Forgotten Actors From The 2000s – Where Are They Now?


The early 2000s gave us some of the most memorable films and television shows of all time, with outstanding performers who won our hearts with their performances. However, as time passed, several of these once-famous actors disappeared from view, leaving us to wonder what became of them. In this post, we’ll delve into the lives and careers of these forgotten performers from the 2000s, finding out where they are now and what they’ve been up to since their brief stint in the spotlight. From beloved rom-com stars to action heroes, get ready to learn the untold stories of these amazing performers and what they’ve been up to since their public disappearance.

1. Michael Vartan

Michael Vartan is a French-American actor best known for his portrayal of CIA agent Michael Vaughn in the successful action series Alias, which ran from 2001 to 2006. Vartan quickly became a fan favorite on the program, thanks to his endearing on-screen presence and connection with co-star Jennifer Garner. On the other hand, Vartan failed to find jobs that equaled the impact of his debut role once Alias ended.

Vartan’s most notable post-Alias film appearance was in the 2005 romantic comedy Monster-in-Law, where he co-starred with Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda. The picture was a commercial success, generating over $154 million worldwide, although his co-stars’ star power overshadowed Vartan’s performance.

Vartan was cast as Dr. Tom Wakefield, the love interest of the show’s main character, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, in the TNT medical drama series Hawthorne in 2009. The series aired for three seasons, and while critics gave it mixed reviews, Vartan’s performance was universally praised.

Vartan has had few major parts in cinema or television since Hawthorne, with his appearances mostly consisting of guest spots on various TV shows. Vartan’s personal life had made news on occasion, such as when his then-wife of three years, Lauren Skaar, filed for divorce in 2014.

2. Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox is an American actor best known for his role as Dr. Jack Shephard on the hit television show Lost. The program, which ran from 2004 through 2010, was a huge hit, and Fox received critical acclaim for his portrayal of the complicated and flawed protagonist. Despite the show’s success, Fox has failed to find success in Hollywood in recent years.

Following the conclusion of Lost, Fox starred in the 2011 film Alex Cross, which was a critical and commercial flop. He has since appeared in several films, the most recent being the 2015 western horror picture Bone Tomahawk. The picture was well-received by critics, but it did not have a wide theatrical release and hence had little impact on Fox’s career.

Aside from a minor guest appearance on the TV series World War II: Witness to War in 2017, Fox has not been involved in any big projects on television since Lost. While Fox’s absence from the worlds of film and television may disappoint some fans, he has kept himself busy with other activities.

For the first time in 13 years, Fox returned to the stage in 2012, playing “Robert” in a London production of Neil LaBute’s drama, In a Forest, Dark and Deep. He also worked with non-profit groups in both the United States and South America, and he has been known to keep his personal life somewhat low-key. Fox was cast as the lead character of a limited series, Last Light, which was launched on Peacock after a seven-year hiatus from the screen.

3. Josh Radnor

Josh Radnor is an American actor and filmmaker best known for portraying Ted Mosby in the classic CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Radnor became a household name and fan favorite for his depiction of the affable and hopeless romantic on the program, which aired from 2005 to 2014.

Radnor has not appeared in any major film or television productions since the show ended. He has shifted his concentration to music, founding the folk-pop duo Radnor & Lee with Australian musician Ben Lee. Their debut album was published in 2017, and they have since toured extensively in the United States and Australia.

In addition to his singing career, Radnor has pursued his passions for writing and directing. He created and directed two critically acclaimed independent films, “Happythankyoumoreplease” in 2010 and Liberal Arts in 2012. He has also appeared in several TV episodes, including Mercy Street, Grey’s Anatomy, and Rise.

4. Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is a model and actor from the United States who rose to prominence in the early 2000s for his appearances in hit comedies such as Mean Girls and Cheaper by the Dozen 2. Bennett portrayed Aaron Samuels, the love interest of the film’s protagonist, Cady Heron (played by Lindsay Lohan). The film was a huge hit and is still considered a cult classic today, with Bennett’s role being well-recognized and cited.

Following Mean Girls’ success, Bennett appeared in a number of other films and television shows, including Van Wilder: Freshman Year, Love Wrecked, and Smallville. His triumph in Hollywood, however, was fleeting, and he gradually faded from view.

Bennett has kept a low profile in terms of his acting profession in recent years. He appeared on a few reality television shows, including Dancing with the Stars in 2014 and Celebrity Big Brother in 2019. He has also hosted a few Food Network episodes, including Cake Wars and Halloween Wars. Bennett was featured in The Holiday Sitter, the first LGBTQ-led Hallmark Channel Christmas film, in 2022.


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5. Patrick Fugit

Patrick Fugit is an American actor best known for his breakthrough performance in Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous (2000). Fugit’s portrayal of William Miller, a teenage journalist covering a rock band, gained him critical acclaim and propelled him to stardom.

Following his breakthrough in Almost Famous, Fugit starred in several other films, including White Oleander (2002), Saved! (2004), and Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006). In these films, he won plaudits for his performances, with critics praising his ability to bring complexity and depth to his roles.

However, Fugit’s career has been less constant in recent years, and he has primarily taken on supporting roles in films and television shows. He has acted in several notable films, including Gone Girl (2014), Outcast (2016-2017), and First Man (2018), but he is less well-known than he was in the early 2000s. Fugit was cast as the lead in ABC’s pilot for Thirtysomething(else), a sequel to Thirtysomething, in 2020; however, the pilot was canceled by ABC later that year.

6. Matthew Lillard

(pictured above)

Matthew Lillard is an American actor, voice actor, and director who rose to popularity with successful film appearances in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He began his career in 1995 with a modest role in the coming-of-age comedy Animal Room, but it was his appearance as the eccentric computer hacker Cereal Killer in the cult classic film Hackers (1995) that catapulted him to stardom.

Lillard starred in other successful films, including the Scream trilogy, She’s All That (1999), and Summer Catch (2001). He also provided the voice of Shaggy in the live-action Scooby-Doo movie, which was big office hits.

Despite his early success, Lillard’s career has been somewhat less notable in recent years. He has continued to work steadily, appearing in various films and television shows, but many of these have been minor roles. His most noteworthy performance in recent years was as Brian Speer in the critically praised 2011 film The Descendants, in which he co-starred with George Clooney. Lillard also played Dean Boland in the television series Good Girls from 2018 to 2021. 

7. Billy Crudup

Billy Crudup is an American actor who has appeared in films, television shows and plays. For his work as Russell Hammond in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous (2000), he received an award from Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

Following the success of Almost Famous, many expected Crudup’s career to take off, but it never quite took off as expected. Despite his apparent talent and beautiful looks, he has yet to become the household name many expected. This could be partly attributed to Crudup’s preference for smaller indie films over big-budget Hollywood blockbusters.

In addition to his film work, Crudup has had a successful stage career, appearing in various Broadway shows, including The Coast of Utopia and Arcadia, for which he received Tony Award nominations.

Unfortunately, Crudup made personal news when he left his then-pregnant girlfriend, Mary Louise Parker, for Claire Danes in 2003, which may have detracted from his professional achievements.

Billy Crudup in 2015

8. Brendan Fraser

Brendan Fraser is an American actor best known for his appearances in blockbuster films such as Encino Man, School Ties, The Mummy, and George of the Jungle in the 1990s and early 2000s. He had established himself as a versatile actor, capable of playing both humorous and dramatic roles.

Despite his early success, Fraser’s career appeared to plateau in the mid-2000s. He continued to perform in films, but many of them were critical or commercial flops, and he was mostly gone from the big screen in the latter half of the decade.

Fraser has appeared in minor roles and projects in recent years. In 2014, he voiced a character in the cartoon feature The Nut Job, and in 2015, he starred in the mini-series Texas Rising. His absence from the big screen, along with a lack of high-profile assignments, has many wondering what happened to his once-promising career.

Roles in Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move (2021) and Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale (2022) rekindled Fraser’s film career. His performance as an obese gay guy in the latter garnered him the Academy Award for Best Actor, making him the first Canadian to do so.

Fraser in 2022

The 2000s were a decade full of outstanding actors who won our hearts on big and small screens. However, as time passed, many of these once-famous actors vanished from view, leaving us to wonder what happened to them. These actors have left us with recollections of their previous accomplishments but have struggled to create an impact in recent years. They are still admired by admirers who hope that they may make a reappearance one day. Only time will tell if these actors will rise again to retake their position in the spotlight or if audiences will continue to forget them.

9.  Shane West

Shane West, renowned for his roles in both television and film during the late 1990s and 2000s, captured audiences’ hearts with his portrayal of Landon Carter in “A Walk to Remember” alongside Mandy Moore. His performance in this film, in particular, cemented his status as a prominent figure in early 2000s cinema. Beyond this role, West has demonstrated versatility across genres, including his significant part in the television series “ER” and “Nikita,” showcasing his range from drama to action, thereby ensuring his place in the entertainment industry’s dynamic landscape.

10.  Jesse McCartney

Jesse McCartney is a multifaceted entertainer known for his singing, songwriting, and acting talents. Rising to fame in the early 2000s, he initially captured hearts as a member of the boy band Dream Street before embarking on a successful solo career. His hit songs like “Beautiful Soul” and roles in shows like “Summerland” cemented his status as a teen idol. Beyond music and acting, McCartney has also lent his voice to characters in animated series and video games, showcasing his versatility in the entertainment industry.

11.  Cris Judd

Cris Judd

Cris Judd is an American actor, choreographer, and dancer best known for his work with numerous high-profile artists and for his brief marriage to Jennifer Lopez. His dance and choreography career includes working on music videos, tours, and television shows, showcasing his versatility and talent in the entertainment industry. Beyond his professional achievements, Judd’s personal life, particularly his relationship with Lopez, brought him into the public eye. Despite the challenges of living under such scrutiny, Judd has continued to focus on his career in dance and choreography.

12. Ryan Cabrera

Ryan Cabrera is an American singer-songwriter and musician who gained prominence in the early 2000s with his hit single “On the Way Down” from his debut album, “Take It All Away.” Known for his catchy pop-rock tunes and distinctive spiky hair, Cabrera’s music career flourished with several albums and singles that resonated with a wide audience. Apart from his musical endeavors, Cabrera has also appeared on various television shows, further solidifying his presence in the entertainment industry. Over the years, he has continued to produce music, tour, and participate in reality TV, showcasing his enduring appeal and versatility as an artist.

13.  Hayden Christensen

Hayden Christensen is widely recognized for his role as Anakin Skywalker in the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, marking a significant chapter in his acting career. Beyond “Star Wars,” he has taken on various roles in movies like “Life as a House,” earning critical acclaim. Despite a quieter presence in Hollywood in recent years, Christensen continues to act, reflecting his ongoing passion for the craft.

14.  Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Jonathan Taylor Thomas, popularly known for his role as Randy Taylor on “Home Improvement,” became a teen idol in the 1990s. Aside from acting, Thomas focused on academics, attending Harvard University and Columbia University. In recent years, he’s stepped back from the spotlight, prioritizing personal interests and education over acting.

Frankie Muniz

Frankie Muniz is best known for his role as Malcolm in the hit TV series “Malcolm in the Middle,” which earned him critical acclaim and several awards. Despite his early success in acting, Muniz shifted his focus to racing cars and playing drums for the band Kingsfoil. In recent years, he has made occasional returns to acting and participated in reality TV shows, showcasing his diverse interests and talents outside of acting.


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