14 Actors We Must Rescue From Obscurity

1
Tea Leoni
Tea Leoni
Paramount via Everett Collection
Leoni is able to be folksy and likable yet stunningly attractive. She is often eclipsed by her high profile ex, David Duchovny. Her forays into big-budget blockbusters like Deep Impact, Tower Heist, and Jurassic Park III aren’t huge hits. But she is a compelling part of all of those films. She is great as a type-A narcissist in Spanglish. She could be great as a sitcom mom, age-appropriate love interest for a major actor, or the lead on an edgy cable series.
2
Jason Alexander
Jason Alexander
ShortsHD via Everett Collection
Jerry Seinfeld has returned to relevance with his web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is killing it on HBO's Veep. But along with Michael Richards, Jason Alexander is stuck in career limbo. Alexander is an amazing comedic actor with a serious acting and musical background. He is more diverse than he is given credit for. He plays an eccentric gay man in Love! Valour! Compassion! and an offensive private detective on the animated series Duckman. There is a certain amount of pressure for him to find Seinfeld level success but Alexander is capable of charming American audiences again.
3
Karyn Parsons
Karyn Parsons
NBC Universal/Getty Images
Parsons hasn’t been seen much since her role as Hilary on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Her performance is largely underrated despite bringing the bulk of the wealth-related humor as the self-absorbed Hilary. She and Lori Petty play twentysomething partygirls in the failed sitcom Lush Life, and she also gives a very heartwarming performance in Mixing Nia. She plays a woman exploring her multiracial identity and its impact on her love life. She should return to acting post haste.
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4
Tyler James Williams
Tyler James Williams
Warner Bros via Everett Collection
Williams is lucky for getting to play the lead of Everybody Hates Chris at such a young age. However, his recent role on Go On also proves he can handle more emotional touches as well. He has all the makings of a film lead. He could star in a twentysomething comedy film or sitcom. He could also bring some new energy to an existing television show.
5
Mira Sorvino
Mira Sorvino
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Sorvino is an Oscar-winner and a cult icon as Romy White. Since then, she’s been banished to the realm of direct-to-video and television guest stars. She is a great comic actress and really should do more television. There’s no reason she couldn’t get some buzz as the lead on a high profile indie film or the lead on an irreverent comedy.
6
Matthew Fox
Matthew Fox
Roadside Attractions via Everett Collection
Fox disappeared for a while after Party of Five, reuniting with television success in the form of Lost. Aside from a forgettable appearance in World War Z, Fox is missing again. He has the looks and dynamic personality of a lead. He should star in more movies so he can find the role that makes him the A-lister he is meant to be.
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7
Leslie Grossman
Leslie Grossman
Warner Bros./Getty Images
Grossman is a hilarious and highly underrated actress. Like Jason Biggs, she has a hilarious Twitter account. She steals the show on the series Popular and What I Like About You. She is due for her own television series or more movie roles. Her over-the-top characters and quirky facial expressions are a huge precursor to current stars like Kristen Wiig. Why can’t she play Wiig’s bestie in a movie?
8
Hal Sparks
Hal Sparks
Showtime
Sparks is rarely remembered as the host on the pre-Joel McHale Talk Soup. It’s also a long time since he was the lead on the groundbreaking soap Queer as Folk. He’s currently on the Disney series Lab Rats. Given his edgy stand up persona, hilarious delivery, and good looks he’s due for a series that targets adults. He’d be great on an FX or Comedy Central series or perhaps as the best friend on a major sitcom.
9
Marla Gibbs
Marla Gibbs
Everett Collection
Betty White is everywhere, but why haven’t we seen Gibbs? She is an amazing part of television history. She gets the best punchlines on The Jeffersons and 227. She’s currently on the syndicated series The First Family and is in Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection. However, the world needs more Marla! She’d be great on her own TV Land sitcom or maybe a string of comedy appearances.
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10
Scott Wolf
Scott Wolf
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Wolf is the quintessential 1990s heartthrob. His role on the reboot of V should have brought about a second Golden Age of Wolf. He’s currently starring on the TNT series Perception. However, someone should throw him a lifeline to get him on a major network. Given the success James Van Der Beek and Neil Patrick Harris have found on primetime there’s no reason Wolf can’t make a return. He would make a great Washington insider on Scandal.
11
Holly Robinson Peete
Holly Robinson Peete
Everett Collection
Peete is multi-talented. She’s an actor, singer, and a great project manager after her time on Celebrity Apprentice. Not only is she the former star of 21 Jump Street and Hanging with Mr. Cooper she also sings the theme song. Right now, she’s been relegated to hawking Carnation instant breakfast. She is long overdue for a return to television.
12
Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody
Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection
Brody’s career is chock full of highs and lows. He is an Oscar-winner but is also the star of InAPPropriate Comedy. He is great as a misanthropic substitute teacher in Detachment. He has the perfect blend of intense brooding, offbeat good looks, and a sense of humor. He feels like one of the guys. He’d be great on an HBO series that could hopefully bring him back to the A-List. There's hope: he does have a terrific role in the new Wes Anderson film Grand Budapest Hotel.
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13
Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
Keaton is a major part of 1990s cinema. He is the star of Beetlejuice and the best Batman movies. His few attempts at returning to the spotlight, like his role in the new Robocop, are just too low-key for this star. He needs an edgy role to showcase the same amazing acting talents that captivated 1990s Hollywood. There has been talk of a Beetlejuice sequel...
14
Tyler Labine
Tyler Labine
Maple Pictures via Everett Collection
Labine may look like a poor man’s Zach Galifianakis. However, his comedic timing and likable approach to douchebaggery are his best qualities. He is great in the Netflix must-see Tucker & Dale vs Evil. He deserves a second crack at the lead of a sitcom after the failed series Sons of Tucson. He is the best part of Reaper and Animal Practice and surely capable of headlining his own sitcom.

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