Action Stars From The '80s Who Disappeared

The '80s action movie boom jumpstarted entire careers for the Stallones and Schwarzeneggers of the world, but what about the second-stringers of the genre? We're not talking about the guys who popped up in all your favorite straight-to-video B-movie staples during the decade—these stars had major roles in really big pictures, but then ended their career with a big question mark. We're here to track them down and find out what happened.

 

Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells personified a very specific type of 1980s villain: the guy who always seemed to have his wardrobe on loan from a sex club. It started with his role in the post-apocalyptic chaps 'n' chains extravaganza Mad Max: Road Warrior, in which he played shoulder-padded, Mohawked madman Wez—a role he'd tip a hat to again a couple years later as "Lord General" in Weird Science and then again as "Ransik" in the Power Rangers movie Time Force. His other prominent role was as the over-the-top villain Bennett in Commando. These days, Wells looks more like a dad than a leather daddy, and he has a sense of humor about his characters being seen as gay icons, but to this day still swears there was no sexual subtext intended.

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Vernon Wells

Wells has been keeping himself busy with bit parts and voice acting, but mostly can be found focusing his career behind the camera, directing and producing. He also works with Wolf Connection, a nature preserve to domesticate wolves and allow bonding with visitors and campers.

 

Jenette Goldstein

This one also became a gay icon, but of a different gender. Jenette Goldstein made a name for herself as an actress by playing the tough no-nonsense Vasquez from Aliens, a Space Marine who completely broke stereotypes. The moment we're introduced to her character, she's doing pullups as Bill Paxton's character Hudson walks up and asks if she's ever been mistaken for a man. Without missing a beat, she drops the withering reply, "No. Have you?". She also had roles as Meagan Shapiro in Lethal Weapon 2 and Janelle Voight, the foster mother of John Connor (as well as her T-1000 impersonation) in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

 Jenette Goldstein

Goldstein remains extremely proud of her genre-and-gender-defying role, for good reason. Director James Cameron found her so perfect for the role that he gave the character her first name. Now she owns a company, Jenette Bras, that also carries the same moniker. She founded the company when she realized department store lingerie departments were rarely accommodating for women with smaller band-sizes combined with larger cup sizes. Under the catchy slogan "The Alphabet Starts With D," the company caters exclusively to the needs of larger-endowed ladies—which is heroic itself, if you ask us.

 

Christopher Lambert

Christopher Lambert

Christopher Lambert brought to life the immortal (see what we did there?) swordsman character Connor MacLeod in the Highlander series. In the '90s, he branched out to other sci-fi and action properties (Fortress, Mean Guns, Knight Moves, Mortal Kombat) but continued to return to the role that defined his career. After decades of straight-to-video action roles, in the early 2000s he made the surprising move to pursue roles in more artistic films in France. However as the saying goes, you have to dance with the one that brought you, and in between critically acclaimed art film cinema projects, he continued to make appearances on shows like NCIS and films like Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance. Rencently, he's confirmed that he's working on the new Mortal Kombat movie, reprising his role as Raiden, so it seems he hasn't let his newfound snooty arthouse reputation go to his head.

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