Holly Marie Combs: Why The Charmed Star Stopped Acting

By Doug Norrie | 1 month ago

Holly Marie Combs

Holly Marie Combs seems like she’s been on television for as long as I can remember. Growing up in San Diego, she hit the screen in her teenage years ultimately spanning a 17-year acting career on just three television shows. It’s an impressive run for someone who was a household face and name during the better part of the 2000s.

And though she hasn’t been seen much lately on the screen, she’s been in the news a bit with some minor social media dustups with old colleagues. Let’s take a look at Holly Marie Combs’s career and what she’s up to now. 

Starting Out On Pickett Fences

Holly Marie Combs

If you’re like me, you were first introduced to Holly Marie Combs on Friday evenings when you and the family would sat down and watched Pickett Fences. The relative unknown at that point played Kimberley Brock, the teenaged daughter of sheriff Jimmy Brock played by the great Tom Skerrit.

If you’re like me, you also had a mini-crush on Combs’ character as she navigated the consistently odd world of Rome, Wisconsin, and all of its peccadillos. Holly Marie Combs appeared throughout the show’s four-year run before it was ultimately canceled in 1996. 

Holly Marie Combs on Charmed

Piper on Charmed

If Picket Fences helped to launch a budding acting career, then her role on Charmed was when it solidified. In 1998 Holly Marie Combs scored the role of Piper Halliwell on the WB Series. She starred alongside Shannon Doherty, fresh off her run on Beverley Hills 90210 and Alyssa Milano who’d just finished a stint on Melrose Place and was a few years removed from Who’s the Boss?

The three played the Halliwell sisters who come to find out they are actually *blessed* with the powers of witches. The show, while rather silly, did have a long eight-season run on the WB. 

Holly Marie Combs
Holly Marie Combs on Charmed

Holly Marie Combs played the middle sister who could control time and space, stopping things in their tracks. The show had niche appeal, averaging between 4-7 million viewers per episode over its run and adding Rose McGowan as another sister along the way. 

Though Charmed officially ended in 2006, the CW rebooted it in 2018 with an entirely new cast. It didn’t take long for Charmed alums to start beefing with the new cast and Holly Marie Combs had to recently act as something of a cast peacemaker on social media after McGowan mixed it up with newcomer Sarah Jeffrey. 

Charmed Cast
The cast of Charmed

But she wasn’t just an innocent when it came to this feud. Holly Marie Combs originally had some not-so-nice things to say about the updated Charmed, including taking digs at the show for piggybacking the original’s hard work, while not bringing much new to the story. She even alluded to the idea that they should have just named the new work something different. In her mind, it was a reboot in name only. 

Holly Marie Combs On Pretty Little Liars

Holly Marie Combs

After Charmed left the air in 2006, Holly Marie Combs took a few minor and forgettable roles on television movies before landing on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars in 2010. Considering the length of her career, it makes sense that Combs started on-air as a teenager in Pickett Fences but now was playing a mother in the series. 

Considering the often fickle nature of television programming it’s remarkable Holly Marie Combs’ three major acting turns on the small screen all had solid runs. Pretty Little Liars lasted for seven seasons, eventually coming off the air in 2017. Sure, she didn’t have the same star turn here that we saw on Charmed considering the show is a teenage drama, but parlayed it into plenty of story arcs on the show. 

Pretty Little Liars
Holly Marie Combs on Pretty Little Liars

There’s some speculation Pretty Little Liars could return in the form of a feature-length film, but it’s unclear if Holly Marie Combs would reprise her role if that were to happen. 

Road Tripping With Shannen Doherty

Holly Marie Combs

In 2015, Holly Marie Combs reunited with her Charmed co-star Doherty to *star* in Off the Map with Shannon and Holly on Great American Country. It was something of a road trip show following the two as they visited and toured various locations across the South. They landed in places and events like a bourbon distillery, Pope Creek Ranch’s annual tomato fight, a moonshine outfit as well as popular restaurants and concert venues. 

Off the Map with Shannon and Holly was barely reviewed and lasted only six episodes before GAC took it off their programming schedule. 

Why Holly Marie Combs Stopped Acting

Holly Marie Combs

After leaving Pretty Little Liars, the acting roles for Holly Marie Combs have been fewer and far between. For starters, even at the height of her powers on Charmed, Combs rarely saw much in the way of theatrical roles. In fact, her only credited film work after 1995 (and believe me there wasn’t much before that) was an uncredited appearance in Ocean’s Eleven

So the film work has never really been there and Holly Marie Combs only real appearance short of the reality series after leaving Pretty Little Liars, was a starring role in the poorly reviewed Hallmark Channel television movie Love’s ComplicatedBut that was four years ago in 2016 and there’s been very little speak of since. 

Maybe that could be it for her, given that money isn’t likely to be a huge factor for her at this point. According to Cheat Sheet, Combs made $60,000 per episode during her run on Charmed, banking $6.7 million on the show over the years with a net worth round $14 million. 

She might also just be enjoying the married life. In 2019, Holly Marie Combs married restaurant financier Mike Ryan. The latter owns Xoc, a Mexican-style restaurant in Woodland Hills, California which is where the two met in 2016

It was Comb’s third marriage. She has three teenagers from her previous marriage. It could be that after working consistently in Hollywood for more than 25 years, Holly Marie Combs is taking time to spend with family and with her new husband. It would explain some of her lack of credits over the last handful of years. 

I don’t think we’ve seen the end of Holly Marie Combs on screen though. Even though Netflix just removed Charmed from its catalog on October 1st of this year, there have been some rumors that Netflix could be greenlighting a Charmed reunion on the platform. It would be a fitting bookend to Combs’ career if the gang were to get back together one last time for some magic.

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