Dec. 17, 2009 — -- They were down but not out.
America loves a good comeback story and a celebrity comeback is even better. During the past decade, some stars went from obscurity to Oscar nod. Others had a rollercoaster decade, starting on top, plummeting in the middle, but managing to end on top. And, in the case of one star, it took death to bring him back to the forefront of pop culture.
Take notes, Jon Gosselin, Lindsay Lohan, Joaquin Phoenix and Kanye West -- all celebrities who could use a comeback in the next decade. Here's a look at the 10 biggest celebrity comebacks of the decade:
"This is a second chance for me. It's my last chance; I just wanted to bring it," he told Peter Travers in an interview for ABC News Now's "Popcorn."
"I was living on hope, fears," the 57-year-old actor said. "Being out of work for 13 to 15 years is no walk in the park," he said.
His role as a washed-up wrestler taking his last shot in the ring mirrored Rourke's own professional life. Rourke's last shot paid off. He received a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination for best actor.
Not bad for an actor who started out the decade playing the villain in Enrique Iglesias' "Hero" music video and ended it with the role of Whiplash in 2010's sure-to-be blockbuster "Iron Man 2."