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in the Category Outstanding Younger Actress and another nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress Soap Opera Digest Award in 2001.
Other than a smattering of short film appearances and some television work, Conn has been completely off the radar these days.
Brandy was born in McComb, Mississippi, on February 11, 1979. She was the daughter of gospel performer and choir director Willie Norwood and H&R Block district manager Sonja Norwood. William Raymond Norwood Jr., Brandy’s younger brother, is also a performer and actor. The brothers’ first cousin, Snoop Dogg, is well-known in the American music business.
Brandy used to be one of the huge stars during the 1990s. The singer and actress propelled to fame via the long-running and successful UPN sitcom Moesha. This led to other appearances on TV as well as in films such as I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Cinderella, and Double Platinum. She also had a successful singing and recording career from the 1990s to the 2000s.
Brandy was the first African-American to play Cinderella. The 1997 Cinderella became a memorable movie because it inspired many African American actors and girls of color, as this princess was someone, they could relate to themselves. On the first night it was aired on ABC, Cinderalla was estimated to have around 60 million people who were watching.
Brandy is sometimes referred to as the Vocal Bible because of the huge influence her vocal techniques have had on the music business, particularly in the pop, gospel, and current R&B genres. Both she and music critics have described her voice as raspy, velvety, and husky. Many musicians, including Ariane Grande, Jessie J, Jhene Aiko, and Jordin Sparks, have been influenced by her work. Many of her contemporaries have commended it, among them Ty Dolla Sign, Tamar Braxton, Jennifer Hudson, and Jill Scott.
In 2006, she was involved in a much-publicized car accident that claimed the life of another woman. Since then she’s been in several low-profile series and guest star roles. She also performed on Dancing With the Stars, but other than that, she has not been as active as she was during the 1990s.
Who could ever forget Shannen Doherty, especially those who grew up in the 90s? She will always be remembered as Brenda Walsh in the hit television series Beverly Hills 90210, the role that propelled her to fame.
Doherty posed for Playboy sometimes during the time after Beverly Hills 90210; she would again feature in the magazine in 2003. Doherty made a cameo appearance in the Leslie Neeson classic comedy, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. She also featured in the 1995 movie Mallrats. Much of the rest of the decade saw Doherty appear in made for TV films.
Doherty also had a memorable role as Prue Halliwell in Charmed. Doherty was removed from the cast of both series; however, she was included in the CW-produced 90210, a spin-off of Beverly Hills 90210. Not wanting to be left behind by the changing TV trends, Doherty also joined the world of reality shows by starring in such programs as Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty and Shannen Says, the latter chronicling her own upcoming wedding. She also appeared on the tenth season of Dancing with the Stars.
In 1993, Doherty wed Ashley Hamilton. A year later, the couple were divorced. In 2002, Doherty wed Rick Salomon; however, the union was later dissolved after only nine months. Doherty wed Kurt Iswarienko, a photographer, in 2011.
In 2001, Doherty received a $1500 fine for driving under the influence. She has inflammatory bowel condition called Crohn’s disease. In 2015, she announced that she was receiving treatment for breast cancer in 2015 and had mastectomy as part of her therapy.
Born as Neve Adrianne Campbell from Canada, was one of the most familiar faces during the 1990s. The daughter of a psychologist and high school teacher, she has also done considerable television work.
Campbell is best recognized for appearing as Sidney Prescott in the horror movie series ‘Scream’. Neve Campbell She rose to fame for her role as Julia Salinger on the TV drama Party of Five. She then moved on to make appearances in the popular Scream film franchise and Wild Things. After that, Campbell has since worked intermittently, appearing in lesser-known films and doing some guest appearances on TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Mad Men.
Campbell, who has made significant contributions to both the Canadian and American entertainment industries, has received several recognition during her career. She received the “Saturn Award” for Best Actress for “Scream,” the “Blockbuster Entertainment Award” for Favorite Actress – Horror, and the “MTV Movie Award” for Best Female Performance for “Scream 2.” In addition to these honors, she also won the “Prism Award” for her performance in the television movie “Last Call.” The Canadian actress, who is renowned for her distinctive acting abilities, was previously included in People magazine’s list of the “50 Most Beautiful.”
Campbell wrapped up filming Anthony Mackie’s action comedy Twisted Metal in 2022, and she describes the new Peacock series as having a very different tone from her past works. She stars as deputy district attorney Maggie McPherson in the hit legal drama The Lincoln Lawyer, which premiered on Netflix on May 2022 and debuted at the top of the charts. The legal drama was created for television by David E. Kelley, who also created Nine Perfect Strangers and Big Little Lies. The Lincoln Lawyer has already been renewed for a second season. Campbell will then reunite with Kelley for the upcoming ABC drama Avalon, playing Detective Nicole Searcy on the new mystery-crime series.
On August 9, 1968, Gillian Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her family moved from Chicago to Puerto Rico to London to Grand Rapids, Michigan, before returning to Chicago to attend DePaul University. She has led quite the life in the years afterwards.
Anderson has played a variety of intriguing and daring roles, including Stella Gibson on The Fall, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier on Hannibal, and Blanche DuBois in the Broadway and London versions of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Gillian Anderson rose to international fame for her role on “The X-Files” as FBI agent Dana Scully. She had since appeared in several films such as House of Mirth, The Might Celt, and The Last King of Scotland, but people mostly remember Anderson as Agent Scully, her career-defining role.
In 2017, Anderson co-authored with Jennifer Nadel a book on women entitled “We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere” published by Atria Books. The book is about facing oneself and working through things in one’s own life in order to be of better service out in the world. And it’s about the community of women, and the fact that there is so much competition and judgment and negativity out there, especially on social media, when women should be turning to each other, helping each other to find their voices.
Heather Graham grew up alongside her younger sister Aimee, who is also an actor, and was brought up by strict Catholic parents. She became passionate about performing at a young age, and her friends even called her a “theater geek.” Unfortunately, her passion for performing distanced her from her parents. Graham, however, overcame her parents’ disapproval and continued to pursue acting. Graham’s perseverance paid off, as she is currently an accomplished actor. The American beauty is renowned for her active involvement in several organizations and humanitarian activities, particularly those that benefit children.
Heather Graham was widely regarded as one of the sex symbols during the decade. After a string of mostly supporting roles, Graham received wider acclaim for her portrayal as porn starlet Brandi/Rollergirl in 1997’s Boogie Nights. She also went on to star in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Bowfinger. Graham remained fairly active throughout the decade, appearing in several films and television shows.
In the year 1988, Graham had a fling with her ‘Drugstore Cowboy’ co-star Matt Dillon. In the 1990s, she dated English pop star Adam Ant. From 1998 to 2000, the actress was in a relationship with Edward Burns. Then from 2008 to 2011, she dated Yaniv Raz. Graham has also dated Heath Ledger and Jason Silva in the past.
She serves as an advocate for the global non-profit humanitarian organization, Children International. The actress also contributes to the Cambodian Children’s Fund and helps raise money to support underprivileged kids.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar rose to worldwide fame for her portrayal of Buffy Summers in the popular series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, although soap opera fans will remember her as Kendall Hart on All My Children. From her initial fame on the Buffy series, Gellar went on to star in popular horror films such as I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2. She also appeared in other films like Cruel Intentions and the live-action rendering of Scooby-Doo where she played the role of Daphne Blake. Although her film career remains relatively limited, many of the movies she’s starred in became box-office successes. From 2011 to 2012, she starred in the series Ringer, and from 2013 to 2014 she appeared on the sitcom The Crazy Ones opposite the late Robin Williams.
Gellar continued to work on television occasionally after Buffy’s run was over, most notably lending her voice to the animated program Robot Chicken. In the psychological drama series Ringer (2011–12), she portrayed the dual roles of a disturbed stripper and her socialite twin sister, returning to a regular leading role. Gellar co-starred with Robin Williams in the sitcom The Crazy Ones (2013–2014), provided the voice of Rey in the animated series Masters of the Universe: Revelation (2020), and subsequently made an appearance in the teen werewolf supernatural thriller Wolf Pack (2023).
Gellar cofounded (2015) Foodstirs at this period, which offered kid-friendly “junk-free” baking ingredients. In 2017, she co-authored the cookbook Stirring Up Fun with Food with Gia Russo.
Tiffani Thiessen is best known for her roles as Kelly Kapowski in Saved by the Bell and Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills 90210. These two TV shows were some of the biggest series during the 1990s, and she was popularly known as Tiffani Amber Thiessen then. With her astounding success and popularity way back then, no one could have predicted that her career would become one of a perpetual recurring role and guest star. She hasn’t been very active since the end of Beverly Hills 90210. However, in 2014 she just concluded her role as Elizabeth Burke on White Collar, after being part of the series’ cast for about five years.
After “Saved By The Bell” and its offshoots ended, Thiessen was left without a job. She also revealed on “You Up With Nikki Glaser” that she tried out for the role of Rachel Green on “Friends,” which would later become one of the most famous sitcoms ever made. The role was then ultimately played by Jennifer Aniston. Thiessen said she didn’t get the part for being a touch too young for the rest of them to pair off.
Additionally, Thiessen tried out for the Bond girl role opposite Pierce Brosnan in “The World is Not Enough,” a role she coveted “more than anything,” she told the Chicago Tribune, adding, “One, I thought it was going to change my career in a great direction. And two, I was a massive James Bond fan.” Denise Richards won the role, though.
Thiessen, is currently wearing two hats on MTV’s Deliciousness. Thiessen has served as both the host and a producer on Deliciousness since 2020. Deliciousness shares the internet’s most viral and entertaining food videos from food blunders to kids cooking in the kitchen, as well as epic restaurant fails.
Carrere’s entertainment career began after she was discovered in a grocery store in Hawaii, which led to her participation in the show business industry. Initially, she pursued a modeling career and competed in several beauty contests. Her first major break in acting came when she was cast in the daytime soap opera “General Hospital” as Jade Soong in the mid-1980s.
Carrere’s breakthrough role came with the 1992 comedy film “Wayne’s World,” where she played Cassandra Wong, a rock musician and the love interest of the main character, Wayne Campbell. The success of “Wayne’s World” and its sequel, “Wayne’s World 2,” significantly raised her profile.
She continued to appear in various films and television shows throughout the 1990s, including “True Lies” alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, where she played a spy.
Voorhies started her acting career at a young age, appearing in various commercials and guest-starring roles on television. Her first notable television appearance was in an episode of “Small Wonder” in 1988. She also appeared in shows like “Family Matters” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Voorhies’ most iconic role was as Lisa Turtle, the fashion-forward and sometimes snobbish character in “Saved by the Bell.” Her performance on the show, which targeted a teen audience, was well-received, and she became a popular figure among the show’s fans. Voorhies reprised her role in various spin-offs of the show, including “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” and “Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.”
Fiorentino’s career in acting began in the 1980s. She made her first significant film appearance in the 1985 coming-of-age film “Vision Quest.” However, it was her role in the 1985 action film “Gotcha!” that brought her initial recognition.
Fiorentino’s breakthrough came with her role in the 1994 film “The Last Seduction.” In this neo-noir film, she played Bridget Gregory, a manipulative, intelligent, and morally ambiguous character. Her performance was widely acclaimed, and she won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress. However, because the film was shown on television before its theatrical release, she was ineligible for an Academy Award nomination, which was a matter of some controversy at the time.
Fiorentino was known for her distinctive raspy voice and ability to portray strong, independent women with a complex emotional depth. Her on-screen persona was often that of a femme fatale, which made her a notable figure in 1990s cinema.
Ali’s breakthrough came at a young age when she was cast as Ashley Banks in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” in 1990. The show, which starred Will Smith, was a huge hit and ran for six seasons. As Ashley, Ali played the youngest daughter of the Banks family, and her character was known for being sweet-natured and musically talented. Her role on the show made her a familiar face to television audiences and provided a platform for her later career in entertainment.
After “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Ali continued her acting career with roles in both film and television. She appeared in several TV shows, including “Love That Girl!” and “The Young and the Restless.” Her film credits include “Kiss the Girls” (1997), “Jawbreaker” (1999), and “The Brothers” (2001). Ali has also made guest appearances on various TV shows and has been involved in several independent film projects.
Berkley’s breakout role came in 1989 when she was cast as Jessie Spano in the television series “Saved by the Bell.” The show, which focused on a group of high school students and their principal, became a hit among younger audiences and is remembered as an iconic teen sitcom of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Berkley’s character, known for her intelligence and feminist views, became one of the show’s most prominent figures.
In 1995, Berkley took a significant career turn by starring in “Showgirls,” directed by Paul Verhoeven. The film, a critical and box office failure at the time of its release, featured Berkley in a risqué role vastly different from her “Saved by the Bell” character. “Showgirls” was heavily criticized for its explicit content and over-the-top performance. However, in later years, the film gained a cult following and is now viewed by some as a satirical take on the entertainment industry.
Bleeth’s breakthrough role came in 1993 when she joined the cast of “Baywatch,” a series about lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County. She played the role of Caroline Holden, the younger sister of Mitch Buchannon, played by David Hasselhoff. Her appearance on “Baywatch” brought her international fame, and she quickly became one of the most popular and recognizable members of the cast. Bleeth appeared on the show until 1997.
Rachel Leigh Cook
Rachel Leigh Cook’s acting career started in the mid-1990s. Her early roles included parts in family films and television series. Her breakthrough came with the 1999 film “She’s All That,” a modern adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion” and the film “My Fair Lady.” In “She’s All That,” Cook played Laney Boggs, an art student who becomes the subject of a high school makeover bet. The film was a commercial success and remains a beloved teen romantic comedy.
Balk’s acting career began at a young age. One of her first notable roles was in the 1985 television film “The Worst Witch,” where she played a young witch at a magical academy. Her breakthrough role came in 1986 when she starred as Dorothy Gale in “Return to Oz,” a dark and somewhat unconventional sequel to “The Wizard of Oz.” Although the film initially received mixed reviews, it later gained a cult following, largely due to Balk’s performance.
The 90s with out a doubt were known for dynamic new shows, movies and amazing actresses. Some have gone on to storied careers but the ones on this list faded away either by their own choosing or because fame can be very fickle indeed!