Celebrity Comebacks: Brit Drops New Single

These celebs had a thriving career, disappeared, then made a comeback... or are attempting one.

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WireImage
Somewhere between "Baby One More Time" and her listless performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, Britney lost her magic. She shaved her head and spent time in an L.A. psych ward. But Brit made her way back and her latest album "Circus" hit #1 on the Billboard chart.
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Disney favorite Hilary Duff cut her teeth on Lizzie Maguire followed by a string of kid-friendly flicks. Four years after Cheaper by the Dozen 2, Duff is guest starring on The CW hit Gossip Girl as movie-star-turned-college-girl Olivia.
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Anonymous
Mischa Barton starred in the angst-y TV drama The O.C. for four seasons, then fell off the face of the earth until her summer 2009 meltdown and subsequent role on The CW's The Beautiful Life:TBL. Can she pull it together to make a comeback?
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Jason Bateman started his career as a teen heartthrob, playing roles on the '80s sitcoms Silver Spoons and The Hogan Family. He then disappeared into the TV-movie abyss. In 2003 he re-emerged as Michael Bluth on Arrested Development, won a Golden Globe and is landing leading man roles on the big screen.
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ABC
Courteney Cox wants back in prime-time. Attempting to break the Friends career curse that's type-cast all its stars (excluding, perhaps, Jennifer Aniston), Courteney is starring in ABC's new comedy Cougar Town as a single mom on the prowl.
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Patrulla Estatal de Colorado
John Travolta's career was D.O.A. in the early '90s. He'd been successful in the late '70s with Welcome Back Kotter, Saturday Night Fever and Grease, but his only claim to fame in the '80s was Look Who's Talking. Ouch. Quentin Tarantino revived his career with 1994's Pulp Fiction.
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Tamara Palmer
It's been nine years since we've seen Saved by the Bell and 90210 alum Tiffani Thiessen in a successful show, but she's making an attempt on USA's White Collar.
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CBS
The conclusion of Doogie Howser, M.D. led to a decade-long slump for Neil Patrick Harris. But the actor made a hilarious comeback when he played a strung-out version of himself in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and has since moved on to other humorous, darker characters in How I Met Your Mother and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
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Tamara Palmer
After a successful movie career, Mickey Rourke decided to become a boxer - and his career took a hit that some thought would be a KO. But the actor's turn in 2008's The Wrestler garnered him an Oscar nod and set his career back on track.
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NBC Universal
SNL. Vacation. Caddyshack. Chevy Chase's roles are usually hilarious, but he hasn't had a hit since 1997. The comedian is making his return to NBC on the sitcom Community as Pierce, a local businessman who is completely detached from reality.
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Tamara Palmer
After a successful run as Charlie Salinger on Party of Five, small screen hunk Matthew Fox took a break from the spotlight and joined a theater company. After a four year hiatus, he became one of TV's favorite leading men as Jack Shepherd on ABC's hit Lost.
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Tamara Palmer
Drea de Matteo is a talented actress, but she must have lost her mind when she left the killer series The Sopranos to co-star on the short-lived Joey. She's hoping to make a comeback by returning to Sunday night TV with a new gig on ABC's Desperate Housewives.
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Tamara Palmer
EMPTY_CAPTION"I remain now, and will always be, a Duckman." And unfortunately for Jon Cryer, he did for about 17 years. Perhaps it was because his portrayal of Duckie in Pretty in Pink was so memorable, but Cryer didn't land another meaningful gig until 2003 when he started playing Alan on Two and a Half Men. He won an Emmy for his performance this year.
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AP
Whitney Houston was at the pinnacle of her career in the late '80s and early '90s with chart-topping songs and three box office hits. A troubled marriage, a battle with drug abuse and more than a decade later, Whitney's making an earnest effort at a comeback with her latest album, "I Look to You."
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ABC
After classics Can't Buy Me Love, Loverboy and Coupe de Ville, Patrick Dempsey's career flagged for 15 years. But in 2005, he became Dr. McDreamy a.k.a. Derek Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy and he's starring on the big screen with Julia Roberts and Jamie Foxx in next year's Valentine's Day.
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NBC Universal
Michelle Trachtenberg is attempting comeback #2. The former child star (Pete and Pete and Harriet the Spy) came back as a teenager to co-star in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it's been six years since the series wrapped. Now she's back on two prime-time shows: Gossip Girl and Mercy.
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EMI International
The thirteen year gap between Kylie Minogue's "Locomotion" and "Can't Get You Out of My Head" was completely worth the wait.
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ABC
Hollywood badboy Christian Slater has taken a few hits since the height of his popularity. The actor attempted a comeback with last season's My Own Worst Enemy, but the show only lasted 9 episodes. This season he's back, this time on ABC, with the crime drama The Forgotten.
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NBC Universal
When Alec Baldwin left that cringe-worthy voice mail for his 11-year-old daughter ("You are a rude, thoughtless little pig"), many wondered if he'd ever make it back in the public's good graces. By flipping his career from drama to comedy, he's back on top with his Emmy-award winning role as Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock.
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Telemundo San Antonio
Ed O'Neill had a decade-long brush with comedic genius during his time as Al Bundy on Married with Children. Unfortunately, he hasn't had much success since then. He's trying his hand at a comeback with this season's Modern Family where he plays a middle-aged guy on his second marriage, this time with a much younger woman.
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Telemundo San Antonio
24 put Kiefer Sutherland back on top in 2001, but before he landed the role of Jack Bauer, it had been a decade since the '80s heartthrob had a hit.
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NBC Universal
In the '80s, Brat Packer Rob Lowe was untouchable. But his career hit a pot hole after an alleged under-age sex tape scandal. His role as Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn on The West Wing put him back on top, and now he's in another successful series, Brothers and Sisters.
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AP
Drew Barrymore started her career as the adorable Gertie in 1982's E.T., but for the rest of the '80s and early '90s she was better known for her drug and alcohol addictions. She turned her life - and career - around in the late '90s, started her own production company, and is now one of Hollywood's romantic-comedy favorites.
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AP
Paula Abdul hadn't had a hit single since 1989's "Opposite's Attract" when she was tapped to be the third judge on American Idol. The show thrust the dancer/singer back into the spotlight, but her recent departure will force her to find a way to make a second comeback.
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Telemundo San Antonio
Teri Hatcher starred as Lois Lane from 1993 to 1997 in Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman and landed a slot as a Bond Girl in 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies. Then... she spent the next seven years making made-for-TV movies. In 2004 she made a major comeback as the coy-yet-innocent Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives.
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AP
Ellen Degeneres' TV sitcom Ellen was a huge success until she came out as a lesbian in 1997. Ratings plunged and the show was canceled. In 2003, her career had a huge resurgence when she started hosting her own daytime talk show, The Ellen Degeneres Show. She's won six Daytime Emmy Awards in relation to the show and the accolades aren't slowing.
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NBC 5 News
Robin Wright Penn hasn't had a critical hit since Forrest Gump. But she filed for divorce from her superstar husband Sean Penn in August and she's trying for a comeback with her newest film The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and has signed on for Robert Redford's The Conspirator.
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CBS
Charlie Sheen achieved commercial success in the movies Wall Street and Platoon, but his career declined as his partying took over. In 1995 he testified at the Heidi Fleiss trial and in 1998 he overdosed on cocaine. He's since cleaned up his act and has had successful runs on two top sitcoms: Spin City and Two and a Half Men.
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AP
Oh yes. Pee-wee is attempting a comeback. Who didn't love Pee-wee's Big Adventure and Pee-wee's Playhouse in the '80s? But the public took a twisted view of the character after Paul Reubens was arrested in 1991 for indecent exposure. Eighteen years later, Reubens has booked a limited engagment for "The Pee-wee Herman Show" at a theater in Hollywood.
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Paramount Pictures
Robert Downey Jr. caught Hollywood's attention in Less Than Zero and Chaplin, but in the subsequent decade he was known more for his drug abuse than his acting. He got sober, insured himself on two movies and is now wowing audiences again with his performances in Iron Man and Tropic Thunder, for which he garnered an Oscar nomination.
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