10 actors and actresses back from the brink
A look at bottomed-out A-listers who successfully re-ignited their careers
Early Success: Between "A Streetcar Named Desire" in 1951 and "Sayonara" in 1957, Marlon Brando earned five Oscar nominations, one win and did nothing less than reshape the present and future of cinematic acting. He was also a major box office draw.
The Brink: Then Brando opted to direct "One-Eye Jacks," a Western that went wildly over budget and received mixed reviews. He followed that up with "Mutiny on the Bounty," where he was stigmatized as a crazy malcontent responsible, again, for epic budget overruns. For a solid decade, Brando became better known for his problematic personal life and his outspoken politics than for either his acting or his ability to draw an audience (though some of the movies and performances are pretty darned good in retrospect).
The Comeback: When Robert Evans and Francis Ford Coppola were casting Don Corleone in "The Godfather," the list of actors Paramount would have preferred was basically "Anybody other than Marlon Brando." After extensive auditioning, Brando agreed to do the movie for only $50,000 (and percentage of the gross, which he reportedly sold back) and... Boom. Brando won an Oscar for "The Godfather," was nominated again the next year for "Last Tango in Paris" and pocketed a passive paycheck for "Superman."
Did it take? Well... Kinda. Brandon "retired" for much of the '80s and was well-received in films like "A Dry White Season" and "The Freshman." He was less well-regarded in "The Island of Dr. Moreau" and "The Score."