On April 4, 2018, Robert Downey Jr. turns 53. The talented star made waves in the '80s as one of the most infamous members of a group of young Hollywood elite known as The Brat Pack and in the '90s bloomed into the Oscar-nominated star of films like "Chaplin" and "Natural Born Killers." Of course, Robert was probably even more famous in the '90s for his headline-making arrests stemming from his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Today, however, RDJ is probably one of the most famous (and sober) men in Tinseltown who's known for starring in some of the biggest blockbuster hits ever made. In honor of his birthday, Wonderwall.com is celebrating his success and that of more '90s stars who've staged career comebacks. Keep reading for more…
RELATED: Robert Downey Jr.'s life in pictures
Although Robert Downey Jr. continued to work through the early 2000s, he was plagued by career troubles stemming from his addictions, which led to him being fired from "Ally McBeal" in 2002 following an arrest on a drug-related charge. Thankfully in 2003, Robert got clean for good with the help of his now-wife, producer Susan Downey. After spending years rebuilding his reputation, Robert was cast as the lead in the 2008 action-adventure flick "Iron Man," which launched the Marvel Universe and renewed his career. Today, Robert is one of the highest paid actors in the biz, earning a reported $48 million in 2017 alone. He'll soon appear in "Avengers: Infinity War" and in a new "Sherlock Holmes" sequel as well as several other films including the comedies "All-Star Weekend" and "The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle."
Although Winona Ryder first began acting in the late '80s, her career flourished in the '90s with roles in hit films like "Edward Scissorhands," "Reality Bites," "The Age of Innocence" and "Little Women." She even earned two Oscar nominations! It seemed as if Winona was on track to take over Hollywood, at least until 2001 when the famously petite star was arrested on charges of theft. After enduring a public shoplifting scandal, Winona largely retreated from the limelight.
RELATED: Winona Ryder's best '90s fashion
Throughout the early 2000s, Winona Ryder appeared in a handful of films, mostly in small, supporting roles that were nothing like the starring parts she once commanded in the '90s. Then in 2010, Winona captured our attention as Beth Macintyre in the Oscar-nominated drama "Black Swan." From there, it seemed that Winona was ready to reclaim her former glory. In 2016, she was cast as Joyce Byers in the award-winning Netflix original horror series "Stranger Things." In addition to returning to the small screen for the third season of "Stranger Things" in 2019, Winona will also star alongside Keanu Reeves in the 2018 romantic comedy "Destination Wedding."
Like Robert Downey Jr., Kiefer Sutherland was a famous face of the 1980s who transitioned to a full-fledged Hollywood star throughout the '90s. He also had more than a few brushes with the law, including a 1993 arrest for DUI and gun possession (although those charges were ultimately dismissed). Known for his roles in films like "Flatliners" (seen here), "A Few Good Men" and "A Time to Kill," Kiefer was an in-demand star who also dated some of the most beautiful women in the industry, like Julia Roberts.
Kiefer Sutherland never really stopped working in Hollywood, landing the coveted role of Jack Bauer on the long-running hit series "24" in 2001. While the show was at its height of popularity, Kiefer had another run-in with the law in 2007, resulting in a DUI conviction and 48 days of incarceration. After his release, Kiefer was able to keep his day job, starring in "24" until its cancellation in 2010. From there he starred in one-off roles, eventually reprising his role as Jack Bauer on 2014's "24: Live Another Day." After the failure of shows like "The Confession" and "Touch," Kiefer struggled to find another great role that would reinvigorate his career. In 2016, he found what he was looking for with the mystery-drama series "Designated Survivor." Along with headlining the show, Kiefer also returned to the big screen in the 2017 reboot of his 1990 thriller "Flatliners."
Regina King got her first acting role in 1985 as Brenda Jenkins on the comedy series "227." From there, she transitioned to the big screen in the 1990s in dramas like "Boyz n the Hood," "Poetic Justice," "Higher Learning," "Jerry Maguire" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back."
Throughout the early 2000s, Regina King appeared on TV shows (like "24" in 2007) and in films (like 2005's "Ray"), but it wasn't until she snagged the part of Det. Lydia Adams in the dramatic cop series "Southland" that Regina became a household name once again. Along with her on-screen acting, Regina also voiced the characters Huey and Riley Freeman on the animated series "The Boondocks" from 2005 to 2014. Perhaps her most exciting role to date came in 2015 with the anthology series "American Crime" — which ran for three powerful seasons and earned Regina two Primetime Emmys for her work. In 2018, Regina landed a new TV role as Latrice Butler on the crime drama "Seven Seconds." She'll also soon return to the big screen soon with "If Beale Street Could Talk" co-starring Dave Franco and Pedro Pascal.
He's been described as one of the sexiest men in Hollywood, and we'd have to agree. Hunky Jeff Goldblum actually began acting in 1974 with a small role in the crime drama "Death Wish." It wasn't until 1986 that Jeff took on one of his most famous roles to date playing Seth Brundle in "The Fly." From there, Jeff starred in a slew of films throughout the '80s and '90s including "Earth Girls are Easy," "Jurassic Park" (seen here), "Nine Months," "Independence Day" and "Little Surprises" (which earned him his first Oscar nomination).
Like a fine bourbon, Jeff Goldblum has only gotten better with age. The 65-year-old actor is sexier than ever and still flashing his dazzling smile on-screen. Along with making appearances on shows like "Portlandia" and "Inside Amy Schumer," Jeff's co-starred in big-budget films like "Mortdecai," "Independence Day: Resurgence," "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2." In 2018, Jeff's kicking things into high gear by voicing the character Duke in "Isle of Dogs" and starring in three films, one of which happens to be "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," which will see him reprise his role as sexy scientist Ian Malcolm.
Like many of the stars on our list, Michelle Pfeiffer began her Hollywood ascent long before the '90s, but it wasn't until that decade that she truly became a force on the big screen. From her role as Lurene Hallett in "Love Field" (which earned her an Oscar nomination) to her steamy portrayal of Catwoman in "Batman Returns" and even her powerful performance in "Dangerous Minds," Michelle was hitting her stride in the '90s and had nowhere to go but up.
Beginning in 2000, Michelle Pfeiffer drastically reduced her workload in order to be present and available to her two children, Claudia and John, who are now adults. For a while, she only filmed one movie a year, such as "I Am Sam" in 2001 and "White Oleander" in 2002. Then in 2003, she took an indefinite break from Hollywood, not returning until 2007 when she starred in three films including the remake of "Hairspray." Now that her kids are out of the house, Michelle is busier than ever. In 2017, she starred in four films including the psychological thriller "mother!" and the whodunit mystery "Murder on the Orient Express." In 2018, the soon-to-be-60 blonde beauty will star in the sci-fi action-adventure flick "Ant-Man and the Wasp."
Perhaps one of the biggest stars of the '90s was Kevin Costner, who began his acting career in 1981 but 10 years later would win an Academy Award (seen here) for his powerful performance in the drama "Dances with Wolves," which he also produced and directed. The handsome star's other major film credits in the '90s included "JFK," "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," "The Bodyguard" and "The Postman."
Beginning in 2000, Kevin Costner took a more balanced approach to acting, limiting his film roles to one or two per year. The end result, of course, was that his star power began to dim. Then in 2014, Kevin returned with a bang, starring in four films including "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" and "Draft Day," proving he was still every bit the action star and leading man he once was. In 2016, Kevin starred in the biopic drama "Hidden Figures" and the following year appeared in the biopic crime thriller "Molly's Game." Up next for the still-handsome 64-year-old star is a leading role in the western TV series drama "Yellowstone" and the big-screen drama "The Highwaymen."
Sharon Stone's career can be divided into two parts: before 1992's "Basic Instinct" and after. While Sharon had worked steadily in Hollywood since 1978, it was her provocative portrayal of the seductive (and murderous) novelist Catherine Tramell in the film (seen here) that made her a fan favorite around the world. Other films credits Sharon accumulated in the '90s include parts in "Total Recall," "Sliver" and "Casino," the latter of which won her a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.
Sharon Stone was poised to take over Hollywood by 2000, but her career came to an abrupt halt when, in 2001, she suffered a massive stroke that left her in the ICU for nine long days. It would take Sharon two years to relearn how to walk and talk again and even longer to reclaim her former status as a leading lady. In 2014, the bombshell actress shared her experience working as a guest star on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in 2010, saying it "was not what I'd hoped for; you get sent all the way to the back of the line to guest star on [the show]." After a busy 2017 when Sharon starred in films like "The Disaster Artist" and "Running Wild" as well as on the TV crime series "Mosaic," she's next set to star in several films including a currently untitled project with famed directed Martin Scorsese and the comedy "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife." She'll also star in the 2018 crime thriller "Sunny."
Back in 1991, America hadn't yet fallen in love with doe-eyed Spanish star Antonio Banderas. That changed when he caught the attention of Madonna, who made no secret of her crush on the actor. The pop singer introduced Antonio to Hollywood and in 1992, he made his American debut with the critically acclaimed drama "The Mambo Kings." From there, Antonio went on to star in several major films of the decade including "Philadelphia" (seen here), "Desperado," "Evita" (alongside Madonna) and "The Mask of Zorro." In 1996, Antonio broke all our hearts when he married actress Melanie Griffith.
Hunky Antonio Banderas continued to act over the years, but these days is perhaps best known as the voice of Puss from "Shrek" and "Puss in Boots." In June 2014, Antonio and Melanie Griffith split, eventually divorcing in December 2015, but by then, he'd already fallen in love with someone new. Since October 2014, Antonio's dated model Nicole Kimpel. It was Nicole who nursed Antonio back to health after he suffered a minor heart attack in England in January 2017. Thankfully, the Spanish star has a clean bill of health now and is back slaying the screen in a bevy of new roles in 2018, including in the comedy "The Devil May Care" (in which he plays God) and on the biographical TV series "Genius: Picasso" (in which he plays Pablo Picasso — hence why he sported shaved eyebrows in March 2018). In 2019, Antonio's set to star alongside Robert Downey Jr. in "The Voyage of Dr. Dolittle."
The lovely Uma Thurman burst onto the big screen in the late '80s and quickly captured our attention. Throughout the '90s, Uma starred in several hit films like "Final Analysis," "Mad Dog and Glory," "Pulp Fiction" (for which she earned an Oscar nomination) and "Batman & Robin." In 1998, Uma became one half of a Hollywood power couple when she married fellow actor Ethan Hawke.
Let's be real, Uma Thurman doesn't need to make a comeback because she never stopped being relevant. From her jaw-dropping performance in the "Kill Bill" franchise to her disturbing portrayal of Mrs. H in "Nymphomaniac" (Volumes I and II), Uma's proven time and time again that she's one of the most talented stars in Hollywood. After weathering two public divorces (first from Gary Oldman and later from Ethan Hawke) as well as a high-profile custody battle with ex-fiance Arpad Busson — and after coming forward with a story of sexual misconduct about disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein — Uma's held her head high. She still commands the screen and is again raking in film credits. In 2018, Uma made her Broadway debut in "The Parisian Woman." She also has three movies coming out in 2018: "The Brits are Coming," "Down a Dark Hall" and "The House that Jack Built."
It's not often that a 16-year-old relatively unknown actor lands his own TV series, but that's exactly what happened to Neil Patrick Harris when he was cast as the lead in "Doogie Howser, M.D." in 1989. The series ran until 1993 and transformed the young actor into a bona fide Hollywood star. Throughout the '90s, Neil appeared on several TV shows like "Roseanne," "Murder, She Wrote" and "Joan of Arc" and landed roles in big-screen productions like "Starship Troopers" and "The Proposition."
Throughout the early 2000s, we saw less of Neil Patrick Harris on the big and small screens. Though he was still working in Hollywood, he took on more voice roles, like as Peter Parker on the animated series "Spider-Man" and as Ray Thompson on "Justice League." In 2004, however, Neil — who'd also spent a considerable amount of time on Broadway and in Off-Broadway productions — rekindled his mainstream fame by appearing as a sex-crazed former child star (coincidentally named Neil Patrick Harris) in "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" in 2004 and in its 2008 sequel. In 2006, Neil came out as a gay man and continued his upswing by landing roles on series like "How I Met Your Mother" and "Neil's Puppet Dreams." In 2017, the Tony- and Emmy-winning actor landed the role of Count Olaf on the Netflix series "A Series of Unfortunate Events," which launched Season 2 in March 2018.
In 1990, Kathy Bates became the figure of all our nightmares when she starred as Annie Wilkes in the thriller "Misery," which earned her a best actress Oscar. Kathy, who'd been steadily working in Hollywood since 1977, had finally arrived. Throughout the '90s, she starred in several films including "Dick Tracy," "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Dolores Claiborne" and "Titanic," proving she not only had range but an incredible amount of talent.
Throughout the early 2000s, Kathy Bates continued to land film roles while also keeping her toes in TV. Along with movies like "Around the World in 80 Days," "P.S. I Love You" and "Revolutionary Road," Kathy also had parts on series like "Six Feet Under," "Two and a Half Men" (which won her an Emmy) and "The Office." In 2013, Kathy's star grew even brighter when she was cast in the terrifying anthology series "American Horror Story." Whether she played a bloodthirsty witch or an enabling mother of the ghost of a drug addict, Kathy (who won another Emmy for her performance) demonstrated the kind of unyielding talent that few in Hollywood can muster. In 2017, the actress landed her own series, "Disjointed," about an elderly woman running a marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles. Kathy has several film projects in the works including the 2018 biographical drama "On the Basis of Sex" and "The Highwaymen," which co-stars another actor on our list, Kevin Costner.
While Katie Holmes didn't become a major star until the late '90s with the debut of one of our favorite teen dramas, "Dawson's Creek," she quickly morphed into one of the most beloved celebs of the decade. Along with starring in films like "Disturbing Behavior" and "Teaching Mrs. Tingle," Katie melted our hearts as Joey Potter on "Creek" — giving us all major friendship (and boyfriend) goals.
After "Dawson's Creek" ended in 2003, Katie Holmes landed a few roles in films like "First Daughter" and "Thank You For Smoking," but it was her relationship with Tom Cruise that shot her into the spotlight in 2005 when he giddily announced to the world (while jumping on Oprah Winfrey's couch) how much he loved her. From there, Katie was the subject of tabloid gossip as her relationship with Tom led to marriage, a family and, later, divorce. Through all the public drama, Katie's still managed to hold her own in Hollywood after a brief lull. From starring as Jackie Kennedy in the 2011 miniseries "The Kennedys" to her 2015 role as Paige Finney on "Ray Donovan," Katie's shown she has incredible acting depth. In 2017, she reprised her first lady role when she starred in another political miniseries, "The Kennedys: Decline and Fall," while also appearing in films like "Logan Lucky" and "A Happening of Monumental Proportions." In 2018, Katie — who's quietly been dating Oscar winner Jamie Foxx for several years — has two major movies on the horizon: "Ocean's 8" and "Doorman."