Popular Culture

10 Primetime Icons of the ’90s Who Are Now Total Nobodies


Ah, the nineties. A decade devoted to neon tat and barbed wire tattoos. There was serious TV back then – wholesome, funny, cutesy, short-lived. It seemed as if the decade would never end when we were kids, yet it did, and with its termination came the downfall of some of its most iconic screen idols. Take our hand as we lead you through the most regressive celebrities of the TV guide. Ten true slumps from grace.

10. Dustin Diamond (Screech in Saved by the Bell)

Back in the nineties we knew him as lovable nerd Screech from the legendary Saved By The Bell. Scroll forward a decade or so and it’s a very different story. Dustin ‘Screech’ Diamond went somewhat off the radar after the demise of the hit teen TV show – and its many incarnations – resurfacing in the mid-noughties like a repugnant smell to try and catch a fame wave off of the furor surrounding his disturbing leaked sex tape. Suffice to say, except for a few reality TV appearances, poor old Screech is less famous than the freakin’ Numa Numa guy nowadays.

9. Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina The Teenage Witch)

Every male born in the mid to late eighties had a crush on Clarissa. Fact. And every male born in the mid to late eighties was perplexed as to why her neighbor Sam didn’t make a pass at her. Anyhow, following her stint as Clarissa and her later stint as Sabrina the equally hot Teenage Witch, Melissa Joan Hart seemingly disappeared… Turns out she spent some obligatory has-been-celebrity time doing the odd reality TV show, B-movie horror movie, then – bizarrely – participated in hosting the Emmys.

8. Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman)

Aside from a cameo role in Smallville and a few other bit parts, the once hugely popular screen hunk, Dean Cain, spent the ass end of the noughties ‘starring’ in the celebrity equivalent of a terminal illness – straight-to-television movies. We all remember the epic Superman series of the nineties, but somewhat tellingly it was Teri Hatcher who really stood out, and she’s actually doing something with her life now. It seems the gods of celebrity weren’t so kind to Dean; let’s hope the managers at Wendy’s are.

7. Ben Savage (Boy Meets World)

Ben Savage may be more successful in the real world than his other has-been contemporaries, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that in Hollywood terms he’s still basically a nobody. Savage played the iconic Cory Matthews in the nineties mom-a-thon Boy Meets World, then did pretty much nothing of note, except passing in Political Science at Stanford. His brother Fred did a little better in the celebrity world; shame he didn’t decide to offer more of a helping hand.

6. Traci Bingham (Jordan Tate in Baywatch)

We all loved Baywatch – who the hell didn’t? It had everything a young male could want: action, suspense, Pamela Anderson and boobs. The delightfully bouncy female cast made up for all the scenes featuring Hasselhoff in his swimming costume by running towards the ocean with only the skimpiest of outfits on. Traci was one of those bouncy babes, playing Jordan Tate in said series, and as much as we sang her praises back when we were at elementary school, she’s hit harder times since choosing to relinquish the beach. Most recently she’s been spotted relentlessly trying to sell herself pointlessly as a 30-plus babe on every bad reality TV show ever made. Sorry, Traci, but it’s back to Winnipeg for you.

5. Peri Gilpin (Roz in Frasier)

Frasier was a decent show mysteriously devoid of any sort of high quality eye candy – that English one might have been a love interest but she was about as hot as a sexually transmitted disease – so it was Crane’s radio associate Roz who provided us with the slightest morsel of trouser move-age whilst trawling through the seemingly hundreds of seasons of the Cheers spin off show. However, here in the present, it’s Roz – played by Peri Gilpin – who seems sadly to have retreated back into the disappointingly unglamorous world of the real. Gilpin has done a few bits and pieces since the show ended, but cameos here and there won’t pay for all those trips to the laundromat. Best get the resume in at Starbucks, Peri; it’s a tough world out there.

4. Andrew Shue (Billy Campbell in Melrose Place)

Anyone familiar with the details and history of the fine game of soccer will be impressed by Shue’s past credentials. Everyone else? A resounding ‘Meh.’ In his off-screen time Shue played for the glamorous Los Angeles Galaxy, and the not-so-glamorous (but certainly legendary) Scottish team Queen’s Park FC. Not bad for a soft screen hunk who played semi-heart throb Billy Campbell in the nineties divorcees’ treat Melrose Place, and since then has basically done nothing. Except co-founding some website called Cafemom, which is about as boring as its name suggests…

3. Tia Mowry (Sister Sister)

What an epic gem of nineties kids’ television Sister Sister was. Prevalent on both sides of the Atlantic, the Nickelodeon comedy-drama depicted the hilarious every day comings and goings of twins Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell. Justifying the placement of at least one of these prior-millennium hasbeens on this list is the drab cacophony of commercial failures both have been involved in since the cutesy show ended, culminating in the seriously damaging scraping-of-the-fame barrel reality TV turd, Tia & Tamera Take 2, airing on the dubiously titled Style Network last year.

2. Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey the Butler in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)

For a British television actor, the enigmatic butler ‘G’ from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has done quite well – if by quite well you mean popular amongst fat Brit house wives with poor dentistry. After the finale of the utterly iconic Will Smith classic, Geoffrey – played by Joseph Marcell – had quite a run doing the kind of daytime TV bilge that’s dished out on the other side of the pond. As for here in God’s own country, well he’d probably fail to get a green card.

1. Cynthia Daniel (Elizabeth Wakefield in Sweet Valley High)

Another staple of nineties television – usually watched whilst applying sugary cereals to mouth – was the frankly hammy Sweet Valley High. Another show to take advantage of twins as actresses (seriously, what was with that obsession a decade ago?!) the premise was fairly simple: two semi-hot girls go through their rich and boring teenage lives at school driving an open top SUV and discussing their tumultuous relationships with ‘hot guys.’ Elizabeth seems not to have had as much longevity as her identical twin sister Brittany, dropping out of acting in order to become a – presumably – terrible photographer. No libel please; we’re just making an assumption.

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