The Truth About Why Brendan Fraser Vanished From Hollywood For Years

Brendan Fraser is now an Oscar-winning actor with the pick of the juiciest roles in Hollywood. But for the longest time, it seemed Fraser had all but disappeared from acting. If you were a child in the ’90s, of course, you probably counted at least one Brendan Fraser film among your favorites. The Mummy, George of the Jungle, Encino Man... All of them are great — but all of them came out decades ago. Yet there is a very good reason why Fraser stopped making blockbuster movies.

A troubled history

Considering the types of films Fraser is famous for making, you'd think his story would be lighthearted. But on closer inspection, it appears that he always threw himself 100 percent into a role — for better and for worse. When Fraser first started working as an actor, for example, he embraced the danger sometimes associated with the job.

A dogfight at the start

His first movie role was as a sailor in the aptly named 1991 film Dogfight — and Fraser was asked to do a fight scene. And not only did he not mind doing it, but he was also happy to be hurled into a pinball machine for his art. Fraser ended up bruising a rib, and he got an extra 50 bucks for his trouble. Possibly not the best introduction to an Oscar-winning Hollywood career, but Fraser said he was just happy to be there.

The breakthrough

However, he didn’t have to be hurled into arcade games for long. Fraser landed his breakout film role in 1992’s Encino Man. And unlikely as it may sound, this silly movie about a defrosted caveman now stars not one, but two Oscar winners. That's right: Ke Huy Quan, Fraser's co-star in Encino Man, also won at the 2023 Academy Awards. But it was Fraser who was really put on the path to stardom back in 1992.

Sex symbol status: unlocked

Stardom duly arrived with 1997’s George of the Jungle. The snappy children’s comedy established Fraser as a talented leading man and a bit of a sex symbol. His physique was displayed throughout the movie, and people liked what they saw. Fraser arguably had all the qualities of an A-list actor and was well on his way to being one.