Tony Danza, Brian Boitano, Omarosa & More: Unlikely Celebrity Second Acts

Apparently, Manigault-Stallworth's switch is now off for good. Earlier this month, she began pursuing her doctor of ministry at the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. According to the Dayton Daily News, she'll take classes in the Old and New testaments and the History of Christianity, and will be required to minister to the sick and dying at hospitals.

While Manigault-Stallworth's leap of faith may seem out of character, in the entertainment industry, it's not an odd jump to make. "Growing Pains" star Kirk Cameron and rapper Mase are among the stars who left their glamorous gigs to pursue a higher calling.

Jayson Blair

jayson blair

Another infamous bold-faced name trying to do good: Jayson Blair, the journalist who resigned from the New York Times in 2003 after it was revealed that he fabricated and plagiarized many of his stories, a scandal the Times dubbed "a low point in the 152-year history of the paper."

After leaving the Times and apologizing on national television, Blair found out he had bipolar disorder and began organizing support groups for those afflicted with the mental illness. That led him to his new calling, which he has practiced for two years but only revealed publicly this month: working as a certified life-coach for Dr. Michael Oberschneider, founder and director of Ashburn Psychological Services, located outside of of Washington, D.C. Blair, 33, believes his ordeal with the Times helps him counsel clients on everything from career-related issues to substance-abuse problems.

"They know I've been in their shoes," he told The Associated Press. "I think it can feel a little more authentic. ... I am open about all the details of my problems and that allows people to know who they are listening to."

Kal Penn

kal penn

Movie character Kumar has high lifted actor Kal Penn all the way to the White House. Penn, who shot to fame after starring in the 2004 stoner classic "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," recently headed out of the Hollywood Hills to join the Obama administration. Not that he wasn't wanted in Los Angeles: Writers for the Fox medical drama "House" made Penn's character commit suicide so the actor, 32, could go to the country's most prominent house of all.

Penn, who also took a break from acting last year to teach at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, explained in a conference call with reporters that public service has long been his passion, which he embraced while campaigning for Obama. In July, Penn began his role as associate director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, where he'll focus on reaching out to young Asian-Americans.

Penn's not necessarily done with acting. In April, he told reporters, "I certainly intend to come back [to Hollywood] at some point."

But asked whether his new job means no more "Harold and Kumar" movies, Penn laughed and replied, "That's probably true."

Joaquin Phoenix

joaquin phoenix

It's probably the most bizarre career move of the past year: Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix deciding to ditch acting and start rapping. In October, Phoenix's publicist confirmed he planned to leave the movie industry to pursue a future in rap. His first performance at a Las Vegas club in January earned him Internet infamy and widespread skepticism," which intensified when he appeared on David Letterman bearded, sunglass-clad and completely out of it.

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