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10 Famous Actors Who Are Or Have Become Major Disappointments

12 November 2015 | Features, People Lists | by Shane Steeley

disappointing actors

Very similar to guests, there are actors who were amazing at one time but have long since overstayed their welcome. Others weren’t welcome in the first place, yet we allowed them in and they promptly overturned the punch bowl and destroyed the t.v.

This list will detail actors/actresses who people seem to inexplicably love and those who were amazing at one point but are hollow shells of what they once were.


10. Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Oh Ms. Monroe, how you grace so many self-involved egotists Facebook and dorm walls. While Marilyn was more famous for her modeling work, her acting still is quite revered by many. Which does seem quite baffling.

She did not work well with others, her acting was even by comedy standards pretty laughable and not in a good way. She was poison as a costar, made outrageous demands for someone of her lacking talent and really continues in the consciousness due to the cult of personality that was created around her.


9. Sean Connery

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

This is a man who luckily had the decency to finally quit acting after the dreck that was League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Honestly though he should have thrown in the towel much sooner. While Connery was a good addition to the Indiana Jones series, he really plays the same character over and over. While this semi worked with the Bond films, he has gained demi-god like status for being what many consider the definitive Bond.

The constant reprisal of old Scottish guy tended to get old fast and while the original Highlander was great fun, the second was painful and he gave nothing to make it not feel like a cheap cash in. Sean Connery is an interesting and fine actor in specific spots but definitely not the messiah many people make him out to be.


8. Tom Cruise


Now this article could easily top a million words if we talked about his personal life, but for now, it is best to stick to his acting.

While Cruise has stepped up his game recently which has been refreshing, we cannot forget several of his previous films where to quote the great Jay Sherman, he was on “Cruise control” for most of the late nineties and early 2000s.


7. Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

This is an actor whose films were fantastic. The Road Warrior, Lethal Weapon, and Braveheart all had anyone with a pulse on the edge of their seats, then sadly he went insane. Gibson’s unsavory actions are so well known, it would be pointless to list them but it is important to mention.

Aside from Gibson’s politics and religious beliefs, he has honestly become a joke. For the past decade, Gibson has not starred in a worthwhile film and that is really the tragedy of it all. While his politics will always be a black mark for this writer and for the public, it is sad that we may never really get to see him in something of substance for quite some time, if ever again.


6. Tommy Lee Jones

Tommy Lee Jones

Yet again another situation with age or just he was able to bag a couple of good movies to be in. Tommy Lee Jones was a darling throughout the mid-90s, but ever since then, he has become a source of major dissatisfaction. With the second Men in Black being the beginning of the end which was and still is considered a huge disappointment for a sequel and a film in general.

Jones found a way to slightly bounce back with his role in No Country for Old Men, but that was in part to the amazing ensemble that surrounded him. At the end of the day, Jones is a serviceable actor who will be fine by continuing to play an old fatherly type to a main character.



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  • Dean Strohm

    Really, for most of them, it is simply the limit of roles offered to them. As Hollywood is moving on to the newer and younger actors. There is also the limit of roles offered to them because of scandals (such as Mel Gibson). Then also as actors get older, they may have age related problems such as more limited mobility or memory issues!

  • Binod K Gurung

    Johnny Depp is a huge disappointment…..

    • RockyJohan

      yeah but he was never good to begin with…

      • Harsha Raman

        Johnny Depp is a great actor. But nowadays due to the ‘big budget studio-projects’, his graph is going down.

      • Binod K Gurung

        Promised a lot

  • Kopknight

    Gibson aside, I find it hard to think of any of the people on this list as ‘huge disappointments. What about Tobey Maguire, virtually unheard of since Spider-Man? Taylor Kitsch, once lauded as the next big thing, what happened to him after his roles in X-Men Origins; Wolverine and John Carter?

    • Nancy Hall

      Maguire has worked pretty steadily since Spiderman. He had one of the three leads in The Great Gatsby and he did Pawn Sacrifice, which was well reviewed. Gatsby was hardly “unheard of.” Taylor Kitsch is at the beginning of his movie career. He has done a couple of indie films. The Savages was well reviewed. He was great in The Normal Heart…HBO movie. He was also good in True Detective. It was pretty much incoherent, but that had nothing to do with the actors.

      • Jane

        Gatsby was crap. And Tobey Maguire is the definition of milquetoast. Watching him act is literally like eating toast that’s sitting in tepid milk- just bland, awful and leaves a weird taste in your mouth.

      • Kopknight

        Yeah I saw Gatsby and have heard of Pawn Sacrifice, my point was that other than Spider-Man, Maguire’s name has hardly featured regularly in a similarly elevated billing. Not that it makes him a disappointment of course. Also as far as Kitsch is concerned I meant starring roles as far as being former big names, both have dipped under the radar somewhat, not that that is by any means an indication of failure or a disappointment, just that they don’t occupy that top tier, but then again which actor has been the cream of the crop their entire career? Probably none.

  • Well, talk about a bitter article.

  • Miguel PT

    limited and self taste critics… and poorly explained also

  • This list is crap. Seriously. Plus, who takes Jennifer Aniston seriously as an actress anyways?

    • cinemaftw

      She have excellent comedy timing

      • She does have her moments and I did like her in We’re the Millers but she doesn’t really show much range as an actress.

        • cinemaftw

          but is range really that important? also have you’ve seen friends? He really kick ass there, and i don’t even like his character

          • Why would I want to watch that fucking show? I never saw it when it was out and I still don’t want to.

          • cinemaftw

            Your an dick, good to know

          • If I’m a dick. Good, in a world of neanderthals. I take it as a badge of honor.

    • Iván Solorio (SanS)

      I don’t care much for her, I don’t find her funny actually (even though I’m a fan of Friends but Chandler was and is my favorite from the series) however, I thought she was solid in Cake.

    • Gunn

      I guess the people who watched “The good girl”

      • Yeah but that was sort of a fluke. She has her moments but she’s not that great.

        • Not a fluke! See “Cake”. She has lots of range!

          • Why? It’s just a mediocre Oscar-bait film.

          • Much disagreement. Most critics said that the only reason to see “Cake” was for Aniston’s performance. It is indeed a mediocre film that received a puzzling zero Oscar nominations (for being an “Oscar-bait film” as you said).

          • Yeah but why would I want to see Jennifer Aniston try to prove to herself and say “I’m acting, I’m acting!”?

          • I’m not sure why. She’s gorgeous, down-to-Earth, and (like it or not) a gifted actress. That’s why she makes millions and we don’t…

          • Oh, so you’re saying she’s better than Scarlett Johansson, Jena Malone, Lea Seydoux, Cate Blanchett, Gong Li, Kerry Washington, and Jessica Chastain?

          • I don’t recall saying that, no. In fact she’s NOT even better than Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, Michelle Williams, Sarah Paulson, Uma Thurman, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Helen Hunt, Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener, or Cher (yes, Cher). I don’t like people putting words in my mouth.

          • Well, you implied it. Just because Aniston has a lot of money doesn’t mean shit. Kate Hudson gets a large salary too yet she only draws very poor-to-mediocre box office money and has she done anything noteworthy that isn’t Almost Famous?

          • You are really grasping and not proving a point. I never “implied” anything. And WTF does Kate Hudson have to do with any of this? I never said Aniston was the biggest talent in America, nor did I say she’s good because she’s rich. I think that you should actually watch “Cake” in order to judge anything. You obviously have not. It’s mediocre film with a pretty marvelous performance.

          • Whatever. I’m not wasting my time watching Aniston try to act though I know she does have some chops in films like The Good Girl.

          • Contradiction. I love it. Peace…

          • It maybe a contradiction but at least Aniston was working with an accomplished director who tells her what not to do instead of people trying to make her look good for the critics.

          • Saurav Khatiwada

            What a twat! How’s that for a badge of honor?

          • Go get your “Friends” DVDs, shine them up real nice and stick it straight up your candy-ass. That show sucked.

  • Darren

    An extremely weak article, Pacino didnt put on an ‘accent’, his voice changed throughout the 80s due to alcoholism amongst other things.
    And to say Tom Cruise had a weak period from the late 90s to the early 00s is absurd, in fact that is the period he performed his best.
    PS. You are Oscar obsessed

    • Stephus

      Cruise has never been a good actor at all!! The only good acting he has made is interview with the vampire, rain man, and magnolia every other movie he made he’s just Tom Cruise

  • Steve Mahofski

    Death is a really good reason to disappear from movies… And that’s how the article begins! By the way Rogen is coming off Steve Jobs and Anniston Cake- both career high points. Michael Collins was a decent Vehicle for Pacino this year as well. There goes four off your list without even thinking about it.

    • Jane

      Liam Neeson was in Michael Collins. Pacino did Danny Collins.

  • Let’s talk about Harrison Ford on December 19th.

  • Hariharan Acharya

    By keeping the parameters of the list in mind, if Marlon Brando was alive today, you would deem him eligible for such a low-point list. By the way, Pacino’s performances in Danny Collins and Manglehorn were above-par and enough to not keep him on this list. This is undoubtedly one of the worst lists on this excellent site. You guys are going on good, please do not evolve into WatchMojo or something. Expecting better lists from the author.

    • Nancy Hall

      It’s multiple authors. Nobody appears to be reviewing these lists before posting, with the result that some really tasteless garbage is showing up.

  • Nancy Hall

    Wow! What a nasty, mean spirited list. Almost anybody could qualify as a major disappointment at some point in his or her career. What this boils down to is the fact that some good actors made some bad movies. A few, like Aniston and maybe Rogen, are mediocre actors that are working to their potential; but nobody ever expected them to do more.

    Marilyn Monroe was terrific. I don’t know what the author’s talking about. She was funny in Some Like It Hot and The Seven Year Itch. She was heartbreaking in Bus Stop and The Misfits. So what if she was hard to work with? She lit up the screen and played to the camera like few others in the history of film.

  • Tony81

    I would love to be one of those “disappointing” actors

  • Dean Kish

    Where is Robert DeNiro? Cuba Gooding Jr? Wesley Snipes? Nicole Kidman? Halle Berry?

    • RockyJohan

      On another better list.

  • Asad Shairani

    If there was a list of disappointing toc articles, this one would definitely make it.

  • Iván Solorio (SanS)

    Man, really, you need to actually dig deeper to make a list like this.
    1. Monroe was in Some Like It Hot, the film was praised because, among other things, Monroe comedic timing and chemistry with both Curtis and Lemmon. If you also need other references of Monroe’s acting and comedic talent there’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (a film Werner Fassbinder declared to be one of the best) and How to Marry a Millionaire. Also for her more dramatic chops there’s Bus Stop.

    2. Sean Connery… besides creating the smooth and charismatic Bond that has never been able to be replaced; Connery has The Name of the Rose, The Untouchables and Finding Forrester to name a few. The man created a legacy and that’s not every actor can do and not many have done.

    3. Tommy Lee Jones… I’m surprised you didn’t mentioned Mr. Jones amazing directorial career. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada is probably the most thought provoking western in ages. Also, while you did mentioned No Country for Old Men, you forgot to mention In the Valley of Elah, Hope Springs and The Homesman.

    4. Finally, Al Pacino. Again, a man that has built a legacy. Yes, he has made terrible decisions but for fuck’s sake! Have you forgotten Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, And Justice for All, Glengarry Glen Ross, Heat, The Godfather?! I mean, what other living or dead actor has made so much memorable characters and films that have been pay homage and parodied to death? If you want a more recent example of this great actor watch You Don’t Know Jack, Phil Spector and Danny Collins. Those films will show you that Pacino is still one of the best.

    Good day to you, mate.

  • Jane

    Not that I’m a big Kevin Costner fan, but you didn’t mention Bull Durham, JFK, Tin Cup, Open Range, 13 Days or The Untouchables, all of which were great Costner performances. Considering how many great movies he’s done, I can forgive the losers, because the man has to work. And BTW, what does Tina Turner have to do with The Bodyguard? Did you mean Whitney Houston? If so, get your facts straight.

  • Luis Jose’ Velásquez

    De niro? Anybody?

    • გიორგი ჯაფიაშვილი

      Yes, De Niro is indeed the ultimate disappointment. I would also include Johnny Depp.

      • Christopher Milford

        I can’t stand Johnny Depp’s acting, honestly don’t understand how he keeps getting cast. Massively massively overrated.

  • Rhonda Lynn Kasperek

    Worst article yet. Jennifer Aniston has become a fine actor.

  • “Now this may be more of a personal preference” should really have been put at every entry. Besides the mean and cynical spirit of this list, what the author has shown here is rather a misplaced idea of cinema. To lambast Marilyn Monroe, Tommy Lee Jones, and Jennifer Aniston betrays a lack of appreciation for the nuances and styles of performance, and to say they have outstayed their welcome places the author in rather a small and bitter minority of movie-goers.

  • RockyJohan

    Shane Steeley. You are an idiot.

  • Rudi

    I hope this “hate lists” trend will end soon, let’s just enjoy cinema together. Also, I know you can debate endlessly about personal taste, but please have a quick quality check before these lists go online. This one is just extremely weak.

    For instance Tom Cruise. Movies such as Oblivion and especially Edge Of Tomorrow prove the oppositie, if anything – he is in the form of his life. And attacking Marilyn Monroe with non-original commentary? You know this will do nothing but offend people, right?

    Please start celebrating cinema again and stop all this hate.

  • Geisha de Rhin

    This is a horrible list. I don’t mind some hate list once in a while, but the arguments here simply suck!!! Tommy Lee Jones just starred in Lincoln and was an Oscar nominee, he didn’t disappoint. I hate Tom Cruise, but Edge of Tomorrow was great. Al Pacino was great too as Phil Spector recently, and he was also a Tony nominee recently. Jennifer Aniston’s latest film, Cake also proves her try getting finer. You want disappointing actors, here are the true top four names:

    1. RENEE ZELLWEGER. Started brilliantly in Nurse Betty, sensational as Bridget Jones, BAFTA nominee for Miss Potter, Oscar nominee for Chicago, Oscar winning for Cold Mountain. And then puff … gone.

    2. SHIA LABEOUF. Promising with Transformers, caught Spielberg’s eye in Indiana Jones, and hailed the next best thing by Vanity Fair as Hollywood New Wave, while apparently he is just a plagiarist douchebag. That’s a disappointment!

    3. LINDSAY LOHAN. Adorable in the Parent Trap, great with Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday, fantastic with Tina Fey in Mean Girls, she snatched a role for Robert Altman’s too, she was on Vanity Fair cover Hollywood issue with many other new promising actress. And she turned into a lazy druggy, THAT’S A MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT!

    4. GWYNETH PALTROW. She robbed Cate Blanchett’s first Oscar, and she’s just an insufferable cow trying to be the domestic goddess. We only love Nigella Lawson, thankyouverymuch!

    • Nancy Hall

      Shia Labeouf has had some personal problems as has Lohan. Labeouf was terrific in Nymphomaniac, however. It seems that some popular performers are regarded as failures if they shift from expensive blockbusters to indie or foreign films.

  • FlyteBro

    I could never understand why anyone liked Will Smith in the first place, and have always found his smug attitude quite revolting.

  • Noname

    very very bad article Kevin Costner and Al Pacino are one of the best actors that ever lived. You give examples of a few movies that played in but they had tremendous careers which made priceless contributions to the film industry and to the world’s culture. Al Pacino and Kevin Costner inspired generations and will be always remembered as real men and genius actors. I wonder if any of the new actors will probably accomplish 10% of what these two did for the film industry and the general population. Probably not.

    Please think again before writing awful articles, maybe u need a new job because you suck at this one.

  • testoclocles

    Listicles – the syphilitic spirochetes of media

  • Tobias Palma

    Stop with the hating lists. Seriously. We’re much more interested in what movies to watch and why are they interesting. Don’t turn ToC into a gossiping magazine. There’s plenty of them already.

  • Vardan Partamyan

    The bucket list of the ten worst argumented choices…so poorly executed that I even want to defend Jennifer Aniston… so it must be pretty bad indeed

  • MichaelB

    Aniston was pretty good in 2002’s “The Good Girl”. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a by-the-numbers romantic comedy, but a pretty heartfelt drama where she displayed a lot more depth than her usually one dimensional comedic roles.

  • ghoast

    This man has obviously not seen The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada; not only did Tommy Lee Jones Star in it doing a remarkable performance, he wrote and directed it. In fact I’d say that Mr. Jones has surpassed acting and has also become a fabulous director. The Homesman anyone???

    This is the worst taste of cinema article I’ve read by a landslide. Congratulations Shane Steeley, you SUCK!

    • Iván Solorio (SanS)

      he didn’t wrote it, though. But I agree with everything else

  • FlixtheCat

    Terrible list. Vague, broad, and feels like trolling.

  • Humaed

    Cruise doesn’t belong on that list. I also, wasn’t expecting to see Aniston; as she’s never been great to begin with, the same applies to Seth Rogan.

    Interesting choices, not putting De Nero and Depp – the two biggest actors who became a joke in recent times. I’d also consider Nic Cage.

  • samlam

    what a bullshit list

  • Hugleikur Dagsson

    I gotta say… I’m not really liking this new hater wibe on this site. I used to come here to see what you like. not what you hate. If I’d wanted some negativity I’d go to… anywhere else on the internet.

  • Whitney Collins

    The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada went hard. Tommy Lee Jones is not and will never be a disappointment. This article is a disappointment. Nothing personal, I just expect more thought provoking articles about movies and actors and not just shallow celebrity bashing.

  • Douglas Taylor

    This is a terrible list and a terrible article. I wouldn’t usually jump on something to judge it, but this isn’t a proper opinion piece, it’s just a list of people the writer doesn’t like, which also totally ignores a lot of work by the actors in it. If somebody can explain the value of the article to me, I’d be interested to hear it.

  • dman131

    This is simply trash.

  • Guilherme

    This list got so many things wrong… I would definitely put Haley Joel Osment

  • Eric A. Karno

    Worst TOC list yet, and by a wide margin. This is simply a list of actors with whom the author has unresolved emotional issues.

  • Veronica Clarke

    What a strange list. May as well have been called ’10 actors I don’t like,’
    Would prefer to read about what people appreciate and enjoy. I have discovered a lot of great films I would otherwise not have known about here, let’s keep to that.

  • Unkle Amon

    Wtf?! Since when are Will Smith, Rogen and Aniston considered as serious actors? What a joke of an article. Shane Steeley, how old are you? I know that anybody can be blogger these days but come on…

  • Huh. I beg to differ here slightly. I’m not even a Tommy Lee Jones fan, but the guy just slowed down is all. When he does act, it’s good. He even got an Oscar nomination recently for “Lincoln”. Tom Cruise isn’t as selective as some actors his age, but he does well. Jennifer Aniston on this list is ABSURD! Her career ‘bests’ to many were for “We’re The Millers” & “Cake” from last year. Come on! Make some educated choices like Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg, Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, Johnny fucking Depp, Jamie Foxx, Cher, Hilary Swank. These are a few examples of actors CAPABLE of so much MORE!

  • DyanSwan

    I, sadly, agree with the assessment of Al Pacino. He can be a brilliant, controlled, subtle actor or he can be an over-the-top mess. I thought his performance in Scent of a Woman was cliched and obvious.

    I wonder if his performances are dependent on the director he’s working with. Some of his recent television work has been interesting.

    • I dunno. He was OUTSTANDING as Roy Cohn in “Angels in America”. He won every TV film award out there for it. One performance of many I realize…

      • DyanSwan

        I agree with you. I do think and said so above, that I feel that his recent work for television was interesting. I meant that in a good way.

        However, I so wonder how much of his performance as Roy Cohn was shaped by Mike Nichols who directed Angels in America.

        • Let’s be honest, the entire cast of “Angels” was triumphant. It’s a difficult script to pull off with its (brilliant) prose & analogues. And in any hands other than Nichols’, it probably would have crumbled. Off-topic, but pertinent.

  • Mrterrific9

    What’s up with these lists lately?

  • Daniel Brave

    De niro should be also here

  • Franco Gonzalez

    Very, very poor written article..
    Also, Tommy Lee Jones a dissapointment? WTF!? Only No Country For Old Man? What about Lincoln? Beeing a great supporting actor is a dissapointment? Shit of an article..

  • Your politics are your own. Although you are entitled to integrate them into your writing, please do not assume that the public shares your sentiment.

  • Sandra Venice Singh

    Stick to journalism, film critic is not up your alley.

  • Klaus Dannick

    Bitter, mean spirited article. I was hoping for something more objective when I clicked on this.

  • Allister Cooper

    Tom Cruise? Tommy Lee Jones?

  • Stephus

    I have to agree with you about everyone, but Pacino. He’s still a great actor.

  • jann1k

    Cruise, really? Come on man. Cruise has been on a roll with quality action flicks (Edge of Tomorrow, MI4 & 5, Jack Reacher) where he was always a solid lead to count on and his stuntwork has been incredible. The only really disappoiting movie he starred in since 2011 is Rock of Ages and he was easily the best and most entertaining part in it.
    This is definitely one of my Top 10 most disappointing ToC lists.

  • Jeremy Marshall

    Sometimes, rarely, Marilyn delivered a solid dramatic performance. Niagara, Don’t Bother to Knock.

  • Simon Foster

    Expect better from ToC. This is cheap-shot, snarky, gutter-level web-writing. Gonna take back that Fbook ‘like’; don’t want this disrespectful click-bait in my feed, esp from a page I thought loved and respected all things cinema.

  • Harsha Raman


  • seehle

    Sorry for singing to the choir, but this list is not only 1 or 2 people off, it’s horrible in its entirety, picking on old men and stars with 1 or 2 bad movies. Smith has had a long streak of blockbusters, and great performances Ali, Pursuit, 7Pounds, Concussions, I’m Legend etc. Say what you like about Rogen, but he’s still coining it the comedy market, never really saw him as the next great thespian of the arts. Tom Cruise? Edge of Tomorrow? MI series, Vanilla Sky? Magnolia? Won’t even start with all the legends on this list.

  • killerjoe1985

    Tom Cruise & Will Smith are very bad actors. Too overrated..

  • Dave

    This was a disappointing article