5 Celebrities Who Said Goodbye to Hollywood and Hello to College

Stop the presses! Someone that used to be on a Disney television show is now working at a restaurant, like a normal teen!

Sadly, it made news when a few witnesses spotted Dylan Sprouse, twin brother of Cole Sprouse and actor on the now-defunct The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, working at a trendy New York City restaurant. Rumors flew that Dylan blew all of his money based on his visibility in the real world, and not on the television. Eventually, Dylan confirmed the rumors in a Tumblr post, saying the following:

Dylan and his brother both left the show at the same time, and went on to attend NYU in 2011 like real human boys. But it doesn’t mean that this break – or his new gig – means we’ll never see him again. In fact, it’s admirable that a star who has worked his entire life takes a break in favor of education. Here are a few of the many others who proved that a restaurant gig, or a break for college, doesn’t mean a permanent Hollywood farewell.

Anna Chlumsky

Anna was best known for her role as Vada Sultenfuss in My Girl and My Girl 2. Currently 32 years old, she abandoned her acting career in 1999 to study at the University of Chicago, and pursued other work before returning to acting in her late twenties. You might have remembered seeing a grown-up Anna as Liz Lemler – the other Liz – in a 2007 episode of 30 Rock.

Currently she’s been mega-successful playing Amy Brookheimer in award winning show Veep, and was even nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy this year at the Emmy Awards.

Claire Danes

Claire hit it big with My So Called Life – even though it only lasted a mere 19 episodes, it became quite the cult hit and put her name out there. She then went on to make 13 films in the span of 5 years. Afterward, she decided to attend Yale.­­­ “I was told that my going to college wouldn’t be good for my career,” Danes said. “I think that’s nonsense. It’s good to empower yourself by cutting yourself off from this business every once in a while.”

While she didn’t graduate, she did take two years off – which some could have seen to be killer in the industry. If anything, her career truly soared. Since 2011, Danes has starred as Carrie Mathison in the Showtime series Homeland, where she plays an agent of the CIA. Just one year earlier, she starred in the HBO production of Temple Grandin, which gained her a win in the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie, the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film and the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries award. So, one could say that Claire is in a pretty good place right now.

Jodie Foster

Our girl Jodie started acting at the age of three, and really hit the big time after starring in the 1976 film Taxi Driver when she was only 13. Impressively, she made nearly 50 film and television appearances before she attended college.

In an article written in 1980, Roger Ebert had this to say about Foster’s decision to take a break:

Jodie planned to do movies only during summer breaks, and focus entirely on school – unless a major role came up, like a Woody Allen film. She graduated in 1985 with a degree in literature, and in 1994 was asked back as a speaker. They later awarded her an honorary doctorate of fine arts.

Larisa Oleynik

You probably know Larisa best from The Secret World of Alex Mack, and later as Bianca in Ten Things I Hate About You. After a bit of a break, she’s back on television, appearing in a few episodes of Mad Men and Pretty Little Liars. She also has two movies in post-production due to be released this year and early next year.

Oleynik took a break from acting and theater during her four years at Sarah Lawrence College and focused instead on writing and pursuing her degree in Liberal Arts.

“I kinda feel that hopefully if [acting] is what I’m supposed to be doing, and it’s something that I’m good at, that that’s not gonna have changed by just taking a little break from it,” she said.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

We all love JGL, right? He started working at the age of six, and had a few small roles before his appearance in Angels In The Outfield, and later, 3rd Rock from the Sun. One of his first dramatic roles was an indie film called Manic, which also starred the fabulous Zooey Deschanel and Don Cheadle. But after Manic wrapped up, Joseph took a break from the film and television world in favor of giving college a try. He went off to Columbia University in 2000 to study history, literature, and French poetry.

“I just wanted to, sort of, do a normal-kid college thing, and I moved here to New York, I went to Columbia, and didn’t act for, like, two years. And it was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done, I think, actually,” he said in an interview with Scott Feinberg in 2010. He also said it was a refreshing feeling to start new, in a place where “nobody’s telling you who you are; you get to decide who you are.”

Fast forward to today: Joseph reunited with Zooey in (500) Days of Summer, has gotten nothing but applause over his role in 2010’s Inception, appeared in The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, and just released Don Jon, a movie which he wrote, directed, and stars in.

So – Dylan Sprouse? You’re doing okay. Don’t let a few stray photos of you working your butt off in a restaurant get you down. Enjoy this time and the experiences it’ll bring you. This isn’t a goodbye, but a “see you later.”

Image Credits: crushable.com (featured),justjared.com (Danes), tvguide.com (Oleynik), abcnews.go.com (Chlumsky) screencrush.com/Nick Romano (Foster) hitfix.com /Gregory Ellwood (JGL)

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