What the cast of A Christmas Story looks like today

For decades, movie studios have raked in the cash with feel-good holiday films. Even today, classic holiday movies from Hollywood's Golden Age—like Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life—continue to dominate the television airwaves. By the early 1980s, the traditionally wholesome and saccharine holiday fare of years past had fallen out of favor at the box office. When A Christmas Story hit theaters in late 1983, it performed only modestly at first—until word began to spread that this low-budget movie from Bob Clark and Jean Shepherd was not your typical holiday film.

Nostalgic, realistic, and darkly humorous, A Christmas Story ushered in a new era of satirical and hilarious holiday movies—a trend continued in films like Scrooged, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and Bad Santa. Despite its slow box-office start, A Christmas Story went on to become a perennial holiday favorite. Let's take a look back at the cast that helped make this beloved movie such a success and find out what they are up to today.

Peter Billingsley (Ralphie)

Nine-year-old Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants only a few things in life: to earn a good grade on his essay, to survive any future run-ins with school bully Scut Farkus and his sidekick Grover Dill, and to get a "Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock" and "this thing which tells time" (a sundial) for Christmas. While things don't work out for Ralphie in quite the way he thought they would, his adventures are a large part of what makes A Christmas Story great.

After starring as Ralphie in A Christmas Story, Peter Billingsley continued to act throughout the '80s and '90s in both television shows and movies. In the 2000s, his acting career slowed as Billingsley turned his attention to producing, and his most recent on-screen appearance was in the 2013 romantic comedy A Case of You. Billingsley has produced nearly two dozen projects since 1999, including the most recent season of the popular Netflix animated comedy, F is for Family.

Ian Petrella (Randy)

While Ralphie and his adventures are the main focus of A Christmas Story, Ralphie's little brother Randy (Ian Petrella) has his own problems to deal with—namely, the ridiculous way their mother bundles him up for the cold weather and his extreme dislike for meatloaf. Following his role as Randy in A Christmas Story, Ian Petrella appeared in just a handful of other television shows and movies between 1983 and 1991. After that, Petrella essentially retired from Hollywood, although he did make an appearance in the 2015 independent rom-com Quarter Bin. These days, Petrella works as a puppeteer with the Pittsburgh Puppetworks theater troupe, performing throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. You might also find Petrella at events related to his most famous film role, including the annual A Christmas Story Run—held each year in Petrella's home of Cleveland, Ohio.

Melinda Dillon (Mrs. Parker)

As a young woman, Melinda Dillon began her professional acting career with the famous Second City improvisational troupe. In 1963 she received a Tony Award nomination for her role in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and set her sights on Hollywood. After transitioning to the big screen, Dillon continued to garner acclaim, earning Academy Award nominations for for her performances in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Absence of Malice. Even with these accolades under her belt, Dillon is best-remembered today for her role as Ralphie's long-suffering mother, Mrs. Parker, in A Christmas Story.

Following her appearance in A Christmas Story, Dillon continued her successful career with parts in Harry and the Hendersons, How to Make an American Quilt, and Magnolia. Her last credited movie role was in the 2007 drama Reign Over Me, with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. In 2011, she was cast in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World alongside Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, but, unfortunately, it seems that Dillon's role didn't make it into the movie. These days, Dillon lives a quiet life at her California home. Although she's retired from acting, Dillon still graciously answers autograph requests and other fan mail.

Darren McGavin (The Old Man)

Known only as "The Old Man," Ralphie's father (Darren McGavin) provides some of the funniest moments in A Christmas Story. After winning a "major award" in a contest, The Old Man is overjoyed to receive his prize: an extremely unique lamp in the shape of a woman's leg. Mrs. Parker is less enthusiastic, and the resulting "Battle of the Lamp" ends in the lamp's "accidental" destruction—much to The Old Man's horror. In another incident, the notoriously foul-mouthed father vents his frustration at the family's smoke-spewing furnace, delivering "a tapestry of obscenities that, as far as we know, is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan."

In addition to his part as the grumpy father in A Christmas Story, actor Darren McGavin is probably best-remembered for his role as newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak in the 1974 horror television series, Kolchak: The Night Stalker. After A Christmas Story, McGavin continued his long and varied acting career with dozens of other roles in film and television shows, including Murphy Brown and Billy Madison. After a couple of appearances on The X-Files in 1999, McGavin retired from Hollywood and lived a private life until his death in 2006, at age 83.

Scott Schwartz (Flick)

For Scott Schwartz, his role as Flick in A Christmas Story earned him a place in pop-culture history after his character Flick got his tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole. As a child, Schwartz had already achieved some small fame for his part in The Toy with Richard Pryor, but his performance as Flick is undoubtedly his most memorable role. A bronze statue memorializing the famous scene was later erected in Hammond, Indiana, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie.

After A Christmas Story, Scott Schwartz acted in a handful of minor television and film roles throughout the 1980s. Later, Schwartz worked in the adult-film industry and even appeared in several adult films. Additionally, for a number of years, Schwartz and his father operated a baseball and movie memorabilia store in Westlake Village, California. More recently, Schwartz returned to his traditional acting career and has appeared in several roles over the last decade. He's currently slated to co-star in the 2018 mystery/thriller film The Bend, alongside Michael Madsen.

R.D. Robb (Schwartz)

Along with Flick, Schwartz (R.D. Robb) is one of Ralphie Parker's closest friends. The trio of boys often share their misadventures and also manage to get each other into trouble regularly—such as when Schwartz challenges Flick with a dreaded "triple-dog-dare" or when Ralphie lies and blames Schwartz for teaching him "The Queen Mother of Dirty Words." After making his acting debut in A Christmas Story, R.D. Robb went on to appear in a number of other television shows and films, including The Brady Bunch Movie and Matilda.

Robb had mostly retired from acting by the late '90s and instead directed his first (and only) movie: the black-and-white independent film, Don's Plum. Filmed in 1994-1995, Don's Plum featured early performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire—who both later sued in order to keep the movie from being released. Even more than 15 years later, R.D. Robb's directorial debut is still legally barred from being screened (or streamed) in the United States and Canada. Most recently, Robb made a return to his acting career when he appeared in a 2017 episode of the popular ABC sitcom The Goldbergs.

Zack Ward (Scut Farkus)

Throughout most of A Christmas Story, Scotty "Scut" Farkus (Zack Ward) rules as the top dog in Ralphie's neighborhood. On several occasions, Farkus and his sidekick Grover Dill terrorize Ralphie, Randy, Schwartz, and Flick. Following a particularly frustrating day at school, Ralphie finally snaps when Farkus and Grover try to bully him and his friends again. He turns the tables on the bullies by knocking Scut to the ground and delivering a profanity-laden tirade while he beats him up.

Of all the child stars featured in A Christmas Story, Canadian actor Zack Ward has gone on to have the most success with his Hollywood acting career. His debut role as Farkus helped him land many more parts in movies and television shows over the next decade. Ward successfully transitioned to adult roles in the mid-'90s, and he's been going strong ever since. You may recognize him from his parts in Almost Famous, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, or in the Fox sitcom Titus. Most recently, Ward appeared in two episodes of American Horror Story: Cult—the seventh season of the popular FX horror anthology series.

Yano Anaya (Grover Dill)

In A Christmas Story, Grover Dill (Yano Anaya) frequently tags along with Scut Farkus, serving as his right-hand man and helping him bully the rest of the children in the neighborhood. Dill might be Scut's lackey, but his loyalty only goes so far. When Ralphie finally gives Farkus what's coming to him, Grover tries to help his buddy but quickly abandons him and runs home after Ralphie punches him in the stomach.

Unlike many of the other kids in A Christmas Story, Yano Anaya did not continue his Hollywood career for very long. He quit acting after only a couple of other appearances, one of which was in the music video for Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher." Although he did return to the the screen in 2017 for a part in the independent dramedy Sunday Mornings, Anaya's career has mostly been focused on his main passion: fitness. While dealing with weight problems as a young man, Anaya decided to follow in the footsteps of his nutritionist mother by shedding the pounds and pursuing a career as a personal trainer. After working for a number of years as the personal trainer program director for the Atlanta School of Massage, Anaya finally achieved his biggest dream in May 2017, when he opened the doors of his very own fitness center in Woodstock, Georgia.    

Tedde Moore (Miss Shields)

As you watch Miss Shields (Tedde Moore) patiently deal with the hijinks of her third-grade students at Warren G. Harding Elementary School, it soon becomes clear that she was the kind of teacher most kids would have loved to have. Although Tedde Moore wanted to play Miss Shields like the "mean old thing" who had taught her back in the third grade, director Bob Clark told the actress, "I want her to be sweet and warm and wonderful, just like you are."

After her role in A Christmas Story, Tedde Moore continued her successful acting career and has racked up many more film and television appearances through the years. Of the original A Christmas Story cast, Moore was the only one to reprise her role for the 1994 sequel, It Runs in the Family. More recently, you may have spotted Moore in the docudrama miniseries The Kennedys or as Mrs. Claus in the Hallmark Channel's 2011 holiday TV film Mistletoe Over Manhattan.