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Brendan Fraser Disappeared from Hollywood & Went through Serious Body Transformation — Glimpse into His Life

Junie Sihlangu
Jul 05, 2022
08:00 A.M.
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Brendan Fraser was once a big Hollywood star, and some of his fans loved him for his chiseled looks. However, the star disappeared and returned as a completely different man after experiencing severe life challenges.

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Brendan Fraser joined Hollywood when he got an acting role in "Dogfight" in 1991. The following year he got his big break on the big screen when he starred in "Encino Man" and became a film icon in the 1990s.

Some of the roles he's had since included the "The Mummy" franchise and "George of the Jungle." In 2004, he featured in the movie "Crash," which starred other big names like Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, and Terrence Howard.

Brendan Fraser at the premiere of "The Mummy" on May 4, 1999, in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Brendan Fraser at the premiere of "The Mummy" on May 4, 1999, in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

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The film earned him and his co-stars the Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG) for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Fraser was well-known for his good looks, and Premiere magazine once described him as "a prime specimen of male musculature."

The star felt his character in "George of the Jungle" was more than what the media saw. He felt George was complicated, benevolent, a protector of the innocent, a bumbling defender of the weak, but not a dunderhead.

Brendan Fraser starring in the movie "George of the Jungle" on June 20, 1997. | Source: Getty Images

Brendan Fraser starring in the movie "George of the Jungle" on June 20, 1997. | Source: Getty Images

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Being easy on the eyes was a description Fraser added, seemingly an afterthought about the character he played. The "King of the Hill" star went on a strict low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet to get in shape for "George of the Jungle."

He spent six months working out daily with weights for an hour, and by the end of filming, he'd lost six percent of his body fat. At the time, Fraser described himself as a "walking steak."

Brendan Fraser starring in the movie "George of the Jungle" on June 20, 1997. | Source: Getty Images

Brendan Fraser starring in the movie "George of the Jungle" on June 20, 1997. | Source: Getty Images

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The actor was so ripped that he volunteered to act out some of his own stunts. However, doing stunts himself led to a broken bone when he jammed a toe while wrestling an ape.

His injury cost the filmmakers $1.3 million because they had to change the schedule to postpone Fraser's running scenes. In February 2018, the star spoke about how his health deteriorated.

Brendan Fraser at the 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 19, 2003. | Source: Getty Images

Brendan Fraser at the 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 19, 2003. | Source: Getty Images

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Around 2003, a "Superman" film written by J. J. Abrams started making its rounds in Hollywood. Fraser was interested in the significant role, and the studio wanted him, but he never got to play the part.

It broke his heart, and he felt ashamed because he thought he "didn't measure up." As the years went by, the feeling of not being worthy ate at him, and his work started taking a physical toll on him, causing his body to deteriorate.

Brendan Fraser at the John Varvatos 6th Annual Stuart House Benefit on March 9, 2008, in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Brendan Fraser at the John Varvatos 6th Annual Stuart House Benefit on March 9, 2008, in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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In 2008, when he was filming "The Mummy," he had to be put together with ice and tape. Eventually, his stunt injuries required multiple surgeries, like a laminectomy, whose lumbar didn't take.

A year later, it had to be done again, and he also needed a partial knee replacement later. Fraser had work done on his back, and once, his vocal cords had to be repaired, with the star being in and out of hospitals for nearly seven years.

BEING ASSAULTED BY A HOLLYWOOD BIG NAME

Brendan Fraser during the opening night exhibition of photographs by the actor in Los Angeles, California, on October 9, 2003. | Source: Getty Images

Brendan Fraser during the opening night exhibition of photographs by the actor in Los Angeles, California, on October 9, 2003. | Source: Getty Images

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Fraser faced a severe challenge in his career in the summer of 2003 while at a luncheon held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). While on his way out, he was stopped by Philip Berk.

Berk was the former president of the HFPA, the organization that hosts the Golden Globes. He reached out to shake Fraser's hand in a crowded room and, in jest, pinched the actor's bottom.

Philip Berk at a press conference to announce actor, Warren Beatty, will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award on November 15, 2006, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Philip Berk at a press conference to announce actor, Warren Beatty, will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award on November 15, 2006, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

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However, according to Fraser, it was more than a pinch as he felt Berk grab his rear. The former HFPA president even moved his fingers around, leaving the actor feeling panicked and fearful!

Berk disputed Fraser's version of the events that day, leaving the star depressed from the alleged sexual assault. The former HFPA president acknowledged writing a letter to Fraser about the incident, admitted no wrongdoing, but apologized for upsetting the star.

Brendan Fraser at the "Whole Lotta Sole" screening during the 20th Hamptons International Film Festival on October 6, 2012, in East Hampton, New York. | Source: Getty Images

Brendan Fraser at the "Whole Lotta Sole" screening during the 20th Hamptons International Film Festival on October 6, 2012, in East Hampton, New York. | Source: Getty Images

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The HFPA failed to take serious action on the matter, leading Fraser to pull back from the public arena. The actor blamed himself for the incident and felt miserable as he thought he'd deserved the assault.

He ended up retreating and becoming reclusive while he wondered if the HFPA had blacklisted him. Fraser was rarely invited back to the Golden Globes after 2003, and Berk denied that the HFPA retaliated against the star.

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS

Brendan Fraser and Afton Smith during the 5th Annual "Stars of Tomorrow" Gala Benefit in Beverly Hills, California, on November 18, 1999. | Source: Getty Images

Brendan Fraser and Afton Smith during the 5th Annual "Stars of Tomorrow" Gala Benefit in Beverly Hills, California, on November 18, 1999. | Source: Getty Images

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After the incident with Berk, Fraser focused his attention on his family. The actor met Afton Smith in 1993 at a barbeque thrown by Winona Ryder, and the pair ended up getting married after four years of dating.

The couple welcomed three children together, Griffin Arthur, Holden Fletcher, and Leland Francis. Griffin was diagnosed as autistic, and he was part of the reason why his mother advocated raising awareness for the disease.

Brendan Fraser and Afton Smith at the Los Angeles "Bedazzled" premiere on October 18, 2000. | Source: Getty Images

Brendan Fraser and Afton Smith at the Los Angeles "Bedazzled" premiere on October 18, 2000. | Source: Getty Images

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The incident with Berk affected the star so much that it interfered with his family life, with him confessing, "something had been taken away from me." The couple filed for divorce, and it was only finalized in 2009.

In 2015, Ina Treciokas, Fraser's publicist, revealed how the former couple was doing, stating, "They continue to maintain a close and caring friendship." However, the divorce took so long to finalize because of the alimony battle the pair went through.

Willem Dafoe and Brendan Fraser at the jury welcome lunch at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 20, 2017, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Willem Dafoe and Brendan Fraser at the jury welcome lunch at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 20, 2017, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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In June 2017, Fox News alleged that Fraser's career had "taken a nosedive" and noted how he hadn't "appeared on the big screen" in four years. In March 2013, he filed legal documents asking to decrease the child support and alimony payments of $50,000 monthly.

He wanted the change because he wasn't making the same money annually as before. He claimed he was "broke," but Smith thought he was lying and a "fraud." She claimed he was hiding $9 million in new film contracts, which he denied.

THE RE-EMERGENCE OF BRENDAN FRASER

Brendan Fraser at the "No Sudden Move" premiere during the Tribeca Festival on June 18, 2021, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Brendan Fraser at the "No Sudden Move" premiere during the Tribeca Festival on June 18, 2021, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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After having disappeared from Hollywood for almost a decade, Fraser started re-appearing in several television series and movies. In 2021, he featured in the film "The Whale." Fans were shocked to see how much weight he'd gained.

However, the truth was that the actor [Brendan Fraser] was grieving the death of his mother.

A fan thought the actor had let himself go after "George of the Jungle." However, the weight gain was caused by having undergone multiple operations necessitated by the physical strain of his work.

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Another notable thing that happened with Fraser was when fans noticed he seemed sad while giving his first interview in years on AOL's BUILD YouTube channel. The star spoke in a near whisper in the clip, which went viral.

Speculation was that the sadness he expressed was because of his divorce or that two franchises he once appeared in, "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "The Mummy," had rebooted without recasting him.

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However, the truth was that the actor was grieving the death of his mother. Fraser was now back into acting full-time, working on filming DC's "Batgirl" in 2021/22 movie, and in September 2021, he released an emotional TikTok video.

In the clip, he was seen "choking up" after seeing a viral video of a fan supporting the revival of his acting career, saying everyone was "rooting" for him. The star also regularly sees his children, who live with his ex-wife.

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