8 Stars and Their Second Careers

Sometimes stardom in music, movies, or TV is just not enough. After a life in the spotlight, many stars turn to something else they enjoy that is totally different from what they are known for. Those who go into politics (Jesse Ventura, Al Franken) stay in the spotlight, but others pursue something that may fly under the public radar.

1. Bill Wyman

Bill Wyman

once said that he was the only one to get out of the Rolling Stones alive. He played bass for The Stones from 1962 to 1992. He now has a band called Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. He owns several locations of Sticky Fingers restaurants. Wyman is also a photographer. An exhibit called Stone Alone In Saint-Paul opens June 6th at two galleries in St Paul De Vence on the French Riviera. But his most surprising activity is metal detecting. Wyman couldn't find a metal detector that had all the features he wanted, so he collaborated with C.Scope to design the Bill Wyman Signature Metal Detector, which you can buy online.

2. Omar Sharif

Egytian actor Omar Sharif played the exotic romantic leading man in American films (notably Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, and Funny Girl), and appeared in many Egyptian films before and French films afterward. A lifelong gambler, Sharif excelled in the game of bridge. In 1983, he wrote about the game in the book Omar Sharif's Life in Bridge. Other books on the game followed. Sharif had a syndicated newspaper column on bridge for a number of years. Although Sharif still works in show business at age 78, he has given up bridge, but his fame for the game lives on in video games.

3. Ross Valory

Ross Valory is the bass player for Journey. He was one of the original members of the band founded in 1973, and is still performing with the group. But that's not all he is doing.

One day, on a short break from touring, Ross was visiting friends in Arizona, sipping coffee and "just hanging out" ... as his friend's kids were tearing around the house doing something they referred to as the "JAWS"... According to Ross, the kids were running through the house in a single line..arms crossed one over the other , elbows splayed out in front, and opening and closing in a chopping fashion... and making monster noises. He thought it was cute, and didnt think much else of it..... until another day...  some 20 years later, when that very memory just arbitrarily "popped" into his head...

Valory contacted drummer and graphic artist Prairie Prince, who designed a line of hoodies that Valory sells under the name Mouth Man LLC.

4. Bobby Sherman

Teen heartthrob Bobby Sherman became famous when he was a house singer on the television series Shindig! from 1964 to 1966. He then starred in the ABC series Here Come the Brides from 1968 to 1970, and in 1971 he got own show on ABC, called Getting Together, which was cancelled after just 13 episodes. Sherman released four different million-selling songs in 1969 and 1970, the biggest being "Little Woman" in 1969. After guest appearances on the TV show Emergency, Sherman became a certified EMT and for more than a decade he has served as a medical training officer at the Los Angeles Police Academy. He founded the Bobby Sherman EMT Foundation and he is also a full-fledged San Bernardino County Sheriff!

5. David Lee Roth

David Lee Roth will always be best known as the singer for Van Halen. He was a founding member of the group and is currently reunited. However, Roth left the group in 1985 and returned in 2007. He explored several other careers in that 22-year gap, including solo recording, other bands, radio, and emergency services. Yes, Diamond Dave trained as an EMT and worked for the city of New York from 2004 to 2006, during which he was only recognized three times.

6. Wayne Rogers

Wayne Rogers portrayed Trapper John McIntyre in the TV series M*A*S*H. He left the show in 1975, a move he later regretted. He also turned down the title role in the 1979 series Trapper John, MD. Rogers instead turned to managing his investments, which included rental properties, a chain of Swifty Serve convenient stores, and a chain of bridal shops. He founded the investment management firm Wayne Roger & Co. He was named to the board of directors of Vishay Intertechnology, Inc, a manufacturer of electronic components in 2006. Rogers is a regular panelist on Fox News' financial show Cashin' In on Saturday nights.

7. Danica McKellar

Danica McKellar, who you might remember as Winnie Cooper from the TV series The Wonder Years, is still an actress, but she is well into her second career as well. McKellar took a math degree from UCLA, graduating summa cum laude in 1998. She wrote the book Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail in 2007 and Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss in 2008. Her new book, Hot X: Algebra Exposed, is scheduled to be released in August. The first two books aim to encourage girls to excel in math; the third one aims to make math sexy. Actress, mathematician, and author -and McKellar is only 35 years old!

8. Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal made a name in action movies in the 1980s and 90s. Then suddenly last year, his reality show Steven Seagal: Lawman debuted on A&E. Seagal said he had been in law enforcement for twenty years, but there is some question about this, as his title of Reserve Deputy Sheriff in Louisiana was considered ceremonial -until the production of the TV show. The series has now been suspended while Seagal defends himself against a sexual trafficking lawsuit. However, his leap into law enforcement inspired this list.

Chloe Efforn
John Lennon Was a Crazy Cat Lady
Chloe Efforn
Chloe Efforn

John Lennon was crazy about cats, and though he owned a couple of dogs (Sally and Bernard) over the years, he was better known for getting by with a little help from his feline friends.


Growing up, Lennon's beloved mother, Julia, had a named cat after Elvis Presley, whom Julia and John were both crazy about. The Lennons later realized they had misnamed Elvis when "he" gave birth to a litter of kittens in the cupboard, but they didn't change the cat's name based on that small mistake.


He had two other cats as a boy growing up in Liverpool: Tich and Sam. Tich passed away while Lennon was away at art school (which he attended from 1957 to 1960), and Sam was named after famous British diarist Samuel Pepys

4. TIM

One day, John Lennon found a stray cat in the snow, which his Aunt Mimi allowed him to keep. (John's Aunt Mimi raised him from a young boy through his late teenage years, and he affectionately referred to her as the Cat Woman.) He named the marmalade-colored half-Persian cat Tim.

Tim remained a special favorite of John's. Every day, he would hop on his Raleigh bicycle and ride to Mr. Smith's, the local fishmonger, where he would buy a few pieces of fish for Tim and his other cats. Even after John became famous as a Beatle, he would often call and check in on how Tim was doing. Tim lived a happy life and survived to celebrate his 20th birthday.


John and his first wife, Cynthia, had a cat named Mimi who was, of course, named after his Aunt Mimi. They soon got another cat, a tabby who they dubbed Babaghi. John and Cynthia continued acquiring more cats, eventually owning around 10 of them.


As a Beatle, John had a cat named Jesus. The name was most likely John's sarcastic response to his "the Beatles are bigger than Jesus" controversy of 1966. But he wasn't the only band member with a cat named Jesus: Paul McCartney once had a trio of kittens named Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.


In the mid-1970s, John had an affair with his secretary, May Pang. One day, the studio receptionist brought a box of kittens into the recording studio where John and May were. "No," John immediately told May, "we can't, we're traveling too much." But she picked up one of the kittens and put it over her shoulder. Then John started stroking the kitten and decided to keep it. At the end of the day, the only other kitten left was a little white one that was so loud no one else wanted it. So they adopted it as well and named the pair Major and Minor.


John owned a pair of black and white cats with his wife Yoko Ono. As befitting John's offbeat sense of humor, many places report he christened the white cat Pepper and the black one Salt.


John and Yoko also had two Russian Blue cats named Gertrude and Alice, who each met tragic ends. After a series of sicknesses, Gertrude was diagnosed with a virus that could become dangerous to their young son, Sean. John later said that he held Gertrude and wept as she was euthanized. 

Later, Alice jumped out of an open window in the Lennons' high-rise apartment at the Dakota and plunged to her death. Sean was present at the time of the accident, and he remembers it as the only time he ever saw his father cry.


In later years, John also owned three cats he named Misha, Sasha, and Charo. Always an artist at heart, John loved to sketch his many cats, and he used some of these pictures as illustrations in his books.

This piece originally ran in 2012.

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images
7 Famous Actors Who Starred in Obscure Short Films
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Well-known actors who can attract attention or lend prestige to film projects can often command significant salaries. Jack Nicholson, for example, reportedly made more than $50 million for portraying The Joker in 1989’s Batman after merchandising royalties were factored in. But performers don’t always opt for money—or even feature-length movies—if a filmmaker is persuasive enough. Here are several notable talents who agreed to appear in obscure short films for a variety of peculiar reasons.


Arguably one of the most successful leading men of the 20th century, Harrison Ford has always been candid about his criteria for film work. In addition to being intrigued by a role, he wants to be compensated. (“No, I got paid,” he told a talk show host who asked if he was nostalgic about returning to the Star Wars universe in 2015.) He apparently made an exception for Water to Wine, a 2004 amateur film shot by a group of snowboarders in Wyoming. Ford—who has a ranch in the state—accepted the role of “Jethro the Bus Driver” as a favor to the filmmakers, who were friends of his son, Malcolm. Ford’s sole request was that his name not appear in the credits.


Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston was shooting the feature film Cold Comes the Night in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy interrupted production. Rather than sit idle, the actor told the movie’s production assistants that if they wanted to try writing a short film, he’d shoot it immediately. Winner Brandon Polanco came up with Writer’s Block, a 13-minute black-and-white mood piece about an author wrestling with a lack of inspiration.


Billy Bob Thornton broke into Hollywood with his 1994 short film Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade that he later expanded into a full-length feature. That DIY approach may have helped director Jeff Lester entice the actor to star in The Last Real Cowboys, a short that featured Thornton as one of two main characters sitting next to a campfire. The production shot for just one day 50 miles outside of Las Vegas. 


A year after Star Wars: The Force Awakens crossed $2 billion at the box office, Oscar Isaac (who portrayed Poe Dameron) appeared in this eccentric short by director Brian Petsos. Isaac is Basil Stitt, a man who gets hit in the face with lightning and is convinced he will soon develop supernatural abilities. Isaac and Petsos previously worked on a feature film, Ticky Tacky.


The BBC’s Sherlock helped make Benedict Cumberbatch a highly recognizable screen presence worldwide, which in turn helped this short film raise and exceed its $40,000 budget via the Indiegogo platform. Cumberbatch portrays a British intelligence officer active during the Iraq War who is contacted by an American spy to repay a favor. Cumberbatch, who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for The Imitation Game in 2015, also produced the film.


Two-time Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender co-stars in this tight heist thriller about two thieves who are forced to complete a job in total darkness. (Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth on Game of Thrones, co-starred.) Director John Maclean knew Fassbender before the actor broke out in 2009’s Inglourious Basterds and convinced him to take the gig. The two later worked on the well-received 2015 Western Slow West.


The urban legends surrounding Murray’s puckish behavior are well-documented, from crashing karaoke parties to spontaneously tending bar. In 2012, Murray was filming a promotional video for a school in South Carolina attended by his son. Afterward, director David Smith asked if he could film Murray walking down a hall with crew members. He complied—and then kept walking, out of the building and into his car. 


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