Brendan Fraser was a beloved actor in the 1990s and for good reason. He was equal parts boyish and hunky, easily switching between goofy comedies and period dramas. But as soon as he established himself as an accomplished and bankable name, he pretty much disappeared. Find out what happened to Brendan Fraser and when—if ever—we can expect to see him on screen again.
What Is Brendan Fraser Most Known For?
Brendan Fraser, 52, began his acting career after graduating from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle in 1990. His first film part was playing a rowdy sailor in the 1991 indie movie Dogfight. By the next year, he was cast as the lead in the cult comedy Encino Man.
Fraser maintained steady work in the 90s, starring alongside Matt Damon in School Ties and Adam Sandler in Airheads. But his first major success came with his role as George in 1997’s George of the Jungle. He then graduated to bonafide action star in 1999 when he starred with Rachel Weisz in The Mummy. Check out a clip from the original film, which spawned a successful franchise:
What Happened To Brendan Fraser’s Film Career?
Throughout the 2000s, Fraser appeared in a number films, including the critically-acclaimed Crash. But none of those projects came close to the success of The Mummy, and then the the spotlight began to fade.
In a 2018 GQ profile, Fraser attributes his low profile to a number of different issues. For starters, the physical demands of The Mummy series destroyed his body. He was in and out of hospitals for seven years, undergoing multiple surgeries on his spine, a partial knee replacement, and treatment for injured vocal cords.
“I felt like the horse from Animal Farm, whose job it was to work and work and work,” said Fraser. “Orwell wrote a character who was, I think, the proletariat. He worked for the good of the whole, he didn’t ask questions, he didn’t make trouble until it killed him.”
When he was cast on Showtime’s The Affair in 2016, Fraser sat down with AOL for his first interview in years. His glum demeanor did not go unnoticed—in fact, it led to a “sad Brendan Fraser” meme. If anyone had known what was really happening behind the scenes, they might have had second thoughts about giggling over the clip.
Fraser’s mother died of cancer just days before he sat in front of the AOL audience. “I buried my mom,” Fraser said. “I think I was in mourning, and I didn’t know what that meant.”
Life, in general, had been a challenge for the star, “I changed houses; I went through a divorce,” he continued. “Some kids were born. I mean, they were born, but they’re growing up. I was going through things that mold and shape you in ways that you’re not ready for until you go through them.”
Fraser also revealed that he had been traumatized from an unwanted sexual advance. He told the magazine that in 2003, he was assaulted by Philip Berk, former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, at a luncheon in Beverly Hills. Mr. Berk denied the allegations, but Fraser gave a seemingly genuine account of the experience.
“I felt ill,” he said. “I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry.”
“I became depressed,” he continued. “I was blaming myself and I was miserable—because I was saying, ‘This is nothing; this guy reached around and he copped a feel.’ That summer wore on—and I can’t remember what I went on to work on next.”
Fraser can’t say for sure that going public with his assault led to being blacklisted by the entertainment industry. However, his intuition tells him they’re tied together.
“The phone does stop ringing in your career, and you start asking yourself why,” said Fraser. “There’s many reasons, but was this one of them? I think it was.”
What Is Brendan Fraser Doing Today?
Fraser divorced his wife of ten years, Afton Smith, in 2008. He currently lives in a New York suburb, close to Smith’s Connecticut home (where she has custody of their three sons.)
In recent years, he’s kept himself busy with TV roles. Fraser currently plays Cliff Steele, aka Robotman, in the DC Comics-based series Doom Patrol. In 2019, he gave Syfy Wire some thoughtful answers about why he was drawn to the role.
“I think it’s a story that engenders such a sympathy for [the group], he said. “[Cliff’s] masculinity is toxic. He’s narcissistic, even. In other words, he’s not a very good guy. He has a long way to go to evolve as a human, and that’s the journey that he takes.”
Check out the full interview below:
Fraser is also prepping for a comeback on the big screen. In January 2021, Deadline revealed that the actor will star in Darren Aranofsky’s The Whale. The film, based on a 2012 play of the same name, follows the story of a 600-pound gay man who attempts to reconnect with his teenage daughter. No word on a release date, but we suspect that a solid performance could lead to a major comeback for the former A-lister.