Frankly, why wouldn't they? If you'd made a bunch of money from being famous and could support yourself indefinitely, why wouldn't you do what you wanted? That's not to say all of these celebrities are set for life, but they certainly have a head start. If they don't like being famous, they don't have to be. They have the money to do whatever they want.
Most people know Jack Gleeson as King Joffrey, the most hated character in the history of Game of Thrones. Jack, the actor behind Joffrey, was so convincing in the role that most people might be afraid to approach him in real life. As it turns out, after his character was killed off the show, Jack decided to retire from acting and pursue a different career path as an adult.
He went to Trinity College and majored in philosophy and theology. Whatever he does with the rest of his life, it's probably a comfort to know that you can always fall back on the mountains of money you made on one of the world's most popular shows.
Jack Nicholson obviously had a long and historic career, one that included a starring role in The Shining. One of Jack's co-stars, though, decided to give up acting after quite a bit of success as a child. Danny Lloyd, the young boy who plays Danny in The Shining, decided to quit acting as an adult.
Now, he works as a biology professor in Elizabeth, Kentucky. His life now may not be quite as exciting as it would be if he was a movie star, but it's also probably more stable. Who knows? Maybe filming The Shining gave him too many nightmares to consider acting for a career.
You may know Gene Hackman from any number of films. The actor is a legend of Hollywood, and he's created a number of iconic characters over the years. Since his soft retirement from acting, though, Gene has begun a career as a novelist, and he seems to be as good at that as he was at acting.
To date, the 87-year-old has published five novels, and all of them have been fairly well-received. After a lifetime of being a part of other people's stories, Gene decided to write some of his own. What's more, it doesn't seem like he really misses the spotlight all that much.
In addition to doing some occasional work as a voiceover artist, Freddie Prinze Jr. is also a publisher of cookbooks. Although he and his wife Sarah Michelle Gellar aren't as famous as they once were, the two of them seem to be living a remarkably happy life.
In fact, Freddie's original plan was to enter culinary school. Instead, he landed roles in I Know What You Did Last Summer and She's All That and became an actor. Ultimately, it didn't matter. He ended up back in the kitchen after his work as an actor was done. It was always there waiting for him.
So many of the people on this are child actors, and that's probably not a bad thing. Often, it's the child actors who grow up in Hollywood that end up messed up. For Jeff Cohen, one of the young stars at the center of The Goonies, the best course of action was to let his work as Chunk stand as his best-known role.
As an adult, Jeff is now a lawyer and a partner in a firm. He's chosen to live a life out of the spotlight, but that doesn't mean he's necessarily chosen a less lucrative career. Lawyers may not be big names most of the time, but they can make a pretty penny without all the press attention.
If you're a movie fan, you probably know what Jonathan Bennett looks like, even if you don't recognize the name. Jonathan's most famous role is Aaron Samuels, the adorable, attractive boy who plays a central role in Mean Girls. The movie made stars out of a lot of its cast, but Jonathan was left behind as Rachel McAdams made a name for himself.
Today, the former actor worked as a spin instructor in Los Angeles, and eventually returned to the world of entertainment as a host. He's currently the host of Food Network's Cake Wars and the MTV show Copycat.
Apparently, running a candy factory isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Peter Ostrum, the actor who played Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, didn't continue acting after his starring role in that film. Instead, he became a veterinarian, and he's currently working out of upstate New York.
It's funny to think about the way an actor whose face everyone knows can just disappear. Peter Ostrum did something that should have made him very famous, and it probably would have if he'd stayed in Hollywood. Instead, he chose a quiet life taking care of animals in the middle of nowhere.
Being an actor is not the only way to be successful. Charlie Korsmo proved just that when, after starring roles in films like Hook and Can't Hardly Wait, he decided to stop acting and get a law degree. Although he went by Charlie as an actor, he actually goes by Charles now. It's much more sophisticated and lawyerly, you see.
It goes to show, though, that quitting acting isn't always something that happens only when the roles dry up. In Charles's case, he wound up with a job at Case Western Reserve University as a law professor. It may not be an acting career, but he doesn't need that to be happy.
In the '80s, Michael Schoeffling had a promising career as a leading man in teen films like Sixteen Candles and Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken. As it turns out, his career as an actor wasn't long for this world. Apparently, he quit Hollywood to become a carpenter and run a woodworking shop.
While it's true that that career probably isn't as profitable as his work as an actor, money isn't the only thing that matters. Sometimes, you've got to do what fulfills you, even if that isn't the surest way to boatloads of cash. It seems like that's exactly what Michael did. Hopefully, it was a worthwhile decision.
20th Century Fox
Mike Vitar was famous for work he did as a child actor. He had central roles in films like The Sandlot and The Mighty Ducks, but he eventually quit acting. His last role was in 1996, and since then, he's worked as a firefighter in Los Angeles.
Firefighting can be dangerous work, but it might make Mike feel like he's concretely helped the world in a way that most actors don't. Firefighters save lives after all, and thanks to his money from his work as a child, he probably doesn't need to worry all that much about how he gets paid.
There are plenty of actors who left acting to pursue some other job, but Lark Voorhies is special in that she retired from acting fairly young, but has been content to rely on that money indefinitely. Today, the actress, who once played Lisa Turtle on Saved by the Bell, is focused on her painting.
Working as an artist is hard enough when you're trying to make money, but apparently, Lark has no interest in selling her work. Instead, she told VH1 that all of her paintings are for herself. It's pretty hard to get buyers to purchase something they can't even see. It's probably a good thing that she also writes books. Otherwise, she'd be fairly destitute.
For many, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had a substantial impact on how they see the world, and it also made Will Smith an enormous actor. For Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary Banks on the show, it was also a good place to end her acting career. After six seasons, any actress would be burnt out by the heavy workload they'd endured.
Thankfully, Karyn did much more than sitting on her piles of money. She founded Sweet Blackberry, a non-profit that's focused on teaching children about black history. She found a way to make an impact on her community. There's nothing more important than that.
Geena Davis is not totally divorced from Hollywood in the way that many of the people on this list are. Instead, she simply took a step back from her work as an actress in order to focus on other things that are slightly more adjacent to Hollywood.
The League of Their Own and Thelma and Louise star has spent the later part of her career working toward improving the portrayal of women in all forms of media. She founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and it seems clear she's interested in paving the way for other female artists.
New Line Cinema
As the star of Hairspray, you might have expected Nikki Blonsky to have a fairly extensive career in Hollywood. While she did find work on TV movies like Freeform's Huge and Queen Sized, offers started to dry up fairly quickly for the young actress.
Eventually, Nikki quit Hollywood and the world of show business in favor of pursuing a career in cosmetology. Given how good she was in Hairspray, it's a shame that Hollywood doesn't have more vehicles for plus-sized women. Hollywood has been unnecessarily cruel to that body type. Nikki is extraordinarily talented, but even she couldn't find enough work to sustain a career.
Almost everyone has heard something about Amanda Bynes's struggles with fame. She's been famous since her days on Nickelodeon as a star of All That and The Amanda Show. More recently, she also starred in films like Easy A. Since then, though, Amanda has had some issues, and she seems to have decided to live her life out of the spotlight, at least for a while.
Currently, she's shifted her efforts to focus on a career in fashion design. That work likely gives her a chance to spend more time focusing on herself, which is something that all of us should strive for. She's said she wants to get back into acting, but we're still waiting for Hollywood to give her another chance.
When you work as an actor from a very young age, it can be hard to stay well adjusted. That's especially true when you're really little, as Brittany Ashton Holmes was when she starred in the 1994 version of The Little Rascals. Honestly, it's a miracle that children that young can even remember their lines.
After a few TV movie appearances in the aftermath of Rascals, Brittany decided to take an early retirement from acting and pursue a degree in political science. It was probably a wise choice. When you have a childhood that's not normal, you should get a normal adulthood if that's what you want.
Buena Vista Pictures
In the '90s, Jonathan Taylor Thomas was a heartthrob that many assumed would go on to have a terrific career. He starred in a number of movies, but his major role was on Home Improvement. Although he still does an occasional guest spot on Tim Allen's newer show Last Man Standing, Jonathan has largely moved away from performing in favor of education.
The former actor has studied at Harvard, Columbia, and St. Andrew's University in Scotland. There's nothing like a good education to get you where you're going, especially if you're as rich from your childhood work as Jonathan likely is. The '90s heartthrob is probably made for life.
If you know the name Al Green, it's probably because he's the singer behind "Let's Stay Together," one of the great love songs of our time. Although that's what the soul singer is best known for, his more recent work has had less to do with song and more to do with praising the Lord.
These days, Al is a preacher at Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, Tennessee. He may not be the shining musical icon that he once was, but preaching probably shoots him quite well. If the occasion should come for him to break out into song, we know he's got the chops.
When you spend most of your childhood on any TV show, it can shape your perceptions of the world. That's doubly true when that show is Two and a Half Men, and one of your co-stars is Charlie Sheen. That was the case for Angus T. Jones, who starred as the half-man of the show's title.
Although his work on the show was part of what made it a success, after it ended, Angus quit Hollywood and acting all together. Today, he's working on the management side of a company called Tonite. The company is run by Diddy's son Justin and works in production.
Although her husband is still very much involved in Hollywood, Phoebe Cates has stepped away from acting in order to run her own business. For much of the '80s, Phoebe was the ultimate sex symbol, and her starring role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was legendary.
Although she's married to actor Kevin Kline, Phoebe seems to have shied away from the spotlight since her biggest claims to fame back in the day. Today, she runs a women's clothing and home goods boutique in Manhattan. It's a quieter life, but it's probably not one that she'd be willing to give up to head back into the limelight.