Mike Myers became a household name during his time on Saturday Night Live from 1989 to 1995, creating a trove of lovably madcap characters such as Coffee Talk host Linda Richman, “Handsome Actor” Lank Thompson, and Lothar (of the Hill People).
However, the most indelible moments of Myers’ career were yet to come. His work in the title roles of three of the most successful film franchises in comedy history added boundless luster to his reputation. Wayne’s World (1992–1993), Austin Powers (1997–2002), and Shrek (2001–2010) will never be forgotten by their legions of fans.
Despite his massive success, Myers seems to have dropped off the map lately. Does he have projects in the pipeline or has he chosen to enjoy some downtime? This is everything we discovered about what happened to Mike Myers.
Despite His ’90s Powerhouse Status, He’s Struggled To Succeed Outside Of His Three Main Franchises
Myers has not maintained the stratospheric level of success achieved by his trio of blockbuster franchises. Perhaps that was an unrealistically lofty bar to set for any entertainer.
Still, audiences seemed to expect Myers to remain at that sky-high standard of artistic and financial success, at least for a while. By comparison, many of his other projects have been disappointing critical and commercial letdowns.
The Cat in the Hat (2003), a live-action interpretation of the treasured tale by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel that starred Myers as the title feline, was a box-office and audience non-starter. The film was so mediocre that it landed on many critics’ lists of cinematic duds of the year.
On top of that unfortunate distinction, Geisel’s widow, Audrey, who was president and CEO of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said that she was so dissatisfied with the movie that she did not intend to give her blessing to any more live-action films based on her late husband’s work (per Today).
The Love Guru (2008) was another colossal failure on Myers’ resume. Reviewers slammed it and it lost $20 million. Myers had a bigger-than-usual share of the responsibility because he was the co-writer and co-producer.
Critic A.O. Scott of The New York Times seemed to be at a loss for words to adequately convey the film’s sophomoric wretchedness. This comment from Scott should suffice, however: “…The Love Guru is downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again.”
Myers Earned A Reputation As A Diva
As if it wasn’t dismal enough that Myers’ career went from fabulous to freefall, he was becoming known for being demanding and temperamental.
Entertainment Weekly summarized Myers’ alleged toxicity this way: “Over two decades of making comedies, Myers has brought joy and laughter to millions and left bitter feelings and battered relationships in his wake.”
Director Penelope Spheeris, who helmed Wayne’s World, had a few barbs of her own for Myers. “He was emotionally needy and got more difficult as the shoot went along,” Spheeris claimed.
To pacify him somewhat, Spheeris’ daughter made sure that Myers’ favorite snacks were consistently available on the set.
Myers spoke appreciatively of Spheeris via his publicist. “I’m incredibly grateful for Penelope Spheeris’ contributions on Wayne’s World. Some 17 years later, the movie is still a bright highlight in my professional career.”
Stories of Myers’ unpleasant tactics to get his own way began to make the rounds in the industry. “I think Mike’s a visionary, but his way of getting what he wants is to remote and threaten and express anger,” said the producer of So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993), Rob Fried.
Myers’ talent redeemed him to a degree in some people’s eyes. Spheeris said, “I hated the bastard for years. But when I saw Austin Powers, I went, ‘I forgive you, Mike.”’
After one misfire after another, though, Myers’ comedic genius wouldn’t always be a buffer shielding him from colleagues’ impatience and irritation with his prima donna-like attitude.
Things reached a new low point when Myers and Universal Pictures butted heads over the collapse of an upcoming movie project featuring his Dieter character from SNL.
According to BBC, Universal sued Myers because they contended he backed out of a promise to do the movie. Myers sued Universal for $20 million, claiming he had not approved a script.
A settlement was eventually reached between the two feuding parties. In a statement, Myers said, “In regard to the resolution, I’m glad to put all of this behind me, and I’m looking forward to doing a movie that we can all be proud of.”
A Universal spokesman said that plans for a film with the Dieter character were scrapped.
Actress Amy Hill, who was in The Cat in the Hat, said that making that film was “just a horrible, nightmarish experience,” which she seemed to attribute mainly to Myers’ unfriendliness to people on the set and his weird behavior (per the AV Club). She mentioned one of his habits that struck her as peculiar, haughty, or maybe both.
“There was a guy who held his chocolates in a little Tupperware [container]. Whenever he needed chocolate, he’d come running over and give him a chocolate. That’s what divas are like, I guess. Or people who need therapy.”
Myers’ career seemed to dry up completely between 2012 and 2018, when he had virtually no acting jobs. He did direct and produce a generally well-received documentary in 2013. Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, was about a successful manager for rock music performers and his illustrious clients who included Blondie and Pink Floyd.
He told GQ in 2014, “I never get offered anything. I’ve never been offered anything. I’ve never been on lists where I’ve been offered anything.” He added that he had only gotten 15 scripts since 1991. Myers also acknowledged that he rejected all 15 of them.
He then clarified that remark when he said, “I don’t know the exact number [I turned down]. It could be as high as forty. But I would say in the fourteen-to-forty range.”
He Built An Active Personal Life In New York City
Myers and his second wife, Kelly Tisdale, have been married since 2010. Myers’ first wife was Robin Ruzan (née Richman), an actress and comedy writer. They were married for 12 years before they divorced. Her mother was reportedly the inspiration for Myers’ SNL Linda Richman character.
Myers stays occupied with his three children: Spike, Sunday Molly, and Paulina.
Fatherhood seems to have transformed him. He told GQ, “…[T]wo and a half years ago I had my first child and I really wanted to be present for that, I wanted to just take it in. And it’s just been…I mean, it’s the happiest time of my life. I had no idea. I knew I would like it, I didn’t know I would love it this much…Everything is ‘before kid’ and ‘after kid.’”
Myers has several leisure-time pursuits he enjoys when he’s not on dad duty. He plays floor hockey two times weekly at home in New York City, he likes to paint, create GarageBand songs, and he even wrote a memoir, Canada (2016), about his heartfelt connection with the land of his birth.
He Returned To Acting In 2018
Myers headed back to acting with a supporting role in Terminal, a thriller that starred Margot Robbie. It fared very poorly, failing to gross even $1 million.
He was also in Bohemian Rhapsody, based on the rock group Queen. This film was highly successful, bagging four Academy Awards and bringing in more than $900 million globally.
He played eight different characters in a Netflix miniseries, The Pentaverate, in 2022. Some viewers liked it, while others were lukewarm.
Myers popped up for another supporting stint in David O. Russell’s Amsterdam (2022), in which he portrayed a government agent in the 1930s in an ensemble cast that included Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Taylor Swift, and John David Washington.
A Fourth ‘Austin Powers’ Movie Could Be In Our Future
Loads of moviegoers would love another installment of the Austin Powers franchise, and it sounds like Myers would, too. He told Today, “I would love to do one.”
Elizabeth Hurley said she would plunge in another time as Vanessa Kensington. She stated to People, “It would be wonderful to do something with [Myers] again.”
Another pivotal person, director Jay Roach, also left the door open to doing a new Austin Powers film.
Mike Myers is a wacky comic virtuoso. Lately, though, he has largely receded from view. Perhaps there are numerous explanations: Myers is choosy about the projects he takes on, he’s wrapped up in raising his young kids with his wife, and his conduct has probably been responsible for burning a few bridges in the industry.
Even so, if another Austin Powers romp ever gets made, theaters will fill, box-office cash registers will ring non-stop, and Mike Myers will probably be right back in the driver’s seat in Hollywood.