Were you one of the people who watched 2015s ‘Magic Mike XXL’ or even just saw the trailer and thought, “blimey, is that Andie MacDowell? I haven’t seen her in a while.”
If so, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
There was actually a moment, probably around June or July 1994, when Andie MacDowell was going to be a very, very big star.
She had appeared in ‘Groundhog Day’ the previous year, a successful movie which would go on to be known as a modern classic. But 1994 was the year of ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ and after being released in the US on 15 April, it was slowly turning into a box office juggernaut.
So it’s kind of a surprise that 21 years later, she only just returned to the mainstream with a supporting role in ‘Magic Mike XXL’. In fact, other than an episode of ’30 Rock’ in 2012, the 58-year-old actress has been in nothing high-profile since, er, well ‘Multiplicity’ with Michael Keaton in 1996 was alright…
So why has the South Carolinian been off the Hollywood map? The answer is a difficult one.
Frankly, MacDowell has never been particularly esteemed as an actress despite her three Golden Globe nominations. Her line about the rain at the end of ‘Four Weddings’ is routinely mocked as the worst part of the film (she didn’t write it you know!) and in her first movie ‘Greystoke’, she was dubbed – much to her embarrassment – by Glenn Close. She is, to most people, a Marmite performer.
Meanwhile, her beauty and skill as a model has never been in question. She has worked as a spokesperson for L’Oréal since she was 27 and her flawless, porcelain complexion looks the same as it did back in the 90s.
But there are lots of beautiful women in Hollywood.
Some of it is certainly the difficulties faced by women who want to maintain stardom but have a family at the same time. Of course it shouldn’t be any different to maintaining a regular job and being a mother, which millions do every day. But Hollywood has a unique set of demands – mostly centred around being awesome and red-carpet ready 24/7 – which sometimes leads participants to make their way to the periphery of the business, at least for a while.
MacDowell has certainly had an busy private life. Married to fellow model Paul Qualley in 1986, the couple had three children at the height of her fame. They divorced in 1999 and she returned to her Southern roots where she reconnected with old high school classmate Rhett Hartzog.
She and Hartzog married in 2001, but divorced three years later. She was engaged to an Atlantan jewellery businessman seven years her junior in 2006, but has kept her private life just that in more recent years, admitting in 2013 that she was single.
On-screen, it appears to have been as much about luck as bad choices. She was part of the ‘Town & Country’ debacle in 2001, a flop of such gigantic and negative proportions that it tainted almost all its cast including Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn and Josh Hartnett.
Back in 1986, she turned down Jodie Foster’s role in ‘The Accused’, which went on to win Foster an Oscar. MacDowell recently told The Guardian that she wishes she’d been less cautious as a young actress. “I’m sad I didn’t take more chances,” she said, suggesting she failed to fight for the lead in raunchy ‘9½ Weeks’.
Since the turn of the millennium, there’s been a couple of TV shows – the aborted ‘Jane by Design’ in 2012 and more recently on-running wholesome Canadian melodrama ‘Cedar Cove’ in which she plays a municipal court judge.
But none of her Noughties output has touched her 90s material, which included ‘Short Cuts’, cowboy pic ‘Bad Girls’ and even cheesy angel drama ‘Michael’.
By contrast, there was the voice of Etta the Hen in 2006’s ‘Barnyard’, a small role in the ‘Footloose’ remake and ‘The Six Wives of Henry Lefay’ with Tim Allen.
After ‘Magic Mike XXL’ she only has two other IMDB movie credits - a Hallmark Channel show called ‘Cedar Cove’ (which finished last year) and an upcoming 1970s-set TV show called ‘Model Woman’.
She continues to model and lives primarily in California when not shooting in Vancouver, although she spends a lot of time at her 3000-acre working ranch in Montana.
Meanwhile her daughters look to be taking over their mother’s mantle. Twenty-four-year-old Rainey is an actress and country singer, whilst Margaret, 19, featured in HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ and appears in this month’s ‘The Nice Guys’, alongside Ryan Gosling.
Photos: Everett/Moviestore/Rex_Shutterstock/StarTraks/Dave Lewis