The Shocking Experience That Made Brendan Fraser ‘Retreat’ From Hollywood

Sometimes you see bright stars in Hollywood who ultimately retreat from the spotlight due to one circumstance or another. Sometimes it’s due to just being burned out and not able to handle the spotlight. Other times it’s due to unexpected health issues. In some cases, these notables made successful comebacks after being away, though sometimes taking longer than expected.

Taking time away from the limelight was something that Brendan Fraser had no choice but do. He’s recently recounted some things he went through many of his fans had no idea he’d experienced.

When you find out what really happened to him, you’ll realize that some disappearances from Hollywood aren’t just due to box office failures. The most unfortunate things are often lack of empathy and internal politics.

At one time, Brendan Fraser was everywhere on the big screen

Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser | Jordin Althaus/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank

There wasn’t a more ubiquitous presence in comedies during the 1990s than Fraser, often doing his own physical stunts. When you start to become the next Jerry Lewis or the alternate Adam Sandler, you’re also going to pay a price when you take on dangerous pratfalls for laughs.

Some of you may know the late icon Jerry Lewis suffered serious back injuries for years due to taking on various dares in his physical comedy. Little did we know Fraser experienced the same issues due to being expected to do literal fall-down stunts in his movies.

Based on an extensive interview for GQ about Brendan Fraser’s career stall and comeback, dealing with physical injuries wasn’t the only reason he stayed away from Hollywood for so long.

It turns out one situation that occurred while attending the Golden Globes ended up shifting his horizons. This was an incident giving a flipside look at the #MeToo movement and what women have had to endure in Hollywood for decades.

Dealing with surgeries, sexual assault, and self-doubt

One could argue Hollywood goes into complacency mode when they have a star who’s clearly not doing the healthiest things to entertain people. Doing the type of stunts Fraser was doing in films like Encino Man or George of the Jungle was bound to mean suffering an injury that he could never recover from.

According to Fraser in the above 2008 GQ interview, he knew his body was breaking down, yet was afraid to say anything to producers out of fear of being fired or losing his career.

Things got so bad he had to take time out for surgeries to repair his body. He could have kept on going, but an incident with HFPA President Philip Berk led to what he says was a political move. Fraser contends Berk groped him in a sexual way when in a car together, something Berk still denies.

Speaking out about this and peers criticizing him for saying it spun Fraser into a deep depression. That period of time where everyone wondered where he was ultimately had everything to do with the worst kind of Hollywood blacklisting.

Fraser managed to reinvent himself as an actor

As with many great comedians, Fraser managed to find himself in new roles, this time more drama-oriented to prove his worth as an actor. His movie career continues, though certainly not having the big box office hits of the 1990s.

Instead, he’s turned to where all the best actors now go: TV. A recently successful turn playing John Gunther on Showtime’s The Affair put him back on the map as someone to take seriously again.

Since then, he’s been acting on various other shows, with a current streaming stint on Doom Patrol. He’s also acting in films again after a five-year absence. While he’ll likely be more recognized for his TV work than his upcoming movie projects, it’s a step forward in proving one can reinvent themselves after dealing with self-doubt, depression, and tragedy.

Yes, Fraser has also dealt with personal family losses and a failed marriage on top of everything else. But he’s the ultimate survival story in a showbiz town sometimes swallowing their victims whole.