Sometimes it’s interesting to wonder what it’s like for some actors to be the type of person that people will talk about years later when saying “You remember that individual that played this character’s girlfriend?”. This would be accurate in Lisa Dean Ryan’s case since she did play the on screen girlfriend of Doogie Howser that eventually split from him upon trying to seek an art degree. She did end up leaving the show in the second season but came back sporadically before heading off to take on her own career and do what she could to create her own reputation among fans. While she did manage to pick up several roles throughout her career nothing ever really came together as it did for a few members of the cast, Neal Patrick Harris especially, but she did enjoy moderate success for a while as she continued to pursue one acting gig after another. Her current net worth is kind of hard to believe but if there’s any truth to it then she’s been living a pretty comfortable life lately and managed to invest wisely in her career and in other areas of her life as it would appear that she’s doing quite well and might not even need to work.
As Morgana Santilli of Looper notes, Ryan retired from acting in 2005 after one last TV movie and as of now there’s not a lot of information on her other than the idea that some have that she could possibly come back at any time since women in movies are starting to gain the representation that they’ve wanted for so long and there’s plenty of room for whoever wants to step into the spotlight. As far as what she’s done thus far in the industry much of it has been enough to keep her paid but not much of it has been enough to really show the caliber of acting that she possesses since if asked, many people might not even remember her name or what she did. The blunt and sometimes harsh reality of Hollywood is that if you don’t do anything to stand out in a big way then people are likely to forget who you are within a month unless they have a reason to recall just what the actor has done and why it’s important to them. For many, Lisa is perhaps a pleasant look into the past and worthy of the nostalgic feelings she likely brings up in some, but apart from that it’s very likely that people might ask who she is
The past several decades have seen a lot of stars from pre-2000 rise and fall but a lot of them have also faded off into obscurity in a big way even if they’ve lasted for a little while are still around. While Lisa has obviously kept a pretty quiet life since her departure it’s fair to state that she might have looked at acting as a paycheck or a possible chance to live the life of a celebrity for a while and came to find out that it was a little tougher than she initially thought. That’s a guess of course since the reality is that a lot of people don’t know given that not a lot has been heard from her in over a decade since she stepped away from the spotlight. There’s a great deal of conjecture that can be made but overall, without speaking to her in person it’s kind of hard to tell just what prompted the decision to make her way from in front of the camera to a life that hasn’t been documented so far as anyone can tell. The fact that she hung in for so long is kind of inspiring since when one looks at her resume it’s kind of easy to tell that she didn’t do much of note that anyone will easily recall, apart of course from Doogie Howser, and at this point it’s easier to claim that people will remember Doogie and Vinnie a lot easier than they’ll recall anyone else. That might sound a little harsh but the truth is that not many stars came out of that show with their career intact or headed in an upward direction. Even Neil Patrick Harris had to bide his time until his star began to rise again.
Were the actors from various movies and TV shows that we’ve largely forgotten to get together and reminisce one day it might actually be kind of interesting given that it would probably jog the memories of many fans that enjoyed them back in the day. But at this time there are those that are still in the business and those that have either stepped away or essentially been forgotten by the fans and the business itself.