#Movies & TV
6 Film Actors Whose Careers Were Revived on the Small Screen
by Jennifer Lafferty
Many stars who begin to struggle with their feature film careers experience a comeback on television, which in some cases surpasses the success they enjoyed in films. While there was once a stigma attached to movie stars doing TV, it is no longer considered a step down. It is becoming common for well-known actors to work simultaneously on both the big and small screens. Here’s a look at six actors whose careers were revived on the small screen.
Claire Danes: As the sweet, lovely Claire Danes moved out of playing the ingenue roles that suited her so well, in movies like Romeo + Juliet, her career suffered. In 2011 Danes returned to series television after an absence of more than 15 years, to portray the character of Carrie Mathison in the drama thriller Homeland, which has made her as popular as ever.
Simon Baker: Among the charismatic actors of his generation, Simon Baker seemed to have a promising film career ahead in the late 1990s and early 2000s with memorable roles in movies like L.A. Confidential and The Devil Wears Prada. However, when prominent films became few and far between, the Australian hunk got a second chance at success in 2008 starring in the popular crime drama The Mentalist, which ran for eight seasons.
Lucy Liu: With an irresistible combination of strength and femininity, actress Lucy Liu helped to break new ground for women in action films, most notably with her role as Alex Munday in the hit big screen adaptation of Charlie’s Angels. When Liu’s feature film career started to cool down, an intriguing opportunity to play the female version of Dr. Watson in the updated and reimagined Sherlock Holmes series Elementary in 2012 made her a top television star.
Jessica Lange: During the ’80s and ’90s, Oscar Award–winner Jessica Lange was going strong on the big screen, starring in iconic movies like Tootsie and Cape Fear. Despite her exceptional acting skills, by the early 2000s it seemed this beautiful ice princess had all but fallen off the radar. Lange’s career was suddenly revitalized a few years ago when she joined forces with other impressive actors by costarring in TV’s American Horror Story.
Mark Harmon: Once a Hollywood pretty boy who starred in a wide range of features. including the romantic comedy Summer School and the western Wyatt Earp, actor Mark Harmon has done a little of everything, shifting not only between genres but also between the big and small screens throughout his career. His biggest success to date is the CBS crime series NCIS, which continues to draw an audience 12 years after its debut.
Liev Schreiber: While feature film success has never completely disappeared for the enigmatic actor Liev Schreiber, it’s obvious that starring in the title role of the Showtime drama series Ray Donovan has served to reboot his career. Not only is Schreiber enjoying popularity on the small screen, but his movie career has benefited as well, with several exciting projects in the works.