Jesus died and was reborn. In a matter of days. He was a lot luckier than actors in Hollywood where a few bad performances can beget banishment from the kingdom forever. But this is America, the land of second acts, comeback kids’used Levi’s. What gives a (fallen) star a second leg? There’s perseverance, talent, maybe chance. And sometimes there’s a good script at the right time, helmed by an angel, like Quentin Tarantino, who ushers has-beens back into the light’and into the arms of a newly adoring public. Think John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, and Pam Grier in Jackie Brown. Here are four thrift store actors who wear it well the second time around.

Keifer Sutherland Resurrected out of the shadows of his Lost Boys past and tough-act-to-follow father’Sutherland is now Jack Bauer in 24, the CIA operative who just plain refuses to die. If he can keep up the pace and not fly too close to the sun’that is, keep his libatious leanings in check’his new action hero persona ought to enjoy a long life.

Coming attractions: Keifer recently signed a $40 million contract for three more years of 24. Look for him to take on more big-screen roles, like in his recent flick, The Sentinel.

Patrick Dempsey Tune into ABC Sunday nights to catch this ’80s teen idol’s turn as hottie Dr Derek Shepard on Grey’s Anatomy. Dempsey has upgraded his job description from delivering pizzas in Loverboy to performing craniosynostectomies’yes, he plays a neurosurgeon, but a sexy one!

Coming attractions: Signed seven year contract with ABC. Plays opposite Hilary Swank in the upcoming Freedom Writers. Down the road he’ll be in Enchanted, a Disney romantic fable mixing live action and animation.

Matt Dillon He’s always been around in one way or another, but with Crash, he’s come of age. So dust off your old Tiger Beat centerfolds, say a final goodbye, and toss them in the recycle bin: Dillon’s all grown up and done the Brat Pack proud.

Coming attractions: Catch him in Factotum, based on the Bukowski book, this summer. He plays Henry Chinaski, someone Rumble Fish’s Rusty James might have become if he managed to survive. Look for him in You, Me, and Dupree, a comedy with Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson.

Burt Reynolds Seventies movie icon: Fast cars, adoring fans, enough charm and good looks to land a groundbreaking spread in Cosmo. Cut to nosedive outings in the ’80s and relegation to TV when TV had less cool. Along comes Boogie Nights, and the man whose personal crisis in the ’90s left him filing for bankruptcy finds himself back in the game with an Oscar nomination.

Coming attractions: Presently shooting Deal, a poker movie about an ex-gambler (Reynolds) and a hotshot upstart (Bret Harrison).

Who do you think deserves a career resuscitation? Write to with your nominations.

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