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Going Out with a Wimper - Big Names, Hard Times & Bad Choices

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By Chris Kavan - 06/24/10 at 01:40 PM CT

Actors & actresses alike can fall prey to financial problems, drugs, alcohol or just plain old age. Some choose to retire early - a too-short legacy perhaps, but one that's preferable to the alternative: languishing in a Z-list film and tarnishing an otherwise stellar career.

It happens time and time again: Bela Lugosi in Plan 9 from Outer Space, addled by years of drug abuse. See Tim Burton's Ed Wood for Marin Landau's standout performance of the fading legend.

Peter Sellers in the Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu - if only he had finished with Being There instead. Fans will have to be content with The Pink Panther and Dr. Strangelove performances and just skip his final film for their own sake.

Errol Flynn in Cuban Rebel Girls - the swashbuckling, handsome leading man who made Robin Hood famous had survived numerous scandals and other bad films, but this was more of a favor to his then-girlfriend Beverly Aadland then any attempt at cinematic achievement.

Orson Welles - the voice of Unicron in Transformers the Movie. No matter the nostalgia you feel, the man who made Citizen Kane shouldn't have ended up here. He had trouble fitting in with Hollywood, but this was no way for the man to go out.

There are many others to consider - Joan Crawford, Peter Lorre, Gene Kelly, Groucho Marx - scores more, have left an ignoble end to standout lives. So why do I bring this up? Because Sean Connery - still my favorite Bond, has come out of retirement for an animated film, Sir Billi. Now, his last film in 2003 was the disappointing League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - he passed up a reprieve of Papa Jones in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (given its reputation, that was a shrewd move).

However, Sir Billi is: "an octogenarian skateboarding veterinarian who teams with goat that believes hes rabbit to save an illegal fugitive Bessie Boo the beaver." If that sounds as confusing as it sounds crazy - well, you'll find many who will agree with you. A trailer has appeared, but there is no set release date.

If this is indeed Connery's final performance, I can't see why he wouldn't join the ranks of the above-mentioned. It sounds like it's kind of a pet project, but it doesn't make it any better. What do you think? Any actors who need to be named - or who do you think is next on this list? Comments welcomed!


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