Fame, praise, money. Do leading roles, Academy Awards and box office billions make a great career? I'd rather have a career like Harry Dean Stanton's than a leading man with a 5 films shelf life.
Harry Dean Stanton has played small roles in many classics (cult as well):
Godfather 2 - FBI bodyguard
Cool Hand Luke - Prison Inmate
Escape From New York - Genius with Adrienne Barbeau on his arm
Alien - grizzly mechanic
Red Dawn - "Avenge me! Avenge me!"
Repo Man - the older repo man who teaches the ropes to nube Emilio Estevez