12. Michael Richards
Michael Richards did receive many accolades and respect from the Hollywood community for his role as Cosmo Kramer in Seinfeld between 1989 to 1998, but as most come to find out, it only takes one incident to ruin years of success. In Richards’s case, the career-killing event occurred during a 2006 stand-up performance at L.A.’s Laugh Factory comedy club, where he took to making racist remarks, including use of the n-word, to some African-American members of the audience who were being loud during his set.
He apologized for the incident soon after and even appeared on his former Seinfeld boss’ new series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, as himself to reference and make fun of the incident. But the damage was done. Over six years later, Richards is still known more for his racially-charged meltdown than his three-time Emmy-winning performance as Kramer.
Interestingly, Richards’ meltdown was one of the first to be caught on camera and to go viral on the Internet (thanks to TMZ).