Normally, when we write articles, we're writing about the up and comers, the famous, and those who are fully in the spotlight. Sometimes, though, we're forced to go back to our roots and remember those whose acting journeys never brought them into the next decade.
These actors and actresses essentially fell into the black hole that we call the Disney Channel, an era when TV shows and movies were seemingly limitless.
The Disney Channel has undergone many changes over the years, but one thing it was known for was knocking preteen entertainment out of the park. Now, the word 'Disney' has many different meanings to many people, but the one thing we can all agree on was they its heydays were undoubtedly the '90s.
These were the days when Disney movies were clever, amusing, and indulgent. There were shows that we'd rush home after school to watch when we were supposed to be doing homework, movies we'd stay up past our bedtimes on weekends to watch. Overall, '90s Disney stars (and their shows) helped to define a decade of simply being a kid.
So where are these stars now? Some of them landed it big while others just seemed to disappear quietly into the abyss, just as their shows and movies had. But don't worry, we're bringing them all back for a trip down memory lane.
20 Comeback Kid: Joey Lawrence
Anyone who doesn't remember Joey Lawrence clearly is not a true '90s kid. He was iconic throughout the '90s and continued to be so well into the early 2000s. It's no surprise that a guy with such charisma (not to mention looks that we all crushed on) is still a fairly well-known actor to this day.
Many will remember him from his time spent on Blossom, his first break-out role way back in 1990. Now, people recall his face when thinking of Melissa Joan Hart—yet another hit '90s star—due to the work they've done together throughout the years including Melissa & Joey.
19 Totally Miss: Kirsten Storms
Unless you're a fan of soap operas, you probably have no idea what happened to the star of Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century, and we don't blame you. After making it big with her most well-known role of the time, Kirsten Storms went straight into her soap opera run the very next year. From 2000 to 2004, she played Belle Black on Days of Our Lives and then found a far more permanent role on General Hospital as Maxie Jones until 2019.
So, while Kirsten has been an active actor from 1999 all the way until now, we can't say that we don't miss her on the big screen... or at least taking on the role of a superhuman space species. Zenon sequel, anyone?
18 Comeback Kid: Katey Sagal
We're pretty sure there's not a person on earth who isn't a Katey Sagal fan and for good reason... She's been in some pretty hefty roles since the Disney Channel. Fellow '90s Disney fans will have recognized her from her role as Pat on Smart House in 1999 (and don't tell us you weren't totally creeped out after watching it).
Since that crowning moment, Katey Sagal has landed some pretty major parts as other people's mom, too, such as in 8 Simple Rules and Sons of Anarchy. Additionally, she's recognized as Helen from Lost and took up a recent role in Shameless.
17 Totally Miss: Kimberly J. Brown
Kimberly J. Brown has come a long way from little Marnie in Halloweentown and a lot has changed since 1998, but then again... maybe not so much, judging by this photo. After her Halloween all day, everyday days, she went on to take another fairly large role in Stephen King's Rose Red. However, after that, she disappeared—magic, or a conscious choice?
Kimberly started acting at the age of only five and by the time she was nine, she had set a record as the youngest actress to appear on Broadway. She's also an Emmy-winner, taking the award for her role as Marah on Guiding Light. Although we're proud of Kimberly, we do wish we could see more of her.
16 Comeback Kid: Emilio Esteves
We're pretty sure that this is one guy who never really went out of style. Most know him from his jock role in The Breakfast Club, but he was also somewhat of a '90s heartthrob as well. Us '90s kids know him first and foremost as Gordon Bombay from The Mighty Ducks, but this actor has taken on some pretty serious roles since then.
He most recently starred in and wrote the movie The Public, which took roughly 12 years to create, according to an interview with MSN. The movie reflects reality in the US today as we know it and brings to life many issues that Emilio Esteves cares deeply for.
15 Totally Miss: Ben Savage
While Ben Savage did try to make a comeback when it came to Girl Meets World, it just wasn't quite there. Although he actually got his start in 1989, he's most known for his role in the teen comedy drama and it's a role that is sorely missed.
Since then, he has made some small appearances in shows such as The Leftovers and Criminal Minds but, similar to his fellow co-star Danielle Fishel, he hasn't had any serious roles since Boy Meets World ended. Regardless of what he is or isn't in, he'll always have a special place in our hearts.
14 Comeback Kid: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, former Angels in the Outfield star, has come a long way since his long-haired days. The actor has really been in too many major movies to list here, but his roles in 500 Days of Summer, Inception, and The Dark Knight Rises most certainly got the attention of '90s kids.
He started with small TV roles before making the smooth transition into major motion pictures and honestly, we're glad he did. The actor has tremendous skill, a heartwarming smile, and, of course, always gives us major '90s vibes. We're forever fans, no matter what his next role is.
13 Totally Miss: Matthew Lawrence
Interestingly enough, Matthew Lawerence (yes, the brother of Joey Lawrence) got his acting start back in 1984 but wasn't very well-known until the '90s. He did have a short role on Blossom, but went on to act in shows such as Brotherly Love and, of course, Boy Meets World.
As far as Disney is concerned, he starred in The Wonderful World of Disney from 1997 to 1999. From that point on, though, he hasn't landed anything too crazy. While we love both the Lawrence brothers, it would be great to see Matthew Lawrence in more than just his childhood roles.
12 Comeback Kids: Tia & Tamera Mowery
The Mowry sisters have had quite the run as far as acting goes and it's a run that's still going on. We loved them back in their teenage days when they played, well, themselves, and we love them still. With popular roles in Twitches and several other classic '90s sitcoms, we can't help but have a special place in our hearts for these twins.
As they got older, they both went their separate ways a bit as far as acting, but it doesn't change their level of individual talent. The two are successful producers as well and seemed to have found their place in the film industry as adults just as well as they navigated it when they were kids.
11 Totally Miss: Thomas Decker
He might not look nearly the same (which is a truly wonderful thing) but some '90s kids might recognize this bad boy from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, which was his most well-known role prior to his adult years. While he made it big as a tiny nerd, Thomas Dekker faded out just a bit as an adult but has appeared in some pretty note-worthy roles.
Two of these include A Nightmare on Elm Street and the show The Secret Circle, which was unfortunately canceled after the first season. We'd love to see him in bigger roles but to be honest, with that face, we'd probably watch him in just about anything.
10 Comeback Kid: Tahj Mowry
Tahj Mowry had a fun on-screen role in Seventeen Again, which he starred in with his sisters, Tia and Tamera Mowry. While all three have had quite the success story, Tahj Mowry has gone on to blaze his own path separate from his sisters' fame. He did star in several Disney movies but stuck mainly to TV shows post-Disney days, and he's still a pretty well-known '90s face today.
He most recently took on the role as Tucker Dobbs in Baby Daddy, which had a successful run from 2012 to 2017. After keeping a low profile for a couple of years, he's back on the acting scene in a role for Welcome Matt, which is currently in post-production.
9 Totally Miss: Cara DeLizia
This So Weird actress, Cara DeLizia, is well-known for her role on the late '90s show but actually got her start much before that. Prior to 1999, she appeared on shows such as 7th Heaven and You're Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley's Sleepover Party, circa 1995.
While her acting took off quite a bit in the late '90s and early 2000s, Cara DeLizia hasn't been in much since those glory days. Her last role was back in 2012 as the voice of Young Bobby in Homecoming, but that's about it. Her face alone gives us serious '90s flashbacks and we'd really love to see her make a comeback.
8 Comeback Kid: Camilla Belle
Camilla Belle is one of those actresses who has an unmistakable face, which is a good thing because she has had steady film roles since her start back in 1993. While she's kept her acting mostly to movies, we consider her one of our own '90s stars.
Although she hasn't starred in anything since 2017, we still consider her a 'comeback kid' simply because of her steady work from the early '90s on through the early and late 2000s. We're sure that her filmography won't end with the year 2017, though, as judging by her history, she's still got a few more roles up her sleeve.
7 Totally Miss: Mischa Barton
Mischa Barton is, of course, most known for her role as crazy Marissa Cooper on The O.C. However, not many realize that she actually started acting in the mid-'90s and had roles in some pretty big movies, such as Notting Hill and The Sixth Sense. Additionally, she starred in KaBlam! for one year as Betty Ann Bongo, a character that many of us remember but never put a name or a face to.
Since her days on The O.C., though, Mischa Barton has been in and out of the spotlight, and not always in a good way. She most recently announced her own comeback with the reboot of The Hills, and we're expecting some seriously entertaining drama.
6 Comeback Kid: Justin Timberlake
While yes, Justin Timberlake was one of the faces from N'Sync until he went solo, he was also an early actor. He starred as none other than himself on The All New Mickey Mouse Club from 1993 to 1995, obviously long before he knew he was just meant to be a great pop singer. He's been on many other shows as himself, and this show would not be his last Disney appearance.
The Mickey Mouse Club member has clearly made it big but we'll always see him as a true '90s (and occasionally 2000s) pop icon. Also, serious bonus points for those of you who remember him starring in Model Behavior back in 2000.
5 Totally Miss: Alyson Michalka
We're throwing the honorable mention of Alyson Michalka in here simply because she was a huge part of Disney in the early 2000s. Between her and her sister, they rocked the worlds of many a kid watching Disney channel in the hopes of being musically inspired. As an adult, she made an appearance in movies such as Easy A and Grown Ups 2, along with landing roles on some fairly popular shows.
Her most recent credits include iZombie, but we'd love to see her in more than just that. While she's not a true '90s actor, she did get her start at a young age and she's one of the few 2000s Disney stars we actually miss.
4 Comeback Kid: Kristen Stewart
Yes, the same actress who stole every Twilight fan's heart was, indeed, a Disney movie star. Her very first role, which was also her Disney debut, was in The Thirteenth Year, where she starred alongside Chez Starbuck. Well, somewhat... she played the role of 'girl in fountain line' which was, of course, uncredited, but now that you know who to look for, maybe you'll catch a glimpse of a young Bella Swan during this scene.
Clearly, her uncredited role didn't stop her any, as she's landed major roles in movies such as Adventureland and Snow White and the Huntsman. She also recently completed roles in three other movies, two of which are currently in post-production.
3 Totally Miss: Hayden Panettiere
Some might be surprised to find Hayden Panettiere on this list because she does have such a respectable role history, but that's just it—a history. Her last major film role was in Nashville but before that, it was only in the canceled show Heroes, with some minor roles here and there.
Nowadays, she's most well-known for her voice acting in games such as Kingdom Hearts and Until Dawn, and though her voice is instantly recognizable, we'd love to see her in some more film roles. The actress has been doing this since 1996, so she has a long history behind her and we're hopeful for a long history in the future.
2 Comeback Kid: Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl has been acting since 1993, which is a hefty amount of time for an actress to maintain popular ratings. However, it seems that she has done it, landing herself in some fairly recognizable roles in the last decade or so. If anything, Katherine Heigl's name is probably better well-known thanks to her most recent roles rather than that of her '90s past.
Although her looks have still remained flawless and young, she has quite the success story when it comes to making it in the movie biz. Despite all that, we'll always remember her as the little girl from Disney's Wish Upon a Star.
1 Totally Miss: Jewel Staite
Jewel Staite is a name that not too many remember unless they were fans of the Disney show Flash Forward, which premiered back in 1995. We're throwing it back quite a ways for this one and even though the actress got her start on Disney, she's managed to land some other cool roles, too.
One of which includes Firefly, her most well-known adult role, but she was also on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Are You Afraid of the Dark, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show. Her success has continued on through many small movie and TV show roles, but we'd love to see her become the leading lady once again.