Whatever Happened to Brendan Fraser?
Brendan Fraser was once Hollywood's golden boy, but in recent years, the actor's kept a pretty low profile — so, where did he go?
In the '90s and early 2000s, Fraser was the go-to leading man for comedies, action films and dramas. A versatile actor with charm that leapt off the screen, Fraser could play a hunky, heroic heartthrob, yet also come off relatable and goofy.
Fraser got his breakout in the 1992 comedy film Encino Man — his second ever film role — and had star-making turns in films such as Airheads and George of the Jungle. By the time he starred in 1999's The Mummy (the hit film spawned a franchise, including two sequels and a spinoff), Fraser was a household name.
In 2003, the same year he starred in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, the actor took a brief hiatus from the entertainment world. Following his break, he seemed to take on less film roles, with standouts including Crash and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
In 2018, the actor spoke with GQ and revealed that he slowed down, and turned down later reboot offers for The Mummy and Journey to the Center of the Earth, due to his declining health, which included lasting injuries sustained while performing stunts in various films.
“By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China [in 2008], I was put together with tape and ice—just, like, really nerdy and fetishy about ice packs. Screw-cap ice packs and downhill-mountain-biking pads, 'cause they're small and light and they can fit under your clothes. I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily," he explained.
Fraser's injuries led him to have a laminectomy, which is a surgery in which part of the vertebral bone is removed. The first procedure was unsuccessful, resulting in a second surgery. The actor, who shared that he was in and out of hospitals for nearly seven years, also had a partial knee replacement and underwent surgery to repair his vocal cords.
Fraser also revealed that he had been mourning the death of his mother, who passed away from cancer in 2016. At the time, he was also still processing his very messy 2009 divorce from Afton Smith, who he had been married to for more than a decade.
Another reason for Fraser's absence in Hollywood was trauma from a sexual assault that took place in 2003, at the height of his career, something which made the actor reevaluate the entertainment industry. Fraser alleged that he was sexually assaulted at a Hollywood Foreign Press Association party by former HFPA president Phillip Berk. Berk, who denied Fraser's allegation, claimed that he pinched the actor's backside as a joke, while Fraser claimed that Berk grabbed his backside and fondled him: "One of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around.”
“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 explained to GQ.
Thankfully, over the past few years, Fraser has begun to make a sure but steady comeback in Hollywood. He's taken roles on TV, including on The Affair, Trust and Doom Patrol, and popped up in movies such as 2021's critically acclaimed No Sudden Moves.
And the future looks even brighter than ever for Fraser, who's currently signed on to star alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro in the upcoming Martin Scorsese picture, Killers of the Flower Moon, as well as in Darren Aronofsky's The Whale.