12 actors who had a well-deserved brush with fame before their careers sadly nose-dived

If you land a role in a movie or TV show that becomes a block-buster, then you're pretty much set for fame.  But every now and then a talented actor or actress falls by the wayside, often through no fault of their own.

Here are 12 actors who deserved fame and glory, but for some reason or another never made the grade...

1. Josh Hartnett

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He shone in Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down, but Josh Hartnett went on to refuse a number of roles as he didn't want to be typecast as an action hero. Refusing the role of Superman seemed to the last nail in his Hollywood coffin and despite his huge talent, he's only since been seen in small budget movies and TV roles.

2. Armie Hammer

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We loved him in The Social Network and he went on to star in The Lone Ranger, but to limited applause. Sadly his appearance in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. remake was also a bit of a flop and his biggest success to date is probably his voice over for Cars 3...

3. Denise Richards

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Richards' TV appearances led her to be cast in Starship Troopers and be noticed by the Hollywood powers that be.  She later appeared in Wild Things, but has never managed to make it to A-list status.

4. Alex Pettyfer

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Things didn't get off to a great start for Pettyfer... His first major role was in Stormbreaker, but box office takings were low.  He then appeared in I Am Number 4, but this movie also flopped.  Pettyfer didn't give up acting, but has since focused on obscure art-house movies.

5. Katherine Heigl

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Heigl was well-known even before she appeared in Grey’s Anatomy but movie-wise she hasn't managed to feature in any big productions.

6. Taylor Kitsch

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Kitch left his native country in order to further his modeling and acting career.  Fortune smiled on him when he landed a role in Friday Night Lights, swiftly followed by X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  He went on to star in John Carter and Battleship, but neither proved to be a success and he seems to have dived back into obscurity.

7. Hayden Christensen

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We all remember him as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars, the role that shot Christensen to fame. Sadly, the actor described this period as one of the worst in his life, not least because he was awarded two Razzie Awards.  He still acts, but since then he's not been cast in a big budget movie.

8. Lily Collins

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Collins' career began well, but slowly plummeted after she appeared in Mirror Mirror and went onto make the disastrous The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. She's since been seen in small budget projects, although she did get nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the little-known movie Rules Don't Apply.

9. Garrett Hedlund

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Hedlund started off as a successful young model and at the age of 18 decided to become an actor.  His first role was as Patrolcus in the hugely successful Troy, but his career went downhill after he played the lead in Tron: Legacy - a movie that deserved greater success.

10. Taylor Lautner

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Girls went crazy over Lautner in the Twilight Saga and the actor was subsequently offered several roles. He accepted the lead role in Abduction, but despite being a super-sexy werewolf, his good looks couldn't save the movie and he's since only been seen in sitcoms, the most successful being Cuckoo

11. Sarah Michelle Gellar

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Geller ruled the 90's when she played Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and then went on to make Scream 2 and Cruel Intentions. That said, she became typecast for coming-of-age roles and as she got older was no longer suited to this genre of movie.  She has landed a few TV parts, but has pretty much given up acting to concentrate on raising her family.

12. Kristin Davis

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Remember Charlotte, Sex and the City's goody two-shoes? Davis was nothing like her clean-cut character and has had stints in rehab for alcohol problems.  Numerous scandals left her on Hollywood's sidelines and she's never seen the same success that her co-stars went on to achieve.