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Why The New Mrs. Parker From A Christmas Story Christmas Looks So Familiar

There's nothing like a highly anticipated sequel to get fans buzzing about the continuation of a beloved story. But, when that sequel is of a holiday classic, such as 1983's "A Christmas Story," that level of excitement can reach heights that tower over Santa's sleigh. This exact type of anticipation was experienced across the retro-movie world when it was announced that the sequel, "A Christmas Story Christmas," would be available to stream this holiday season.

What made the interest grow was the return of some main cast members such as Peter Billingsley, who played the lead, Ralphie, a young boy on a Christmas quest to get an official "Red Ryder Carbine Action, 200-Shot, Range Model Air Rifle With a Compass in the Stock," from Santa. In addition to the few returning actors, there are some new additions, as well. One of them is Julie Hagerty, who will play Ralphie's mom in the sequel. Hagerty is surely no newcomer to the big screen. In fact, there's a good chance you may recognize her from previous roles.

Julie Hagerty was Elaine in both Airplane! and Airplane 2

In 1980, David and Jerry Zucker, along with Jim Abrahams, co-wrote and directed the hit comedy, "Airplane!," which, for many fans, was the film that thrust Julie Hagerty into the public eye. The film follows Ted Striker (Robert Hayes), a traumatized military fighter pilot who is trying to overcome his fear of commercial air travel in order to get back with the love of his life, Elaine (Hagerty). 

Hagerty embodies this sweet and timid character, who is initially reluctant to reconcile with Ted but eventually assists him in saving the seemingly-doomed flight. With the hilarious comedy's success, Hagerty reprised her role of Elaine in the 1982 follow-up, "Airplane 2: The Sequel." Matching the exact character traits from the original, Hagerty once again has Elaine break through her timid facade to help save the day. Simply put, fans got pretty much the same movie, albeit that time set in space.

Speaking to The Gate in 2019, Hagerty recalled enjoying her time working on "Airplane!" as this was her first film. She also told a funny story about how her grandparents had mixed opinions on "Airplane" when they got to watch it. "My grandma, bless her heart. I was so excited to be in a movie, then she saw it. She says to me, 'Are you ever going to make a nice movie?'" Hagerty said. "I was like, 'Grandma! It's a movie. I'm from Ohio.' It still wasn't good enough for grandma. That's okay. My grandpa liked it."

She was the one to ask What About Bob?

Comedy fans might also recognize Julie Hagerty as Fay Marvin, wife of Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), in the 1991 film "What About Bob?" This silly flick follows Dr. Marvin as he finds himself in a unique situation with his new patient Bob (Bill Murray). Anxious to leave on a family trip, the psychiatrist advises Bob to take a relaxing vacation to deal with his many phobias. Bob's interpretation of that advice is to accompany Dr. Marvin on his family trip. 

Julie Hagerty plays the doctor's wife who, along with their kids, instantly grows attached to Bob, much to the dismay of Dr. Marvin, who was looking forward to some disconnection time from his work. Hagerty's performance perfectly feeds into the doctor's growing frustrations, as he's the only one that can see through Bob's phony portrayal of sanity. This quirky family comedy gave viewers a fun peek into two different sides of madness.

Julie Hagerty babysat on Malcolm in the Middle

As Julie Hagerty rightfully established herself as an excellent comedic performer, it's no surprise she's popped up in multiple comedy TV series over the years. One ongoing role was that of Polly in Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle." Fans first meet Polly in Season 5, Episode 2 ("Watching the Baby") when she is hired to watch over baby Jamie (James and Lukas Rodriguez). Hagerty played Polly as a hippie babysitter oddball. 

Hagerty embraces her quirky character, who is well-known around the neighborhood. In fact, Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) and his other brothers already know Hagerty's character as her crazy reputation precedes her, aware of many nicknames, such as "The Naked Jogger" and "The Cat Lady." Despite the far-from-orthodox babysitting experiences, the Wilkersons continue to hire her to watch Jamie. Later episodes have Polly reappear in different situations, such as teaching a "daddy and child" class (yet, another job she should have probably never been hired for).

Julie Hagerty shows her dramatic side in Marriage Story

Just when you thought Julie Hagerty was all about the comedy, she took a screeching U-turn in the 2019 dramatic film "Marriage Story." Starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, the film centers around a couple whose marriage is falling apart. Hagerty plays Sandra, who is the mother of Nicole (Johansson). 

Although she appears to be the movie's comic relief, she's more of a "time-out" from the intense scenes between Driver and Johansson. Director/writer Noah Baumbach told Vanity Fair that he actually remembered Hagerty from his childhood. "I loved Julie as an actor since I saw 'Airplane!' as a kid," he recalled. Hagerty added that the feeling of admiration was mutual. "It's thrilling," she said, "I'm so proud to be part of this film. I was very excited to meet Noah to audition even if I didn't get the part." Luckily for fans, she did.