14 May 2008

Please Hire Me! 25 D-Listed Celebrities

The implosion of tacky reality television has once again made Hollywood a ripe playground for certain stars whose careers have become a shadow of what they once were – stars who have sunk to the notorious “D List”. Producers of shows like “The Surreal Life”, “Celebrity Boxing,” and “Dancing With the Stars” have found that there is a profit to be made off of these forgotten stars – most of whom are desperate to get their names back up on the marquee no matter what the task at hand. Turns out the American public likes nothing more than to see a few washed-up actors from decades past subject themselves to humiliation and physical torment. Hey, a paycheck is a paycheck and a camera is a camera.

  1. Kathy Griffin: The Illinois-bred comedienne is the self-proclaimed queen of D List stars, and even has her own reality show called “My Life on the D List.” Griffin has succeeded in taking her rock bottom status and parlaying it into a lucrative, if not respectable, career. Griffith got her start in the early 1980s on the L.A. comedy club circuit and even performed alongside comedic geniuses like the late Phil Hartman. She’s appeared in HBO comedy specials, a few unsuccessful movies, as a guest star on several TV shows, and even has a regular role as Brooke Shields’s coworker on the sitcom “Suddenly Susan.” After two decades of continued, moderate success, though, Griffith’s “D List” reality show took off and she continues to use her self-deprecating humor as her main comedic currency. The show has plans to continue through 2008.
  2. Dustin Diamond: Dustin Diamond’s one and only claim to real fame is his legendary role as Screech on the high school sitcom “Saved by the Bell.” His cracking voice and nerdy persona were a perfect fit for the cheesy teen show, but after it was canceled Diamond found himself adrift in Hollywood with no worthwhile offers coming in. He has attempted to reignite his celebrity with an appearance on several exploitative reality shows, like “The Weakest Link,” “Celebrity Boxing,” and, most recently, “Celebrity Fit Club.” In 2006, Diamond went on several talk shows to talk about how he was about to lose his Wisconsin home because he had been ripped off by his mortgage broker. After raising lots of money from the public, he admitted he was never in danger of losing his house. In 2006, a third party company also released a sex tape featuring Diamond. He’s scheduled to appear on “Celebrity Fit Club” again this year.
  3. Gary Coleman: Gary Coleman got his start as a child, starring as the cute and adorable Arnold on the hit show “Different Strokes”. In that role, he was made famous, most notably for coining his signature line, “What you talking about, Willis?” After “Different Strokes” was canceled, however, Coleman’s career tanked. He landed some guest appearances on other sitcoms throughout the 1990s, but was essentially not taken seriously as an actor. In 2003, Coleman earned press for his failed bid to be governor of California. He’s also had his fair share of legal and financial troubles — in 1998 he was charged with assault after hitting a woman. In 2007, Coleman married a 22-year-old actress, but the couple recently appeared on “Divorce Court” for their marital problems.
  4. C. Thomas Howell: Howell, a good looking, popular actor in the 1980s, starred in hit movies like “The Outsiders” and “Red Dawn.” But as he grew older his career failed to keep up with its shotgun start. Though he has stayed busy as a working actor over the years, it has been mostly through bit roles, guest spots on TV shows, and parts in B movies. These days you are most likely to spot Howell on the new reality show “Celebracadabra,” a competition show in which several D-List stars try to become magicians.
  5. Daniel Baldwin: Daniel Baldwin is perhaps the most notorious of all the Baldwin brothers. Baldwin’s career started off on a pretty good foot with roles in “Born on the Fourth of July” and indie faves like “Mulholland Falls” and “Trees Lounge.” He also had a starring role on the TV show “Homicide: Life on the Street.” But in the late 1990s, his drug addictions began putting him in the spotlight for more illicit activities. In 1998, he was arrested for cocaine possession after he was caught running naked through the halls of the New York Plaza Hotel. He went to rehab afterward and told People magazine that he had been battling cocaine addiction since 1989. Almost two decades later, Baldwin was again in legal trouble for drug related activities, and he has since appeared on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” though he walked off the show before its completion.
  6. Joey Lawrence: Joey Lawrence became famous playing Mayim Balik’s idiot brother on the sitcom “Blossom” in the 1990s, in which his character coined the phrase, “Whoa!” Prior to that he had guest starred on several sitcoms, but after the show was cancelled he found few roles available for him. He landed parts in a few B movies and attempted to start a music career, though that effort was also unsuccessful. Lawrence faded from the public’s memory during the latter half of the 1990s and didn’t pop back on the scene until recently, when he scored a spot on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006. He placed third on that show and afterward landed a few guest roles on TV shows like “CSI: New York.”
  7. Brigitte Nielsen: This former model became a household name when she married Sylvester Stallone in the 1980s. She morphed from model to actress with roles in movies like “Beverly Hills Cop II” and “The Double O Kid.” While hardly recognizable in the U.S., Nielsen, who hails from Denmark, has had a pretty successful European career as both a TV personality and a singer. But in 2004, Nielsen refreshed the American public’s memory of her by starring on “The Surreal Life,” where she met and developed a romantic relationship with fellow D-Lister Flavor Flav of the rap group Public Enemy. That hook up solidified Nielsen’s position in the new celebrity reality show craze, and she and Flav appeared together on the VH1 show “Strange Love,” which chronicled their eventually-failed relationship. She also appeared on Flav’s subsequent dating show “The Flavor of Love.” Nielsen was also on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” for an alcohol addiction.
  8. Andrew Dice Clay: The comedian who became famous for his shocking and crude stand-up routines enjoyed a lot of popularity in the 1980s and has been listed as one of the top 100 comedians in history. In addition to his successful comedy career, during which he taped his legendary HBO special “The Diceman Cometh,” Clay also had lots of guest roles in movies and TV shows. But in the early 1990s his rudeness and tendency to verbally assault his audience during shows caught up to him. In the late 1990s, he acted in a few failed sitcoms and continued to release comedy albums, none of which sold well. He also had a recurring appearance on a radio show, which ended in 2002. In 2007, Clay launched his own reality show on VH1, chronicling his attempts to revive his comedy career.
  9. Robin Givens: Robin Givens is best known for three things: starring in the popular sitcom “Head of the Class,” surviving a tumultuous and abusive one-year marriage to Mike Tyson, and posing for Playboy. But since all of those things came to an end in the mid 1990s, Givens’ career has largely been unremarkable. An extremely religious Christian, Givens has written a book about her faith and has appeared on several failed sitcoms, TV movies, and Christian-themed television productions. In 2008, she will have a role in a Tyler Perry movie called “The Family that Preys.”
  10. Ron Jeremy: The legendary porn star is now legendary mainly for being creepy. He continues to keep his overweight self in the game by picking up cameos and guest roles in B movies. He, like most D Listers, also starred in a season of “The Surreal Life.” Jeremy’s porn status and outspokenness has made him a favorite among talk show hosts and musicians, many of whom have put him in their music videos to drive up their kitsch factor. A biography about Jeremy was released in 2007, and he has also appeared in advertisements for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urging people to spay and neuter their pets.
  11. Chyna: Joan Marie Lauer, a female bodybuilder and actress, received her nickname Chyna during her four years with the World Wrestling Federation from 1997 to 2001. She was wildly popular as a wrestler on TV and made a name for herself by wrestling male competitors and winning. She drove up ratings through many highly-publicized matches and even posed for Playboy. But in 2001 she left the WWF due to a contract dispute. Though she spent some time wrestling in Japan afterward, Chyna eventually returned to the States to pursue a career on TV. She landed some B roles and then eventually went on to star on a season of “The Surreal Life.” Most recently, she was on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”, a VH1 show, for a drinking problem.
  12. Tawny Kitaen: Former hottie Tawny Kitaen had everyone talking after her appearance in the famed Whitesnake video for their song “Here I Go Again.” Her romantic relationship with the band’s lead singer also led to other starring roles in their videos. Prior to Whitesnake, Kitaen had modeled and appeared on a few TV shows. After Whitesnake, she developed a stronger identity and a real TV career, hosting “America’s Funniest People” with David Coulier for two years and starring on “WKRP in Cincinatti”. After 1994, however, her career fizzled and she didn’t reappear on the scene in a major way until 2006 when she was cast on “The Surreal Life.” That same year she was arrested at her house for cocaine possession.
  13. Carrot Top: Carrot Top is a comedian whose curly red hair and affinity for props made him one of the more successful funny men around in the mid-1990s. But since his height of popularity, Carrot Top has become more of a joke in Hollywood, partially due to his botched plastic surgery and ridiculously huge arm muscles. He still performs stand up and has a running show in Las Vegas, but his popularity has waned and he is frequently parodied on other comedy shows, like “Family Guy,” “The Daily Show,” and “MAD TV”.
  14. Corey Haim: In the 1980s, no one was hotter than Corey Haim. The teen heartthrob starred in movies like “Lucas”, “The Lost Boys”, “License to Drive”, and “Dream a Little Dream.” But the list of recognizable titles stopped there, and in the 90s Haim was working mostly on unsuccessful, straight-to-video films and suffering from a serious drug problem. By 2000, he had gone to rehab and was vigorously trying to get his career back on track. Following the reality TV craze, he and Corey Feldman were signed by A&E to star on a faux reality show called “The Two Coreys,” which chronicled the duo’s attempts to break back into mainstream Hollywood. Haim is also starring in a sequel to “The Lost Boys”, planned for release in 2008.
  15. Corey Feldman: Like Haim, Feldman’s career has followed a similar trajectory. In the 1980s, it seemed Feldman could do no wrong. He was a major player in movies like “The Goonies,” “Stand By Me,” “The Lost Boys,” and “The Burbs.” But despite doing the voice for Donatello in the movie “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and trying to launch a music career in the 1990s, Feldman’s career dried up quickly. In 2002, Feldman wound up on “The Surreal Life” and in 2007 he reunited with Haim for “The Two Coreys.” Feldman also has a role in “The Lost Boys” sequel, due out this year.
  16. Vanilla Ice: In 1990, Robert Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice, was all the rage. His hit song “Ice Ice Baby” was the most popular one on the radio, and his rap album “To the Extreme” reached number one on the charts, knocking MC Hammer off the top spot. Though fans across the country mimicked Van Winkle’s baggy pants and angular crew cut, the musician and dancer fell from fame quickly. He encountered legal trouble for using a sample of a David Bowie song in “Ice Ice Baby” without permission and then it was discovered that he had made up many details of his life story, like the fact he was a gang member in Florida and a former professional motocross athlete, chronicled in his biography. Since his 15 minutes of fame have ended, Van Winkle has continued trying to make music, accepted several product endorsements, and appeared on the celebrity reality show “The Surreal Life.”
  17. Alexis Arquette: Alexis Arquette began life as a boy. He was born in Los Angeles – a sibling to actors David, Rosanna, Patricia, and Richmond Arquette. At the age of 22, Arquette landed her first role in an independent movie, playing a transgender character. She spent most of her career working in independent movies and playing the role of a drag queen until the age of 38 when she underwent her own sex change operation, which she documented in documentary. Arquette has had some bit roles in more mainstream productions, like “The Wedding Singer,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “the Bride of Chucky,” but she’s mostly built her career underground. In 2007, Arquette made a guest appearance on the Bravo reality show “Top Design,” where she was ridiculed by some of the contestants.
  18. Dave Coulier: Coulier, a stand up comedian, got his big break playing the role of Joey on the long-lived sitcom “Full House.” That plus his popular comedic style of impersonating cartoon characters and doing funny voices made him a sought after actor in the 1980s and part of the 1990s. But the end of “Full House” had Coulier struggling to find work. He’s landed gigs hosting shows like “America’s Funniest People,” “Opportunity Knocks,” and “America’s Most Talented Kid.” He’s also had a stint in the reality business starring on “The Surreal Life” and “Skating with the Stars.”
  19. Erik Estrada: From 1977 to 1983, Erik Estrada starred on the hit cop show “CHiPs” as Ponch Poncharella, the most well-known role of his career. After then end of the show, however, Estrada began working mostly on Spanish television, which he continued to do throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 2001, he returned to TV with a role on “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “Lizzie McGuire.” He continued his TV career with guest appearances on shows like “Scrubs”, “The Wayans Bros.” and “According to Jim.” Estrada was also on the 2004 season of “The Surreal Life” and the briefly-aired reality show “Armed and Famous,”in which washed up celebrities posed as police officers.
  20. Todd Bridges: Bridges is best known for playing Willis on “Different Strokes.” After the show ended, he descended pretty far into a life of crime and drugs and was arrested several times during the 1990s. In the latter part of the decade, however, Bridges cleaned up his act, found God, and began touring the country to talk to kids about the dangers of drugs. He made a return to television with slots on shows like “Celebrity Boxing,” “Skating with the Stars,” and “Fear Factor.”
  21. Vince Neil: The front man for Motley Crue, Vince Neil had his pick of women and work throughout the 1980s. But with the decline of glam rock bands, Neil’s music career fizzled. In the 1990s, he released a few albums, none of which sold well. In 2002, the overweight Neil was offered a spot on the first cast of “The Surreal Life.” Since then, he’s also starred on his own show called “Remaking Vince Neil,” which, surprise, chronicled his attempts to reinvent his career. Neil is now touring with Motley Crue.
  22. MC Hammer: Back in his hey day, MC Hammer had the coolest pants in town. Teenagers and fans ran to the mall in droves to buy the baggy leggings that moved so gracefully, especially during Hammer’s dance to his famed song “Too Legit to Quit.” In the early 1990s, Hammer dominated the top of the charts with his energetic raps songs. But once rap music began moving more toward so-called “gangsta rappers,” Hammer’s clean, mainstream style faded from popularity. Though he maintained record deals throughout the 1990s, he released few albums. The ones he did put out failed to sell well. During this decade, he also blew through his fortune and wound up completely broke. In 2003, Hammer appeared on “The Surreal Life” and now maintains his own blog.
  23. Carmen Electra: Carmen Electra really never was an A List star, but she’s had a good run of things. She got her break after meeting Prince in the 1980s. He convinced her to change her name from Tara Leigh Patrick to Carmen Electra and tried to make her a music act. That failed, so Electra moved to guest appearances on TV and then ended up posing in Playboy and getting cast on the hit series “Baywatch.” But when that job ended, she descended into a pattern of accepting really bad movie roles like “Good Burger” and “Scary Movie 4” and earning plenty of bad reviews for her acting. Besides bombing in movies, Electra has had career highlights such as being in Taco Bell commercials, starting the Naked Women’s Wrestling League, and being a video game character in “Def Jam: Fight for New York.” Electra also had her own reality show with former Jane’s Addiction band member Dave Navarro called “Til Death Do Us Part” which chronicled the couple’s journey into marriage. They’ve since divorced and Electra is currently engaged to the guitarist from Korn.
  24. Gary Busey: Busey won an Oscar nomination for his role in the 1978 film “The Buddy Holly Story” and his film career extended through the 1980s and 1990s, with roles in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” “Point Break,” and “The Firm,” to name a few. But during this height of his career, Busey was also a rampant drug user and he suffered brain damage from a serious motorcycle accident. Today, Busey is known mostly for his wild, eccentric, and sometimes rude behavior. Most recently, he shocked viewers by grabbing Jennifer Garner and kissing her on the neck during the red carpet portion of the Academy Awards. He also has lambasted an 11-year-old reporter and assaulted her camera person at an awards show. Busey did star in a strange reality-like show in 2003 on Comedy Central called “I’m With Busey.” Lately, he’s been at work doing voiceovers for video games.
  25. Jack Osbourne: Jack Osbourne is only famous because he is Ozzy Osbourne’s son. But when his family accepted a deal from MTV to have their lives documented on “The Osbournes,” Jack became a reality star. Since his family’s show ended, however, Osbourne has had many job opportunities in the way of guest appearances on TV shows and several tacky celeb reality shows, like “Celebrity Wrestling: Bring it On!,” “Armed and Famous,” and “Extreme Celebrity Detox”. Osbourne is currently still involved in his own reality show called “Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie”, which chronicles him training for extreme sports.

2 Comments

  1. C. Thomas Howell, what happened to you!? I remember when you were the cute bicycle rider in E.T.

    You know what ruined your career, right? Taking all those tanning pills to get that minority scholarship to go to Harvard. Not cool, man.

    Posted by Drew Barrymore on 14 May 2008, 1:47 pm

  2. Sorry this comment is so late lol.
    But Joey Lawrence’s career has actually picked up. After he was in a movie called my fake fiancé…they gave him an abc family comedy called mellisa and Joey with the same co star as in the movie before… So yea….. Just saying lol

    Posted by Simone on 15 November 2011, 11:03 pm

Add a Comment